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The Mobil gas station on Route 123 by Tysons Corner Center is getting a touch-up for the 21st century.

With a special exception application submitted to the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning on Jan. 10, Petroleum Marketing Group has proposed eliminating the station’s car wash and repair bays and replacing them with a convenience store.

While the store won’t be as extensive as a Wawa or Sheetz, it will offer coffee, doughnuts, and a variety of prepared food for customers looking to grab a snack while filling up their gas tank, development director Armand Keurian told Tysons Reporter.

“We just want a use that’s more conducive in today’s environment with a gas station, and as you can see, convenience stores and gas stations go together today,” Keurian said.

The conversion is part of a larger effort to upgrade the property at 1955 Chain Bridge Road that has been underway since PMG took control of the lease last year. So far, the company has rebranded the former Gulf gas station and installed a new canopy and fuel pumps.

Adjacent to a Sunoco, the Mobil station has eight fuel pumps and a 2,585 square-foot service building originally built in 1969. There are three vehicle service bays, a small snack shop, and a car wash that is no longer operational.

The convenience store will expand the snack shop to the entire one-story building, taking over the space currently occupied by the car wash and vehicle bays, which Keurian says “are really not being used to their full extent.”

According to PMG’s statement of justification to the county, the convenience store will employ eight workers total. It will have merchandise and display areas, a wall of refrigerated drinks, a restroom, and an employee workroom.

Space on the site’s southeast corner will be reserved for a possible future electric vehicle charging station.

PMG estimates that the redevelopment will increase travel to the site from 700 to 800 trips per day. While the majority of visitors are expected to be drivers, the company says it will make some safety improvements, including realigning and widening the existing sidewalk on Route 123 to 6 feet.

A side road parallel to Route 123 that connects the Mobil and Sunoco gas stations will also be closed off to “reduce vehicle conflicts,” the application says.

“The county’s asking for some pedestrian upgrades for their wants and needs,” Keurian said. “…They’re concerned about the walkability and safety. We’re all about safety too, so we’re amenable to their desires.”

In the statement of justification, PMG acknowledges that the gas station and convenience store will be an interim use until the site is fully redeveloped in accordance with the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, which currently designates it as retail mixed-use.

“This proposal is a unique opportunity to allow a long-standing business to adapt to changing market conditions in order to continue serving the surrounding community,” land-use attorney David Gill, who is representing PMG, wrote in the statement. “The proposal will provide a convenience store use that will serve the needs of motorists, while improving the traffic operations, safety, and ADA compliant pedestrian experience along this portion of Chain Bridge Road.”

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Morning Notes

Tysons Area Hit With Spree of Gas Station Burglaries — One or more individuals forced entry and took merchandise from three different gas stations in the Tysons area between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. last Thursday (Nov. 18), according to the Fairfax County Police Department’s latest weekly recap. A fourth station — a Shell at 2084 Chain Bridge Road — experienced a break-in, but nothing was taken. [FCPD]

Vienna Town Council Approves Election Changes — “It was a pill they didn’t want to swallow, but Vienna Town Council members approved a resolution Nov. 15 asking the General Assembly next year to alter the town’s election schedule so all Council members’ seats will be up for two-year terms starting in November 2023.” [Sun Gazette]

Man Arrested in Falls Church Sexual Assault — “City of Falls Church Police said that Alexander McKnight, 31, was arrested in Maryland on Thursday night. McKnight has been charged with rape and malicious wounding, among other charges, police said. He has no fixed address, a news release stated.” [Patch]

Wolf Trap National Park Releases Environmental Assessment on Improvements — “To better meet the needs of current and future visitors, we’ve proposed several changes to the park’s general management plan — the plan that guides park management decisions. You’re invited to submit your feedback from Nov. 18 through Dec. 30.” [National Park Service]

Tysons Library Book Sale Seeks Volunteers — “Volunteers are being sought to assist with the Tysons Library Friends quarterly book and media sale, to be held Dec. 3-5 at Tysons Pimmit Regional Library. Donations of books and media for the sale also are being solicited, with proceeds benefiting the library and related activities.” [Inside NoVA]

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An end to the nation’s gasoline supply anxieties is within sight, but not before fears of a shortage fueled a panic-buying frenzy throughout Virginia, including in Fairfax County.

