Morning Notes

Vienna Metro station across I-66 (photo by John Lee/Twitter)

Vienna Contractor Settles Federal Lawsuit — IT company Sage Consulting Group, Inc. agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle allegations that the company and its owner Robert Pleghardt paid kickbacks to obtain subcontracts on set-aside contracts intended for small businesses owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged citizens. The settlement was announced yesterday (Tuesday) by Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. [U.S. Attorney’s Office]

Capital One Plans Technologist Hiring Surge — “Amid cloud growth, banking giant Capital One plans to add 3,000 new roles for technologists by the end of 2021…Almost 75% of the hires will be in engineering roles, focusing on machine learning, software development and data work to advance the company’s natural language processing.  Capital One said ‘hundreds’ of positions will be open at the company’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia, with others will be at locations across the country.” [Technical.ly]

Language Barriers Challenge Those Seeking Unemployment Benefits — “Many non-English speakers who lost their jobs during the pandemic had to rely on their children, family or friends to help them file unemployment insurance claims with the [Virginia Employment Commission]. The state agency does not provide claimants with any language translation options other than English and Spanish on its website.” [Inside NoVA]

Wolf Trap Adds More Summer Concerts — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts has added five more shows to its 50th anniversary season lineup, including singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, “Star Wars: A New Hope” in concert with the National Symphony Orchestra, and a “Broadway in the Park” musical theater showcase featuring “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry and Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell. [Patch]

Photo by John Lee/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Fountains outside The Verse condos in The Boro (photo by John G. Colby)

Capital One Adopts Hybrid Work Model — The founder and CEO of Capital One, which employs almost 10,000 people in the D.C. area, told workers yesterday (Tuesday) that its U.S. offices, including its headquarters in Tysons, will reopen on Sept. 7. The company will shift to a hybrid model where employees can work virtually on Mondays and Fridays with no requirements for how many days they need to be in the office. [WTOP]

Traffic Calming Measures Coming to Vienna and McLean — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted last Tuesday (June 22) to approve the installation of “$200 Additional Fine for Speeding” signs along Vaden Drive between I-66 and Lee Highway near the Vienna Metro station. The county will also spend $40,000 to install four speed humps on Churchill Road in McLean. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Founders Row Apartments Start Preleasing — The 322-unit Modera apartment building and 72-unit Verso senior living complex in Falls Church City’s Founders Row development are now preleasing in anticipation of opening later this year. The site will also host a six-story, mixed-use building with ground-floor retail and a movie theater, and a second phase is currently in the works. [Mill Creek Residential/PR Newswire]

Falls Church Among Healthiest U.S. Communities — The City of Falls Church came in third in U.S. News & World Report’s fourth annual Healthiest Communities rankings, the same spot that it has occupied for the last two years. Fairfax County made the top 15 at No. 14. [Patch]

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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

Early Voting Begins Today — At 9 a.m., Fairfax County voters can start casting their ballots for the June 8 Democratic primary. Early voting has expanded from previous years, with all registered voters now allowed to participate and the county immediately offering three locations with Saturday hours. [Fairfax County Government]

McLean Downtown Plan Public Hearing Pushed Back — The Fairfax County Planning Commission will defer a public hearing on the McLean Community Business Center study that was scheduled for next Wednesday (April 28). A new date for the public to comment on the much-debated draft plan will be announced on April 28. [Fairfax County Planning Commission]

I-66 West in Dunn Loring Closed Tonight — “All lanes of I-66 West approaching I-495 will be closed during the overnight hours Friday, April 23, to allow for continued installation of bridge beams for new ramps at the I-66/I-495 Interchange. All I-66 West traffic will be detoured around the closure via Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) West and I-495 South.” [VDOT]

Man Arrested for Capital Beltway Crashes — Virginia State Police arrested a 26-year-old man yesterday (Thursday) for allegedly crashing into two vehicles around the 53-mile marker of I-495 in Fairfax County and punching the drivers in an attempt to carjack their vehicles. The suspect is in custody in Maryland with charges pending as he awaits extradition to Virginia. [WTOP]

Fire Temporarily Closes Vienna’s Church Street — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units responded to a fire in the basement of a building on the 100 block of Church Street NE in Vienna yesterday. The fire was extinguished with no reported injuries, but the activity temporarily closed the road between Center and Mill streets. [Patch]

Capital One Airport Lounge Coming to Dulles — “Capital One Financial Corp. plans to open its Dulles International Airport lounge sometime in 2022 and we now have renderings that show what the 9,100-square-foot space could look like. The Dulles location will be the second of a network of lounges the McLean-based financial giant is branding, Capital One (NYSE: COF) announced Monday.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Virginia-based Starr Hill Brewery announced today (Wednesday) that it will be nesting in The Perch, the skypark atop Capital One Hall in Tysons.

