Vienna Police Announce Drug Take Back Day — The Vienna Police Department will host a collection site for old, expired, unused, and unwanted medications at its temporary facility (301 Center Street) on April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The one-day event is part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Prescription Drug Take Back initiative. [Vienna Police Department]
Capital One Hall Season Two Applications Due May 1 — Tysons’ new performing arts venue won’t open until October, but the deadline is already approaching for community arts groups to apply for space in the second season, which will begin on Sept. 1, 2022. The nonprofit ArtsFairfax is managing the application process on Fairfax County’s behalf. [Fairfax County Government]
Tysons Media Company Launches Lifestyle TV Network — “Tysons, Virginia-based Tegna Inc., owner of 64 television stations including WUSA9 in D.C., has launched a 24-hour, women-oriented lifestyle and reality TV network called Twist — and watching it comes with a twist as well.” [WTOP]
Vienna to Bring Back In-Person “Walk on the Hill” Event — The Town of Vienna’s annual spring Walk on the Hill program will return on April 25 with self-guided garden tours and live entertainment. COVID-19 protocols mean that the event will be limited to 500 total attendees, and participants must sign up in advance for one of two shifts.” [Town of Vienna]
Fairfax County Police Coming to Mosaic District — “Join Fairfax County Police Department at Mom and Pop on April 13 from 10am-12pm. Please adhere to all social distancing guidelines: maintain a 6-foot distance and please wear a face covering.” [Mosaic District/Twitter]
New Cancer Treatment Facility to Open in Merrifield — “Virginia Cancer Specialists, which operates 10 locations in Northern Virginia, will be opening its new 60,000-square-foot facility on April 13 in the Merrifield area. The new center located at 8613 Lee Highway will replace the VCS’ current center at 8503 Arlington Blvd.” [Patch]
Tour de Hunter Mill Coming to Vienna — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn will host the inaugural district-wide bicycle tour, which will take cyclists from Reston to Vienna and back again through the Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons. The event will take place on May 15 with a $25 registration fee for anyone 16 and older. [Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office]
Vienna State Senator Skeptical of Marijuana Legalization — Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposal to amend a bill legalizing marijuana to make it effective on July 1 appears to have enough support to pass when the Virginia General Assembly reconvenes this month, but State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) says he’s “not a fan of setting up a marijuana industry in this state, which appears to be the purpose of the legislation.” [Associated Press/WTOP]
Online Forum Scheduled for Vienna Town Council Candidates — An online candidate forum for the upcoming Vienna Town Council election on May 4 will be recorded and available to view starting on April 12. The event will be posted to the town government’s YouTube channel and air on TV regularly until the election. [Sun Gazette]
Tysons Company to Bring Broadband to the Arctic — “OneWeb plans to start offering broadband from space in the Arctic region this fall, a capability the company hopes will attract U.S. military and other national government customers…Following the latest launch of 36 satellites on March 25, OneWeb has 146 in operation.” [Space News]
Sameday Health in Tysons Offers Vaccinations — “Vaccinations began this week at Sameday Health‘s Tysons location, a parking lot at 1981 Chain Bridge Road. This is the same location offering PCR and rapid testing. In a few weeks, the location will transition from a testing and vaccination site to solely a vaccination site.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Sees Increase in Emergency Incidents — “Firefighters/Paramedics responded to 1,985 incidents last week! An increase of almost 5.5% in overall incidents from previous week.” [FCFRD/Twitter]
WeWork Offers Two Months Rent-Free at Tysons Space — “The company is offering two months of free private office space at select locations in the D.C. region with a six-month commitment or three months free with a commitment of 12 months…Outside of the District, only WeWork’s locations at the University of Maryland, in Ballston, and Tysons are participating.” [Washington Business Journal]
Wind Advisory in Effect Today — A wind advisory will be in effect today for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Winds could reach speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Gusts could blow around unsecured objects and result in fallen tree limbs or power disruptions. [National Weather Service, Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management/Twitter]
