Tysons, VA

Tysons-based Gannett is merging with fellow newspaper chain GateHouse to form what is by far the largest newspaper publisher in the country.

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.

The combined company will be called Gannett and will continue to be based in Tysons, at the Valo Park office complex, at 7950 Jones Branch Drive. Gannett signed a 12-year lease on the space in 2015.

Valo Park was sold by TV station owner TEGNA, which was split from Gannett and is now based at The Boro in Tysons.

Photo via Valo Park

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Relocating is a part of office culture. But when the company moves just a few blocks away, some experts say it could be the sign of a healthy office market.

One of the most notable moves in Tysons was auditing giant KPMG LLP’s announcement last October that it would be moving from 1676 International Drive to the Boro, a project nearing the final phase of development.

On the surface, a move like that would have a minimal economic impact. Some local experts who spoke to Tysons Reporter said that moves like this allow companies to obtain relatively prime office space at low costs.

KPMG LLP not only got a newer, larger office out of the move, but also a $1 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund and other tax credits.

The move also pushed Brandywine Realty Trust — the owners of 1676 International Drive — into a $20 million renovation that currently includes plans for a new flexible office space

Professor Frank Shafroth, director of the Center for State and Local Leadership at George Mason University, said the move could also be a positive sign that the region has a strong standing in the competitive Northern Virginia race to fill office vacancies.

“If they are moving in the same community, it means the community has the right amenities,” said Shafroth, “so I would guess there are certain unique benefits to them — and no harm to the community, because, clearly, in considering a relocation, they would have considered Arlington or other spots.”

Photo courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust

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Morning Notes

Free Rides to Tysons — The new Fairfax Connector Route 467, which runs from Tysons to Vienna to Dunn Loring, is now operating and is free for the month of April. [Twitter]

Law Firm Finishes Move to The Boro — “Womble Bond Dickinson is excited to announce that it has completed its move to the new Boro Tower effective April 1… [The law firm] will occupy the entire 15th floor of the Boro Tower, consisting of approximately 24,000 square feet of office space.” [CityBizList]

New Falls Church Ice Cream Shop — “Falls Church just got a little sweeter with the opening of Kiln & Custard at Lincoln at Tinner Hill, 455 South Maple Avenue. The business will celebrate its grand opening Sunday, April 7 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.” [Patch]

Vienna Named ‘Tree City’ Again — “Vienna has been certified as a ‘Tree City USA’ by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 18th time, and will host a special event on Friday, April 26 at 5 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center.” [InsideNova]

Mamma Mia! in McLean — “Langley High School concludes its 2018-2019 theater season with an international hit sensation: Mamma Mia!. It will play on April 25-27 at 7 p.m., April 28 at 2 p.m. and May 2-4 at 7 p.m. and May 5 at 2 p.m., 2019 at Saxon Stage Theater at Langley High School.” [McLean Connection]

Falls Church Van Break-ins — “Falls Church Police are seeking two suspects for breaking into the same van three times. Video from the latest break-in shows one suspect inside the van.” [Patch]

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Technology contractor Applied Insight is packing up its bags in Ashburn and setting up camp in Tysons.

The company announced earlier this week that it will be moving into 1850 Towers Crescent Plaza, part of the Towers Crescent complex.

The new headquarters will function as a hub for the business as it moves into research and development on cybersecurity and cloud infrastructure projects for the federal government.

“Our move to Tysons is about convenience and collaboration,” John Hynes, CEO of Applied Insight, said in a press release. “It’s a more central location for the leadership team to come together when we need to.”

Hynes said the company already spends a lot of time meeting with customers in Tysons, making the new headquarters a more convenient spot.

“The new space also has great facilities for bringing our people together for training and collaboration on new projects, particularly in technology development and business development,” Hynes said. “It’s part of fostering the creative culture that will be key to our long-term success.”

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At least according to one real estate broker, realtors looking to expand outside Tysons, Reston or Arlington County should be looking into commercial redevelopment in Vienna.

In an article published by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, Frank Dillow, a senior commercial broker in Long & Foster’s Commercial Division, pointed to 2014’s approval of Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zoning as a step towards flexible zoning to attract new developments.

