Dozens of parking spots at Tysons Corner Center could soon be filled with new electric vehicles waiting for buyers.
Manufacturers Tesla, Lucid Motors, and future tenants could eventually use some of the mall’s parking spots to store and sell vehicles, pending final approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended approval of the amendment to the mall’s development plan following a public hearing on Wednesday (Nov. 17) to let the mall use up to 240 spots for eight businesses.
Vehicles would be prohibited from “outdoor display,” and there’s no service component involved, according to a representative for the mall, Brian Clifford, a senior use planner with the global law firm DLA Piper.
That contrasts with Lucid Motors’ plan to convert part of the former Macy’s space at nearby Tysons Galleria into a service center. The Board of Supervisors approved that special exception request on Nov. 9.
“We really envision this looking, feeling, functioning, much more like almost every other retail space we have in the mall today, rather than what we think of as kind of the large-scale, typical car dealership,” Clifford told the planning commission.
The vehicles would be parked in lots by Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. Tenants such as Tesla and Lucid Motors would be able to store up to 30 vehicles each, a small percentage of the mall’s 11,000-plus parking spaces.
The changes would come as the county is exploring possible ways to update its rules for off-street parking, such as the number of spots required for businesses, with a Parking Reimagined initiative.
Providence District Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner described the planned change at Tysons Corner Center as “the spirit of Tysons’ continued evolution to a modern urban center driven by innovation, rebirth, repurposing, and resiliency.”
Fairfax County residents who drive used cars may get a higher vehicle tax bill this year than they were anticipating.
An unusual rise in the value of used cars will result in an average tax increase of $25 for about 12% of county residents, primarily those who own vehicles valued at $20,000 or less, the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA) said in a news release yesterday (Tuesday).
“This COVID thing is really making an impact on everything here,” said Juan Rengel, director of the DTA’s Personal Property and Business License Division. “What’s happening with vehicles [is] we are experiencing an increase of about 5% in vehicle values of used cars. Typically, used cars depreciate in value year over year. That’s not the case this year.”
According to Fairfax County, the increase in assessments stems from a reduced supply of vehicles due to global shortages in automobile parts, particularly microchips, and an uptick in demand for used cars over newly manufactured cars from both customers and dealerships.
People holding onto their used cars instead of selling them, low turnover in fleets for rental car companies, and dealerships compensating for the shortage in new vehicles by filling out their lots with used ones are all putting pressure on the used car market, driving up prices, Rengel says.
He added that low interest rates have also been a factor, enabling more people to obtain loans to purchase cars.
Like the rest of Virginia, Fairfax County calculates a vehicle’s assessed value based not on the purchase price, but rather, on the market value of its specific year, make, and model over all the sales for that vehicle as of Jan. 1.
“Whatever the car value is as of January 1, that’s what we use,” Rengel said.
Vehicle taxes can be appealed if the owner believes their vehicle has been overassessed based on body damage, rusting, or high mileage, according to the DTA.
Fairfax County’s current vehicle tax rate is $4.57 per $100 of assessed value. Personal property tax bills will start to go out in the mail soon, with payment for existing and new vehicles registered in the county prior to July 1 due on Oct. 5.
Rengel notes that Virginia partially relieves the tax burden on owners by subsidizing a portion of the first $20,000 of assessed value for vehicles utilized for personal use. This year, the state will pay 57.5% of the tax bill, though owners are required to certify to the county annually that their vehicle remains qualified to receive the subsidy.
According to Rengel, Fairfax County projects that it will collect $496.7 million in personal property tax revenues this year, all of which will go into the county’s general fund that supports schools, public safety, human services, and other government functions.
Though it’s unusual for car values to go up over the course of a year, the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic means vehicle taxes could increase again next year.
“If things continue the way they are, we can see prices going up again in 2022, but of course, we’re speculating for 2022 at this point,” Rengel said.
Photo via Obi Onyeador/Unsplash
Electric vehicles are changing the automobile industry, including how it sells products to customers.