Northam Plans to Speed Up Marijuana Legalization — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to ask the legislature to legalize the adult possession of an ounce or less of marijuana beginning on July 1, according to several sources with knowledge of the administration’s ongoing discussions with lawmakers. Lawmakers passed legislation last month that wouldn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2024.” [VPM]
Falls Church Narrows Down Possible New School Names — Committees tasked with selecting new names for the city’s elementary and high schools will present five recommendations each to the Falls Church City School Board by April 9. The groups have whittled hundreds of suggestions down to 18 options for the high school and 53 for the middle school. The school board will make the final decisions on May 13. [Falls Church News-Press]
Greater Washington Partnership Envisions Regional Train System — “An alliance of the Washington area’s top chief executives is pushing for Maryland and Virginia commuter trains to cross jurisdictions to provide service that would be more frequent and more interconnected…It could be achieved within a quarter-century, said the group, which has rallied support from transit advocates, the region’s passenger railroads and public- and private-sector groups.” [The Washington Post]
Satellite Telecommunications Company Moves Into Tysons — SpaceLink announced earlier this week that it has established a headquarters office in Tysons. The company, which also operates in Silicon Valley and Huntsville, Alabama, is developing a “network of satellites in medium Earth orbit that will provide secure, continuous, high-bandwidth communications between its clients’ low Earth orbit spacecraft and the ground.” [Virginia Business]
Fairfax County Sees Dip in Unemployment Rate — Fairfax County’s jobless rate dropped almost half a percent between December 2020 and January 2021, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission. However, unemployment rates throughout Northern Virginia are still more than double pre-pandemic numbers. [Sun Gazette]
(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Framebridge is officially open for business at the Mosaic District in Merrifield.
The custom framing company opened its doors for the first time today at 11 a.m. Located in Suite 165 at 2910 District Ave, this is Framebridge’s sixth store overall and its first in Virginia, though a Clarendon location is slated to open later this spring.
A Union Market store in downtown D.C. is also in the works, according to the company’s website.
Based in D.C., Framebridge launched in 2014 as an entirely online retail startup but began expanding into brick-and-mortar stores with its locations in D.C. and Bethesda, Md., in 2019.
Founder and CEO Susan Tynan says she wanted to stay true to the company’s “neighborhood concept” by expanding in the D.C. area.
“The Mosaic District was an obvious choice because we have a lot of existing online customers nearby, but we can also reach new customers shopping at all of the other great restaurants and stores in the center,” Tynan said. “We love the community of brands and organizations in Mosaic, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
She adds that the first item they had framed in the Mosaic store was a souvenir from the Washington Nationals’ 2019 World Series championship.
To celebrate its arrival in Merrifield, Framebridge is offering to frame “mementos from customers’ personal achievements” for free if they book a 30-minute session with a design consultant, a spokesperson says. The offer lasts through April 11.
The store says walk-in customers are welcome, but the number of patrons allowed inside at one time is being limited to ensure adequate social distancing as part of its COVID-19 safety protocols. Masks are required for both customers and employees.
Hand sanitizer is being provided in the store. Employees also clean their work stations, surfaces, and devices after every consultation and undergo health screenings when they arrive each day, according to Framebridge.
Photo courtesy Framebridge
The Tysons telecommunications startup Omnispace is working with Lockheed Martin to develop a 5G network that will utilize both satellites and existing land-based cell towers to provide wireless service around the world.
The two companies announced on Tuesday (March 23) that they have entered into a “strategic interest agreement” to cooperate on turning Omnispace’s vision of a hybrid global communications network into a reality.
“The proposed global 5G standards-based non-terrestrial network (NTN) would offer commercial, enterprise and government devices ubiquitous communications worldwide,” Omnispace said in the press release. “This type of network has the potential to redefine mobile communications, benefiting users requiring true mobility, regardless of environment or location.”
