Newsletter

(Updated at 7:30 p.m.) The Capital One Center development in Tysons is ramping up with lodging and dining.

The Watermark Hotel, featuring 300 luxury rooms, will open tomorrow (Tuesday), and the Wren — a Japanese-American bar and small plates restaurant — opens Friday (Sept. 24), said Tara McNamara, the hotel’s sales director.

“Our inspiration is derived from ‘izakaya,’ the Japanese concept of having a place to gather together to relax and chat while enjoying good food and drink,” chef Yo Matsuzaki said in a news release.

The restaurant’s fare includes oysters, sashimi, baby beet salad with yuzu pistachio vinaigrette, and grilled Black Angus ribeye — all of it prepared in front of guests. It will be open to the public from 5 to 10 p.m. with the bar operating from 3 to 11 p.m.

The Wren is located on the 11th floor by the hotel’s lobby, overlooking part of Tysons as well as The Perch, the recreational space featuring a park, brewery and other amenities that opened in late August. The park is located above Capital One Hall, a new performance venue opening Oct. 1 with Josh Groban.

This past weekend, a three-day festival showed off the sky park’s amenities. Superheroes rappelled down a side of the hotel to wash windows for the event.

Grab-and-go options in food truck façades are slated to be added by The Perch in the coming spring in a portion of the roof that construction crews are still preparing.

Capital One Financial owns The Watermark Hotel and is rolling out its debut with rooms for employees as the company navigates a return-to-work policy this November that keeps telecommuting in place on Mondays and Fridays.

The hotel’s suites feature local artists’ works that adorn everything from soap holders to wallpaper sponge paintings.

Jonathan Lee with B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, which is operating the hotel, shared with visitors how Capital One executives tested out which mattresses to pick for the hotel.

One was a base model, another was the kind used at the Ritz, and a third was ultra luxury: Without knowing which was which, the executives’ preferences centered on one choice, Lee said, causing the mattress budget to go through the roof.

A Capital One Center spokesperson later denied that executives had tested the hotel mattresses, calling the account inaccurate.

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(Updated on Sept. 10) The Tysons skyline will soon look a little emptier, as one of the three cranes looming over Capital One Center near the Capital Beltway is scheduled to be disassembled next week.

The move marks a turning point in construction on the mixed-use development forming around Capital One’s headquarters. The Perch sky park opened to the public last month, and the performing arts venue Capital One Hall and The Watermark Hotel will come online this fall.

The next phase focuses on two office towers — one 24 stories tall and the other 30 stories, plus a roof — that the cranes have been piecing together on the site. Linked by an atrium, the buildings will encompass 900,000 square feet of office and retail space, slated to be finished in 2023, according to Capital One Center.

Miller & Long — one of dozens of subcontractors for the project — topped off both towers earlier this year, but crane operators have been assisting other parts of the build, and the skyscrapers are still a hard-hat site.

The tallest crane, which towers 550 feet above ground, will come down by mid-October, and crews will remove the remaining crane on the north side of the new buildings by the end of the year.

The bulk of Miller & Long’s work on Capital One Center occurred last year even as the COVID-19 pandemic upended the construction industry across the country.

Construction jobs in Virginia took an initial hit before the industry bounced back to its pre-pandemic peak of over 207,000 jobs by the end of 2020. Since January, though, employment has dropped again by several thousand.

Miller & Long CEO Brett McMahon says the dip stems from a statewide pause in college and university construction. He says that’s only a limited factor for dips in jobs statewide, not Tysons.

“The state university projects…started getting pushed and pushed and pushed,” he said. “That part of it may be a big chunk of what’s affecting the overall demand for construction.”

However, Miller & Long expects to see continued growth in the D.C. region and is “pursuing a record number of projects,” Vice President of Logistics Jim Martinoski says.

While other businesses faced multi-week shutdowns or had to adapt to work-from-home setups, construction of the two Capital One Center office towers only halted for one day due to COVID-19 sometime around late spring of 2020, Martinoski says.

