Tysons, VA

Clothing Retailer Closing in Tysons Corner Center — “Five Justice stores are set to close in the D.C. area, along with two Lane Bryant locations, two Catherines locations, one Loft Outlet and the Lou & Grey store at Tysons Corner Center.” [Washington Business Journal]

Signed, Sealed, Delivered — “Fairfax County Planning Commission members on July 29 unanimously approved a comprehensive sign plan for the new Archer Hotel in western McLean on the edge of Tysons, after the applicant reduced the size of several proposed signs.” [Inside NoVa]

Local Man Drowned — “A 21-year-old Vienna man drowned in Lake Anna on Saturday, the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday.” [Inside NoVa]

Special Election in Falls Church — A special election to fill the late Daniel Sze’s council seat will be held as part of the general election on Nov. 3. [Falls Church News Press]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission postponed its decision on a rezoning application for a proposed residential building near the Tysons Corner Metro station.

The owners of J.R.’s Stockyards Inn want to replace the restaurant with a 26-story residential mixed-use building.

The restaurant opened in 1978, and the owners have been in the Tysons area for a long time, John McGranahan, Jr., the lawyer representing the applicant, told the Planning Commission. J.R.’s Stockyards Inn closed its daily restaurant operations in 2011, Tysons Reporter previously reported.

The proposal wants the 270-foot-tall building to offer up to 244 units and a small retail space on the property at International Place and Watson Street, according to county documents. The project also includes a public park and an underground parking structure.

“We designed this parcel to be the first piece of the puzzle… We think it will be a catalyst to redevelopment in this part of Tysons Corner,” McGranahan said.

Following a public hearing last night, the Planning Commission decided to delay voting on whether or not to support the rezoning application. The postponement will give county staff time to work with the applicant on several issues and to review the revised proffers submitted on Wednesday afternoon.

The main issues for county staff and the applicant involve the proposal’s elevated deck over an access road, what Capital One will do with its nearby property and how much of a financial contribution the applicant should make to further Tysons’ grid of streets.

The Planning Commission will reconsider the rezoning application on Sept. 16.

Rendering via KGD Architecture

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proposed late-night cafe along Leesburg Pike will head to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Last night, the Fairfax County Planning Commission OK’d rezoning plans for the proposed sit-down restaurant on the first floor of the commercial building at 7787 Leesburg Pike.

According to county documents, the restaurant would be open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. every day, employing four people and serving up to 72 customers. The second story of the building would continue to be used for office space, county staff said.

“We believe there is a void in this area in terms of cafes and restaurants,” the applicant told the Planning Commission last night, noting that the nearby dining options are not open late at night.

The applicant said that the restaurant, which would be located in Tysons’ East Side neighborhood, aims to complement the area’s continued urbanization.

“We want to establish ourselves there as a to-go location for food in the area,” the applicant said.

Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, said in brief comments that he agrees with county staff’s recommended approval of the proposal, saying that it will support surrounding offices and contribute to the transformation of Tysons.

As for concerns about traffic, the applicant and county staff said that the restaurant’s focus on evening dining is not expected to impact traffic along Leesburg Pike.

“We do anticipate to generate any more traffic than is usual [for that area],” the applicant told the commissioners.

Image via Google Maps 

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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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The expansion plans for the Capital One Campus in Tysons may turn out differently than originally expected after the developer approached the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night with new ideas.

Major proposed changes to the plan include the elimination of the planned hotel and the addition of new office space and real estate, which Gregory Riegle, the lawyer representing Capital One, said was requested because of changes to the market.

“Candidly, the hotel industry in Tysons and the Northern Virginia area had a number of challenges in terms of oversupply even before the pandemic. The intervening circumstances have only exacerbated those realities,” Riegle said.

“The overall master plan of the campus remains the same,” Stephen Gardner, a senior planner with Fairfax County, said, adding that the amount of office space will jump to 67%.

