Tysons, VA

After enduring months of construction, Vienna residents and town officials officially welcomed the Cedar Park Shopping Center back to the neighborhood with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a Shop and Stroll event on Saturday (Nov. 14).

Located at the corner of Park Street and Cedar Lane, the 75,472 square-foot shopping center has been transformed by an extensive renovation that introduced new façades for the buildings and a reconfigured parking lot.

“Cedar Park was thoughtfully redesigned with the community in mind and now better reflects the Town of Vienna, which is known for its rich history and small-town culture,” First Washington Reality senior vice president and national director of leasing Wright Sigmund said.

First Washington Realty has owned the Cedar Park Shopping Center for the past 13 years, and much of that time had been spent in conversations about how to update the property, according to CEO Alex Nyhan.

Work on a revitalization began in earnest about five years ago with the goal of creating a more contemporary, welcoming environment for both visitors and tenants. JL Architects designed the new look, which includes new signage and outdoor benches.

However, the most substantial undertaking of the multimillion-dollar renovation project was the parking lot redesign.

In addition to sporting a repaved surface and additional crosswalks, the lot has been reoriented to run parallel to the storefronts, instead of perpendicular, making it safer, more accessible, and easier to navigate.

Nyhan admits that revamping the parking lot was a challenge, but the effort was worthwhile to attract new tenants while retaining longtime Cedar Park occupants like Dollar Tree, McDonalds, and Hunan Delight.

“We’ve had some wonderful merchants with us here at this center for a long time,” Nyhan said. “…In the end, our ability to create this community gathering place has everything to do with the merchants and their ability to invest in their people and their stores and deliver wonderful services to this community.”

Still anchored by CVS Pharmacy, Cedar Park Shopping Center added three new tenants while it was undergoing construction, which started on Jan. 25 and finished on Oct. 15:

  • El Sol Restaurant & Tequileria, which specializes in traditional Mexican street food and has a mezcal bar
  • Simply Social Coffee, a café with locally roasted, gourmet coffee and comfort foods, including salads, sandwiches, and breakfast food
  • Born 2 Dance, a dance studio whose headquarters were previously located on Maple Avenue

Cedar Park’s relaunch comes at a critical time for the center’s businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the challenges of operating during a construction project that closed off foot traffic. Read More

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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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(Updated at 12:05 on 10/30/2020) Town of Vienna residents and visitors are invited to enjoy the crisp fall weather and live entertainment while supporting local retail during the town’s first-ever Vienna Shop & Stroll.

It is the biggest and longest initiative organized by the Town of Vienna Economic Development Office, which will soon celebrate its one-year anniversary after being formed in November 2019. The town’s business liaison committee and the Vienna Business Association are partners on the event series.

Each Saturday through Dec. 12, designated shopping centers will host safe and socially distant seasonal activities and in-store promotions. Locals and visitors are encouraged to meet business owners and learn more about the history of the shopping centers.

“It grew out of the fact that we need to come up with creative ideas throughout this time,” said Natalie Monkou, the economic development manager for the Town of Vienna. “The more creativity, the better.”

The Vienna Shop & Stroll kicked off last Saturday (Oct. 24) at the Vienna Shopping Center (180 Maple Avenue), where seven businesses participated. It featured two pop-up opera concerts by emerging artists at the Kennedy Center’s Washington National Opera. The singers performed two micro-concerts from the Concert Truck, a Maryland-based pop-up truck that aims to make classical music more accessible.

“I’m actually pretty pleased with what happened on Saturday,” Monkou said. “It was set at one of the busiest shopping centers in town, so it was a great place to kick off what we could do for other locations.”

The pop-up concert truck was “a great way to remind people that Vienna is accessible to all,” Monkou said.

Future special programming will remain in the realm of music and art to avoid direct competition with the shopping centers. Concerts are also family-friendly and a great way to manage social-distancing guidelines, Monkou says.

“If we are going to provide something, we want it to be something that we can count on families to enjoy with little ones,” she said.

Because the Economic Development Department is so new, “everything we’re doing is a pilot,” Monkou said. “Depending on the participation from tenants and property managers, we’ll see if the [Shop & Stroll] is an annual thing.”

