Tysons, VA

Update at 4 p.m. — Leesburg Pike appears to be clear to traffic again

Earlier: A car crash at the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Pimmit Drive has resulted in two injuries, though police said neither appear to be life-threatening.

The crash occurred around 3 p.m. One person was taken to the hospital. The road appeared partially closed as emergency personnel responded to the scene, though police said it was unlikely to remain blocked for long.

The busy intersection is near the Idylwood Plaza shopping center.

Image via VDOT, map via Google Maps

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Outside of the occasional bomb threat, life in the southern corner of the Leesburg Pike and I-495 intersection is pretty quiet. The Board of Supervisors is hoping the new Mint Cafe can help bring a little life to the area — but not too much, because they’re not permitted to have live entertainment or music.

The new cafe is planned to replace the first floor of the vacant United Bank at 7787 Leesburg Pike, while the office use on the second floor will continue. The new cafe was unanimously approved at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

“Replacing a vacant business will help to rejuvenate this prominent location,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “The planting of 16 new trees will help to spruce up this property.”

The block along Ramada Road currently features an office building and The Westin Tysons Corner.

The cafe is planned to be a primarily late-evening venue, meaning it won’t impact the notoriously atrocious rush hour traffic along that stretch of Leesburg Pike.

Palchik said the cafe will fit in well with other planned uses in the area, including a planned Residence Inn by Marriott planned to fit behind the cafe.

“A new restaurant and retention of an office use on the second floor will fit well with the pending construction of a new hotel behind this property,” Palchik said.

There’s no word yet on how soon Mint Cafe plans to open.

Photo via Google Maps, rendering via Fairfax County

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A lone brick house at the northern entrance to Tysons since the 1940s could soon become a new trio of homes.

The house, visible to anyone traveling south into Tysons on Leesburg Pike, will be demolished with three new single-family houses built on the site. The property sits directly across Jarrett Valley Drive from the McLean Islamic Center and has belonged to the same family over several generations — long predating the surrounding Carrington neighborhood built in 2000.

The permit for rezoning was reviewed at a Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday (Tuesday) due to the new houses’ proximity to the nearby roads. Part of the development plan includes a sound wall separating the homes from the nearby roads to screen some of the traffic noise.

There were no public speakers on the item, except one particularly loud cat who was not listed as a public speaker. The new development was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Photo via Google Maps, aerial photography via Fairfax County

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It might look like another shuttered business, but the former Container Store building in Tysons has come in handy for Fairfax County recently.

The county bought the site (8508 Leesburg Pike) near the Spring Hill Metro station in late 2019 after the Container Store relocated to 8459 Leesburg Pike in 2018.

A few months later, the county’s Department of Economic Initiatives revealed it would use the 19,000-square-foot building for its inaugural pilot “Activate Fairfax: 8508 Uncontained” to support small businesses. While the project faces delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the county has taken advantage of the vacant space for personal protective equipment (PPE), Rebecca Moudry with Fairfax County said.

“It’s actually been a bit of a silver lining having that space because it has been housing PPE equipment for the county and other supplies — serving as a kind of like other storage needs in this time,” Moudry, who is the director of the Department of Economic Initiatives, said.

The county’s Department of Procurement and Material Management started using the space for PPE storage a few months ago, and now is storing not just PPE but also library holdings, Moudry said.

“From what I understand, PPE is being received and deployed daily, and so the library holdings are more static,” Moudry said. “The PPE has been largely moved to the logistics center just to get it in and out in an easier way than at the Container Store.”

While it’s temporarily getting used to help the county combat the coronavirus pandemic, the pop-up plans for the building are still in the works, Moudry said.

After applications for pop-up ideas closed in April, a steering committee reviewed the proposals and eventually narrowed it down to one applicant, Moudry said. Currently, the county is negotiating with that applicant and working on a feasibility study.

While it’s one applicant, the building — and possibly its parking spaces — may or may get used in several different ways.

