Outdoor gathering spaces are all the rage at Birch & Broad, the shopping center formerly known as Falls Plaza.
Property owner Federal Realty Investment Trust cut a ribbon last Friday (Dec. 17) to mark the completion of its nine-month-long effort to renovate the 144,000 square-foot strip mall at 1200 W. Broad Street in Falls Church.
In addition to getting a new name, Birch & Broad overhauled its building facades, replaced the existing signage, and reconfigured some parking to add spaces designed for curbside pickup, though not all of the designated spots had been marked as of Friday.
The centerpiece of the refurbished shopping center is a patio in front of Present Nails salon and Tasty Dumpling that features a gas-lit fireplace and picnic table-style seating.
“We’re really, really happy with the way it turned out,” Federal Realty Vice President of Development Jay Brinson said. “We think the investment that we made in public spaces and gathering spaces is exactly where retail’s going.”
Construction on the renovation began in April. Supply-chain issues held up the delivery of some materials, requiring substitutions, but otherwise, contractor LF Jenning was able to generally adhere to the project’s expected timeline and budget, according to Brinson.
While plans in the works prior to the pandemic, Federal Realty hopes the emphasis on outdoor seating areas, redesigned parking, and other changes will make its half-century-old shopping center more attractive during and after COVID-19 to both tenants and community members.
The real estate company announced last month that it had landed three new tenants. All of them are on track to open by early next summer, led by Crumbl Cookies in March, according to Federal Realty Vice President of Asset Management Deirdre Johnson.
Interior construction work for a fourth upcoming tenant, Taco Rock, could be heard during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Johnson estimates that the fast-casual restaurant and bar is about 60 days away from opening.
Once those spaces are filled, the shopping center will be fully occupied except for one 5,000 square-foot basement space that Federal Realty anticipates being turned into a children’s gym, Johnson says, though no deal is in place yet.
Other changes at Birch & Broad focused on sustainability, including the full adoption of LED lighting, the use of native plants for landscaping, and a handful of electric vehicle charging stations.
The Volta charging stations came courtesy of that company’s partnership with Giant Food, whose anchor store at the shopping center underwent a remodel concurrently with the overall renovation.
“They’ve been rolling that out nationally in cooperation with Federal Realty and several other property owners,” Brinson said of the EV charging stations. “…We’re going to be looking to do more and more of those in the near-future.”
McLean Soccer Field Conversion Reaches Completion — “The Fairfax County Park Authority, in collaboration with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and McLean Youth Soccer Association, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the grand opening of Holladay Field in McLean, Virginia. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.” [FCPA]
Town of Vienna Downsizes Planning Commission — “Seeking to bring the Vienna Planning Commission’s membership in line with those of similarly sized nearby jurisdictions, the Vienna Town Council on Oct. 11 agreed to reduce the commission’s size from nine members to seven…Three Planning Commission members have departed this year.” [Sun Gazette]
Celebree School Tysons to Hold Grand Opening — “Celebree School, a preschool and infant and toddler care center, is celebrating its grand opening in Tysons with a fall festival on Saturday, Oct. 16. The preschool and child care center announced its opening in September at Valo Park, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Urges Flu Shots — The Fairfax County Health Department is encouraging everyone 6 months of age and older to reduce their risk of contracting the seasonal flu by getting vaccinated, ideally before the end of October. Public health nurse Alisa Brooks talks about what people should know about this year’s flu season in a YouTube video. [FCHD/Twitter]
Cyclists, runners, and walkers alike can rejoice as improvements to the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail in Falls Church are complete.
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), City of Falls Church, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), and Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday (Thursday) to unveil separated paths for bicyclists and pedestrians along a renovated section of the 45-mile-long W&OD Trail.
“This is a commitment to the health and safety of our residents and the environment, and it’s a commitment to the future,” City of Falls Church Mayor David Tarter said.
As a part of the W&OD Trail Enhancements Project, dual trails were created along the nearly 1.5 miles of trail from Little Falls Street to North West Street in Falls Church. The objective of the dual trails project is to reduce congestion on the roadways and give cyclists and pedestrians access to two Metrorail stations.
The altered section of trail features an 11-foot-wide path for cycling, an 8-foot-wide path for walkers, and a 2-foot-wide colored and textured median between the two paths to separate trail users traveling at different speeds.
“Today, the W&OD is raising the bar on what a safe, accessible and fun trail looks like,” said Kristin Frontiera, interim executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. “This trail widening is making the W&OD more accessible to more people who will feel welcome and excited to use this trail.”
NVTA, which manages planning, prioritization, and funding for regional transportation projects awarded NOVA Parks more than $3.24 million in regional revenues for the trail enhancements. Contruction on the project launched with a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 26, 2020.