Two buildings would slightly decrease in height if this adjustment is approved, while another building would increase its height to 305 feet, which is equivalent to roughly 28 stories, Gardner said. Open space on the campus would remain the same.

The building with the increased height would include 328,974 square feet of extra floor area.

After a brief discussion, the Planning Commission unanimously voted to favorably recommend the changes to the Board of Supervisors. The county board is set to consider the proposal on July 14.

It is unclear which businesses might take over the additional retail spaces provided by the proposed changes.

“Progress is continuing irrespective of situations with the pandemic and associated issues,” Riegle said, adding that the Wegmans is expected to be completed later in 2020, while the performing arts center will likely be done in 2021.

Image courtesy Fairfax County Planning Commission

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As the Louise Archer Elementary School gears up for a renovation, the Vienna Planning Commission supports keeping temporary facilities at the school for a few more years.

Currently, there are two trailers and one 66-foot by 180-foot modular at the public school (324 Nutley Street NW).

The permits for the facilities are expected to expire later this year unless town officials grant an extension. Last night’s votes were a step in the direction for the temporary facilities to stay in place for the short-term.

The school used to have eight trailers before the modular replaced five of them.

“[The modular] provides additional capacity to alleviate the overcrowding at the school,” according to town documents, adding that the modular houses 10 classrooms, restrooms and storage and maintenance space.

The school is now poised for a renovation that will get rid of the two trailers and modular entirely.

John McGranahan, a lawyer representing Fairfax County Public Schools, told the Planning Commission last night that the planning and design for the renovation are in progress.

Permitting is slated to begin in 2021, followed by three years of construction from 2022-2025, McGranahan said, noting that the school will remain open while the work is underway and that most of the construction will happen during the summers.

The renovation is expected to be completed by August 2025. The trailers and modular would get removed once the work is finished, McGranahan said.

The Planning Commission voted in support of permits continuing the use of the modular for five years and the trailers for two years.

Image via Town of Vienna

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An upcoming mural in the City of Falls Church recently raised concerns from some residents over its selection process.

The mural is set to be installed near Mr. Brown’s Park — a space that was known as the city’s downtown plaza before it was renamed to honor the city’s oldest business.

The Falls Church Planning Commission noted during its meeting last week that the mural will be paid for with public funds. Because it is located on private property, it doesn’t need to go through the typical approval process for publically commissioned art, Melissa Teates, a member of the city’s Planning Commission, said.

The Village Preservation and Improvement Society, a local group that aims to preserve the city’s history and culture, disagreed with this decision though.

VPIS said in a letter to the Planning Commission that the project should go through a stricter screening process because public funds are being used.

The letter insisted that a new set of artists bring forth a proposal to a “qualified board” which will prioritize images celebrating the history and people of Falls Church.

“VPIS requests that city staff suspend the contract and reconsider the public process for selecting the mural content,” the letter said.

In the future, Teates said that the Planning Commission is working on a plan for public art, but it has not been completed yet.

Image via Google Maps

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted last night to support two projects that would continue urbanizing Tysons.

Now proposed changes to open the Valo Park office complex up to the public and two developments near the Spring Hill Metro station in Tyson West will head to the Board of Supervisors with favorable recommendations.

Both proposed projects aim to enliven Tysons, Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, noted.

The Planning Commission kicked off its meeting by making a decision on Georgelas LLC’s two proposed mixed-use developments that would redevelop car dealerships along the north side of Tyco Road into West Spring Hill Station and North Spring Hill Station.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the developments back in September. Niedzielski-Eichner requested delays on the decision to allow time for the developer and staff to address concerns with West Spring Hill Station.

Staffer Tracy Strunk outlined the “high points” of the changes the developer made in the resubmission in January:

  • reduced residential, meaning the parks and open space is no longer deficient
  • “brought mix of uses into closer alignment”
  • did new traffic study
  • provided new information on connection to Dulles Toll Road
  • gave more ideas for how surrounding properties could be developed

While the original staff report recommended denial of the project, Strunk said that the staff now support approving both developments even as the proposal is “still a little light on office.”

