(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) Rape Case Moves to Supreme Court — “A Virginia man who’s serving 65 years in prison for brutally raping two lifeguards in Alexandria and Fairfax County will ask Virginia’s Supreme Court to overturn his convictions, based on the way he was caught. On Tuesday, attorneys for Jesse Bjerke will ask the commonwealth’s highest court to throw out his 2020 conviction and sentence for attacking lifeguards at deserted pools in Fairfax in 2014 and Alexandria in 2016.” [WTOP]
Restaurants Confirmed for Founders Row — Four tenants, all restaurants, have signed leases for a total of 10,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at Falls Church’s Founders Row, developers told the city council’s economic development committee yesterday. The restaurants offer seafood, upscale Asian cuisine, healthy Asian street food location, and ‘elegant modern American cuisine.'” [Falls Church News-Press]
Mosaic District Apparel Company Makes Acquisition — “Custom Ink LLC is finally coming up for air after a very tough 2020…First, the Fairfax custom printing and retail startup is fresh off an acquisition of New York-based corporate gifting company Swag.com, and revenue is around $500 million a year, [CEO Marc] Katz said, up both from 2020 and from 2019, though he declined to share more specifics.” [Washington Business Journal]
Commercial Burglaries Reported — Three commercial burglaries occurred in the
Mosaic McLean District last Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 8-9). The targeted businesses were a Shell gas station and Sun Cleaners on Chain Bridge Road as well as Tysons Florist, where someone painted the walls with graffiti in addition to taking property. [FCPD]
Vienna Chiropractor Prepares for Retirement — “‘I fell in love 34 years ago and as I drove down Maple Avenue on a Sunday morning and found my office space, and I said a little prayer,’ Avedisian said. ‘And the next morning I was signing a lease. I felt very connected, it felt home and felt like this is where I belong.'” [Patch]
Prepare for Remnants of Hurricane Ida — Tropical Depression Ida is expected to hit the D.C. area today (Wednesday). A Flash Flood Watch will take effect this morning, and Gov. Ralph Northam has already declared a state of emergency. Fairfax County says to avoid flooded streets, remove valuables from basements, and ensure storm drains and gutters aren’t clogged, and Falls Church City residents can borrow sandbags until 3 p.m. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
County Grants Program Now Accepting Applicants — Fairfax County’s new Active and Thriving Community Grants Program opened its application portal yesterday (Tuesday) and will accept applicants until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14. Approved on July 27, the program will allocate $10 million in federal relief money to select small businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. [Fairfax County Government]
FCPS Ready to Help Afghan Refugee Students — “[Annandale resident] Tahir is awaiting the arrival of his wife and other children, who were among thousands of Afghans who fled after the Taliban takeover earlier this month…When his family arrives, one of his priorities will be enrolling the children in school. A spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools said faculty and staff are already helping Afghan refugees enroll their children and providing them with additional support to help students adjust to their new environment.” [Inside NoVA]
Longtime Falls Church Crossing Guard Retires — “It was almost like any other day as Audrey Luthman greeted students heading to school Tuesday morning. She’s helped Falls Church students cross the roads safely since 1971, but her work has come to an end…City of Falls Church officials and families gathered Tuesday morning to celebrate Luthman’s 50 years of service and retirement.” [Patch]
Tysons Partnership President and CEO Sol Glasner will retire from the organization, effective Dec. 31, 2021, he confirmed to Tysons Reporter.
Publicly announced yesterday (Thursday) in the Washington Business Journal, his departure will mark the conclusion of a decade-long tenure with the nonprofit tasked with transforming Tysons from an office-dominated suburb into the “walkable, green urban center” envisioned by Fairfax County’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan.
Initially appointed to lead the Partnership on an interim basis, Glasner says he agreed to take on the role of president and CEO indefinitely because he found it fulfilling, but he always planned to step back after four to five years to enjoy his recent professional retirement.
“It’s consistent with what I was planning to do from the beginning, or from the beginning of this particular phase of my relationship with the Partnership,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful experience, and I hope that I’ve made a meaningful impact on Tysons, on Fairfax County.”
