Police Investigate Reported Unlawful Filming — The Fairfax County Police Department is looking to identify a person of interest in the unlawful filming of a minor at the Surf N Suds laundromat at 5715 Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. A teenage girl reported seeing a phone with a camera coming from the ceiling of the women’s bathroom around 7:50 p.m. on Dec. 12. [FCPD/Facebook]
Tysons Retail Enters New Phase of Development — “The face of the retail market in Tysons is changing. A series of new moves in the market, from longtime store closures to first-time openings to mall redevelopments, highlight how the Northern Virginia edge city is entering a new generation of its retail life cycle.” [Bisnow]
FCPS Criticizes Thomas Jefferson Admissions Bill — Fairfax County Public Schools denounced a bill proposed for the Virginia General Assembly’s upcoming session that challenges its new admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. FCPS says the legislation “rests on the fiction that any action taken to increase access for underserved or underprivileged groups is discrimination.” [FCPS]
The PARC to Host “Shop Local Saturday” Markets — “New Year, New Events! Join @CelebrateFFX, this Saturday, Jan. 15, for the 1st Shop Local Saturday Market of the year at The PARC in Tysons! This event is free to attend & will feature 25+ local business and makers who offer a variety of goods!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]
A decade-long fixture of Route 123 is shuttering.
Bed Bath & Beyond confirmed its Tysons store is slated to close permanently at the end of February. A store employee told Tysons Reporter that its lease will end at that time.
Closing sales for the home improvement store began last Thursday (Dec. 30), a manager said. Bed Bath & Beyond didn’t respond to messages seeking additional comment about the closing and how it will affect the workers there.
Bed Bath & Beyond arrived at 2051 Chain Bridge Road in February 2011 as a relocation of a smaller store on Leesburg Pike. At 55,695 square feet in size, the Tysons store was one of the company’s largest U.S. locations when it opened, according to a Washington Business Journal report from that time.
The property is owned by Benderson Development, a Florida-based real estate company that acquired it in 2015 for $29 million. It didn’t immediately respond to messages asking about plans for the site.
The Bed Bath & Beyond news comes as Tysons shoppers brace for the loss of another longtime retail anchor in the form of Tysons Corner Center’s L.L. Bean store, which will close on Jan. 17. The mall also saw its Disney store shutter in September.
As one major Falls Church development takes a step toward completion, another is just getting started.
Developer Atlantic Realty Companies, which owns George Mason Square and nearby buildings, hopes to transform the area with a mixed-use complex dubbed One City Center, which will include 246 residential units, office space, retail, and a grocery store.
“This is an area that has long been planned to evolve into a downtown vibrant hub,” Andrew Painter, an attorney representing the developer, said at a Sept. 27 Falls Church City Council meeting.
As part of the project, the company plans to demolish and replace a rear two-story parking garage with a building that’s nine or 10 stories tall, add a park on a vacant corner lot at South Maple Avenue and West Annandale Road, and create a pedestrian-friendly street — a Dutch-inspired woonerf — with a 30-foot by 40-foot exterior screen.
“The Digital Screen may be used to display art, landscapes, movies and theatrical presentations for ‘screen on the green’ events, coverage of live City events and performances (e.g., Watch Night performances, Memorial Day parade, etc.), promotion of the project’s retailers and City services, and related programming,” a voluntary concessions document from June 23 says.
Other buildings to be demolished include the former BB&T Bank and a tailor business building, where a temporary parking lot would be created during construction.
Atlantic Realty unveiled an initial proposal for the project on Feb. 11 and submitted a second version on June 23. The company is working with Falls Church officials as it seeks to get approval from the city council, possibly on Feb. 28 next year.
An agreement calls for designating 6% of the units — up to 15 units — as affordable. Painter said the developer is working with the city to determine what that would entail.
As part of the application, the developer is seeking special exceptions, one of which includes increasing a building height from a maximum of 75 feet to up to 115 feet.
City Looks at Proposed Concessions
The City of Falls Church has been working with the developer on concessions to make the project become a reality.