In response to the comment about the amount of office, Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh who is representing the developer, said that approved projects in Tysons West include millions of square feet of office space.

“So we have just been very cognizant of the amount of office in the area,” Baker said. “We want to be realistic about what can be built on this site.”

Strunk also noted that the proposed ramp will function more as a local street with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour.

“I fully support these applications,” Niedzielski-Eichner said, adding that they, along with The View and Adaire, will further transit-oriented development in Tysons West and make it an “exciting and vibrant place.”

During its second public hearing last night, the Planning Commission took up the proposal that would allow Valo Park in the North Central neighborhood to attract diners, shoppers and people looking to exercise.

The newspaper giant Gannett and cloud computing company Appian are headquartered at the roughly 785,000 square-foot office park (7950 Jones Branch Drive), which was bought by London-based Tamares a few years ago.

Tamares is looking to add shops, at least two restaurants and either a 5,000-square-foot craft beverage production establishment or restaurant on the roof on an existing parking garage. The owner also wants to open the office complex’s current conference center, auditorium and fitness center to the public.

The proposal did not receive any public comment during the hearing. Planning and zoning staff supported the proposed changes, and the Planning Commission voted to also back the plan.

Niedzielski-Eichner called it “a straightforward attempt to bring more people onto the property.”

Now, the Valo Park proposal is slated to head to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing on June 9. The West and North Spring Hill Station developments will get a public hearing before the county board next Tuesday (May 12).

Images 1 and 2 via Fairfax County

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Updated 12:45 p.m. — Updates information on the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on March 24.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has canceled its meetings for the rest of March. Here are the proposed projects that have delayed for consideration this spring.

The Planning Commission was originally set to hold a public hearing tonight (Wednesday) on a continuing care facility near Wolf Trap. The facility would have 172 beds at 9439 Leesburg Pike, according to county documents.

Now, the Planning Commission will consider the proposal on April 22.

A public hearing on plans to open Valo Park, an office park in Tysons, to the public and add restaurants, a 9/11 memorial and a bocce court has been postponed from the now-canceled meeting next Wednesday (March 25) to April 2.

London-based Tamares is looking to redesign roughly 19,000 square feet of the ground floor space and some areas of the garage to accommodate new retail and restaurants, according to the applications submitted to the county.

The plans also include an outdoor gaming area with a bocce court, horseshoes, cornhole and a fire pit. The public would be able to use a 20,000-square-foot health club, along with a possible rock climbing facility.

While the county’s Board of Supervisors will have its meeting on Tuesday (March 24), the public hearing on the office tower near the McLean Metro station will be postponed, according to a county spokesperson.

It’s unclear yet if coronavirus-prompted changes will impact the dates for two mixed-use projects by the Spring Hill Metro stop, which are set to go before the Planning Commission on April 22, and the commission’s hearing in June on a late-night cafe at 7787 Leesburg Pike.

Photo via Valo Park

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission is delaying its decision on two mixed-use developments by the Spring Hill Metro station again.

Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, who represents the Providence District, asked the commission last night (Wednesday) to push its vote on the proposed project to next month.

Niedzielski-Eichner said the postponement is to give more staff more time to review a resubmission and changes by the developer, Georgelas LLC.

The project is split into two parts — North Spring Hill Station and West Spring Hill Station — and would transform current car dealerships along the north side of Tyco Road into commercial and residential units.

Previously, the project has been held up over Fairfax County planners’ concerns that the West Spring Hill Station doesn’t fulfill the Tysons Comprehensive Plan.

The decision was previously postponed from December, when Niedzielski-Eichner said that the Georgelas LLC asked for more time on the application.

The project is now scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on April 22.

Images via Fairfax County

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