A longtime general counsel for The MITRE Corporation, Glasner represented the McLean-based nonprofit as a founding member of the Tysons Partnership, which was formed in early 2011. He chaired the board of directors from 2012 to 2014 and became acting president in 2017 after retiring from MITRE.
Glasner says Tysons has become “a huge success story” over the past 10 years, praising Fairfax County leaders for developing a vision for the area in advance of Metro’s arrival with the opening of the Silver Line Phase 1 stations in 2014.
Led by private and nonprofit stakeholders, the Tysons Partnership is dedicated to establishing and promoting Tysons as a distinct brand by supporting community events and other placemaking efforts, economic growth, and transit-oriented development.
“I think we’ve evolved tremendously to have a solid and constructive impact on boosting Tysons as a unified place, tying together what would otherwise be…siloed real estate projects and bringing them together into a cohesive, unified urban community,” Glasner said.
While the Partnership has been mostly funded by member dues, it has also gotten public money in the form of Economic Opportunity Reserve grants from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which first awarded $1 million in matching funds in 2019 for an ongoing rebranding initiative.
A second EOR grant was approved on July 27 to support more branding activities and the installation of a mural outside the former Container Store on Leesburg Pike. The arts project is expected to be finished in October and will help turn the space into “a stage” for community events and activities in conjunction with Celebrate Fairfax, Glasner says.
However, Glasner says the Tysons Partnership will ultimately need a new business model to have long-term stability in terms of both governance and financing.
As the Washington Business Journal has reported, one option is a business improvement district that would be funded by a tax levied on property owners in the area. If that happens, Tysons would be Fairfax County’s first BID, but the concept has caught on elsewhere in the D.C. region, including neighboring Arlington County.
“Tysons is four square miles. It’s the economic heartbeat to the county,” Glasner said. “The Partnership as an organization needs to build itself up as a more robust, deeper capacity, higher performing type [of] organization.”
For his last four months with the Partnership, Glasner says his main goals are to work with the county on a sustainable business model and to keep the organization active in trying to create a sense of place and community in Tysons, which he admits has been difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While vaccinations have enabled the return of some communal activities, such as last week’s Tysons Block Party at the former Container Store, the recent rise in coronavirus cases has revived the unpredictability that has become familiar since March 2020.
“We’re planning things for the next two or three months, both indoors and outdoors, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about what we’re actually going to be able to do, what people are going to be comfortable with,” Glasner said. “This is a moving target, so there’s no question that it’s difficult.”
(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
McLean Community Center Executive Director George Sachs officially announced yesterday (Thursday) that he will retire on May 7 after more than a decade in the position.
MCC started advertising for the executive director job in December, signaling that Sachs would step down.
Though he has been preparing to retire since enrolling in the county’s deferred retirement option program three years ago, Sachs is still coming to terms with the prospect of leaving MCC.
“Really, I don’t want to leave,” Sachs admitted. “It’s just that I’ve come to a realization in my life. I turn 70 years old, and looking back and looking forward to what I want to do, I’m ready…to move forward.”
For Sachs, serving as MCC’s chief administrative officer was the culmination of a nearly five-decade career that began in 1974 when he got his first full-time job working at Fairfax County’s recreation department.
Sachs went on to work at the Fairfax County Park Authority for five years, a tenure that included opening the county’s first RECenter at Wakefield Park. The facility is now known as the Audrey Moore RECenter.
Sachs first joined MCC as its deputy director in 1991 after managing the recreation and sports facilities at George Mason University for nearly 10 years. He spent four years with MCC before moving to South Carolina, where he owned and operated his own chain of health and fitness centers.
However, after the Great Recession hit in 2008, Sachs says he struggled to compete as a small business owner. He decided to return to Fairfax County in 2009, when MCC hired him again, this time to manage the Old Firehouse Teen Center.