She emphasized engaging property owners because they have a role to play in the success of the town.

“When their businesses don’t do well, we all suffer,” she said. “We all benefit when we come together to do something that’s off the beaten path.”

Here are the dates and locations for upcoming Shop & Stroll Saturdays:

Correction: This article previously described the Vienna Business Association as the organizer of Shop & Stroll. The VBA is a partner with Vienna’s economic development office as the main organizer.

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A consultant hired by Fairfax County has rounded up some thoughts from regional government, business and non-profit leaders on what was hit most by the pandemic and where the most help is needed.

The feedback is one of the first steps on HR&A’s task of building an Economic Recovery Framework, a recovery strategy commissioned by Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

“This strategy will guide the County through stabilization and outline recommendations for fostering an equitable, inclusive recovery,” HR&A said in a report on the preliminary findings of their study.

In the initial findings, county and civic leaders highlighted the disproportionate impact of the virus on Latino and immigrant populations in Fairfax. The pandemic has also affected access to housing, with lost jobs leaving families without the ability to pay rent.

“Continue to invest in programs that support economic mobility and enrich residents’ lives (job training, continuing education, disability support resources) despite budget shortfalls,” said one unnamed County leader sourced in the findings.

Meanwhile, non-profit and health service providers said their capacity has been under-strain and expect further fundraising challenges in the upcoming year. Suggested solutions mainly involved streamlining services and trying to find efficiencies.

Major employers in the region, meanwhile, said decisions about real estate investments are being deferred until more certainty can be stablished, balanced only by hopes for a more efficient permitting process and a doubling down on tourism and leisure investments.

Smaller employers said they are still struggling with a lack of consumer confidence in returning to businesses and negative impacts have rippled along the supply chain. Many small businesses in the area are still focused on survival. Proposed solutions included more clear safety guidelines, streamlined online permitting, and rent deferment for small businesses.

More analysis of potential recovery scenarios is currently in the works, with a final report being drafted after that.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Downtown McLean could see new development over the next 10 years, after Fairfax County adopted a new program last Tuesday making it cheaper and faster for developers to build in revitalization districts.

Developers whose plans meet certain criteria could benefit from real-estate tax breaks, a 10% reduction in site plan fees and a fast-tracked process for zoning applications if they build in McLean, or one of the other five revitalization district in the county.

The Board of Supervisors adopted the Economic Incentive Program on Sept. 15 to give the private sector incentives to revitalize and redevelop properties in a half-dozen commercial revitalization districts, including McLean.

The program was established by an ordinance that amends the county code.

Other qualifying districts include:

To qualify for the lower costs and faster application processes, developments must be commercial, industrial or multi-family residential. Proposals need to be new and should consolidate at least two neighboring parcels of land totaling at least two acres.

Proposals need to align with the county’s Comprehensive Plan for redevelopment, and follow all laws and policies regarding affordable housing.

Developers will only receive tax breaks for their proposals if they act within the 10-year timeframe specific to their revitalization area. McLean’s window for the tax cut starts on July 1, 2024 and lasts through June 30, 2034.

The county plans to make the application process and forms available later this fall. Those who are interested can connect with county staff and discuss their eligibility by emailing Community Revitalization Section Director Elizabeth Hagg at [email protected]

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To attract talent to the Northern Virginia area, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is hosting a workshop for regional companies.

The online Talent Attraction Workshop: Marketing Northern Virginia will take place Tuesday (Sept. 15) from 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. and help employers understand what draws people to the area and how to recruit talented individuals, according to a press release.

There are roughly 80,000 currently untilled positions in the region, the website said.

“The workshop will also reveal top findings from talent perception research commissioned by the FCEDA, as well as findings from a national survey of 1,600+ people recently conducted by Development Counsellors International (DCI) — the leader in marketing places,” the press release said.

For those who are interested, the event will also include an introduction to an online hub for talent to learn about career opportunities and relocation information.

“The hub includes a job board with 90,000+ active listings in Northern Virginia, upskilling and training resources, a cost of living calculator, a community finder quiz and more.”

Potential attendees can register for the Zoom session online.