“We were always looking for an operator that we could potentially move into a lease with, so that operator could engage multiple partners and multiple uses certainly, and I think that came through in the responses,” Moudry said.

Originally, Moudry said the goal was to get the pop-up operator in the space by this fall. That timeframe will likely get pushed due to COVID-19 delays — Moudry’s department pivoted earlier this year to providing resources to small businesses, like launching the microloan and Fairfax Rise grant programs.

“Small businesses have been hit extremely hard over the last number of months and we are still in the pandemic,” Moudry said.

But the pandemic hasn’t stopped the “8508 Uncontained” project, which Moudry said relies on the Made in Fairfax network and small businesses in the area to be successful.

“Those producers need to be around,” Moudry said. “We need to find ways to help them continue in existence or be prepared to come back with the economy. So that’s really been our focus.”

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on a proposed late-night cafe along Leesburg Pike ahead of its August break.

The sit-down restaurant would be open until 1:30 a.m. every day at the now-closed United Bank branch (7787 Leesburg Pike), according to county documents. Located within Tysons’ East Side neighborhood, the cafe would add to the area’s growing food scene.

County staff recommends approval of the proposed cafe, according to the staff report released earlier this month.

If approved, the restaurant plans to have four employees to serve up to 72 customers, according to county documents.

“Since most of the use of the restaurant will be during the evening hours, then the main operation hours will be outside the peak (rush) traffic flow for the area,” the applicant said. “It is not anticipated to change the overall traffic level for the existing Leesburg Pike.”

The county’s Planning Commission was originally set to consider the proposed restaurant in late June. Now, the commission plans to hold its public hearing on the plans on Wednesday (July 29) — the last meeting date in July, according to the agenda.

Image via Google Maps 

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Work for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project’s Silver Line Phase 1 has been underway in Tysons.

Phase 1 for the Silver Line includes the four stations (McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro and Spring Hill) in Tysons along with the Wiehle-Reston East station.

Here is a roundup of recent work in Tysons for the project and what drivers and pedestrians can expect this week.

Near McLean Metro Station

People can expect a lane shift in mid-August for the realignment of Old Meadow Road with Capital One Tower Drive at Dolley Madison Boulevard (Route 123), according to the website.

“The Virginia Department of Transportation and Fairfax County requested the realignment to facilitate traffic crossing Route 123 from the Capital One complex to Old Meadow Road,” the website said. “The change is needed because of impacts caused by Silver Line construction at McLean Metrorail station.”

When the new work starts in August, crews will create a new median on Old Meadow Road at the intersection, necessitating the lane shift. The work at the intersection faced delays due to COVID, the website said.

“Crews continue to install drainage infrastructure, signal equipment, and landscaping along the south side of Old Meadow Road and the east side of Dolley Madison Boulevard to complete that part of the work,” the website said.

Leesburg Pike

Crews plan to wrap up Phase 1 work along Leesburg Pike in Tysons.

By the end of this week, final clean up is expected to be done on asphalt repairs and striping, according to the project’s website.

Recently, contractors finished “upgrades for the latest ADA compliance, repaired cracked sidewalks and repaired curb and gutter along the Phase 1 alignment,” the website said.

Lane Closures in Tysons

People will also see several lane closures this week in Tysons from today (Monday) to Thursday (July 23) from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and on Friday (July 24) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The closures include:

  • left turn lane from 300 feet before Westwood Center Drive to Leesburg Pike.
  • right lane from Route 267 to Westwood Center Drive
  • left lane from 300 feet before Westpark Road to 400 feet after Westpark Road
  • right lane from 600 feet before Spring Hill Road to 300 feet after Spring Hill Road
  • right lane from 300 feet before Tyco Road to 300 feet before Dulles Toll Road exit ramp

The closures are for manhole and sidewalk repairs and underdrain installation.

Photo courtesy Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Dittmar wants to have a temporary “reading park” occupy a site along Leesburg Pike until work on a new hotel starts in a few years.

