Real Estate Company Relocates Tysons Office — After nearly a decade in its current space at 1850 Towers Crescent Plaza, the real estate firm JLL will move its Northern Virginia office to 1800 Tysons Boulevard in the first quarter of this year. The new office will occupy 26,500 square feet in the Lerner-owned, 12-story-tall tower. [Commercial Observer]
Spring Hill Rec Center Pool Closed This Morning — “The Spring Hill Rec Center pool will be closed through at least midday Tuesday (February 8, 2022) due to mechanical issues. The rest of the facility remains open.” [FCPA/Twitter]
Lane Shift Coming for Route 7 in McLean — “Starting on or about Thursday, Feb. 10, drivers on westbound Route 7 will experience a lane shift to the south (towards the median) between Laurel Hill Road and Lewinsville Road as crews perform utility work under Route 7. All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible.” [VDOT]
McLean Teen Makes Science Competition Finals — Ben Choi, a senior at the Potomac School, is among 40 finalists in the nationwide 2022 Regeneron Science Talent Search, a prestigious science and math competition. For his project, Choi designed a “low-cost 3D prosthetic arm that can be controlled by a brainwave-detecting headband worn on the forehead.” [Patch]
McLean Coding School Has Global Reach — “When she helped start Codefy in 2019, [Lucy] Chen was a 17-year-old junior at Langley High School in McLean. Now 19 and a student at Columbia University, Chen helps oversee an online coding school that has grown exponentially and has taught thousands of students — all for free.” [Inside NoVA]
The end has arrived for J.R.’s Stockyards Inn, where Tysons’ penchant for steakhouses began more than four decades ago.
According to Fairfax County land records, J.R.’s Custom Catering sold the two-story restaurant-turned-banquet hall at 8130 Watson Street for $15.5 million on Dec. 28. The 1.18-acre property hit the market last March.
The Washington Business Journal reported on Friday (Jan. 21) that Stockyards Inn closed earlier this year, and J.R.’s anticipates that the building will be torn down to make way for new development.
The county’s property record says the sale price “reflects anticipated redevelopment.”
A Macerich spokesperson told Tysons Reporter that they “are unable to comment” at this time, and efforts to contact J.R.’s Custom Catering were not returned by press time.
One of the area’s first restaurants outside of the mall, J.R.’s Stockyards Inn opened in 1978 as Tysons’ original steakhouse, according to its website, which says the venue became famous for its beef and hosted many political, sports, and entertainment figures over the years.
The restaurant closed in 2011, as the venue turned into a banquet hall for private events and catering operations.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning in October 2020 that would enable the property to be replaced with a 26-story mixed-use residential tower, but it’s unclear whether Macerich intends to revise that proposal at all.
The real estate company is currently seeking county approval for additional development at Tysons Corner Center, which is located just across the street from J.R.’s Stockyards Inn on the other side of International Drive.
J.R.’s Custom Catering also shut down its Pavilions at Turkey Run in July 2020, as the National Park Service plans to take the former Claude Moore Colonial Farm in a new, still-undetermined direction.
However, the catering business continues to operate out of its facility in Herndon and the Fairfax Hunt Club in Reston. Its recent events have included participating in a Taste of Virginia reception for Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s inauguration on Jan. 15.
Inova Launches COVID-19 Testing Site — “Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms? An Inova COVID-19 Vehicle-Side Testing Clinic will open Dec 30. Open M-F, 8am-5pm. PCR testing only, no rapid antigen testing. Appointments are required, please contact call ctr: 571-472-6843. Open M-F, 8am-6pm.” [Inova Health/Twitter]
Fairfax County Public Schools Commits to In-Person Classes on Return — “We recognize that a lot has changed over the past two weeks, with the omicron variant causing an increase in COVID-19 cases nationwide. As we continue to live through this ever-changing pandemic, we are committed to keeping our schools safe and open for in-person instruction.” [FCPS]
Men Arrested for Local 7-Eleven Robberies — Fairfax County police have arrested two men who are allegedly connected to robberies of a 7-Eleven at 9511 Blake Lane in Fairfax on Dec. 6 and a 7-Eleven at 8110 Old Dominion Drive in McLean on Dec. 11. Police believe the suspects were also involved in other robberies in neighboring jurisdictions. [FCPD]
Fire Department Further Adjust Staffing Due to COVID-19 Cases — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department detailed additional staffing changes yesterday (Wednesday) on top of ones reported earlier that day by Tysons Reporter’s sister site FFXnow. The department now has 66 employees infected by COVID-19, with another 12 staff members required to quarantine. [FCFRD]
Langley Student Gets Perfect ACT Score — “Kaavya Radhakrishnan, a junior at Langley High School in McLean, scored a perfect 36 on her ACT exam this year…Only about a third of 1% of students who take the ACT earn the top score – or just 5,579 out of 1.67 million students who took the ACT in the United States in 2020, according to the nonprofit that administers the test.” [Inside NoVA]