The sprawling dealerships that still line many major roads throughout Fairfax County will soon belong to the past, supplanted by smaller showrooms — or so Tysons Corner Center believes.
Property owner Macerich wants Fairfax County to allow vehicle sales at the mall using existing parking areas, seeking up to 240 spots to be made available for businesses. Applications submitted to the county in June for amendments to the site’s proffer conditions and final development plan suggest those spots would be used for storage.
“With over 11,000 parking spaces on-site at the Center, the maximum of 240 spaces represents approximately 2% of the total number of parking spaces available,” Brian Clifford, a senior use planner with the global law firm DLA Piper, wrote in the application.
Macerich is asking the county to allow vehicle sales at Tysons Corner Center for up to eight tenants, who would have as many as 30 dedicated spaces each in the mall’s parking decks.
Maurisa Potts, a spokesperson for the mall, said by email that the application is “simply to permit vehicle sales to take place out of retail showrooms.”
The shift comes as the retail market has been in flux and “exacerbated by the pandemic,” according to the application. Stores linked to malls faced particularly uphill battles amid shutdowns, with companies such as J.Crew, JCPenney, and Neiman Marcus part of a surge in bankruptcy protections.
Investment bank UBS noted last year, though, that online competition has been eating into profits of brick-and-mortar stores for years, and it projected that 100,000 stores would close by 2025.
Macerich’s application follows up on the rezoning approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2007 that established plans for mixed-use development around the now-open Tysons Metro station.
In the application, the property owner says permitting vehicle sales will allow the mall “to stay viable and keep up with market conditions” with the advent of electric vehicles. It argues that EV manufacturers have modernized the car-buying process and no longer require “acres and acres of asphalt filled with cars ready for customers to drive off the lot.”
Indeed, Tesla lets people request a test drive and even has a contactless way to do so. Customers order the vehicles directly through the company, which also operates the showrooms, unlike the industry’s standard of third-party dealerships selling manufacturers’ cars.
Tysons Corner Center currently has a Tesla showroom with six dedicated parking spaces, including two electric charging stations, located on-site in a nearby parking deck. The application says the county decided that could be considered retail sales, which was already permitted, as opposed to vehicle sales, since the vehicles are delivered to customers at a later date off-site.
Another electric vehicle manufacturer, Lucid, which focuses on luxury vehicles, is slated to open its own store at Tysons Corner sometime this year.
“Many car [manufacturers], including Tesla and Lucid, don’t even manufacture the vehicle until it is ordered and paid for (at least in part) by the customer,” Clifford also noted. “The showrooms themselves are smaller and given the long lead time between ordering the car and delivery of the vehicle, there is less need for a large inventory of vehicles on site.”
Vehicle service isn’t being considered with the application. Fairfax County Planning Commission is scheduled to weigh in on the application on Dec. 1, and the Board of Supervisors could do so on Dec. 7.
County Board Advertises Flat Tax Rate — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to set an advertised real estate tax rate of $1.15 per $100 of assessed value for fiscal year 2022, which would keep it level with the current rate. County Executive Bryan Hill had proposed decreasing the rate by one cent, but Chairman Jeff McKay says the board will need to find a balance between giving residents some relief and funding county services. [@JeffreyCMcKay/Twitter]
Tysons Corner Car Show Draws Crowd — Tysons Corner Center’s “The Fast and the Flavorful” car show on Sunday (March 7) drew more than 3,500 people over three hours. Led by the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, the event was supposed to include food tastings, but those were scrapped in favor of encouraging attendees to support restaurants in the mall. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Falls Church Swim School Joins Larger Chain — Just over two years after it opened its Falls Church location, the Tom Dolan Swim School has merged with the franchise Big Blue Swim School, which has 123 schools in 19 states and is in the process of establishing sites in Chantilly and Fairfax. As part of the agreement, Dolan, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, will serve as Big Blue’s new president of mid-Atlantic operations. [Big Blue Swim School/PRWeb]
Severe Tornado Drill Set for March 16 — “Virginia Severe Weather Awareness Week, which is the first time Virginia is promoting this combined awareness effort, will be held March 15-19…As part of the awareness week activities, Virginia’s annual tornado drill will be conducted on Tuesday, March 16, at 9:45 a.m.” [Fairfax County Government]
McLean Community Center to Take Comments on Programming — “Join us on Wednesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. for our Virtual Public Hearing on FY2023 Programs! If you would like to suggest class offerings, events and other activities at the hearing, call MCC to have your name placed on the speakers’ list.” [McLean Community Center/Twitter]
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Monday (Mar. 1)
- Unruly Theatre Project Auditions (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — (the) Unruly Theatre Project, a professional teen improv company run by The Alden, is holding its first-ever winter auditions for new company members. The pool of eligibility has been expanded this year to include kids in eighth through 11th grade. Open auditions will be held today and on Wednesday (Mar. 3) with callbacks scheduled to take place on Thursday (Mar. 4). Register for an audition date through the McLean Community Center.