In 2014, Fairfax County officials approved plans for a hotel on the site, which is on the northbound side of Leesburg Pike at the intersection with Westpark Drive.

Now, Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh Colucci, told Tysons Reporter that Dittmar plans to temporarily use the site for commercial parking, vehicle storage and the public park before starting work on the hotel.

Baker said that Dittmar expects work to start on the hotel in about five years because the residential development company is currently focused on a project in Rosslyn that will take several years to complete.

The Tysons site previously had a hotel, which has been torn down. Parking from that hotel is still available at the site, Baker said, adding that, until recently, the Meridian Group was using the site for construction staging and parking while The Boro development was underway.

Baker said that Dittmar is paying significant taxes on the site because of the future development. The company wants to make use of the site “so it doesn’t sit in its current state, which is not the most attractive for Tysons,” she said.

Currently, Dittmar has the right to offer commercial off-street parking, which they plan to pursue, Baker said. The developer is seeking the county’s permission to allow vehicle storage and create the pop-up park. The vehicle storage would benefit nearby dealerships who are losing storage due to new developments, Baker said.

“At the same time, [Dittmar is] looking to make some type of gesture toward the future with place-making activity,” Baker said. That’s where the park comes in.

The rectangular park would be located along the western portion of the property.

Baker said that she’s been working with Dittmar and Tysons Partnership on the interim park to serve as an “outdoor reading room” — a nod to the future community library proffered in Tysons.

Sol Glasner, Tysons Partnership’s president and CEO, told Tysons Reporter last week that public parks are one of the key components that the organization is looking into as the area continues to urbanize.

“It is definitely a topic that is a very, very significant topic for Tysons and other urban centers,” he said.

Designed for all ages, the park would have lounging chairs for people who want to read, an outdoor library and food trucks, Baker said.

“It’s a different theme on a pop-up park,” Baker said. “I think it’s kind of fun.”

Baker said that newly accepted application does not yet have a proposed timeline from Fairfax County staff, but she’s hopeful it will take four to five months to progress through the county’s approval process.

Images via Walsh Colucci

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Repairs are almost done along Leesburg Pike in Tysons as part of the Silver Line’s first phase.

The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project shared photos of the concrete work on a new ramp along westbound Leesburg Pike, finished sidewalk repairs near the Spring Hill Metro station and finished work on the sidewalk, curb and gutter near Spring Hill Road.

Silver Line Phase 1 includes the four stations (McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro and Spring Hill) in Tysons along with the Wiehle-Reston East station.

“Crews will finish repairs along Route 7 and will complete final clean up and punch list items by the end of June according to a project executive,” according to the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

Previously, the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project shared updates in April on crews placing concrete near Leesburg Pike for a new ADA ramp and excavation work along Old Meadow Road.

Photos courtesy Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Crews have been busy working on projects in Tysons connected to the first phase of the Silver Line.

The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project shared photos of the work has been like in Tysons throughout April.

Phase 1 includes the four stations (McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro and Spring Hill) in Tysons and the Wiehle-Reston East station.

The photos above show a variety of activities, from crews placing concrete near Leesburg Pike for a new ADA ramp to excavation work along Old Meadow Road.

Photos courtesy Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Leesburg Pike in Tysons is getting new sidewalks and pedestrian ramps.

The work is a part of the Silver Line Phase 1, according to the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

“This work includes the installation of underdrain, sidewalk crack repairs, manholes and other drainage structure repairs, and ensuring pedestrian ramps meet the latest ADA code standards,” the project update said.

Work has already been finished on the eastbound side, and now crews are working on the westbound side of Leesburg Pike before starting similar work along Route 123 near Tysons Blvd.

While the work is underway, pedestrians are asked to use temporary detours and drivers can expect signs and barricades.

“Large, slow moving vehicles may be exiting and entering the highway at various times,” the update said.

Photo courtesy Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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