More than two years after it was vacated, Tequila Grande in Vienna has been reduced to rubble.
Demolition work began last week on the former restaurant, which occupied the corner of Maple Avenue and Nutley Street for roughly four decades. The property will become 444 Maple Ave., a much-debated mixed-use building that will also take over the adjacent Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel.
All buildings on the site are expected to be knocked down by the end of March, says Chris Bell, the senior vice president of acquisition and development for 444 Maple developer Hekemian & Co., Inc.
“After that, we’ll start construction sometime in late spring, early summer,” Bell told Tysons Reporter yesterday (Tuesday).
The Vienna Town Council approved the proposed redevelopment in October 2018, despite opposition from many community members and a moratorium on additional mixed-use development projects imposed just a month earlier.
444 Maple Ave. will replace the restaurant and hotel with a four-story apartment and retail center. The developer intends to build 151 multifamily rental units on top of approximately 20,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
Fencing went up around the site last year, with hopes that demolition would begin this past fall. However, supply-chain and cost issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic convinced the developer to push pause on the project, according to Bell.
Though Bell didn’t specify what prompted the project’s resumption beyond that “now seems like a better time,” Hekemian recently selected Tysons Service Corporation as a general contractor, and it received a demolition permit from Fairfax County on Jan. 19.
Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review approved final designs on Oct. 21.
Bell declined to confirm marketing materials that suggest the development has already landed a few tenants, including the pizza chain Mellow Mushroom.
“We are working with several tenants, but we don’t make any comments until the leases are signed,” he said.
After the anticipated start in a few months’ time, the overall timeline for construction gets hazy. Bell says a project of this kind typically takes 18 to 20 months to build.
“We’re just looking forward to getting it started and getting it built,” Bell said. “It’s been a long time coming, and we’re excited about it.”
Though construction has yet to begin, Vienna’s 444 Maple Ave. mixed-use development appears to be in negotiations to secure its first tenants.
According to a property brochure on its project webpage, New Jersey-headquartered Hekemian & Co. plans to add the pizza chain Mellow Mushroom, restaurant Tom Yum Thai, and Gloss Nails to the development, which will take the place of the now-shuttered Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande.
The marketing sheet indicates that the businesses are “at lease,” but none appear to have officially signed yet.
Mellow Mushroom, which serves custom-made pies, gluten-free crusts, burgers, vegan options, and more, is expected to occupy the site’s largest space at 5,129 square feet.
A Mellow Mushroom marketing executive didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear if the business will be corporate-owned, like its Herndon location, or a franchise, like the one in Chantilly.
Gloss Nails has been inked in for a 2,000 square-foot space, and Tom Yum Thai’s space is 1,424 square feet in size.
Tom Yum Thai had occupied ground-floor space in the office building at 226 Maple Avenue West for seven years, but it abruptly closed on Dec. 26. Tysons Reporter was unable to get in contact with the management team for comment by publication time.
Three commercial spaces are still listed as available. There’s also a 2,000-square-foot space listed as having a letter of intent. A leasing representative didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
A chain-link fence still stands around the Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande. The business said last summer that demolition work could begin in the fall of 2021. A demolition permit was issued Wednesday (Jan. 19) by Fairfax County.
Approved despite some resident opposition in October 2018, the development project will replace the vacated hotel and restaurant at the Nutley Street corner with a multistory building featuring courtyards, a pool, dog wash, ground-floor retail, and 151 multifamily rental units.
A much-debated retail and residential development proposed for 444 Maple Avenue West is moving closer toward demolition and construction.
The Town of Vienna Board of Architectural Review is slated to meet for a virtual work session at 7:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) to discuss the exterior appearance of the project at the former site of Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande.
New Jersey-based real estate firm Hekemian & Co. plans to turn the property into a four-story, mixed-use building with 150 residential units and over 18,800 square feet of retail space. The developer hopes to begin construction this fall.
While many community members expressed concern about the development’s size and potential traffic impacts, the architectural review board advanced the project in May 2018, saying that it met zoning parameters. The Vienna Town Council approved the project 5-2 in October 2018.
The project is returning to the architectural review board now for “minor changes to the façade” to adapt to construction, according to applicant Lindsey Minkoff with the architecture firm KTGY Group.
The site developer remains committed to several proffers, dated Nov. 13, 2018, including:
- Placing around 440 linear feet of utilities underground along Maple Avenue
- Making traffic and pedestrian upgrades, such as extending a left-turn lane from Nutley Street to Maple Avenue)
- Giving $170,000 toward a town signal improvement fund
- Consulting with the Vienna Public Arts Commission while paying for the design, installation, and other costs of including public art in the development’s parking garage
The parking garage will serve retail customers. Underground parking will be available for residents and street parking for prospective tenants, according to the application before the Board of Architectural Review.
The submitted materials also include a rendering of a Maple Avenue Plaza that will be created in front of the complex. Planned residential amenities include a pool, club room, and indoor fitness facility.