Tuesday (Mar. 2)
- West Falls Church Economic Development Project Town Hall (Online) — 12-1:30 p.m. — Falls Church City staff and representatives from Falls Church Gateway Partners are co-hosting a presentation on the progress of the West Falls project. A question and answer session will be held after the presentation.
Thursday (Mar. 4)
- Bruce Holsinger: The Gifted School (Online) — 7 p.m. — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Falls Church is hosting a Zoom discussion with author Bruce Holsinger about his novel “The Gifted School,” which NPR named as one of its best books of 2019. Email Pete Sullivan at [email protected] for a link to the chat.
- Islam: The Religion and Spiritual Traditions (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — In the first part of its “Great Discussions” series about religions, Fairfax County Public Library will hold a discussion with academic and former McLean Islamic Center board member Osama Eisa, who will provide an overview of Islam. Register in advance to receive an invitation to the event.
Friday (Mar. 5)
- Meet the Mayor — 9-10:30 a.m. at Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry St. SE) — Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert will hold her monthly office hours. She’s available for a simple “hello” or for questions and concerns. Check back on the Town of Vienna website and Mayor Colbert’s Facebook for the time and place of this meet-up.
- Jammin Java Show: Christian Lopez — 6 p.m. & 9 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. E) — Jammin Java is hosting folk rock/Americana musician Christian Lopez and his band. Lopez is releasing a new album titled “The Other Side” this spring. The concert will be held inside, but with very strict social distance guidelines. Tickets are $25, and there is a two-item purchase minimum per table.
- Passport to the World: Jake Blount (Online) — 7:30 p.m. — Creative Cauldron’s 2021 “Passport to the World” series continues this week with a performance by banjoist, fiddler, and singer Jake Blount, who is part of the folk duo Tui. He will be followed on Saturday (Mar. 6) by singer Susan Derry, who will perform with pianist Howard Breitbart. All shows start live-streaming at 7:30 p.m. and cost $15. The recorded concerts are available to rent afterwards.
Sunday (Mar. 7)
- The Fast and the Flavorful — 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Rd.) — Tysons Corner has teamed up with the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce and Capital Auto Club for a car show accompanied by a food tasting. Located in Garage E, the car show has free admission, while tickets for the food tastings will cost $1 each. The Tysons Chamber of Commerce, which will be selling the tickets by La Sandia, says the event will feature 15 to 20 restaurants.
- Capital Harmonia’s 6th Annual Women’s Choral Festival (Online) — 4 p.m. — The Capital Harmonia women’s choral group is hosting its sixth annual Women’s Choral Festival. The festival honors Women’s History Month, which begins Mar. 1, and features work exclusively by women composers. There will also be interviews with two female composers and a conversation with House of Ruth Director of Development Elizabeth Kiker. The event is free and can be watched on Youtube or Facebook Live.
Image via City of Falls Church
McLean Automotive Service Center (1387 Chain Bridge Road) is a beloved local landmark of old town McLean, having been around since 1953. Now, the shop has transitioned into a Craftsman Auto Care, the latest in a local franchise of auto shops.