Highline Office Buildings Refinanced — “Westbrook Partners and American Real Estate Partners (AREP) have landed a $148 million refinance from CIM Group for Highline at Greensboro District, a 460,851-square-foot, Class A office campus in Tysons Corner…Westbrook and AREP purchased the two-building Highline complex — at 8401 and 8405 Greensboro Drive in McLean, Va. — in 2017 for $132 million, and have invested a further $31 million to renovate and reposition it since.” [Commercial Observer]
COVID-19 Infections Contribute to Metrobus Driver Shortage — “More than 50 Metro bus routes are experiencing delays and increased wait times due to a driver shortage across the city. WMATA cites the spread of new COVID variants, such as delta and omicron, as one of the causes of the shortage, as employees take sick leave to recover.” [WUSA9]
County Urges Awareness of Unhoused People — As the winter solstice, last night (Tuesday) was the longest one of the year, prompting Fairfax County to acknowledge its 1,000-plus residents who experience homelessness every winter. The county advises community members to call its Department of Public Safety Communications at 703-691-2131 if they see someone in need of shelter, and the annual Hypothermia Prevention Program is now underway. [Fairfax County Government]
Nearby: Mary Riley Styles Library Goes Virtual — “Due to concerns about the recent increase in COVID-19 transmissions in the area, all in-person library programs and use of library conference rooms are suspended until mid-January 2022. Group study rooms may still be reserved, but are limited to groups of three or less.” [City of Falls Church]
Transit and Amenities Drive Fairfax County Office Demand — “New office buildings in transit-oriented mixed-use developments in Tysons and Reston have generated leasing and investor interest as office tenants court young workers. But as these projects soak up the pandemic-weakened demand for new leases, the older suburban-style office buildings have suffered.” [Bisnow]
Student Mental Health Support Staffing a Concern in FCPS — “Many Fairfax County Public Schools students were experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression even before the pandemic struck nearly two years ago and county officials are struggling to maintain adequate mental-health staffing to address those concerns.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
From the outside, the office towers at 6400 and 6402 Arlington Boulevard look much the same as they did half a century ago.
At 13 stories tall, they still loom over Route 50 as it approaches Seven Corners and still boast striking black-and-white facades that draw the attention of passing drivers while revealing little about their occupants.
Inside, however, property owner BoundTrain Real Estate has been busy overhauling both buildings from their lobbies to the top floor that once housed offices for executives of First Virginia Banks, which built 6400 Arlington Boulevard — now dubbed the South Tower — as its headquarters in 1972.
6402 Arlington — the North Tower — came later in 1987, according to Fairfax County property records.
Formerly known as the Falls Church Corporate Center, the buildings have been rebranded as Lookout at 6400 as part of a $11 million renovation project that BoundTrain hopes will revitalize the site for an office market transformed by the rise of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Lookout is a pretty good indicator on front-end demand people coming back to the office because of that value proposition,” BoundTrain Managing Principal Michael Klein told Tysons Reporter. “…Rent is still important. Economics are still important, but most tenants still want amenities.”
BoundTrain bought the 410,197 square-foot office complex for $38.1 million in February 2019 with the goal of modernizing it.
At that time, the towers were over 70% leased, but dated interiors, deferred maintenance, and a lack of amenities had turned them into a “broken asset,” Klein says. Interviews with tenants indicated they had stayed because the location is convenient for commuting.
However, the real estate company saw potential in the buildings, adopting the name Lookout at 6400 in reference to the 360-degree panoramic views they provided of Northern Virginia into D.C.
To take advantage of those views, BoundTrain gutted the former Virginia First Bank executive floor at the top of the South Tower and installed a 3,000 square-foot tenant lounge that retained one of two existing fireplaces but was otherwise entirely redone.
Other amenities introduced since work on the renovation started in September 2019 include a new roof, conference rooms, a 5,000 square-foot fitness center with a bicycle room, a wellness room, and a revamped ground floor that has a separate lobby and elevator for medical uses. Read More
An office building from the 1970s could be demolished to make way for a modern skyscraper along the Capital Beltway in Tysons.
The 11-story, 135-foot tall Park Place I (7926 Jones Branch Drive) is slated for an overhaul. Property owner B.F. Saul Real Estate Investment Trust is looking to replace it with a building with ground-floor retail, a terraced plaza, outdoor seating areas, and “trophy-class office space,” according to application materials.