Even for a commercial development project, Capital One Center has been a massive undertaking, sprawling across 26 acres of land at the intersection of I-495 and Route 123.

Miller & Long poured 100,000 cubic yards of concrete for the Capital One headquarters, which began in 2014 and finished in 2018. The adjacent block featuring Capital One Hall, The Watermark Hotel, and Wegmans required another 100,000 cubic yards.

The new office towers have consumed 90,000 cubic yards of concrete. Typical jobs for 20 to 30-story buildings involve 20,000 to 30,000 cubic yards.

The Capital One campus is part of a development boom in Tysons that has also seen a shift to more eco-friendly buildings, according to Miller & Long.

While working on Capital One Center, the contractor has started using more environmentally friendly cement made in batches at the site, reducing the need for trucks to haul it to the work site as has been done traditionally.

“It’s amazing how much it has grown,” McMahon said of Tysons. “It was a bit of farmland when I was a kid.”

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Capital One Hall (courtesy HGA)

(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) Exactly one month before it opens to the public for the first time, Capital One Hall has announced that all patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend an event.

Attendees will also be required to wear face masks while inside Tysons’ new performing arts venue except when they’re actively eating or drinking.

According to an email sharing the new policies, either a hard-copy vaccine card or a photo can be used as proof of vaccination, but the last dose must have been administered at least 14 days prior to the event. Individuals must also have a form of photo identification with a name that matches the one on their card.

For those who choose to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test instead, the test must be one approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it must have been taken within 48 hours of entering Capital One Hall.

A spokesperson for Capital One Center, the mixed-use development that’s emerging around the financial giant’s headquarters in Tysons, says the mask and vaccination policies were determined by ASM Global, the company that operates Capital One Hall.

“Their decision and rationale is fact-based, on guidance from experts, feedback from their network of venues around best-practices, input from shows/tours/acts, and the like,” the spokesperson wrote in an email, adding that the requirements will also be in place for both full and part-time employees.

According to the spokesperson, Capital One Hall is expected to soon have its protocols and health risk mitigation best practices certified by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, an international network that evaluates facilities for their preparedness and response to infectious disease and biohazard situations.

“The policy at Capital One Hall is continuously reviewed as conditions and circumstances change, and any changes will be communicated directly to ticket holders and the policy updated on the Capital One Hall website,” the Capital One Center spokesperson said.

Capital One Hall will kick off its inaugural season on Oct. 2 with an 8 p.m. show by the country band Little Big Town.

Since confirming a performer for the first time in early June, the performing arts center has filled out its initial season with musical, comedy, theater, orchestral, and family-oriented acts. The full schedule can be found on the Capital One Hall website.

The venue consists of a 1,600-seat main theater as well as a 225-seat black box theater called The Vault. Other amenities include a terrace, an atrium for weddings and other events, a conference board room, and meeting rooms that can also function as classrooms.

The 11th floor of the building features The Perch, a 2.5-acre park that includes an amphitheater, a dog park, and the Starr Hill Biergarten, which opened to the public on Aug. 21. The Perch is scheduled to have a three-day grand opening event on Sept. 17-19.

The Watermark Hotel, a 25-floor, 300-suite luxury hotel that sits above Capital One Hall, is set to open on Sept. 21.

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The newest park in Tysons has arrived, though those prone to vertigo might want to exercise caution.

The Perch sits 11 stories in the air on top of the upcoming performing arts and corporate center Capital One Hall. The 2.5-acre space is filled with small trees, flowers, shrubs, and other greenery amid paths for strolling.

Anchored by the Starr Hill Biergarten, the park also includes stone-lined bocce ball pits, a dog park, and an amphitheater that is expected to be used for musical performances. A miniature golf course is slated to open this spring, lined with food stalls designed to resemble food carts.

