After years of debate and stagnation, construction has become a common sight along Maple Avenue in Vienna.
Among the most visible of the ongoing projects, thanks to a crane towering over the low-lying commercial corridor, is the Sunrise Senior Living facility emerging at 380 Maple Avenue — just one building east of the redeveloping Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande.
Construction on the assisted living facility began with a groundbreaking in June and is expected to be completed in 2023, according to Andy Coelho, the senior vice president of construction, facilities, and design at Sunrise Senior Living.
“Potential residents and community members will be able to get a first look at the offerings when the off-site sales gallery opens in late 2022,” Coelho told Tysons Reporter.
Approved by the Vienna Town Council in January 2020, the project consists of an 82,000 square-foot building with 85 assisted living units and 950 square feet of space on the ground floor for a cafe or restaurant.
The new building will be 54 feet tall with four stories. In addition to assisted living, it will have a “Reminiscence Neighborhood” that serves residents with memory care needs as well as options for short-term stays, Coelho says.
The road to last summer’s groundbreaking was long and convoluted for Sunrise, which originally proposed building the facility at the Center Street corner but faced concerns about parking and the planned retail space.
The town council rejected that plan in July 2019, prompting Sunrise to sue the town. The lawsuit was resolved in March 2020 after the project relocated to 380 Maple Avenue, which had been set for a mixed-use development that encountered similar skepticism.
Sunrise’s Vienna facility will be its 22nd in Virginia, joining existing sites in Tysons, Falls Church, Reston, and more.
Coelho says Sunrise of Vienna will support not just its residents, but also the surrounding community.
“This community will provide a high-quality senior care option to the surrounding area while building strong connections with that region through partnerships and events,” he said by email. “As we continue through the construction phase of this project, we look forward to sharing more about the differentiators of this property.”
Though construction has yet to begin, Vienna’s 444 Maple Ave. mixed-use development appears to be in negotiations to secure its first tenants.
According to a property brochure on its project webpage, New Jersey-headquartered Hekemian & Co. plans to add the pizza chain Mellow Mushroom, restaurant Tom Yum Thai, and Gloss Nails to the development, which will take the place of the now-shuttered Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande.
The marketing sheet indicates that the businesses are “at lease,” but none appear to have officially signed yet.
Mellow Mushroom, which serves custom-made pies, gluten-free crusts, burgers, vegan options, and more, is expected to occupy the site’s largest space at 5,129 square feet.
A Mellow Mushroom marketing executive didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear if the business will be corporate-owned, like its Herndon location, or a franchise, like the one in Chantilly.
Gloss Nails has been inked in for a 2,000 square-foot space, and Tom Yum Thai’s space is 1,424 square feet in size.
Tom Yum Thai had occupied ground-floor space in the office building at 226 Maple Avenue West for seven years, but it abruptly closed on Dec. 26. Tysons Reporter was unable to get in contact with the management team for comment by publication time.
Three commercial spaces are still listed as available. There’s also a 2,000-square-foot space listed as having a letter of intent. A leasing representative didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
A chain-link fence still stands around the Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande. The business said last summer that demolition work could begin in the fall of 2021. A demolition permit was issued Wednesday (Jan. 19) by Fairfax County.
Approved despite some resident opposition in October 2018, the development project will replace the vacated hotel and restaurant at the Nutley Street corner with a multistory building featuring courtyards, a pool, dog wash, ground-floor retail, and 151 multifamily rental units.
Viva Sol Juice Company is looking for a fresh start for the new year.
The Vienna-based, family-run café officially closed its space at 124 Maple Avenue West on New Year’s Eve, but the move is less of a demise than the first step in an evolution.
Owner Kelly Hartranft opened Viva Sol in August 2020 as a juice and smoothie bar, yet the menu items that ultimately took off were not the cold-pressed juices or fruit bowls. Instead, the company saw sales boom with the introduction of gluten-free doughnuts and empanadas.
