Tysons, VA

(Updated on 11/12/2020) Capital One expects to unveil a 1.2-acre sky park with food trucks, a bar and beer garden, games, a dog run and an amphitheater in time for summer 2021.

Nested on top of the newly open Wegmans grocery store, The Perch is part of the second building to be completed in the 24.25-acre Capital One complex. Two more parts of the project are slated to open in the fall of 2021: the Watermark Hotel and the Capital One Hall.

From The Perch, Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said the public will “view Tysons from a completely different vantage point.”

For him, that perspective applies to the company’s mission to mix employees and Tysons residents.

“We are trying to separate from the notion that this is for only Capital One employees,” he said, citing The Star, a shopping and dining destination inside the Dallas Cowboys’ new training facility in Frisco, Texas, as inspiration.

The Watermark Hotel and two residential buildings will surround the Perch. The 300-room hotel will be managed by B.F. Saul Hospitality, whose flagship property is The Hay-Adams luxury hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Watermark will no longer be one of two hotels on campus, after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a request to change a planned hotel into an office building.

The Watermark Hotel is slated to open next fall, while construction on the residential towers could begin in 10 years, Griffith said.

Until the residential towers go up, semi-permanent installations will “activate the space,” including an old-school double-decker London tour bus and an Airstream converted into food trucks, Griffith said.

From the Sky Park, people can see the glassy Capital One headquarters, completed in 2018, as well as a 30-story office building with two floors of retail.

These developments fit with the trifecta of “live, work and play,” but Griffith said a fourth component, “culture,” is missing.

To fill that gap is Capital One Hall, with a 1,600-seat theater and 250-seat black box theater, as well as vaulted event spaces, large restrooms, plentiful concession areas and an expansive coat room, he said.

Capital One Hall General Manager Jamey Hines described both performance venues as “tight in feeling and room focus, but not uncomfortable.”

“People on the edges have just a good view and the audience won’t feel far away from the performer,” he said.

Having two options impacts the performer, too. “I’ve found that you have to create the room, so people achieve in the room, through seating,” Hines said.

Capital One, Fairfax County, and ARTSFAIRFAX are working together to ensure county agencies and Fairfax County Public Schools get access to 15% of the hall’s bookings at discounted rates. Already, the manager is looking to fill dates for 2022-2023.

Hines has mapped out some events and is gauging what people want to see.

The pandemic has given Capital One Hall more opportunities to be added to a multi-city tour, but he anticipates the Hall will be a bigger destination for one-time shows and productions. Hines encouraged those who are interested in dates to join the email list at capitalonehall.com.

Capital One Hall and The Perch will be open to weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, galas and functions for nonprofits, concerts and speaker series, Capital One Center marketing and community affairs manager Meghan Trossen said.

The coronavirus pandemic has sped up the building pace, now unencumbered by traffic, but the supply chain has been disrupted, impacting shipments of materials and equipment, Griffith says.

Through it all, he said Fairfax County has done “an incredible job” accommodating construction during the pandemic, implementing measures such as inspections via FaceTime to keep employees safe.

Photo courtesy Capital One

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More than 30 companies in the D.C. metro area are looking to hire women for open positions in STEM-based fields at a Women in Technology Virtual Career Fair tomorrow (Thursday). Some of the companies include Amazon, Capital One, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. 

The career fair is sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Capital One as part of an ongoing series of virtual career fairs that the FCEDA has supported in response to the COVID-19 crisis, according to a press release from the FCEDA.

The first three virtual fairs in the series attracted more than 2,100 attendees, the release says.

“More girls and women need to be exposed to the high-paying jobs in the technology sectors that are a major part of the economy of Fairfax County,” Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said.

Gross, who serves as vice chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, added that “efforts such as this career fair open up a wider talent pipeline for the companies that have so many job openings even during the pandemic.” 

According to the release, only 26% of the jobs held by women in the workforce are computing-related jobs. The career fair on Nov. 5 will help connect technology professionals with top organizations in the D.C. metro area, seeking to help increase access to opportunity “in a field where women have been historically underrepresented.” 

Participants will be able to browse companies through a virtual lobby, enter their booths, view open positions, engage in video conferencing, and talk with human resources representatives at the virtual fair.

“In Northern Virginia, we have more than 15,000 tech firms constantly hiring. In fact, tech job postings are growing more in Virginia than in California and New York,” FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said. “We are a region that not just embraces, but pioneers diversity: women are twice as likely to work in tech in Northern Virginia than in Silicon Valley.” 

Participation in the career fair is free of charge. Employers interested in promoting their job openings can contact Mike Batt, the FCEDA Director of Talent Initiative Programs at [email protected] or visit the Employer Resources page. 

Photo via the FCEDA/Instagram

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The Wegmans in Tysons (1835 Capital One Drive South) will have a soft opening next Wednesday (Nov. 4) at 9 a.m.