“It’s unique,” said Rachel Obregon, who sampled beer from Starr Hill with Daniel Valcicak on Wednesday (Aug. 25).

The pair plan trips based on breweries and heard about the opening through a private Facebook group, DRINK NOVA. Valcicak, who was familiar with Starr Hill from its other Virginia locations and tried out some of the beer garden’s IPAs, said they would definitely bring friends there.

Other visitors remarked on how the spot worked well as a hangout, especially for those wanting to wait for evening rush-hour traffic to become less congested.

“Everyone has just been blown away,” Brian Griffin, Starr Hill Brewery’s Tysons general manager, said. “Families have come with their dogs.”

The brewery sells craft beer and food options ranging from burgers to arugula salad and kids’ meals. It also experiments with batches to provide beers that can’t be found in other spots.

The amphitheater will offer live music from Wednesdays through Sundays. Three booking agencies already have bands slated to play most days through November, Griffin said. Anticipated genres range from reggae to acoustic music, with a family-friendly focus on weekends during the day.

The Perch is part of Capital One Center, the mixed-use development where construction work continues on a retail-office skyscraper slated to open in 2023.

“Once this building is built out, we will be able to house 8,500 associates on site,” said Meghan Trossen, marketing and community affairs manager for Capital One Center. “We’ll have ground-floor and second-floor retail of this [upcoming] tower, so we want to have a lot of restaurant options here…That street-level pedestrian experience that we see in D.C. and a lot of fun neighborhoods, we want to bring that to Tysons.”

Future residential and office buildings are also planned.

The park will get a grand opening from Sept. 17-19 with Perchfest, a family-friendly event with games and activities for kids. Trossen noted that 10 superheroes will rappel from The Watermark Hotel as part of the festival, which will also feature face painting and an ice-cream cart.

Meanwhile, The Watermark Hotel is set to have a soft open on Sept. 21. The lobby is on the same floor as The Perch and will feature a Japanese-American small plates menu called Wren overseen by Executive Chef Yo Matsuzaki.

Drinks will range from sake to Japanese beers, and the hotel has arranged to get barrels of bourbon from Old Forester and another 127-proof bourbon from Elijah Craig, according to Luis Mantilla, the hotel’s beverage director.

“It’s really hard to get into a barrel program,” The Watermark Sales Director Tara McNamara said.

Capital One Hall will open on Oct. 2, and the popular grocery chain Wegmans opened late last year.

Block B of the Capital One Center, which contains the financial company’s headquarters, was completed in 2018, making it the tallest occupied structure in the DC region.

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Morning Notes

Starr Hill Biergarten OpensStarr Hill Brewery opened its new Tysons beer garden at 11 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 21) with live music, craft beer, and more. The 5,000 square-foot venue is part of Capital One Center’s The Perch skypark, which will celebrate its grand opening with a three-day music festival in mid-September. [Starr Hill/Instagram]

See FCPS Photos from First Day of School — “Today was a great day to be in Fairfax County Public Schools! Almost 180,000 students returned to our buildings this morning, excited and ready to learn. Enjoy some highlights from #FirstDayFairfax and #FCPSReturningStrong on social media, or visit our website for more photos.” [FCPS]

Construction Firm Adds Vienna OfficeSkanska USA has signed a five-year lease for a 3,129 square-foot office at 8521 Leesburg Pike in Vienna to expand its civil practice in the mid-Atlantic region. Executive Vice President Michael Viggiano says “the rapidly changing Tysons region has been an area of investment” for the construction company “for many years,” pointing to its involvement in projects like The Heming at Scotts Run and The Boro. [Commercial Observer]

Visit Fairfax Leader Details Pandemic’s Impact on Hospitality — “The COVID-19 pandemic still is wreaking havoc upon the region’s hospitality industry and full recovery may be a good distance off, the president and CEO of Visit Fairfax told Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce members Aug. 19…Biggar predicted it would be at least mid-2022 — and perhaps sometime in 2023 — before business travel recovered.” [Sun Gazette]

Falls Church Community Center Closed — “FYI: the Community Center is closed this week (Aug. 23 – Aug. 29) for their annual deep clean. It’s good timing, since the building has an eau de sweaty camper essence right now.” [City of Falls Church/Twitter]

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The Perch (courtesy Capital One Center)

(Updated at 9:30 a.m. on 8/24/2021) The Perch is ready for its close-up.