“Vienna’s interest in rethinking its downtown comes as suburban communities throughout Northern Virginia react to residents and developers seeking to transform existing retail outlets into more modern lifestyle community centers featuring restaurants and entertainment,” Dillow said.

The approval of MAC zoning regulations are part of an effort by the Town of Vienna to combat rampant vacancies throughout the town. The new regulations allow buildings up to four stories tall and greater density than usual to be considered for Maple Avenue, a primary thoroughfare in Vienna.

But the MAC zoning has also come under fire, from the public and members of the Town Council, for what is seen as too quickly and too radically altering the character of downtown Vienna. Controversy over MAC zoning led to a moratorium on new proposed developments until a review process for the ordinance can be completed. That review is currently ongoing.

But Dillow said in his article that local residents are increasingly understanding the necessity of added density.

“Increasingly, people understand that to achieve their community goals and create a vibrant place to live, the community needs different types of development — different types of density,” Dillow said. “As Northern Virginia continues its rapid commercial transformation, realtors should be looking beyond the current well-publicized developments in Tysons, Reston or Arlington County, to expanded opportunities in the commercial redevelopment occurring in older, more established communities such as Vienna.”

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Weekend Notes

Winter Storm Approaching — Some 2-5 inches of snow are expected to fall on the Tysons area Wednesday. Much of the region is now under a Winter Storm Warning. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

FRIT Opening Tysons Office — Maryland-based Federal Realty Investment Trust, which owns the Pike 7 shopping center, is planning to open an office in Tysons to better manage its Northern Virginia properties. [Washington Business Journal]

Sheriff’s Office Alerts ICE — “The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office notifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities when a possibly undocumented immigrant in its custody is scheduled to be released, a written notice given to inmates says.” [Fairfax Times]

Programming Note — For those of you used to seeing Morning Notes on this site, or on our sister sites of ARLnow and Reston Now, we’re changing things up a bit here. Instead of a daily post, we will now be doing a once-weekly roundup of Tysons, McLean, Vienna and Falls Church-related items in the news since last Friday.

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Morning Notes

Police Looking for Missing Local Man — Fairfax County Police are asking for the public’s help finding a missing, endangered 21-year-old man who was last seen January 31 on the 3100 block of Monticello Drive in Falls Church. [Twitter]

Part of Development Project Offered for Sale — “A piece of the planned 2.5-million-square-foot Arbor Row mixed-use development in Tysons is being offered for sale as its owners seek to capitalize on the momentum growing through other recently completed or planned projects in the area.” [Washington Business Journal, Bisnow]

West Falls Church Development Modified — The Falls Church City Council is set to vote on a series of five modifications to a plan for the private development of a 10.3 acre city-owned property near the West Falls Church Metro station. Among the changes are “an increase in residential density allowing an additional 50,000 square feet in senior housing and an additional 100,000 square feet in residential density of either condominiums or studio and one bedroom apartments.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Pair Arrested for Mall Theft, Assault on Officer — Two women from Laurel, Maryland were arrested last week and charged with stealing items from the Superdry store at Tysons Corner Center. One of the women is charged with assault on law enforcement after allegedly trying to fight the arresting officers. [FCPD]

Gannett Rejects Takeover Offer — Tysons-based newspaper chain Gannett has rejected an unsolicited takeover proposal, made by a hedge fund-owned company best known for slashing costs and jobs. [USA TodayBusinessWire]

Free Soup at Barnes and Noble — The Tysons Corner Center Barnes and Noble store is offering free soup with the purchase of a sandwich this month. [Instagram]

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Morning Notes

Another Tysons Firm Moving to Boro — “Alion Science and Technology Corp. is leaving one Tysons tower for another. The engineering firm, headquartered at Lerner Enterprises’ 1750 Tysons Blvd., has agreed to lease 16,000 square feet at Boro Tower… Alion will join KPMG LLP (roughly 168,000 square feet), Tegna Inc. (46,000 square feet), Hogan Lovells (44,500 square feet), and Womble Bond Dickinson (24,239 square feet).” [Washington Business Journal]