Appointed as MCC’s executive director in 2010, Sachs shepherded MCC through an extensive $8 million overhaul of its Ingleside Avenue center, a five-year process that involved relocating staff to four different sites around McLean and culminated with a reopening in 2018.
“It gave more space and openness to the center,” Sachs said of the renovation. “…It’s just more inviting for people to come in. When you come in the center now, you can actually see that there’s activity in the center.” Read More
McLean Community Center Executive Director George Sachs will retire next year, MCC Marketing and Communications Director Sabrina Anwah confirmed to Tysons Reporter yesterday (Monday).
Sachs has served in the role for more than a decade, a tenure that includes overseeing the massive, $8 million renovation of the community center’s Ingleside Avenue facility that was completed in December 2018.
While more details about Sachs’s decision to retire likely won’t come until the new year, MCC has put out an advertisement for the position on the Fairfax County government’s job database.
As the MCC’s chief administrative officer, the executive director plans, organizes, and manages the agency’s facilities, programs, and services, which range from community events and classes to musical and dramatic performances at the 386-seat Alden Theatre.
According to the job posting, the executive director is also responsible for hiring and training both professional and volunteer staff, supervising MCC’s website and public communications, reviewing the budget, and serving as a liaison to elected officials as well as local public and private groups, among other duties.
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor’s degree in arts administration, recreation administration, or a closely related field; plus five years of progressively responsible supervisory experience administering diversified recreational or cultural programs, preferably in a large recreational or cultural facility. A master’s degree may be substituted for one year of the required experience.
CERTIFICATES AND LICENSES REQUIRED:
The following must be obtained within 90 days of employment:
- First Aid
- Strong leadership skills with the ability to foster a healthy organization and encourage teamwork and collaboration.
- Demonstrated success and experience in recreation operations, planning and programming.
- Ability to identify and mitigate risk in operations.
- Experience with budget development and management.
- Ability to oversee a robust communications and marketing strategy.
- Experience overseeing capital projects and improvements.
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.).
- Knowledge of virtual meeting and conferencing platforms.
NECESSARY SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS:
- The appointee to the position must satisfactorily complete a criminal background check, credit check, and Child Protective Services check.
- Must be able to communicate with others verbally and in writing.
The job posting notes that the position requires frequent evening meetings, along with occasional weekend and holiday work. Applicants may also be required to lift up to 15 pounds, and while the job “is generally sedentary in nature,” the ability to read and work on a computer is essential.
The advertised salary range is between $95,447 and $159,078 annually.
The posting is scheduled to close at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 15. MCC will hold panel interviews to select its next executive director.
Lee Highway Blocked — Updated at 9:05 a.m. — “Lee Highway is shut down in both directions at Kalmia Lee Court in Falls Church due to utility wires across the roadway. Please use an alternate route as you travel this morning.” [Twitter]
Longtime Local Firefighter Retires — “Today Master Technician George Hood from Station 13, Dunn Loring, B-Shift is serving the residents of Fairfax County one last time. He will be retiring after 34 years of dedicated service at the end of this shift.” [Facebook]
McLean Girl’s Struggle with Arthritis — “Last August, 2-year-old Reese Sheers began waking up, saying she was stuck and couldn’t move her arms. Then it started happening every two hours, and she couldn’t roll over or sit up in her crib. She would get better as the day went on, but the pain would become frequent enough that the family would seek medical help.” [Patch]
Author Signing Books in Tysons Tonight — Columnist Michael Tomasky will be signing copies of his new book “If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved,” at the Tysons Barnes & Noble store tonight. [Instagram]
Discussion of the Gender Pay Gap — “The Women of Temple Rodef Shalom (2100 Westmoreland St., Falls Church) will be hosting a comprehensive forum titled, ‘Gender Pay Gap and You’ as a part of the fifth annual Women’s Empowerment Program on Sunday, Feb. 10.” [Falls Church News-Press]
More on Bulova Retirement — “Sharon Bulova, the genial and pragmatic chairman of Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors, won’t seek reelection next fall, ending a 30-year career in which she helped lead Virginia’s largest jurisdiction through dramatic growth, a financial crisis and sweeping demographic change.” [Washington Post, FairfaxNews]
Vinson Hall Birthday Milestones — “4,588 years. 1,674,620 days. 40,190,880 hours… That’s the combined years, days, or hours of life – depending on how you calculate it – that forty-seven residents of the Vinson Hall Retirement Community have achieved, and what staff, family and friends had gathered to celebrate on Monday, Nov. 26, at the complex of living facilities in McLean. [McLean Connection]
Remembering the 1973 Oil Embargo — “It was 45 years ago this holiday season that Vienna went holiday-light-free to conserve energy. According to town officials, in December 1973 the town government opted to install, but then not light, Christmas street decorations, while Town Council members asked residents and businesses to keep Christmas lighting to a minimum and decorate with non-lighted outdoor displays.” [InsideNova]
New Lights for FCPD Cars — The Fairfax County Police Department is testing out new red and blue lights for its cruisers. Traditionally, the department’s lights have been all blue. [Twitter]
Fairfax Supervisor Linda Smyth, whose Providence district includes Tysons, announced at a Board of Supervisors meeting earlier today (Tuesday) that she will not be running for reelection.