Capital One Center will formally introduce its 2.5-acre urban park in the sky with a three-day family friendly music festival next month that will serve as a grand opening event.

Perchfest, which will run from Sept. 17-19, will feature local bands, activities, games, a sneak peek at The Watermark Hotel, and a new beer release from Starr Hill Biergarten, which officially opened to the public on Saturday (Aug. 21).

The free event is limited to guests, who must register online to reserve a ticket. Located at 1803 Capital One Drive in Tysons, the event runs from 4-10 p.m. on Sept. 17 (Friday), noon to 11 p.m. on Sept. 18 (Saturday), and 12-5 p.m. on Sept. 19 (Sunday).

The festival will benefit Northern Virginia and D.C. chapters of Best Buddies, an international nonprofit that works to improve the lives of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Organizers are encouraging people to donate directly to the organization through its website.

“Capital One Center is excited to present Perchfest, the first of many diverse and dynamic events planned for ‘The Perch,’ a rooftop experience like no other,” Capital One Center managing director Jonathan Griffith said in a news release.

Construction work is continuing for the mixed-use development by the Capital Beltway in Tysons, but The Perch is complete. It sits atop Capital One Hall and features a Sky Bark dog park, an 18-hole mini golf course, a sculpture garden, an amphitheater, and more.

“To mark the occasion and celebrate the grand opening of the newest community gathering place, Starr Hill Biergarten will release a bespoke beer, Perchfest Session IPA,” a news release said. “The distinctly versatile brew features a refreshing citrus hop combined with grapefruit zest.”

The biergarten is currently open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Kids-centric offerings will include face painting, superheroes, and games. My Gym Vienna/Tysons will also facilitate a children’s music and movement program throughout Sept. 18 (Saturday) on the half-hour from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The boutique nail salon and spa Nothing in Between, the newest business to open at Capital One Center, will offer complimentary chair massages for guests from 4-7 p.m. on Sept. 17.

When fully built out, Capital One Center will encompass 6 million square feet of development. The Watermark is scheduled to open on Sept. 21, followed by Capital One Hall — a new performing arts venue — on Oct. 2.

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Capital One Hall (courtesy HGA)

Get ready to belt out some showtunes, because the Great White Way is getting ready to bring some razzle dazzle to Tysons.

Capital One Hall announced today (Thursday) that its upcoming inaugural season will include a trio of musicals, alongside an already unveiled slate of pop concerts and comedy shows.

“Capital One Hall is excited to bring an annual Broadway series to Fairfax County and its surrounding communities as part of our inaugural season,” Capital One Hall Executive Director Dolly Vogt said. “We are confident this region will embrace ‘Broadway in Tysons’ due to Capital One Hall’s location near major roadways and being a few steps from the McLean Metro Station on the Silver Line.”

With descriptions from the press release, the upcoming shows will include:

Waitress (Oct. 29-31)

Inspired by the beloved film, WAITRESS tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town. A baking contest and the town’s new doctor may offer her a fresh start, but Jenna must summon the strength to rebuild her own life. Don’t miss this uplifting celebration of friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

Fiddler on the Roof (March 11-13, 2022)

Tony®-winning director Bartlett Sher brings his fresh take on a beloved masterpiece to life as FIDDLER ON THE ROOF begins a North American tour direct from Broadway. A wonderful cast and a lavish orchestra tell this heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the timeless traditions that define faith and family. To love! To life!

