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]
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]
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]
Developer Buys NADA HQ — “The Meridian Group has acquired the NADA headquarters building and an adjacent development site, adding to its growing Boro District near the Greensboro Metro station in Tysons.” [Washington Business Journal]
Police Expanding Dressing Room Filming Case — Fairfax County Police have added Fair Lakes Promenade and Springfield Town Center to the list of shopping centers where they think 39-year-old Mumtaz Rauf secretly filmed women in the dressing room of stores like Forever 21, Gap, H&M, and Old Navy. Rauf was already suspected of filming at Fair Oaks Mall and Tysons Corner Center. [FCPD]
Park Fees May Increase — “Fees for using the Fairfax County Park Authority’s RECenters, gardens, historic sites, rental facilities and trails would increase under a slate of fee changes proposed by agency officials. The fee package would bring in an estimated $656,000 more revenue, officials said.” [InsideNova]
Tysons Startup Moving to California — “Tysons personal data startup Kork… recently got a $5 million term sheet from a New York-based private equity firm for its Series A round that values the company at $15 million… But the growth has also led to another big moment — Kork plans to move to California in the coming months, according to CEO and co-founder Robert Wensley. ‘We tried really hard to raise money here in D.C. but it’s impossible unless you are cybersecurity of some sort,’ Wensley said.” [Washington Business Journal]
Tysons Startup Raises $10 Million — “McLean-based Verato Inc., which provides cloud technology to consolidate medical records, has raised $10 million in Series C financing… Verato has already outgrown its 6,000-square-foot headquarters, so it plans to move in July to another Tysons space totaling 12,000 to 14,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]
Building Near Spring Hill Metro Purchased — “Transwestern today announces it brokered the sale of Tysons Pond II, a 67,151-square-foot, free-standing office building located at 1604 Spring Hill Road in Tysons… A private investor purchased the 70 percent leased asset for $10 million.” [Citybizlist]
Nantucket Bay Scallops Season in Tysons — “Nantucket Bay scallops are in season and Eddie V’s of Tysons Corner has a special scallop dishes that are available for a limited time.” [WUSA 9]
Jerry Gordon Reflects on Retirement — “Jerry Gordon has two weeks left on his job as the president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Authority, and his office is so empty it echoes… After 31 years on the job, Gordon is transitioning out of a role that led Fairfax to become a superstar in economic development.” [Washington Business Journal]
More Silver Line Phase 2 Problems — “Hundreds of concrete rail ties installed at track crossovers along the second phase of the Silver Line are flawed, officials say, a problem that could further delay the multibillion-dollar rail project that is already 13 months behind schedule.” [Washington Post]
A month after announcing that KPMG was leasing up to seven floors, the Boro Tower is touting another newly-signed tenant.
Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson will be moving into the tower’s 15th floor in mid-2019, developers The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group announced Tuesday morning.
The under-construction, 20-story office tower, part of the massive Boro development next to the Greensboro Metro station in Tysons, is now 68 percent leased. Other announced tenants include the soon-to-be-relocated headquarters of Tysons-based TV station group TEGNA and the law firm Hogan Lovells.
More from a press release:
The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group announced today that Womble Bond Dickinson is moving its Tysons office to Boro Tower, a new trophy office tower near completion at The Boro
The law firm will lease 24,239 square feet – the Tower’s entire 15th floor — beginning in mid-2019. The building is now 68 percent preleased ahead of construction completion, with about 135,000 square feet of office space remaining.
“We are excited and proud to welcome this outstanding law firm to Boro Tower,” said David Cheek, President of The Meridian Group, which is developing The Boro.
Today’s announcement continues the momentum for the mixed-use development. “Womble Bond Dickinson joins a premier lineup of firms, companies and organizations that have chosen The Boro for their new location,” said Gary Block, Chief Investment Officer of The Meridian Group.
Womble Bond Dickinson will relocate its Tysons office at 8065 Leesburg Pike about a mile away. Approximately 40 of the firm’s attorneys and staff will work at Boro Tower.
“We’re excited to be moving into Boro Tower, a premiere office building located in The Boro, which we anticipate will be a vibrant complex and a new hub to the Tysons business community. Our new space will provide an ideal location (including easy Metro access) and office environment to serve our existing clients and attract new ones,” said Gary Nunes, the firm’s Tysons Office Managing Partner. “Our firm is experiencing an exciting period of evolution and growth, and our new space will help fuel that growth, including helping us recruit and retain top talent. Womble Bond Dickinson has called Northern Virginia home for nearly 20 years, and this move ensures that we will remain an active member of the community for many more years to come.”
Meridian and Rockefeller Group are co-developing the Gensler-designed, 437,000-square-foot trophy office tower.
From its vantage on “The Hill” – the highest ground elevation in Fairfax County -Boro Tower offers panoramic views from the Blue Ridge Mountains to downtown Washington, D.C. The 20-story building, designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, features a shimmering glass curtain wall, accented by a modern, white-glazed terra cotta.