“The numbers were in front of me to pivot towards focusing on doughnuts and empanadas, rather than the whole café concept,” Hartranft told Tysons Reporter.
As part of the pivot, Viva Sol is relocating to a commercial manufacturing kitchen in Chantilly that will exclusively make doughnuts and empanadas, primarily for online ordering and delivery.
Hartranft says the business will continue to participate in local farmers’ markets, and in-person pick-ups may be possible, depending on the space’s layout.
Expected to launch in February, the new kitchen will initially focus on delivering within the D.C. area before expanding to customers outside of the region next year. A website overhaul that reflects the rebranding and new e-commerce approach is also in the works.
In addition to adapting to her company’s strengths, Hartranft closed the Vienna juice bar to minimize her staff’s interactions with customers, as COVID-19 cases continue to soar throughout the community.
Like other retail and service businesses, Viva Sol has experienced its share of hiring challenges, but it has a core staff that will remain intact with the move to Chantilly.
“I wanted to figure out a way to protect my family, protect my staff with minimal interaction,” she said. “I’m sure you know all these restaurants are very understaffed, people are getting sick, and so, it just kind of made sense for me.”
Even so, the decision to leave Vienna was a tough one for Hartranft, whose family has lived in the town since the early 1980s. She encourages supporters to follow Viva Sol’s Facebook and Instagram pages for updates, including news about the new location and reconfigured name.
“We’re really sad to be moving, but the restaurant/café model for us wasn’t working,” Hartranft said. “My numbers were really, really showing how much we grew overnight…I mean, it took off with certain items, and so, I’m just reading my numbers and leading my team to the next phase.”
A much-debated retail and residential development proposed for 444 Maple Avenue West is moving closer toward demolition and construction.
The Town of Vienna Board of Architectural Review is slated to meet for a virtual work session at 7:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) to discuss the exterior appearance of the project at the former site of Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande.
New Jersey-based real estate firm Hekemian & Co. plans to turn the property into a four-story, mixed-use building with 150 residential units and over 18,800 square feet of retail space. The developer hopes to begin construction this fall.
While many community members expressed concern about the development’s size and potential traffic impacts, the architectural review board advanced the project in May 2018, saying that it met zoning parameters. The Vienna Town Council approved the project 5-2 in October 2018.
The project is returning to the architectural review board now for “minor changes to the façade” to adapt to construction, according to applicant Lindsey Minkoff with the architecture firm KTGY Group.
The site developer remains committed to several proffers, dated Nov. 13, 2018, including:
- Placing around 440 linear feet of utilities underground along Maple Avenue
- Making traffic and pedestrian upgrades, such as extending a left-turn lane from Nutley Street to Maple Avenue)
- Giving $170,000 toward a town signal improvement fund
- Consulting with the Vienna Public Arts Commission while paying for the design, installation, and other costs of including public art in the development’s parking garage
The parking garage will serve retail customers. Underground parking will be available for residents and street parking for prospective tenants, according to the application before the Board of Architectural Review.
The submitted materials also include a rendering of a Maple Avenue Plaza that will be created in front of the complex. Planned residential amenities include a pool, club room, and indoor fitness facility.