An Officer and a Gentleman (May 13-15, 2022)

An Officer and a Gentleman based on the Oscar-winning film starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger, is a breathtaking production that celebrates triumph over adversity and includes one of the most iconic and romantic endings ever portrayed on screen. Featuring the Grammy Award winning, #1 hit single ‘Up Where We Belong’, and a score based on the 1980’s catalogue of music that gave voice to a generation, the live stage production is a new adaptation by multiple Tony Awards nominee Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Everyday Rapture), based on the original screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart. The musical is directed by Scanlan with choreography by Patricia Wilcox (Motown, A Night with Janis Joplin).

Each show will have performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1 and 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Capital One Hall is currently selling subscription packages to its first season, which will kick off with the country band Little Big Town on Oct. 2, but single tickets for the Broadway shows won’t go on sale until a later date.

With a 1,600-seat main theater and a 225-seat black-box theater called The Vault, Capital One Hall has been envisioned as the cornerstone of Capital One Center, the mixed-use development taking shape around Capital One’s headquarters by the Capital Beltway.

While it was primarily constructed as meeting space for Capital One employees, Capital One Hall promises to bring a mix of big-name and more community-based artists to Tysons. It has partnered with ArtsFairfax to provide space for local perfoming arts organizations and will host the agency’s 2021 Arts Awards luncheon in its 500-seat Atrium on Oct. 15.

Since opening its new headquarters in 2018, Capital One has been steadily building out the 24-acre campus surrounding the tower, starting with an 80,000 square-foot Wegmans that opened in November.

The Perch, an outdoor park on top of Capital One Hall with a dog park and a beer garden, will open in August, and the 25-floor, 300-suite The Watermark Hotel is scheduled to open on Sept. 21, Capital One Center told Tysons Reporter in June.

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(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) A luxury hotel, skyline view park, and entertainment venue part of the campus surrounding Capital One’s new headquarters are slated to open this year.

Construction crews are still building at the Capital One Center site alongside the Capital Beltway in Tysons, but Tysons Reporter has confirmed that The Watermark Hotel, the development’s 25-floor, 300-suite luxury hotel, is scheduled to open on Sept. 21.

The Perch, the outdoor park sitting atop Capital One Hall that will feature a beer garden anchored by Starr Hill Brewery, will open in August, and the performance venue itself will open to the public on Oct. 2, spokesperson Andrea Khoury told Tysons Reporter.

“It’s really a high-end experience,” Khoury said of The Watermark, noting that the final pieces are now coming together.

The following details for the hotel were also released:

The property will feature studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites with furnishings that are similar to an apartment. Each over-sized suite will include a pantry style kitchen with mini-fridge, microwave and coffee service. The suites offer large work areas, well-appointed bathrooms, digital flat screen televisions, complimentary high-speed internet, and a sophisticated, yet warm home-like décor. With stone countertops, tile and carpeted floors, and upscale furnishings, the suites will present a comfortable environment that is very functional for both short-term and longer-stay guests.

The Watermark Hotel offers a full, self-service breakfast serving a seasonal selection of local produce and baked goods, classic breakfast staples, and elevated coffee offerings. Additional hotel amenities include a business center, 1,600 square-feet of meeting space, a well-equipped fitness center, ample parking spaces, a self-serve market and sundry, and an expansive outdoor patio with appropriate seating and direct access to the 1.2 acre skypark–The Perch. The hotel also offers a full-service bar featuring craft cocktails, a wide selection of local beers and wines, appetizers, salads, small plates and entrees with an international flare.

B. F. Saul Company Hospital Group of Bethesda, Maryland announced today (Monday) that it will operate the hotel, which will be owned by Capital One and have no franchise affiliation.

“We are delighted to partner with Capital One to introduce this one-of-a-kind hotel in the heart of the Capital One Center campus,” B.F. Saul Company President Mark Carrier said. “Our dynamic team of hospitality professionals look forward to doing everything possible to exceed the expectations of the Capital One community.”