Among numerous concessions, a proposed agreement calls for:
- A one-time payment of $1.7 million to schools to offset capital costs, provided all 246 units are built
- 30 public parking spaces
- A 3,000 square-foot conference center (about two-thirds the size of a basketball court) that would be available to commercial tenants in the new development and George Mason Square, nonprofits, and the city for meetings
Painter said the conference space could be used by the city and nonprofits at no cost.
The developer and project leads showcased the potential of the site on a walking tour on Wednesday (Sept. 29), making the case that a new bus shelter, bikeshare, pedestrian crossings, and other upgrades would improve transportation.
Bloomingdale’s is setting up shop at the Mosaic District — with a culinary twist.
The clothing retailer announced today (Wednesday) that it will launch a new concept for a smaller, more tailored store at the Merrifield mixed-use development on Aug. 26.
Dubbed “Bloomie’s,” the 22,000 square-foot venue will feature a rotating assortment of fashion brands as well as the first Virginia location of the Colada Shop, a Caribbean eatery and cafe that started in D.C. in 2016.
“Our new Bloomie’s store will deliver everything [customers] love about Bloomingdale’s in a highly edited, convenient, and unexpected way,” Bloomingdale’s CEO Tony Spring said in a press release. “We’ve been part of the Washington, D.C., metro area community for decades, and we are excited to welcome new and longtime customers to Bloomie’s to be the first to shop this fresh and casual experience.”
Bloomingdale’s plans to introduce a small-store concept at the Mosaic District this fall were first reported in January by the fashion magazine WWD and its sister publication Footwear News. The Mosaic District confirmed the news through social media.
According to Footwear News, Bloomie’s is part of a broader effort by Macy’s Inc. — Bloomingdale’s parent company — to adapt to an uncertain retail landscape that was shifting away from traditional department stores even before the tumult brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Macy’s Inc. laid off about 3% of its workforce last summer, including hundreds of Bloomingdale’s executives, and is in the midst of a three-year downsizing plan that involves shuttering 125 stores and eliminating 2,000 positions, moves that the company projects will save $630 million annually.
Bloomingdale’s Director of Stores Charles Anderson says the company’s familiarity with the D.C. area, which includes a store in Tysons Corner Center, made the Mosaic District a logical place to introduce the Bloomie’s concept.
“We have two powerful existing Bloomingdale’s stores in the area and a vibrant online business, so Bloomie’s enters a market where customers know our brand,” Anderson said in a statement. “We chose this first Bloomie’s location within Mosaic District…because it provides an approachable and convenient location for customers.”
According to Bloomingdale’s press release, the Mosaic District store will emphasize fresh styles, with deliveries of new apparel coming in multiple times a week.
A centralized front desk will provide various customer services, including a returns dropbox, in-store and curbside pickups for online purchases, and customization and alteration services. The fitting rooms will also be outfitted with digital intercoms that customers can use to request assistance.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect of Bloomie’s, however, is its partnership with Colada Shop, which will have an outdoor patio seating area in addition to its indoor dining room.
The restaurant serves coffee, cocktails, and a variety of Caribbean food, including Cuban sandwiches and empanadas, depending on the location. It currently has two sites in D.C. and one location in Potomac, Maryland.
“My team and I are incredibly excited to become part of one of the DMV’s most innovative retail and entertainment communities,” Colada Shop CEO and co-founder Daniella Senior said. “Not only are we energized to bring the Caribbean way of life to Virginia, but we are also honored to be side-by-side with our partners at Bloomie’s and committed to create the most vibrant and sophisticated experiences for our guests.”
The store will mark its arrival in the Mosaic District “pre-opening activations” throughout the month of August and various festivities during the week of its grand opening on Aug. 26, the press release says.
(Updated at 3:45 p.m. on 5/19/2021) Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Tysons continues to grow. While there are many new buildings being built, Tysons Reporter reached out to developers on some of the bigger projects for updates on their construction timelines.