The brewery will lease a biergarten space with more than 5,000 square feet within the 1.2-acre skypark, which is expected to open this summer. Visitors will have access to an outdoor dining and lounge space as well as an amphitheater with lawn seating, which will offer live entertainment managed by Starr Hill.

Starr Hill will serve a biergarten-themed menu and stock a full bar highlighting its beers.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the growing development around the Capital One Center,” Starr Hill Vice President of Finance and Retail Josh Cromwell said. “The Perch is such a unique space and when we were approached about bringing to life a rooftop biergarten and amphitheater concept, we couldn’t turn it down. There will be tremendous energy at Capital One Center and we’re proud to bring Starr Hill into the D.C. metro area.”

Headquartered in Crozet, Virginia, Starr Hill has four locations in Richmond, Roanoke, Lynchburg and Charlottesville. The independent, regional craft brewery has won numerous awards in the U.S. and abroad.

“Capital One Center is thrilled to welcome one of the most-recognized breweries in Virginia, Starr Hill, to The Perch,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said. “Starr Hill’s brand and reputation within the craft beer community, as well as their experience in the live music scene, will further establish The Perch as a unique destination for Tysons and the Greater Washington region.”

In addition to the Starr Hill Biergarten, The Perch will feature food trucks, a games plaza, a sculpture garden and a dog park. The skypark is situated above Capital One Hall, a corporate and performing arts center set to open this fall, and adjacent to the Watermark Hotel, Capital One’s corporate lodging facility, opening in late 2021.

Starr Hill is not the only retailer to recently announce it would be setting up shop in the 6 million square-foot Capital One Center in Tysons.

Reston Skylines first reported earlier this month that the boutique nail salon and spa Nothing in Between Studio will be moving into the ground floor of Capital One Center.

NIB Studio confirmed the news to Tysons Reporter. This location marks an expansion for the salon, which also has a studio at 6410 Arlington Blvd in Falls Church.

The studio bills itself as a “healthy and clean nail salon” providing non-toxic nail care. It offers eco-friendly, non-toxic, plant-based, cruelty-free products.

“We are providing full spa services including body massage, body scrub and chair massage,” NIB studio told Tysons Reporter.

An opening date has yet to be announced, Capital One Center Manager of Marketing and Community Affairs Meghan Trossen says.

“Right now we have no other leases to announce,” she said.

Reston Skylines also reported that City Tap House, which has seven locations, including one in Loudoun, would be coming to Capital One Center. However, the brewery told Tysons Reporter that it does not have plans to set up shop in Tysons.

Photos courtesy Starr Hill Brewery

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(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) In one month, the public will get its first taste of The Perch, a 1.2-acre sky park expected to open at the Capital One Center development in Tysons this summer.

Capital One Center opened registration this morning (Tuesday) for its upcoming “Pups & Pints” event, which will transform the McLean Metro station parking lot into a pop-up dog park with a beer garden, food trucks, and live music — amenities that will all be included in the sky park.

Pups & Pints will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on May 1, 2, 8, and 9. While the event is free, attendees are required to register in advance for two-hour time slots so organizers can control the site’s capacity, which will be limited based on Virginia’s COVID-19 public health guidelines.

Capital One Center Manager of Marketing and Community Affairs Meghan Trossen says the development decided to bring another pop-up event to the McLean Metro parking lot, which it owns, after the success of the drive-in movie series that it hosted last summer to support the nonprofit Second Story.

“I think a lot of people are looking at pop-ups or repurposing of parking lots as different ways to elevate and build a sense of place,” Trossen told Tysons Reporter. “I think Tysons has struggled with creating a brand and identity…and we really want to help with that mission and ensure that Tysons develops in a way that has a sense of community.”

According to Trossen, about 5,000 people attended the 12 drive-in movie screenings at Capital One Center. The development is expecting over 1,000 attendees over the four planned Pups & Pints days in May.

Capital One Center used the McLean Metro station parking lot to host drive-in movie nights last summer (Photo courtesy Capital One Center)

Like it did with the drive-in movies, Capital One Center is encouraging Pups & Pints visitors to donate to a nonprofit that it has partnered with for the event. In this case, proceeds will go to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a nonprofit based in Arlington that rescues abandoned and neglected pets and helps them find new homes.

The event will also showcase local businesses that offer dog-related products or services, such as training schools, dog daycares, and stores that make dog treats or toys. There will be between four and six vendors each day, Trossen says.

“We’re really trying to focus on local small businesses or local nonprofits to try to elevate those,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said.

The emphasis on the local community will extend to the three food trucks that will change each day as well as the musical acts, which will all come from the D.C. area.