The Tower offers 9- to 10-foot finished ceilings and ideally sized, efficient floorplates that minimize columns and maximize daylight and views. The building boasts ample amenities, including a rooftop terrace, fitness center, locker rooms and bicycle storage that perfectly complement the 10,000 SF of lobby level retail space.
CBRE’s Rob Faktorow and Terry Reiley represented The Meridian Group and the Rockefeller Group in the leasing deal. Womble Bond Dickinson was represented by Mike Shuler and Nate Krill at Avison Young.
“Boro Tower continues to generate significant interest from a wide range of prospective tenants,” said Tom Boylan, Vice President of The Meridian Group. “It offers the best of all worlds: a trophy office building in an ideal location, surrounded by numerous dining, shopping and entertainment options.”
Womble Bond Dickinson is the fourth major tenant to select Boro Tower for its offices.
The three others:
- Big Four accounting firm KPMG, which announced last month that it will lease up to seven floors of the Tower.
- Global law firm Hogan Lovells, which will occupy the Tower’s entire 17th floor and the majority of its 16th floor.
- Media company TEGNA, which is moving its headquarters to the top two floors.
Boro Tower is located in the heart of The Boro, Meridian Group’s amenity-rich development. Located within steps of the Greensboro Metro station, The Boro will be the premier Metro-oriented, mixed-use destination in Tysons.
The 15-acre development will consist of a dynamic mix of office, rental and for-sale residential, retail, entertainment and open park space – a walkable urban environment that has long been sought in Tysons.
The Boro’s dramatic 1.7 million-square-foot first phase, on schedule for completion in 2019, will deliver nearly 700 residential units, 260,000 square feet of destination retail and Boro Tower.
“The Boro is one of the premier developments in the Washington Metro area,” said Hilary Allard Goldfarb, Senior Vice President at Rockefeller Group. “Tenants are drawn to Boro Tower for its quality, location and amenities, combined with the sense of place that The Boro district uniquely offers.”
Ideally located near Route 7, Route 123 and Greensboro Drive, The Boro is designed to bring people outside — with pedestrian-friendly roadways, attractive open spaces and a variety of restaurants offering outdoor seating.
The Boro has already attracted such best-in-class companies as Whole Foods Market, which is planning a 69,000-square-foot flagship location; and Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatres, which will open a luxurious new cinema with 15 state-of-the-art screens and upscale dining options.
“The Boro will be a vibrant community to live, work, dine and relax,” Boylan said. “It will be a place that sparkles with life both day and night. We have a lot to look forward to here.”
Pedestrian Deaths Now Double Last Year — “On Oct. 25 and 26, there were two pedestrian fatalities in Fairfax County. So far in 2018, there have been 100 pedestrian crashes and 10 fatalities. In 2017, there were 189 pedestrian crashes with five fatalities.” [Fairfax County]
A Look Inside the New Capital One HQ — “The 940,500-square-foot structure… is jam-packed with other amenities — commissioned artwork, a full-size basketball court, a FedEx store, a Power Up technology bar, outdoor terrace and market cafe inspired by the likes of Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. It’s got pretty much everything but a place for employees to bed down for the night, but no worries, a corporate hotel’s part of the project’s next phases, along with a performing arts center, an urban-format Wegmans and a third office building set to break ground early next year.” [Washington Business Journal, Bisnow]
Medicine Cabinet Clean-out Results — The Fairfax County Police Department’s 2018 Medicine Cabinet Clean-out drive collected more than 2,200 pounds of expired or unwanted medications, including 351 pounds collected at the McLean District Station alone. [FCPD]
Changes to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, approved by the Board of Supervisors this past Tuesday, should make it easier to find new uses for the county’s vacant storefronts.
The new plan allows for a broader definition of retail and related commercial uses in both repurposing existing buildings and for unbuilt, planned retail spaces. In other words, businesses that are not strictly stores or restaurants will find it easier to move into vacant retail spaces.
The changes add new language throughout the land use portion of the Comprehensive Plan that allows greater flexibility in achieving certain objectives, particularly in cases where the conversion does not significantly impact the building form and footprint.
The plan points to several national trends for options to replace conventional retail:
- Experiential/Entertainment Uses — Retail focused around selling an experience. The Launch Trampoline Park in Herndon, which was converted from a vacant Sears, is cited as a local example.
- Downsizing — Retail formerly occupying a larger space reducing their scale and converting the remaining space to a different use. The former two-story Sears in Fair Oaks Mall was cited as a local example, which was reduced to one floor while the upper floor was converted into an eating area. The Sears was permanently closed in August.
- Lifestyle Retail — Specialty retail with a focus on walkable communities. The Mosaic District is cited as a local example.
- Curated Retail — Stores targeting a niche market. These are often online enterprises starting to establish physical locations like Warby Parker, a glasses retailer with a store in Tysons Corner Center mall.
- Arts and Cultural Uses — Theaters, concert halls and cinemas that can anchor other nearby retail establishments, like the Showplace Icon scheduled to open in The Boro.