Brian Pemberton, Omnispace’s vice president of sales and marketing, says Lockheed Martin was one of several companies that the startup approached while looking for possible satellite suppliers, but as the discussions continued, they saw potential for a more ambitious partnership.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., with an office in Dunn Loring, Lockheed Martin is an aerospace and technology company that primarily works as a government contractor for the U.S. military and various federal agencies. In contrast, Omnispace has a more commercial bent, focusing on individual consumers and businesses.
The new agreement commits the companies to combining their different perspectives and resources to support a shared goal.
“We had a very common vision…around the value and utility that a global 5G network can provide,” Pemberton said. “So, our conversations evolved rather quickly from one of vendor-supplier to much more of a collaborative approach.”
The actual launch of a working 5G network in space remains mostly theoretical right now.
Pemberton says Omnispace is aiming for a 2023 timeframe for when it hopes to initially deploy a 5G platform. That would align with when he expects prototype mobile devices to become available as international standards for how 5G devices and networks will interact with each other are established.
However, the need for a more efficient and expansive wireless communications system has become increasingly apparent over the past year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many activities — from school and office work to grocery shopping and social gatherings — into the digital realm.
According to Pemberton, the global wireless network envisioned by Omnispace could help eliminate dead zones and provide more resiliency, since satellites would not be affected by terrain or natural disasters like service providers on land.
As an example of how the technology could be applied, he cites the challenges presented by worldwide COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Reliable, continuous wireless coverage could enhance government and medical providers’ ability to track shipments and monitor environmental conditions to ensure the vaccines are stored properly, he argues.
“That’s just one microcosm that obviously resonates with a lot of people today, but you can extrapolate that to food transportation and other types of goods and just think about the global supply chain in general for all kinds of industries,” Pemberton said.
Founder Alicia Swanstrom started Greenheart Juice Shop in 2013 after turning to the health and nutrition community for support following the death of a loved one. She says starting her own business helped her reach “people at a deeper level through the product.”
In 2018, Greenheart merged with Middleburg Juice Company and their founder Matt Cahir. The company now offers a Middleburg Juice named “MJ” on its menu, along with a dozen other flavors.
Swanstrom told Tysons Reporter that Greenheart decided to open a shop in Vienna because of Cahir’s ties to the area. Greenheart has also had a stand at the Vienna Farmers Market since 2019.
“We have such a strong community in Vienna that has grown with us over the past few years,” said Swanstrom. “We wanted to bring something really special and unique to this town, and think that we have finally been able to achieve that with this new Greenheart flagship.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Fairfax County last spring, Swanstrom says Greenheart has nearly doubled its sales, something that has been rare for small businesses across the country.
When the opportunity presented itself to open a permanent shop on Dominion Road, Swanstrom says it was a “no brainer.”
The new Vienna shop will be the first to launch Greenheart’s new made-to-order food items. They will have a variety of avocado toasts, sweet potato waffles, and quinoa bowls, along with their established menu of favorites.
Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert will perform the ribbon cutting at the Vienna shop’s grand opening this weekend.
“I am so excited for Greenheart to open their business in Vienna,” Colbert said. “The community has known and loved their products at the Vienna Farmers Market…Now they will have a prime location off of Church Street that will be perfect for residents, as well as people using the trail to stop and enjoy a delicious drink.”
To celebrate its opening weekend, the shop will have a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale on all products from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. More information, locations, and home delivery options can be found on the Greenheart Juice Shop website.
The former Peet’s Coffee and Tea on Maple Avenue is officially going to be converted into a drive-thru bank.
The Town of Vienna Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved Burke & Herbert Bank’s request for a conditional use permit at the conclusion of a public hearing on March 17, allowing the Alexandria-based company to utilize and renovate the existing 2,575 square-foot building at 332 Maple Avenue East.
“I think Burke & Herbert moving from their present location up on the corner down into the middle of Maple Avenue gives them a much better facility,” Board of Zoning Appeals Chair George Creed said during last week’s meeting. “…I think that’ll be an excellent location for them.”