The developer is seeking a special exception from Fairfax County to waive certain requirements, including an increase in the site’s permitted building height, to make way for the project.
“Compared to the existing building, the proposed Park Place I building will be rotated 90 degrees, thereby opening up views, light, and air through the site and creating symmetry with the adjacent Hilton Worldwide headquarters building,” Mark Viani, a land use and zoning lawyer for the project, said in a July 2 statement of justification to the county.
Viani, who works with the Arlington-based law firm Bean, Kinney, & Korman, noted that the current building remains in operation but “is outdated and is 100% vacant of all tenants.”
B.F. Saul previously submitted plans for an 18-story building in 2018, when it sought to obtain a parking requirement exception. Under its current plan, the redeveloped property would provide 1,842 spaces — more than the 1,506 spaces required.
As part of improvements, the owner would provide 4,040 square feet of urban park space at the property along Jones Branch Drive, which also would be widened to accommodate a new bike lane.
The proposed construction project is in a C-4 High Intensity Office District county zoning area, which restricts a building height to 120 feet and requires a front setback of 54 feet.
Under the names Tysons Park Inc. and Tysons Park Place II LLC, B.F. Saul is requesting permission for the new building to be 175 feet high and other waivers, including a 41-foot front setback.
The proposal calls for amending a special exception that was approved in 2000 and permitted the Park Place II to reach up to 150 feet in height but maintained Park Place I’s current height, according to the application.
As part of the justification in the request, Viani noted the county’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan calls for buildings up to 175 feet tall in that area based on its proximity to Metro stations. He says that by building “up” rather than “out,” the applicants will better improve pedestrian-oriented spaces and on-site open space.
“Its location along a prominent road makes it a desirable site for additional height to help create a stronger building identity and sense of place in Tysons,” Viani wrote.
The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group, the developers behind the Tysons office building, announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the law firm Williams Mullen and defense contractor Hanwha Defense International will both be relocating to the tower later this year.
According to a press release, Hanwha will lease 2,768 square feet on the 440,000 square-foot tower’s 18th floor starting in June as it seeks to expand its U.S. presence.
The South Korean conglomerate, which employs approximately 44,000 people across 22 countries, currently has an office in Crystal City, Arlington.
“Hanwha Defense International is excited about the opportunity to continue its growth inside the United States, in particular at Boro Tower in Northern Virginia,” Hanwha Defense Senior Executive Vice President Bernard S. Champoux said. “Our new offices in The Boro offer us the ability to further demonstrate another step in our commitment to our U.S. defense clients. We look forward to joining the already impressive tenant base inside The Boro.”
Hanwha will be joined in September by Williams Mullen, which is leasing 14,950 square feet on the Boro Tower’s 16th floor.
The full-service law firm primarily operates in the mid-Atlantic region with about 240 attorneys in offices across Virignia, D.C., North Carolina, and South Carolina. Its new offices in the Boro Tower will replace its nearby existing office in Suite 100 of 8300 Greensboro Drive.
“Williams Mullen is thrilled to be making the move to Boro Tower,” Woody Fowler, the law firm’s president and CEO, said. “It’s a terrific location and it’s move-in ready with excellent amenities.”
With the new additions, the Boro Tower will be 80% leased with 89,000 square feet of office space still available. Existing tenants include Alion Science and Technology, the accounting firm KPMG, media company TEGNA, and the law firms Hogan Lovells and Womble Bond Dickinson.
Located at 8350 Broad Street, the 20-story Boro Tower was completed in 2019 and includes lobby-level retail space in addition to office space. It is part of The Meridian Group’s 15-acre The Boro mixed-use development near the Greensboro Metro station and Tysons Galleria.
Rockefeller Group Senior Managing Director Hilary Allard Goldfarb says Hanwha and Williams Mullen will make “outstanding additions” to the Boro Tower.
“They demonstrate the kind of interest Tysons has continued to experience from prospective tenants in the DC metro market,” she said. “Companies and organizations are looking forward, especially in the DC metro, to the workplace requirements of the future. Boro Tower, with its ease of access and really exceptional on-site amenities, checks a lot of boxes for organizations in the market today.”