Weather Delays Silver Line Repairs — “Promised sealant for problem concrete panels at Silver Line stations due to open next year is on hold. The sealant is intended to prevent the panels, which were revealed last year to have an incorrect mix that could create problems, from deteriorating over coming decades.” [WTOP]

Tysons Development Quiz — “How much do you know about construction, leasing and development activity in Tysons? Take this quiz to test your knowledge.” [Bisnow]

Hunter Mill District Races — Two candidates are running for the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County School Board, which is being vacated by incumbent Pat Hynes. Meanwhile, long-time Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins announced yesterday that she will retire after her term ends. [Reston Now, Reston Now]

Reminder: Drone Meeting Tonight — A meeting to discuss a comprehensive plan for Fairfax County’s use of drones, particularly for public safety, will take place tonight at the McLean District Governmental Center. [Tysons Reporter]

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Morning Notes

Fatal Pedestrian Crash on Route 50 — “Officers responded to the report of a hit-and-run crash involving a pedestrian on Arlington Boulevard near Summerfield Road, at approximately six [Friday] night. The pedestrian was crossing Arlington Boulevard, not in a crosswalk, and was hit by a dark colored mid to full-size pickup truck with an open bed. The truck did not stop and drove away from the scene. The pedestrian, 93-year-old Pericles Apostolou, from Falls Church, was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.” [FCPD]

Road Closed Due to Downed Trees — Amid high winds and power outages, Spring Hill Road in McLean was closed for an extended period of time Sunday due to downed trees and wires. [Twitter]

Tegna Auctioning Office Fixtures — Broadcast conglomerate Tegna is moving from its current Tysons home to the Boro development. As part of the move, it’s auctioning off furniture, TVs and other items of value from around the office. Bids close Thursday. [Washington Business Journal, Rasmus Auctions]

Local Hackers Gather in McLean — “All day Monday, the NoVa Hackers held their SchmooCon Epilogue in McLean… Over 150 members attended topical lectures, competed in MetaCTF challenges, and participated in discussions about cyber and information security between insider groups.” [WDVM]

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Morning Notes

Big Names Among Potential Galleria Tenants — “Tysons Galleria… is in advanced talks with Tiffany & Co., Apple Inc. and gourmet grocer Balducci’s, in addition to high-end movie theater chain iPic, to open in portions of the space, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions.” [Washington Business Journal]

Possible Money Motivation in McLean Double Murder — “The newly unsealed search warrant reveals why Megan Hargan might have carried out the crime: Megan’s mother discovered someone had attempted to wire ‘large amounts’ of money from her bank account on the day before her slaying. Pamela Hargan notified her bank the transfer was fraudulent. On the day of the killings, a second transfer was initiated to send money to a title company that was handling the purchase of a home by Megan in West Virginia.” [Washington Post]

Huge Tysons Development Still Looking for Office Anchor — “The developer behind Scotts Run had courted Amazon and Apple in hopes of landing an anchor for its planned 8M SF Tysons development, but neither of those panned out. Cityline Partners now continues to search for a tenant to kick off construction on the project’s office component. Cityline is one of several developers with major Tysons office projects waiting in the wings, hoping to sign pre-leases before breaking ground.” [Bisnow]

FCPS Offering Sub Gigs for Furloughed Feds — “Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school district in Virginia, is offering substitute teaching positions to federal employees furloughed during the government shutdown. The hiring event will take place Friday, Jan. 11, from 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church.” [Patch]

Senators Press Administration on Tax Refunds — “Virginia Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking how Virginia taxpayers will be affected by the government shutdown, which has left the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) short-staffed and potentially unprepared for the beginning of the 2019 tax-filing season.” [Fairfax Times]

McLean Foundation Sets Grant Deadline — “The McLean Community Foundation has set a deadline of Feb. 1 for non-profit organizations seeking to apply for its next round of grant funding. The foundation recently awarded nearly $67,000 in grants, including funding to McLean Little League and the Old Firehouse Teen Center, among others.” [InsideNova]

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