Burke & Herbert Executive Vice President of Marketing Terry Cole confirmed to Tysons Reporter that the bank’s existing Vienna branch will be closed, and operations will be relocated to the new site once the renovation is completed.
Constructed in the 1980s, the building at 332 Maple Avenue originally housed a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise until Caribou Coffee took over in 2012. The shop was rebranded in 2013 after the Peet’s Coffee owners bought Caribou.
Peet’s permanently closed the Vienna shop and another location in Tysons Station last summer after they shut down in the spring on what initially appeared to be a temporary basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burke & Herbert submitted a proposal to the Town of Vienna to convert the building into a drive-thru bank on Dec. 30, stating that the change in use would benefit the town by allowing the now-vacant facility to be refurbished and reducing traffic on Maple Avenue.
A traffic impact analysis conducted by a consultant hired by Burke & Herbert found that the proposed facility would generate an estimated 27 trips during morning peak hours and 57 trips during evening peak hours — 222 fewer morning peak-hour trips and 64 fewer evening peak-hour trips than Peet’s Coffee.
“I think the conditions will probably be significantly different than they were when this was a coffee restaurant,” said Walsh Colucci land-use attorney Robert Brandt, who represented Burke & Herbert at the public hearing. “Just the nature of the bank drive-thru use tends to get a little less of that drive-thru demand than a coffee restaurant, so the bank is very comfortable with the conditions on the site as proposed.”
Brandt says Burke & Herbert plans to make “significant improvements” to the interior and exterior of the building, but no expansions will be needed, and the existing drive-thru facility will largely be left intact, aside from moving a speaker from the back of the facility to the left side.
The bank has committed to making some accessibility improvements, including the addition of sloped sidewalks and restriping to create wheelchair-accessible parking spaces. The parking lot’s asphalt surface will also be repaved in places where it’s “in a little rough shape,” according to Brandt.
According to a report by Vienna’s planning and zoning staff, the proposed hours of operation for the new bank are between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The facility will be closed on Sundays. Four to five employees are expected to be on site at any given time during business hours. Read More
Construction on the new Bowlero that will occupy part of the shuttered Macy’s in Tysons Galleria is scheduled to commence around next Monday (March 29), a spokesperson tells Tysons Reporter.
Bowlero Senior Public Relations Manager Jillian Laufer says the bowling alley operator hopes to finish construction in late November.
This will be Bowlero’s fifth location in the D.C. area. The company currently operates venues in Arlington, Bethesda, Centreville, and most recently, Annandale, which had its grand opening in February 2020.
“Tysons Galleria is situated in one of the country’s most well established and affluent markets, and we saw an underrepresentation of family fun options in the community,” Laufer said. “Bowlero is a one-stop entertainment destination for all ages complete with signature blacklight bowling, interactive arcade games, and extensive food and beverage offerings which make it a great fit for Tysons Galleria.”
The Washington Business Journal first reported Bowlero’s plans to move into the former Macy’s at Tysons Galleria in January.
The space has been vacant since the clothing store closed in 2019, as Tysons Galleria owner Brookfield Properties has been working to redevelop the 300,000 square-foot, three-floor building so that it can accommodate multiple tenants.
According to the Washington Business Journal, Apple, Tiffany & Co., Balducci’s, and iPic Theaters have all been in discussions about potentially getting space in the converted building, but Brookfield has not released any new information about those plans.
The new Bowlero will occupy 39,851 square feet on the first floor of the former Macy’s, and it will feature 36 bowling lanes, along with arcade games, a full-service kitchen, and a sports bar, the Washington Business Journal reported.
Bowlero has applied for licenses to serve wine and beer on its premises and to have a mixed beverage restaurant with a capacity of up to 100 seats. Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority records indicate that its applications have been pending since Feb. 22.
Photo courtesy Bowlero
A cleaning services contractor based in Merrifield is undergoing an audit ordered by George Mason University in response to allegations of labor law violations.