Photo by Bruce Mars/Unsplash

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Two Tysons companies are among the 15 tech employers listed for an upcoming virtual job hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

The fair is targeted to mid-career tech professionals, especially ones with security clearances, and the companies represented will have a total of 3,000 open jobs in the Northern Virginia region, according to FCEDA.

“While the fair is primarily for those in tech fields including data science, software engineering, IT, cybersecurity, defense and aerospace, some companies are featuring non-tech positions such as marketing, sales, finance, human resources and legal,” according to FCEDA.

Companies signed up for the fair include:

Previously, FCEDA hosted a virtual career fair for recent college graduates.

“Every job represents a household, so when we connect people — whether newly minted graduates or those midway through a career — to thousands of open jobs, we are really improving lives, saving households and communities,” Victor Hoskins, FCEDA’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

People will be able to browse companies in a virtual lobby before entering “virtual booths” to view open positions and video conference with recruiters.

The job fair will be hosted on Tuesday, July 14, from 1-4 p.m. People can register online.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

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Park Party Is Over — “A video supplied by a local resident showed throngs of bathing-suit-clad youths cavorting and whooping it up and swigging alcohol at the park’s scenic waterfall… Fairfax County Park Authority officials are beefing up police presence at [Scotts Run Nature Preserve], and authorities soon will be prohibiting parking along Georgetown Pike and some nearby neighborhood streets.” [Inside NoVa]

Empty Offices — “Many companies in the county are likely to shrink their footprints to account for increased remote work, according to surveys the FCEDA has tracked, while others that may have been considering a move to Fairfax have put those searches on hold, [Victor] Hoskins said. The county’s office vacancy rate stood at 13.9% at the end of 2019, according to the county’s 2021 budget plan.” [Washington Business Journal]

Vienna Hit With Power Outage — Thunderstorms last night swept across Northern Virginia. Dominion Energy has now resolved a power outage that was affecting over 1,700 customers around 8 p.m. in the Vienna area. It was caused by a circuit outage, according to Dominion. [Dominion Energy]

ICYMI: Protest Held in McLean — “Hundreds of people chanted and marched in a Black Lives Matter protest led by six McLean High School students on Wednesday.” [Tysons Reporter]

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Five companies headquartered in Tysons and one in the Falls Church area have made this year’s Fortune 500 list.

At #41, Freddie Mac in Tysons nabbed the highest spot of the 11 Fairfax County companies on the list, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA).

The rankings are based on the companies’ 2019 revenue, according to the press release.

The local companies on the list cover a wide variety of industries. “The wide diversity of the industry sectors represented here also is striking, everything from our traditional strengths in IT, aerospace and defense to financial services, hospitality and construction, and that also speaks well for the stability and resiliency of our business base,” Victor Hoskins, FCEDA’s president and CEO, said in the press release.

The Tysons companies on the list include:

  • #41 — Freddie Mac
  • #96 — Northrop Grumman in the Falls Church area
  • #97 — Capital One Financial
  • #155 — DXC Technology
  • #338 — Hilton Worldwide Holdings
  • #450 — Booz Allen Hamilton

“Only a handful of communities can say they are home to 11 Fortune 500 companies. It sends a really strong message from the corporate world that this is a strong, stable, resilient location for headquarters operations,” Hoskins said.

Last year, seven of the 10 Fairfax County companies on the Fortune 500 list were based in the Tysons area.

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New Unemployment Numbers for Fairfax County — “With 629,185 county residents in the civilian workforce and 16,992 looking for jobs, the county’s unemployment rate of 2.6 percent was up from 2.1 percent in February, according to figures reported April 29 by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.” [Inside NoVa]

Falls Church Senior Home Needs Masks — “The Kensington Falls Church is asking community members to sew surgical gowns for use by its staff.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Electric Bills Going Down — “Most Dominion Energy residential customers should see their bills drop in May, according to a Thursday news release from the company. The reduction will be around $6 per month for the ‘average residential customer,’ the release said.” [The Virginian-Pilot]

Create a Love Letter to Tysons — “Tysons Reporter is looking for video submissions of verbal ‘love letters’ to neighbors around the Tysons area.” [Tysons Reporter]

Small Business Loan Success — The Fairfax County Economic Authority interviewed the owner of Tysons-based Falcon Labs on what it was like getting a PPP loan. [FCEDA]

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