Pups & Pints will also feature a “Mutt Strutt” contest where dogs will compete on stage in front of a panel of judges. The first panel will consist of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, former Chairman Sharon Bulova, and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

“I am honored and excited to serve as one of the “Mutt Strutt” Judges for Capital One Center’s Pups & Pints Program,” Palchik said by email. “…This is a perfect opportunity to bring our community together safely, to create active spaces, and to highlight the work of a non-profit in the greater Tysons community.”

As for the “pints” aspect of the event, the beer garden will be run by the same brewery that will operate The Perch Biergarten when it opens in July, though Griffith told Tysons Reporter last week that Capital One Center is not yet ready to announce who that tenant will be.

While Pups & Pints was designed as a sneak peek of The Perch, Griffith says Capital One Center sees events like this and last summer’s drive-in movies as essential to Fairfax County’s long-term goal of turning Tysons into “America’s Next Great City,” a place where people will want to live, not just work or shop.

“The event alone won’t stand on its own and radically transform Tysons overnight,” Griffith said. “But it’s through these types of events, these types of activations that we can show that Tysons is a community, that there is more than those two definitions of the mall and of the office that have historically been defining Tysons.”

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Thursday Morning Notes

Federal American Recovery Plan Will Prevent Metro Budget Cuts — Metro will not need to make the drastic service and personnel cuts proposed in its fiscal year 2022 budget, thanks to Congress’ approval of a new COVID-19 relief package that includes $1.4 billion for D.C. region transit agencies. The potential changes, which included closures of the McLean and Greensboro stations, would have taken effect in January 2022 if the advertised budget got approved. [WMATA]

Thomas Jefferson Admissions Changes Spur New Federal Lawsuit — “Fairfax County Public Schools is facing a second lawsuit over changes officials made last year to the admissions process at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, its flagship STEM magnet school. The suit, filed in federal court Wednesday, alleges the changes are discriminatory against Asian Americans and therefore violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.” [The Washington Post]

Ramp Closure Planned for I-495/I-66 at Fairview Park — The ramp from southbound Interstate 495 to westbound Interstate 66 will be closed from 11 p.m. Saturday (March 13) to 7 a.m. Sunday, and again on 10 p.m. Sunday to 4 a.m. Monday. The ramp will have two exit lanes when it reopens, one of which has been closed since late January for the construction of a new ramp as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [Patch]

Vienna Town Council Debates Undergrounding Utilities — “Placing utility lines underground in Vienna’s Maple Avenue corridor would beautify the streetscape and improve service reliability, but at a steep cost. According to a feasibility study…presented at the Vienna Town Council’s March 8 work session, utility undergrounding in 10 locations would cost an estimated $22 million – the equivalent of about half of the town’s general-fund budget for one year.” [Sun Gazette]

Capital One Appoints New Board Members — “McLean banking giant Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) has appointed executives from Facebook Inc. and Nike Inc. to its board of directors, the company said Tuesday. In May, shareholders will vote on the election of Ime Archibong, head of new product experimentation at Facebook, and Craig Williams, president of Jordan Brand at Nike.” [Washington Business Journal]

Vienna Fire Department to Host Two Inova Blood Drives — The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (400 Center St. S) will hold two blood drives this spring for Inova, one from 1-7 p.m. on March 25 and the second from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 2. Face coverings are required at both events. [@ViennaVFD/Twitter]

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Friday Morning Notes

Two People Shot in Springfield — “Officers are investigating a shooting in the 6100 block of Hibbling Ave. in Springfield. Two people taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Updates to follow.” [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]

Capital One Renovating Health Clinic at McLean HQ — “The McLean banking giant is renovating an 11,000-square-foot suite in its building at 1680 Capital One Drive to accommodate its growing headcount and add more health-care services for them, according to Erin Mical, senior director of workplace solutions at Capital One.” [Washington Business Journal]

Fairfax County Government and Employees Prepare for Collective Bargaining — “On Feb. 25, Fairfax County Supervisor and Vice Chairman Penny Gross (D-Mason District), Chair of the Fairfax County Collective Bargaining Workgroup, opened the second meeting between Fairfax County leaders and union representatives. The meeting was meant to solicit input toward the writing of collaborative labor-management policies.” [Connection Newspapers]

Fairfax County Fire Department Reorganizes — “Effective Saturday, February 27, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) has implemented an operational reorganization that adds an 8th battalion, while also dividing the county into two divisions. This resulted in a battalion chief and a second deputy chief of operations (DC) being added to each shift.” [FCFRD]

Northam Endorses Attorney General Challenger — Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday (Thursday) that he has endorsed Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk), who is vying to unseat incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring. If elected, Jones would become Virginia’s first Black attorney general. [Associated Press/WTOP]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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(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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