New I-66 Ramp to West Falls Church Metro Opens — A new ramp designed to provide direct access from Interstate 66 to the West Falls Church Metro station is expected to open around midday today (Thursday). Work on the ramp, which connects two existing I-66 East/Route 7 ramps, began in May 2020 and is part of the I-66 Inside the Beltway widening project. [VDOT]
Partial Closure of Tysons Boulevard Begins — Fairfax County held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday (Wednesday) to mark the launch of a program to give pedestrians and bicyclists access to a half-mile of Tysons Boulevard. This is the second year that the county has experimented with a partial closure of the road near Tysons Galleria. [Dalia Palchik/Twitter]
McLean Family Starts Persian Ice Cream Delivery — The owners of Amoo’s Restaurant in McLean has spun off one of their most lauded dishes into a delivery service. Kinrose Creamery launched last week, producing ice cream that can be picked up at Amoo’s and delivery sites in Vienna, Sterling, and Manassas. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Wolf Trap Hotel Project Returns to Vienna Board — The Town of Vienna Board of Architectural Review will discuss the latest revisions to plans for a four-story, mixed-use development at 444 Maple Avenue W. when it meets tonight. After being slowed down by the pandemic and public opposition to proposed development on Maple, the developer told Tysons Reporter in June that they hope to start construction this fall. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Behind the Architecture of Capital One Hall — “HGA worked with the client, presenting alternatives [to marble] such as Italian travertine, silvery Alabaman limestone, or Brazilian swirling granite to avoid joining the high number of noteworthy marble failures in the past sixty years. For Barry Mark, vice president of design and construction at Capital One, none of these had the distinctive beauty and character for the vision he had of the project.” [The Architect’s Newspaper]
Drivers traveling down Maple Avenue may have noticed a chain-link fence around the Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and the vacated Tequila Grande. The properties have long been idling, but the fence, which was erected earlier this year, suggests that demolition day could be within sight.
Business and town officials are still working on the four-story shopping and residential center at 444 Maple Avenue W. that the Vienna Town Council initially approved back in 2018 to replace the hotel and restaurant, which relocated to Oakton.
“We’re excited to get the project underway,” said Chris Bell, senior vice president of acquisition and development for New Jersey-based developer Hekemian & Co., Inc. “It’s been a long time.”
The project calls for approximately 20,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground with 151 multifamily rental units above, according to the town.
The project has stirred controversy since it was announced, as community members objected to its size and potential traffic impact in a town that has proven wary of development.
Construction documentation took about a year, and the developer submitted building permits to Fairfax County in September after being slowed down by the pandemic for about four months, Bell says.
Demolition permits are in the works, and the project is expected to have utilities capped off at the property soon. A permit allowing sewer and water services to be capped off in the Tequila Grande property line was issued on Feb. 4, according to the county’s permits and inspections database.
Bell says construction could begin in the early fall and take about 18 months.
Commercial tenants are already slated to take most of the business space available at the 444 Maple development, but it still has space for lease, according to company representatives.
Councilmember Howard Springsteen broke from the majority to vote against approving the project in 2018, citing the development’s size and traffic concerns.
Springsteen told Tysons Reporter that people welcome development — provided it’s reasonable.
The project has not yet had plans come before the town’s Board of Architectural Review, chairman Roy Baldwin said yesterday (Wednesday). The architectural board advanced the project in May 2018, saying that it met zoning parameters.
“All we were called on was whether this particular proposal met the zoning at that time,” Baldwin said, noting that didn’t mean whether they’d vote for or against the project.
The developer describes the planned mixed-use complex as a “walkable neighborhood destination” with luxury apartments, two levels of parking, a bike storage, a pet-washing station, and more.
Renderings show a central plaza by commercial spaces, trees around the property, and two courtyards — including one with a pool — surrounded by residential units.
Photo via Town of Vienna
The wait is almost over for the opening of Viva Sol Juice Company, a new smoothie and juice bar along Maple Avenue.
Viva Sol Juice plans to have a soft opening starting tomorrow (Thursday) before its official debut on Saturday (Aug. 29) at 124 Maple Ave W. in the Vienna Shopping Center, owner Kelly Hartranft told Tysons Reporter.
Hartranft grew up in Vienna and graduated from Madison High School. She opened a cafe in Delaware in 2017 after finding dairy-free bowls helped ease symptoms from her autoimmune condition, according to Viva Sol Juice’s website. “With the opening of Viva Sol Juice Co., the evolution of Viva Bowls, a larger and more extensive menu is now available to the local community,” according to the website.
Self-described as “Vienna’s original superfood cafe,” the business focuses on offering plant-based, gluten-free food and drinks. Customers can expect to find 100% cold-pressed juice, bowls, smoothies, doughnuts, and brunch at the new spot.