In recent months, LT Services Inc. (2815 Hartland Rd.) and its subcontractors have faced numerous complaints by workers who say they have experienced poor working conditions, including delayed payments and retaliation for engaging in union activities.
GMU President Gregory Washington announced on Feb. 22 that, after conducting an initial review of the complaints against LT Services, which provides janitorial services at the university’s 220 buildings in Northern Virginia, he has ordered an outside audit of the contractor by the accounting firm Baker Tilly.
“George Mason University values everyone who works on our campuses, whether they are faculty, classified staff, student employees, or contractors. We hold high standards toward the treatment of everyone,” Washington said. “…I look forward to learning the results of what I expect will be a thorough, fair, and thoughtful audit.”
Washington added that Mason would not “offer any further public comment” until the audit is completed “in order to be fair to all involved.” A GMU spokesperson reiterated that sentiment, telling Tysons Reporter that Washington’s statement would be the university’s “only comment” on the issue.
LT Services declined to comment when contacted by Tysons Reporter.
While Mason’s audit is ongoing, the National Labor Relations Board is investigating LT Services and two of its subcontractors — Reyes Cleaning Contractors and Seth Ean Service — for allegedly engaging in unfair labor practices to shut down workers’ efforts to organize, according to documents provided by the Local 32BJ chapter of the Service Employees International Union, which filed the charges on March 9.
In its charging statement, SEIU states that LT Services promised workers at GMU a $2 raise and money to pay hospital bills in response to “protected concerted activities” and told a worker “to not discuss their working conditions with others.”
The charges against Reyes Cleaning accuse the company of interrogating employees and creating “more onerous working conditions” in retaliation for union-related activities. SEIU alleges that Seth Ean Service interrogated and intimidated workers, told them not to talk to union organizers, and disciplined a worker and reduced their pay for participating in union activities.
The three new cases come on the heels of two settlements won by SEIU on behalf of the contract cleaners at Mason. H&E Cleaning Service Inc., a subcontractor of LT Services, signed a settlement on Nov. 11 and again in January after the union accused the company of threatening and intimidating workers, sabatoging their work areas, and denying them compensation.
LT Services was also one of five companies required to pay back wages in 2016 after Montgomery County determined that they had violated its living wage laws.
SEIU expressed skepticism of the outside audit ordered by George Mason University, urging Washington to instead hire a new, responsible contractor immediately.
“Essential workers that keep Mason clean every day cannot wait for an audit to finish,” 32BJ SEIU said in a statement. “They have brought numerous allegations and violations against L.T. Services and their subcontractors to President Washington for nearly a year. President Washington cannot delay ensuring that these essential workers be treated with respect, especially in a global pandemic.”
Pressure on GMU to address concerns about the treatment of contract workers has been growing both internally and externally.
Several state elected officials, including Dels. Kathleen Murphy (D-McLean) and Mark Keam (D-Vienna), wrote a letter to Washington on March 15 urging the university to “ensure its contracted and subcontracted janitors, students, and broader community are kept safe and healthy during this pandemic by choosing to employ a responsible janitorial contractor.”
In addition, over 220 Mason faculty, staff, students, and alumni have signed a resolution from the American Association of University Professors’ GMU chapter expressing support for the janitors and calling for the adoption of a policy that would require contractors to give workers a living wage, benefits, and other rights.
“We don’t want to prejudge the audit, but we think that we already have enough information for what we think is the solution, and the solution is for Mason to adopt a responsible contractor policy,” GMU-AAUP interim president Tim Gibson, who teaches communications at Mason, said. “…If you want to contract with our institution, with our community, then you need to commit to treating your workers with fairness and respect.”
“We hope the widespread outpouring of support for the janitors helps President Washington take seriously the trauma these essential workers have been through, while risking their lives to keep GMU safe,” 32BJ SEIU Vice President Jaime Contreras said. “Such an esteemed institution, focused on social justice, should simply hire responsible contractors. President Washington can and should utilize his power to ensure janitors a new employer that upholds the school’s values.”