Photo courtesy The Meridian Group
Fairfax County School Board Adopts Budget — The Fairfax County Public Schools fiscal year 2022 budget includes funding for 50 new positions for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, school-based technology specialists, and 18 new social worker and psychologist positions to meet state requirements. It also covers technology support fees previously charged to families and a 2% market rate adjustment for all employees. [FCPS]
Bike to Work Day Is Here — The D.C. area’s annual initiative to encourage people to ride their bicycles to work marks its 20th anniversary today. The Tysons area has pit stops at Tysons Corner Center, the Mosaic District, and the MITRE Corporation headquarters in McLean, where cyclists can pick up a complimentary T-shirt, win giveaways, and in some cases, get a free bicycle tune-up. [Bike to Work Day]
Park Police Chief Calls Ghaisar Shooting “Tragic” — Park Police Chief Pamela Smith called the 2017 shooting of McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar “tragic” yesterday (Thursday) when announcing that the agency will outfit all officers with body-worn cameras by the end of this year. She didn’t comment on Fairfax County and Virginia prosecutors’ recent request that the Justice Department take up the case against the Park Police officers, which is now in federal court. [WTOP]
Scott’s Run Security to Intensify on Memorial Day — The Fairfax County Park Authority will increase the presence of security at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean starting on Memorial Day (May 31). Security personnel will be on site throughout the week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to enforce park rules, including the prohibition of alcohol and glass bottles and safety measures in the waterfall area. [Patch]
Mill Street Building Sold for $5 Million — The 23,000 square-foot building at 319 Mill Street in Vienna was sold last week to a local businessman identified as MITCO Mill Street LLC. Zoned for retail or industrial use and occupied by three long-term tenants, the property is part of an effort to revive Mill Street with new retail businesses, including a Cubesmart that’s now under construction. [Vienna Business Association]
McLean American Legion Post Honored — “It took an extra year because of pandemic-related delays, but American Legion Post 270 in McLean and its former commander, W. Glenn Yarborough, on May 19 finally received ceremonial copies of honorary resolutions passed last year by the General Assembly.” [Sun Gazette]
McLean’s Chesterbrook Shopping Center has changed hands for the first time since the early 1980s.
After managing the property for almost two decades, Federal Realty Investment Trust has now acquired the 89,625 square-foot shopping center at 6244 Old Dominion Drive for $32.1 million, the real estate brokerage firm KLNB announced on Friday (May 7).
The entire transaction took less than four months to complete, according to a press release from KLNB, which represented the previous owner, Chesterbrook One LLC.
“Chesterbrook Center is well positioned for significant growth and perfectly aligns with our Northern Virginia strategy,” Barry Carty, Federal Realty’s senior vice president of East Coast acquisitions, said. “We were thrilled to work with KLNB on this sale and look forward to building on the previous owners’ decades of work to grow Chesterbrook into a destination center for the community.”
According to KLNB, the Chesterbrook Shopping Center had been owned by the same family since the early 1980s and has been anchored by Safeway since 1965.
Other tenants include Starbucks, Walgreens, Bank of America, BB&T Bank, Mylo’s Grill, New Star Asian Bistro, and the dog daycare and boarding facility Playful Pack, which officially opened yesterday (Monday).
Federal Realty has served as the center’s operations and leasing manager since 2002, which will allow for a “seamless transition” in ownership, Federal Realty Corporate Communications Manager Brenda Pomar says.
“With its close proximity to Tysons, Arlington and Washington D.C. along with the impactful amount of daily vehicular traffic on Old Dominion and the strong demographics surrounding the property, Federal is excited to explore opportunities for Chesterbrook,” Pomar said.
Old Dominion Drive gets about 18,000 vehicles per day, according to KLNB.
Federal Realty’s leasing brochure for Chesterbrook states that 137,751 people live within a three-mile radius of the shopping center, and the area’s median household income is $172,080.
The plans for the property going forward are not yet clear, but Federal Realty Vice President of Asset Management Deirdre Johnson says the acquisition supports the property manager’s overall strategy for Virginia, which is fueled by the area’s “strong job growth, desirable demographics, high barriers to entry, and business-friendly climate.”
Federal Realty’s other Tysons-area properties include Tysons Station, Pike 7 Plaza, and the Pan Am Shopping Center on Nutley Street in Vienna, along with Falls Plaza, Graham Park Plaza, and Idylwood Plaza in Falls Church.
Federal Realty sold a portion of Graham Park Plaza last year to the developer EYA, which is replacing the vacant retail space with townhouses. The company is also rebranding Falls Plaza as Birch & Broad as part of a renovation project that’s expected to finish later this year.
“Chesterbrook presents many opportunities to create a unique and special community destination,” Johnson said. “We are currently exploring options and look forward to announcing future plans.”
Photo courtesy KLNB
The merger was announced Monday and will result in a behemoth that owns 1 in every 6 newspapers in the U.S., including hundreds of local daily and weekly papers and the flagship USA Today national paper. The debt-financed, cash-and-stock deal was valued at nearly $1.4 billion.
Photo via Valo Park