“We’re super excited,” Wegmans Tysons service area manager Matt Collalto said. “Tysons is an up-and-coming area. People here have shopped sporadically at a Wegmans and wanted one nearby.”

Fairfax County’s fourth Wegmans is open from 6 a.m. to midnight. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Wegmans is foregoing a grand opening for the mid-morning first day of business.

“We wanted to put more thought into our opening, focusing on our customers and employees,” Collalto said.

The company sees room for opportunity in the D.C.-Virginia area, Collalto said. After the Wegmans in Tysons opens on Wednesday, one is slated to open in May 2022 on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Wegmans is looking to open a store in Reston in the future, he said.

The Tysons Wegmans has three levels of below-ground parking with escalators leading into the store, which will avoid the ongoing construction of the Capital One Hall.

Customers will be greeted by dining options galore, with seating for nearly 200 people in the 80,000 square-foot store.

The Buzz Coffee Shop offers breakfast sandwiches and organic specialty coffee, tea, and espresso drinks. True coffee aficionados will appreciate the pour-over, French press, and nitro brew options, Collalto said.

The fast-casual Burger Bar serves burgers, sandwiches and fries. A Japanese-inspired bar features sushi, cocktails, wine, sake, and beer. Individual hot food options, which Collalto calls the “street stop” section, are just around the corner.

The “street food”-style preparation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, with improved quality and hygiene, he said. While some COVID-19 precautions may go away, the decision to close buffets may stay, he said.

“Instead of big, massive hot bars, we’re specializing the food,” he said. “COVID has opened our eyes to a lot of things.”

High-contact touchpoints are sanitized frequently and hand-sanitizer stations are available throughout the store. Cashiers sanitize their workspace and hands in between customers, and Plexiglas shields separate cashiers and employees from customers.

Customers also have options for contactless shopping. They can shop online for curbside pickup or delivery to their door, and the prepared foods can be ordered through the store’s Meals 2Go app.

The SCAN app allows customers to scan and bag their groceries in-store for a contactless experience.

Picking up on consumer trends, Wegmans is focusing on organics, sustainable practices, and specialty items.

Shelves increasingly bear products with the private Wegmans label, particularly those designated as “Food You Feel Good About.” This means they are free of preservatives, additives, and artificial colors, manager Kevin Russell said.

Wegmans also has a goal of diverting 80% of waste from the landfill, either into recycling or composting, Collalto said. Consumable produce, dairy, and other perishables are donated to Food For Others.

“We have a responsibility to enrich the neighborhood the best way we can,” Collalto said.

As for specialty foods, the Tysons Wegmans has swapped large displays of traditional deli meats for 16 feet dedicated to charcuterie meats. Complimenting the meats is a cheese station with 400 cheeses.

“We want to highlight the variety of charcuterie,” Collalto said. “People love it.”

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Fairfax Extends Early Voting Hours — During this last week of early voting, we have added two extra hours to vote early on both Thursday and Friday, Oct. 29 and 30. [Fairfax County]

Fairfax Connector Ridership Plummets — The Fairfax Connector bus network saw more of a fall-off in ridership during the initial phase of the COVID crisis than some of the region’s other bus systems, but less of a decline than Metrobus ridership across Northern Virginia. [Inside Nova]

Student Driver Crashes Into Town Official — Both vehicles then proceeded into the intersection and collided, Vienna police said. The student driver’s vehicle went up on the curb and struck a light post, causing minor damage, police said. [Inside Nova]

ArtsFairfax Gets Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Capital One Center — “Behind the scenes views from our hard hat tour with @capitalonecenter and @fairfaxcounty visiting @capitalonehall and The Perch.” [ArtsFairfax/Instagram]

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Modifications to the Capital One Campus in Tysons are scheduled to continue next month as the financial institution heads back to the Planning Commission for more changes.

The changes planned for the Oct. 28 Planning Commission meeting mostly involve adjusting earlier sign plans to match the July approval of changing out the hotel portion of the site for more office space.

The new buildings will, like the existing headquarters, have a Capital One logo at the top with much of the body of the buildings occupied by offices while retail is located on the ground floor.

The Board of Supervisors had earlier been enthusiastic about the change, agreeing that the proposed change to office space rather than hotels could help boost economic activity in the area.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said that the change better fits the recommended percentage of office use in the Tysons Comprehensive Plan and that the area has other planned hotels.