- Creative Spaces — These are locations like business incubators and maker places, where individuals can collaborate on projects using shared tools.
- Local Warehousing and Distribution Centers — Retail spaces converted into storage for the distribution of products, a trend increasingly necessary with the rise of online sales.
Outside of conversion to other retail spaces, the changes could allow vacant retail to more easily be converted into uses like medical care facilities, community colleges, or craft breweries.
There are 35.7 million square feet of retail and commercial space in Fairfax, with 75 percent located in hubs with planned future growth like Tysons and Merrifield. Tysons, Merrifield and McLean, fortunately, have fairly low vacancy rates — all below the metro area’s 4 percent rate.
One of the primary victims of the languishing retail market is neighborhood shopping centers, often anchored by a grocery store. In Fairfax, one in five has empty storefronts.
In March, similar changes were approved for transitioning suburban offices into other uses.
Given the continued rise of Amazon and e-commerce, will Tysons Corner Center still be a retail-oriented shopping mall 5 years from now?
The consensus from the six-person panel: yes, almost certainly.
One panelist said he recently went to Tysons Corner Center at night to go to a movie and it took 20 minutes to find a parking space; it’s hard to see how that kind of demand goes away in such short order, he said.
E-commerce might actually come to malls, said another panelist. Bailey Edelson of JBG Smith said online retailers have increasingly been opening bricks-and-mortar locations. Those currently at Tysons Corner Center include Amazon, Untuckit and Warby Parker.
While suburban shopping malls have been struggling elsewhere, the malls in Tysons are benefiting from being in an increasingly dense, urban environment, according to Andrew McIntyre of Combined Properties.
“Tysons is in a good position long term since the urban environment came to it,” McIntyre said.
The upscale Tysons Galleria, meanwhile, has been facing some challenges, including the sudden closure of the huge Isabella Eatery on the fourth floor. Change may be on the horizon, said one panelist. Expect Tysons Galleria to be “repositioned” in the market and for redevelopment to happen around it as a way to revitalize the mall, he said.
Other predictions and takeaways from the panel:
- Offices and office buildings are not going away, not everybody is going to work from home.
- Amazon HQ2 and a large Apple office would, unsurprisingly, be very, very good for the local economy — and it’s on the mind of just about everyone in commercial real estate.
- The trajectory of residential development in uncertain, given increasing interest rates and years of building. Some think the D.C. area is overbuilt, some think there is a housing shortage.
- A lot of additional investment is needed to get Tysons infrastructure to where it needs to be to be a great city.
- Fairfax County is “fighting a constant battle” in competing with other local D.C. area jurisdictions for employers. But there should also be more cooperation among governments to make the D.C. area as a whole better and more competitive.
- Expect more coworking spaces to pop-up. Coworking spaces not only open the commercial real estate market to smaller companies and startups, but it’s also seen as an amenity by many larger tenants, including government contractors, who want the flexibility to rapidly add new employees beyond their existing office footprint.
HQ2 in Fairfax County? — Amid anticipation for Amazon’s announcement as to where it will establish its second headquarters, officials in Fairfax County are not betting the farm on it coming to the county. But even if it goes elsewhere, the local sites identified as a possible HQ2 landing spot stand to benefit from the Amazon attention. [Washington Business Journal]
Tysons People, Projects Awarded — Some Tysons people and projects were award recipients at the annual CREW D.C. awards ceremony last week. Among those honored by the organization, which brings together women in the local commercial real estate industry, were Capital One Mid-Atlantic Market Manager Sadhvi Subramanian and Meridian Group’s massive The Boro project in Tysons. [Bisnow]
Next Week: Open House at Fairfax Fire Stations — “In celebration of Fire Prevention Week, all Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Stations will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 13 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Stop by your local station that day to meet your firefighters, see the fire trucks, join in the activities and learn about fire safety.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Capital One Building Among Largest Projects in U.S. — “Capital One Financial’s new Headquarters II addition to its Tysons Corner campus, a 31-story, 971,000-square-foot, 470-foot tall tower at 1600 Capital One Blvd. — the tallest building in the Washington region — ranks as the 4th-largest office building project in the U.S. in 2018.” [WTOP]
Vienna Taco Shop Holding Competition for Charity — “On Thursday, Oct. 4, Taco Bamba will hold its first annual BAMBATHON, a charity drive to fight childhood hunger. Taco Bamba’s four locations will compete to sell the most tacos that day.” [Patch]
Fairfax Co. Wants VDOT to Mow More Often — “Tall grass along the road can make it tough to see whether it is safe to turn and create an eyesore for the community, so Fairfax County is asking the Virginia Department of Transportation to mow more often.” [WTOP]
Bisnow Event in Tysons This Week — Online business publication Bisnow is hosting an event — “Fairfax County Forecast: What Does the Future Hold for the Region’s Booming Market?” — Thursday morning at 1550 Westbranch Drive in Tysons. Tickets are $99. [Bisnow]