A 1o1-unit luxury condominium high-rise, The Monarch is part of the 19-acre Arbor Row mixed-use development near Tysons Galleria. Construction stalled last year after developer Renaissance Centro parted ways with its construction contractor.
While there is no official timeline for completion, a spokesperson for the project told Tysons Reporter that a new contractor has been selected and should be announced soon. Once the contractor is announced and construction begins, the owners recently told frustrated residents that construction should be complete in 21 to 24 months.
“It is moving forward and we are still selling the condominiums,” Kami Kraft, vice president of the marketing firm The Mayhood Company, said.
Also part of the Arbor Row development, The Mather is a Life Plan Community that will open in two phases, with the first coming in 2023. It will have apartments with access to assisted living, memory care suites, and medical services for residents 62 and older. Phase 1 is already 80% pre-sold, and phase 2 pre-construction sales will begin soon.
The existing structure on the site was demolished in May 2020, and work on various public improvements, including a relocation of site fences, temporary reconfiguration of traffic lanes, and sewer system upgrades, began the week of March 8.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Mather’s parent company Mather created an “interdisciplinary” team to support staff and residents across its facilities and develop infection control protocols.
“These conversations have led to enhancements that will be seen in the design and operations at The Mather in Tysons, such as HVAC systems which will include UV light purification and 100% of air exhausted to the exterior,” Mather Senior Vice President of Sales Gale Morgan said.
Capital One Center
The second phase of construction is currently underway at Capital One Center, a 24.25-acre complex with dining, shopping, outdoor activities, a movie theater, and more attractions coming.
While slightly inconvenienced by the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupting shipments of materials and equipment, the lack of traffic helped construction pick up the pace, according to Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith.
The next big opening will be The Perch, an outdoor space atop Capital One Hall with food trucks, a Biergarten, live music, and more. The skypark is set to open this July, while Capital One Hall — a performance venue with a 1,600-seat theater, a 250-seat black box theater, and other event spaces — is scheduled to open in October.
The 300-room Watermark Hotel is slated to open in late 2021 as an “all-suite lodging facility” set to host “associates of Capital One as well as corporate and leisure guests visiting the region,” according to a job posting made by B.F. Saul Hospitality, which will be managing the property. Read More
The Falls Church City Council will get a staff briefing and presentation during its work session tonight (Monday) on a proposed One City Center mixed-use development just across the street from the still-pending Broad and Washington project.
The discussion is slated for 9:30 p.m., according to the meeting agenda.
Atlantic Realty Companies is proposing an extensive mixed-use apartment building with space for a grocery store and other retail space, as well as commercial and office spaces. The plan includes creating a new traffic circle at the intersection of S. Maple Avenue and W. Annandale Road and designing a Dutch-style “living street” called a “woonerf.”
According to a Falls Church City staff report, Atlantic is proposing to build a development over 4.6 acres at the intersection of W. Broad and S. Washington Streets that features:
- About 17,500 square feet of ground-floor retail
- A 26,500-square foot grocery store at the corner of Maple Avenue and Broad Street
- 13,365 square feet of retail and commercial space on the mezzanine level
- 43,000 square feet of office space
- 246 apartment units across six stories, 15 of which will be set aside for affordable housing
- 9-10 levels of structured parking with 969 spaces
About 75% of the complex will be dedicated to apartment living, leaving 10% for office space and 15% for retail. Atlantic is seeking a special exception from the council to have apartment units in the complex and allow for a 40-foot height bonus, which would bring the building to a maximum of 115 feet.
Atlantic currently owns and manages all the affected properties: the George Mason Square office complex and two-story parking garage, a BB&T Bank, Matt’s Tailor & Bridal Boutique on W. Broad Street, a vacant parcel at the corner of W. Broad Street and S. Maple Ave., and a five-story office building with a surface parking lot.
Atlantic’s commercial program is based on the need for flexibility to help drive foot traffic to the property, Andrew Painter, the developer’s legal representation, said in a letter to the city.
“Traditional format retail has been challenged in recent years by the rise in e-commerce, and COVID-19 has greatly accelerated this trend,” he wrote. “Similarly, the recent increase in virtual meeting services and the escalated pace of technology adoption is having deleterious repercussions on office demand.”