Image via Fairfax County

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Friday Morning Notes

Tysons Library Name Dropped in Restauranteur Memoir — “He mentioned Albert Camus’s ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ — he remembers reading it as a teenager at the library in Tysons Corner, Va, where he grew up…” [New York Times]

Capital One Center Wegmans Slated for Early November Opening — “The Wegmans location at the Capital One Center campus in Tysons is slated to open on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 9 a.m.” [Patch]

Fairfax County Outlines Online Car Tax Payment — “Avoid the lines October 1-5! Pay your car taxes online. See all ways to pay including online, by mail, by phone, in person or drop off.” [Fairfax County]

Tysons-based MicroStrategy CEO Defends Choice to Invest in Bitcoin — “Before the Covid-19 crisis, the Tysons Corner, Virginia-based company had about $500 million mostly invested in short-term U.S. government securities. Saylor began to question that conventional strategy when yields tumbled in the wake of the pandemic. ” [Bloomberg]

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Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors voted in favor of changing the name from the McLean Metro station to McLean-Capital One Hall Metro station.

The decision still has to go to WMATA’s Board of Directors for approval, but it seems likely station could take on the name of the planned performance hall under construction nearby.

Naming a Metro station for a nearby company is an unusual move — something the Board of Supervisors opposed Metro doing November. Supervisors were quick to say the station is not named after banking giant Capital One, which is headquartered adjacent to the Metro station, but for the performance hall.

This is a very particular situation in which we do have an agreement between the county and Capital One Hall to provide a minimum of 100 days of use,” said Supervisor Dalia Palchik, representing the Providence District. “It’s going to be our very own Strathmore. It’s a very specific request to have this name put on the Metro station so people know we have this asset here in Fairfax County.”

How do you feel about the proposed name change?

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Unemployment Claims Dip — “New claims for unemployment benefits filed by Northern Virginia residents fell last week to their lowest level since pandemic-related business shutdowns began, even as thousands of area residents continue collecting unemployment, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.” [Inside NoVa]

Capital One Fined for Data Breach — “Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE: COF) will pay an $80 million fine and enter into a consent order with its regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, over issues related to a data breach in 2019 that exposed more than 106 million records of customers and credit card applicants.” [Washington Business Journal]

Two Activists Running for Falls Church Council Seat — “Two longtime City of Falls Church activists, Debbie Hiscott and Josh Shokoor, have been the only ones to announce so far they’ll be running for the now-open seat on the Falls Church City Council.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Capital One can now move forward with adding more office space for its employees at the Capital One Campus in Tysons.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the proposal, which swaps a planned hotel with the office building, yesterday.

Gregory Riegle, the lawyer representing Capital One, told the supervisors that replacing the previously approved, but unbuilt, hotel with office space will increase economic development near the Metro.

Riegle said that the hotel had faced challenges prior to the pandemic, which the pandemic exacerbated. Riegle did not specify what the issues were.

While the pandemic’s impact on office use is still undetermined, Riegle said that the hotel-to-office swap will support the long-term vision for the Capital One Campus. Riegle said that Capital One intends to use the new office building just for its employees as the banking giant increases its presence in Tysons.

Riegle added that the new plans will add more retail and enhance street activation.

The campus currently has two office buildings, a conference center, a parking garage and surface-level parking, according to county documents. “Construction activity is on-going on a 31-story office building, an 8-story performing arts center, and a 28-story hotel/residential building,” the documents say.

The proposal did not receive any public comment during the public hearing yesterday.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said that the change better fits the recommended percentage of office use in the Tysons Comprehensive Plan and that the area has other planned hotels.

As for economic development, Palchik added that the office building will support jobs for construction workers.

Palchik praised the proposal for gaining “widespread community support” in a few months, noting that the Gates of McLean and McLean Citizens Association both support the proposal.

“[It] sets a high standard for future Tysons applications,” Palchik said.

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The expansion plans for the Capital One Campus in Tysons may turn out differently than originally expected after the developer approached the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night with new ideas.

Major proposed changes to the plan include the elimination of the planned hotel and the addition of new office space and real estate, which Gregory Riegle, the lawyer representing Capital One, said was requested because of changes to the market.

“Candidly, the hotel industry in Tysons and the Northern Virginia area had a number of challenges in terms of oversupply even before the pandemic. The intervening circumstances have only exacerbated those realities,” Riegle said.

“The overall master plan of the campus remains the same,” Stephen Gardner, a senior planner with Fairfax County, said, adding that the amount of office space will jump to 67%.

Two buildings would slightly decrease in height if this adjustment is approved, while another building would increase its height to 305 feet, which is equivalent to roughly 28 stories, Gardner said. Open space on the campus would remain the same.

The building with the increased height would include 328,974 square feet of extra floor area.

After a brief discussion, the Planning Commission unanimously voted to favorably recommend the changes to the Board of Supervisors. The county board is set to consider the proposal on July 14.

It is unclear which businesses might take over the additional retail spaces provided by the proposed changes.

“Progress is continuing irrespective of situations with the pandemic and associated issues,” Riegle said, adding that the Wegmans is expected to be completed later in 2020, while the performing arts center will likely be done in 2021.

Image courtesy Fairfax County Planning Commission

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