The Colonial Pipeline Company announced yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) that it has restarted operations and is now in the process of delivering gas to individual markets.

“Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal,” the company said in an update at 5:11 p.m.

A major gas and jet fuel source for the southern United States and much of the East Coast, the Colonial Pipeline shut down on Saturday (May 8) in response to a ransomware attack perpetrated by a criminal organization called DarkSide that’s likely based out of Eastern Europe.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in anticipation of disruptions to the supply chain that supports many Virginia retailers.

“This emergency declaration will help the Commonwealth prepare for any potential supply shortages and ensure Virginia motorists have access to fuel as we respond to this evolving situation,” Northam said.

Within 24 hours, the travel app company GasBuddy calculated that 44% of gas stations in Virginia were out of gas, the highest percentage of any impacted state. That rate has now climbed to 55%, though the Commonwealth has been surpassed by North Carolina, where 71% of stations are reportedly running on empty, as of 9 a.m. today.

Fairfax County was not exempt from the fuel outages or the panic-buying that contributed to depleted gasoline supplies, as social media filled up with reports of stations running out of gas.

Drivers continually passed through an Exxon station at the corner of Maple Avenue and Branch Road in Vienna yesterday afternoon, only to be disappointed by the sight of “out of gas” signs posted on all of its pumps.

The owner told Tysons Reporter that the station had been out of gas since Tuesday, but they hoped more supplies would come within the next day.

The Exxon station at Hunter Woods Plaza in Reston was cut off from traffic by yellow caution tape as of 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday, according to local writer Addison Del Mastro, who added that the Exxon at the Fox Mill Shopping Center in Herndon was also out.

Readers told Reston Now, Tysons Reporter’s affiliate site, that Sunoco stations in the North Point Village Center and on South Lakes Drive near Twin Branches Road had also run out of fuel.

Stations that did have gas had either very long lines or were saving it for emergency vehicle use only.

The Mobil station on Maple Avenue and Park Street in Vienna had been crowded all day, a worker told Tysons Reporter around 5 p.m. yesterday. At that time, drivers pulled up to each pump as soon as the vehicle ahead of them finished filling up, and lines extended into the streets at both entrances to the station.

Meanwhile, local officials and agencies urged folks not to panic, horde gasoline, or to put gas in plastic bags, emphasizing that the shortages were expected to be temporary.

Fairfax County said that it did not anticipate any disruptions to government operations or services as a result of the pipeline shutdown.

“The county maintains its own fuel supply, which is distributed through 53 fueling sites, and receives regular deliveries,” the county said. “County operation plans take into account the possibility of temporary fuel shortages and price increases.”

Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.

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Morning Notes

Virginia Declares State of Emergency Over Gas Supplies — Gov. Ralph Northam gave the state and local governments increased flexibility and funding yesterday (Tuesday) after a ransomware attack disrupted the Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45% of the East Coast’s gasoline supply. 7.5% of the state’s 3,880 gas stations reported running out of fuel, a shortage primarily attributed to panic buying. [WTOP]

Businessman Wins Republican Nominaton for Governor — Glenn Youngkin, a Great Falls resident and former chief executive of the private equity firm The Carlyle Group, will represent the Republican Party in Virginia’s gubernatorial race after prevailing over six other candidates in a ranked-choice voting process. The party chose Virginia Beach Del. Jason Miyares as its nominee for attorney general in a convention on Saturday (May 8). [Patch]

Fairfax County Limits Crowds at Scotts Run — Parking at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean is being limited to 50 vehicles after the park was “overrun” by rowdy visitors last summer. Fairfax County officials attributed the surge in visitors to young people looking for an outlet during the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed many recreational facilities in the area. [Sun Gazette]

ViVa Vienna Seeks VolunteersViVa Vienna is looking for volunteers to help out with the annual Memorial Day weekend festival, which will be slightly different from past years due to the pandemic. Volunteers are needed to clean up trash, monitor rides and games, and support the entertainment stage. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Photo by Joanne Liebig

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It might look like it’s getting torn down, but the Safeway Fuel Station in McLean is really getting a makeover.