Just as so many car owners have trusted their vehicles to the shop, owners James and John Justice said in a press release they are turning the brick and mortar establishment over to Matt Curry, owner of Craftsman Auto Care.
“I’ve seen how Matt operates and how he treats his customers and employees, and I’d like that for my business,” James Justice said. “I’ll miss the people, but I know I’m leaving them in good hands. It’s time to let someone else tackle the challenges of keeping up with technology, and I’m ready to enjoy retirement away from the auto repair industry.”
The McLean location is the fifth for Craftsman Auto Care, joining Alexandria, Chantilly, Fairfax, and Merrifield.
“We are honored that the Justice brothers trust us with the legacy their father started when he opened McLean Automotive in 1953,” Curry said. “It’s a big responsibility, and I was humbled when I learned Craftsman was the only business that they considered to carry on their heritage.”
Craftsman Auto Care is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Photo via Google Maps
New Firm Helping Businesses With COVID-19 Rules — “The Tysons firm [Covidless Workplace Services], founded in June, aims to provide businesses with a set of recommendations and guidelines that not only help them comply with regulations but also implement best practices, said co-founder Dirar Hakeem.” [Washington Business Journal]
Koenigsegg Hypercar Will Be Sold in Tysons — “The manufacturer of one of the world’s most exclusive ‘hypercars’ has made it official and announced Tysons-based Exclusive Automotive Group as its only local dealer… The models will only be on site for special events, and even if you choose to acquire one, it’ll take one to two years to get it.” [Washington Business Journal]
Book Demand High — “Local libraries’ physical doors may be shut since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, but their virtual doors are seeing plenty of ‘foot traffic’ at all hours of the day in the City of Falls Church and surrounding areas.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Mask Campaign — “Four of Northern Virginia’s top health care organizations started a campaign Wednesday with a simple message about fighting the coronavirus pandemic: Wear a mask.” [Patch]
Tesla competitor Lucid Motors is planning on opening a studio in Tysons Corner Center.
The company announced plans on Wednesday, July 8, to open 20 studios and service centers in North America by the end of 2021.
Of the new studios, the Tysons one is listed among nine locations, including several in California and Florida, the company plans to focus on immediately debuting.
More from Lucid:
All Studios feature a California-inspired aesthetic where you can explore the Lucid Air’s advanced technology in a warm atmosphere of natural, sustainable materials. Lucid Studios are engaging spaces, designed to start conversations and provide education about the performance and efficiency benchmarks possible in an electric vehicle.
The Washington Business Journal reported yesterday that Lucid plans to employ 40 people at each of the new studios. “The company currently employs more than 1,000 and plans to add 700 more by the end of the year when production at its new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, ramps up,” WBJ noted.
The company plans to reveal its new luxury electric vehicle, Lucid Air, on Sept. 9. In addition to the unveiling, Lucid said it will roll out a new website that will allow people to customize their cars.
Photo courtesy Lucid
Fairfax County Police arrested a man for allegedly trying to buy a Maserati in Tysons using fake IDs and stolen credit cards.
The incident happened Thursday (May 28) morning at the Imperial Highline of Tysons (8201 Leesburg Pike).
Police said that the 27-year-old man who lives in D.C. had stolen credit cards and fictitious identifications.
Police charged him with five counts of credit card larceny, possession of a fictitious driver’s license, falsely identify self to law enforcement and obscure/alter a vehicle identification number.
Photo by Thomas Allsop on Unsplash
Don Beyer Volvo in Falls Church is about to move and set up shop just down the street.
The car dealership plans to move from its location at 1231 W. Broad Street to an adjacent property, an employee said.
Though it is unclear when the construction will be complete, the employee said the company hopes to move into its new spot by June or July.
One person on Twitter spotted construction and signs for the new dealership.
Tysons Reporter reached out to a manager for more information and is awaiting a response.
New car dealership on Broad Street is coming up quickly pic.twitter.com/a08RyGqf91
— Falls Church Views (@falls_views) February 2, 2020
Image via Google Maps