At the meeting, Smyth said she will be retiring next year.
“It’s truly been a pleasure to work with all of you, but this will be my last term in office. I will retire at the end of next year. But, I suspect this will be a busy year in Providence. We may have a lot of land use to finish up, so I am apologizing in advance for everything that may need to get done next year and asking for your patience with all of it.”
Fellow local officials were quick to share their thanks and congratulations to Smyth.
Congratulations to Supervisor Linda Smyth (Providence District) on announcing her retirement at today’s Board meeting. Thank you for your years of dedication and service to Fairfax County.
— Supervisor Pat Herrity (@PatHerrity) December 4, 2018
Supervisor Smyth has been a valued colleague on the Board of Supervisors. Her meticulous work on land use and transportation issues have resulted in tremendous progress to revitalization & redevelopment areas of the county such as Tysons and Merrifield. https://t.co/fDR1LLrzGQ
— Sharon Bulova (@SharonBulova) December 4, 2018
Smyth was elected in 2003, then reelected in 2007 and 2011. Smyth’s district includes Tysons and Merrifield, both of which have seen substantial development since she was first elected.
Smyth’s announcement is part of a shakeup on the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor John Cook (R) from the Braddock District announced that he would not be running for election again.
The Washington Post reports that Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D) and Hunter Mill’s Supervisor Catherine Hudgins (D) are also deciding whether or not to run again. The Hunter Mill district includes Vienna and Reston.
Virginia is a good place to retire and Fairfax County is the best locality in the state for retirees, according to new rankings from SmartAsset.
The company says Fairfax is No. 1 thanks to a variety of factors, including proximity to parks, medical care, shopping centers and other amenities.
If you’re looking to retire in the great outdoors, Fairfax County may be the perfect place for you. The region houses many national parks, including Great Falls National Park and Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first sanctuary for bald eagles. You can also visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
You’d also have more than 300 miles of hiking trails to tackle as you stay active. In fact, the Fairfax County Park Authority runs more than 400 parks among more than 20,000 acres. Some feature wildlife preserves and working farms. But nature isn’t Fairfax’s only perk. You also have more than 200 regional shopping centers. And don’t worry too much about your wallet. The region’s mid-range 16.7% tax burden falls well below that of major cities. So it would behoove you to invest in tax-advantaged savings vehicles like a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA). And where can you use your hard earned savings? At tons of recreation centers, including an ice-skating rink and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. You also have more than 800 playgrounds you can bring the grandkids to. And if you need it, Fairfax has more than 13 medical centers per 1,000 people. Overall, Fairfax County is definitely the place to retire in if you love the outdoors and still want some action in your life.
Also making the list: Falls Church at No. 2 — “perfect for the person who also likes a vibrant city lifestyle” — and Vienna at No. 7 — “those who enjoy the arts or intend to focus on continuing education will feel right at home.”