The gas station at 1698 Anderson Road has been listed by Patch as one of the cheapest places to get gas during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We are planning a remodel [and] expansion of the fuel center to provide more offerings,” Beth Goldberg, a spokesperson for Safeway’s parent company Albertsons, told Tysons Reporter.

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Fairfax County Police are investigating an overnight burglary at a gas station in McLean.

Police say a man broke into the Chesterbrook Excel station just before 2 a.m. Friday and stole cigarettes. The burglary was discovered when employees found a garage bay window shattered.

More from FCPD:

6268 Old Dominion Drive (Chesterbrook Excel Gas Station), 11/30/18, 1:50a.m. Employees of the gas station arrived at work to find the shop had been broken into through a garage bay window. Video surveillance showed that a male of unknown race wearing jeans, a puffy winter jacket, and a mask, broke into the store and stole cigarettes.

Photo via Google Maps

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Wawa is still coming to Vienna, but not to the former BP station site at Maple Ave and Park Street in Vienna, as reported earlier.

“I apologize for confirming the Maple Ave and Park Street address,” a Wawa spokeswoman said via email. “This was incorrect and is not a location we are considering. We are still actively looking for new locations in Vienna and look forward to sharing confirms plans and locations as they take shape.”

The convenience store and gas station chain has been expanding throughout the Washington, D.C. area with plans to add 30-50 stores in the region.

News of Wawa’s plan to come to Vienna was greeted with jubilation on social media from the chain’s fervent fans.

“As a Philly native, I am thrilled to hear this!” said a reader on the Tysons Reporter Facebook page.

“Our new go-to lunch spot,” wrote another.

Tysons Reporter initially asked Wawa about plans for the site after hearing from a tipster and, subsequently, two local business owners that they heard that the company would be opening a new store there. It is unclear where else in Vienna Wawa may now be looking.

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Update on 11/30/18 — A Wawa spokeswoman says the company is still looking to open a store in Vienna, but not at the site discussed below.

Wawa is working to open a new store at the busy corner of Maple Ave and Park Street in Vienna, TysonsReporter.com has learned.

The store will replace a shuttered gas station at the corner and an adjacent property that houses two well-liked businesses: a tailor shop and the Arthur Christine salon.

The Vienna Town Council approved the redevelopment of the properties into a new gas station and 2,500 square foot convenience store — the identity of the store operator was not revealed — by a 5-2 vote in May. The development includes 11 parking spaces, wider sidewalks and the placement of utility lines underground, the Sun Gazette reported.

In response to an inquiry from Tysons Reporter, Wawa confirmed that it was working to open a new store at the location, though no opening timeframe has been set.

“We are pursuing this site in Vienna,” said Wawa Public Relations Manager Lori Bruce. “While it’s too soon in the land development phase to confirm a timeline for construction, we can say that we are excited to have the opportunity to bring Wawa to this community.”

Wawa has been expanding across the D.C. area after announcing plans last year to add 30-50 stores in the region. The convenience store chain currently has locations in Sterling, Chantilly and the District.

Mr. Foutah, the owner of the tailor shop that is set to be redeveloped, said his lease expires in June 2019 and he has been told that the building will be torn down.

Foutah, who prefers to only go by his last name, said he has been in the location at 109 Park Street NE for 20 years. He added that he is planning to move to a new storefront somewhere in Vienna.

“I’m optimistic about the move,” he said. “It’s a lot of memories, but the way I think about it is that it’s going to give me a good opportunity to clean up the place.”

Rachel Grante, who co-owns the Arthur Christine salon with her husband, said the business moved out of the 113 Park Street NE location on Oct. 1, after seven years there, and is now temporarily operating out of the nearby Michel Rene salon at 165 Maple Ave E. She called the move “bittersweet,” adding that “it will be interesting how the town adjusts” to the new Wawa store.

Dusan Grante said the couple is looking for a new, permanent location and “trying our best to stay here” in Vienna, though they’re also scouting storefronts in Merrifield and Reston.

Photo via Google Maps

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