The online menu includes bowls, smoothies, all-day brunch, cold-pressed juice, an espresso bar and season menu items.
For the soft opening, Viva Sol Juice will offer “sneak peek” ordering through UberEats from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. On Friday and Saturday, people will be able to come to the new location between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Once fully open, the regular hours will be from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends.
Photo courtesy Kelly Hartranft
Bye, bye Bloomin’ Onion. The Outback Steakhouse in the Town of Vienna plans to close in early August.
Elizabeth Watts, the spokesperson for the restaurant chain, told Tysons Reporter that the Vienna location’s last day of business will be Sunday, Aug. 9.
“Our lease is expiring next month, so we will be closing this location,” Watts said, adding that a new Outback Steakhouse plans to open in Gainesville this fall. The chain currently has nearby locations in Herndon and Arlington.
“Employees will have the opportunity to transfer to a nearby location,” Watts said. “Those who do not transfer will receive severance.”
The restaurant has been in business for 25 years at 315 Maple Avenue E. and has 46 employers, according to Outback Steakhouse’s website.
It is unclear what will happen to the spot once the restaurant leaves. Eric Collich with First Washington Realty, which leases the space at the shopping center where the restaurant is located, declined to comment.
“I am not at liberty to discuss current tenants or future plans but at FWR we are dedicated to cultivating exceptional shopping experiences in communities where we own property such as Vienna,” Collich wrote in an email.
People who want to order from the restaurant before it closes can get curbside take-out, delivery or dine at the restaurant, which has limited capacity and hours, according to its website.
The website lists the restaurant’s hours as 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sundays.
Photo via Outback Steakhouse/Facebook
Hat tip to Vienna VA Foodies Facebook Group
Wawa plans to open its first store in the Town of Vienna next Thursday (July 16).
The store at 465 Maple Avenue W. used to house a Coldwell Banker branch. Now, the building has been retrofitted — the first time ever for Wawa, according to a press release.
To commemorate the opening, a ribbon cutting will happen with social distancing outside the store on the morning of its opening. Wawa is encouraging people to watch a celebratory video and take part in an online contest for limited-edition Vienna Wawa t-shirts.
The store will open at 8 a.m. on Thursday, according to the press release.
Roughly 40 employees will work at the 6,290-square-foot store, which will offer Tesla charging stations. People who don’t want to venture outside for hoagies can get food and drinks delivered from the store via DoorDash and Uber Eats.
The press release detailed Wawa’s COVID-19 measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus:
Wawa made several key changes to ensure it has the safest, most convenient store environment. The changes include launch of The Wawa Clean Force, a dedicated and trained sanitizing swat team working at each store every day with one job: keeping Wawa stores clean, sanitized and safe. Additional protections and policies include masks and gloves for all associates; clear plastic safety guards at check out and food-service counters; even more frequent hand washing standards; and wellness temperature checks for associates before each shift. For customers, social distancing with friendly visual markers and more hand-sanitizer stations have been added in common areas.
Wawa also plans to launch an initiative that will donate $1,000 from the Vienna store’s first week of sales to the Capital Area Food Bank and donate $1,000 each and hoagies to charities picked by Vienna’s police and fire departments and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, the press release said.
Additionally, people will be able to make donations to support military personnel and their families until Sunday, July 19, at any Wawa store, the press release said.
South Block is now opening the doors to its new home in the Town of Vienna.
The juice and smoothie bar left its location at Jammin Java and plans to officially open next week at 207 E. Maple Avenue.
Amir Mostafavi, the owner, shared on the public Facebook group Vienna VA Foodies yesterday that the new location is doing a soft opening this week via Uber Eats from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The menu includes cold-pressed juice, toast and salad, smoothies and bowls.
Mostafavi said that Monday, July 6, will be the spot’s official opening date.
“We are so excited to be a part of this amazing community! I grew up in McLean… so this spot hits really close to ‘home’ for me!” Mostafavi wrote.
Photo via South Block/Facebook