The existing George Mason Square arcade will be removed and replaced with a pedestrian plaza lined with new fast-casual eateries, retailers, and a pedestrian-oriented “woonerf” between the existing and proposed new buildings that may be periodically closed for special events and fairs, according to Painter’s letter.
This “woonerf” will have “high-quality pavers, overhead accent lighting, landscaping, hardscape treatments, and parallel parking for adjacent retailers,” he said.
Painter wrote that these changes will “anchor the project’s eastern entry, activate George Mason Square’s ground floor area, and provide an updated, modern signature asset to the City’s rapidly evolving downtown.”
He noted that Atlantic is proposing a 30 by 40-foot exterior visual screen, which can be used for “screen on the green” events or coverage of live city events.
Painter added that it “will also keep the George Mason Square development competitive from an aesthetic perspective which, in turn, will energize the Applicant’s leasing program and drive tenant demand.”
The grocery store, he said, will be “a new entrant to the City’s grocery store market.”
As for transportation, the project will include a proposed mid-block crossing and a high-intensity activated crosswalk signal on W. Broad Street.
Painter said the proposed traffic circle will “provide a safer intersection for pedestrians and will, in conjunction with the new public park on the Triangle Parking Lot, transform the intersection into a more attractive urban gateway.”
Photos via Falls Church City
(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) The Meridian Group is following up its mixed-use development, The Boro, with plans for an expansion along Westpark Drive.
Fairfax County recently accepted a rezoning application from Meridian that involves about 9.37 acres of land in the west quadrant of Westpark Drive and Greensboro Drive, the developer’s legal representative Elizabeth D. Baker told Tysons Reporter.
The application concerns two buildings in a larger conceptual development plan that calls for four buildings — Buildings I, J, K and L — that will be developed with residential, continuing care, health club, and retail and service uses, she said in an email.
“This development will be an extension of The Boro, which is a successful transit-oriented mixed-use development across Westpark Drive,” said Baker, who is the Senior Land Use Planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh.
Fairfax County accepted plans for Buildings I and K on Feb. 25. It has also accepted and is evaluating a plan for a proposed continuing care facility in Building J by Silverstone Tysons.
Meridian is proposing the following specifications for Building I, which would be adjacent to Westpark Drive:
- Maximum of 200,000 square feet — up to 175,000 square feet for residential use and up to 25,000 for retail
- Maximum of 130 dwelling units, likely condominiums
- Approximately seven stories with a maximum height of 90 feet
- Underground and above-ground parking structures
“In addition to interior residential amenities, Building I includes an elevated outdoor terrace that looks out onto a central park,” Baker said.
Building K would be located west of Building I with frontages on Greensboro Drive. It has the following proposed specifications:
- Up to 430 residential units
- Up to 20,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail use
- Approximately seven stories with a maximum height of 90 feet
- Underground and above-ground parking structures
“Two interior courtyards providing amenities for the buildings’ residents are located atop the parking garage podium,” Baker said.
In addition to a central park, Meridian envisions creating a linear park along Westpark Drive. It would be a combined pedestrian and bicycle circuit designed to accommodate leisure bikers and walkers, according to Baker.
“Known as the Community Circuit, this park will include marked pavement, wayfinding signage, bike and pedestrian amenities, and focal elements such as public art, benches, and specialty landscaping,” she said.
The Meridian Group acquired the National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters building at 8400 Westpark Drive and an adjacent site in 2018, the Washington Business Journal reported. The developer paid $33.7 million to the NADA, which relocated to 8484 Westpark Drive that October.
A separate development is in the works at nearby Westpark Plaza.
The lot at 8401 Westpark Drive will be converted into an interim public “reading park” with new vehicle storage after the Fairfax County Planning Commission granted developer Dittmar’s request to amend its plans on Dec. 9. The amenities will occupy the site until Dittmar kicks off its idling plans for two residential buildings, a new hotel, and retail.
Image via Google Maps