Capital One’s new headquarters (1600 Capital One Drive) was constructed adjacent to the company’s previous one and was completed in 2018, becoming the tallest occupied structure in the D.C. region.

Capital One Center occupies more than 24 acres near the McLean Metro station. The first component of the mixed-use development arrived in November with the opening of Wegmans.

Since announcing its first confirmed performer earlier this month, Capital One Hall has started to fill out its inaugural season lineup with a mix of musicians and comedians, including the country band Little Big Town for the opening weekend. The facility will contain a 1,600-seat main theater and a 225-seat black-box theater called The Vault.

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Morning Notes

McLean Downtown Plan Public Hearing Today — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) on the McLean Community Business Center plan, which unanimously passed the planning commission earlier this month. The plan aims to revitalize McLean’s downtown area but has faced objections over parking, building heights, and the potential impact on local schools. [Fairfax County Government]

Capital One Center Starbucks Closed — The Starbucks at Capital One Center (1610 Capital One Drive North) is temporarily closed “due to limited office occupancy during the COVID pandemic,” a spokesperson for the development confirmed to Tysons Reporter, adding that the coffee shop is expected to reopen “in the near future.” [Capital One Center]

Madeira School Expansion Approved — “Fairfax County supervisors on June 8 voted 10-0 to grant a special exception allowing Madeira School to add a new science building, more faculty housing and improved equestrian facilities on its McLean campus…Under the newly approved plan, Madeira will have 518,255 square feet of gross floor area, with up to 45 residential units and up to 12 accessory-dwelling units.” [Sun Gazette]

McLean HS Turf Field Replacement Starts Today — “Starting tomorrow (June 22nd), the turf field and track at our stadium will be closed until early August. This shut down is due to our turf field being replaced. We apologize for inconvenience.” [McLean High School]

Wolf Trap to Salute Front-Line Workers — “Wolf Trap is officially back open for in-person shows after a year of pandemic closures. So what better way to celebrate than a series of ‘Thank You Community Concerts,’ saluting frontline workers, education workers and health care workers?” [WTOP]

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Morning Notes

Capital One Center Nears Next Opening — The Washington Business Journal toured Capital One Center as the mixed-use development prepares to open more facilities, including The Perch, a skypark set to open this summer, and Capital One Hall, the performing arts venue that will open in October. The complex will accommodate about 10,000 Capital One employees, but it’s also intended to appeal to local residents like The Boro or The Wharf in downtown D.C. [Washington Business Journal]

Fairfax County Introduces Transportation Debit Card — The new Transportation Options, Programs & Services (TOPS) initiative replaces the county’s existing taxi voucher programs. Serving older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income residents, TOPS provides a transportation debit card in lieu of paper vouchers and supports more transportation options, including rideshare, Metro, and public buses. [Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services]

Wolf Trap National Park Superintendent Leaves — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts Superintendent George Liffert left the role he’d held since 2016 in May to take over Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, the National Park Service announced yesterday (Tuesday). Wolf Trap Deputy Superintendent Ken Bigley is now serving as acting superintendent until a permanent successor is selected. [NPS]

Madison HS Seniors Graduate — James Madison High School held an in-person graduation ceremony for its Class of 2021 at Jiffy Lube Live in Prince William County. Principal Greg Hood invoked the many musicians who have performed at the outdoor amphitheater in a speech to the new graduates, who were commended for their perseverance and motivation in an unusual year. [Madison HS/Twitter]

Falls Church City Wins Mayor’s Fitness Challenge — The City of Falls Church bested the Town of Vienna and Fairfax City in an eight-week competition to determine the “Most Fit Community.” Falls Church participants averaged 1,622.28 minutes of exercise, followed by Vienna with an average of 1,484 minutes and the City of Fairfax with an average of 1,289.25 minutes. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

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