“Today, we celebrate what will soon be recognized as nationally important technology in the construction of this dual lane system that carries our citizens, whether on bicycle or by foot, safely to their destination,” NOVA Parks Chair Cate Magennis Wyatt said. “But what may not be apparent to the eye is the very innovative, thoughtful integration of new and cutting-edge technology that has been integrated into this system.”
In addition to the enhancement of the paved dual trails, officials celebrated the project for its environmentally sustainable design.
The trail now includes several features intended to reduce its environmental impact, such as shallow channels designed to store or convey runoff while removing pollutants. Other features include French drains, pervious pavement areas, and modular wetlands to filter rainwater.
“While we appropriately celebrate this project this morning, let us dedicate to the challenge of pursuing a vision and the performance to make it a reality that, in the words of Bobby Kennedy, does not simply ask ‘why,’ but asks ‘why not,'” Falls Church City Councilmember and NVTA Vice Chair David Snyder said. “And let us commit that in all our endeavors we will work to improve the sustainability, service, and safety for the benefit of all our citizens.”
Man Arrested in Vienna Shooting — A 25-year-old Manassas man has been charged with malicious wounding and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after a shooting in the Navy Federal Credit Union parking lot at 801 Follin Lane SE. Police found a male victim who had been shot in the upper torso around 12:36 a.m. yesterday (Thursday) in what investigators believe was a personal dispute with no greater threat to the community. [Vienna Police Department]
Fairfax County Pushes to Vaccinate Unhoused Residents — “Hutson is one of roughly 1,200 unhoused residents in Fairfax County, according to the county’s January 2021 point-in-time count…Getting COVID-19 vaccines to this transient — and highly vulnerable — population is a major challenge for public health staff like Vukadinovich.” [DCist]
County Seeks Kid-Sized Mask Donations — The Fairfax County Health Department hopes to collect 10,000 new, unused face masks that can fit children who are too young to get vaccinated, particularly toddlers and school-aged kids. Masks can be dropped off at all local police stations and will help the county fill requests from nonprofit partners. [FCHD]
Falls Church Cuts Ribbon on New High School Campus — “It was the major ceremony that officials here have been working toward for more than a decade. At Homecoming Week at Meridian High School, the brand-spanking new $120 million high school facility was formally dedicated with a ribbon cutting last Saturday morning.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Latter-Day Saints Opens New Wolf Trap Church — “A new meetinghouse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been completed in the Wolf Trap area and will offer public tours during an open house. The new meetinghouse at 1632 Crowell Road, Vienna will serve residents of Vienna, McLean, Reston, and other nearby communities. The estimated membership is 600 Latter-day Saints.” [Patch]
Capital One Delays Office Reopening Again — “The McLean-based financial giant has opted not to reopen its offices in a hybrid format Nov. 2. It first announced in June it would reopen in September, then in August delayed that until November. Hybrid remains the plan, but the company will no longer attempt to forecast a date as to when that might be implemented.” [Washington Business Journal]
Capital One Hall Opens — Tysons’ new performing arts venue, which also serves as a corporate event space for Capital One, officially opens its doors to the public today (Friday), with singer Josh Groban putting on the first show at 8 p.m. The theater and classroom facilities will be available to local arts, nonprofit, and charitable community groups at specially negotiated rates by Fairfax County. [Fairfax County Government]
I-495 Lane Closures Start in Tysons Tonight — “The right lane of the southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway Outer Loop) general purpose lanes will be closed along the three bridges over the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267), weather permitting, from 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 4 for bridge joint work…The two right lanes of the southbound I-495 general purpose lanes are scheduled to be closed overnight.” [VDOT]
Founders Row Part 2 Moves Forward — The Falls Church City Council voted 4-3 to let a second phase of Founders Row proceed, potentially bringing 2.07 acres of mixed-use development to the corner of S. West and West Broad streets. Supporters cited developer Mill Creek’s affordable housing commitment and other concessions, while opponents expressed concern about the project’s limited commercial component. [Falls Church News-Press]
Vienna Assisted Living Facility Cuts Ribbon — Silverstone Senior Living and Watermark Retirement Communities executives, public officials, and community members held a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception yesterday (Thursday) for The Providence, a 154-unit assisted living and memory care community that opened in MetroWest near the Vienna Metro station in March. [The Providence Fairfax]
McLean VFD Marks Anniversary With Coloring Contest — The McLean Volunteer Fire Department is holding a coloring contest for local elementary school students in honor of its 100th anniversary and to recognize October as Fire Prevention Month. Students can download an image of the fire station, color it, and mail it to the address on the webpage. Selected in a drawing at the end of the month, the winner will get a visit to their street by the department’s antique Pirsch fire truck. [McLean VFD]
Vienna and Herndon Compete in Caboose Challenge — “The Towns of Vienna and Herndon are facing off in a Caboose to Caboose challenge in October. Residents are encouraged to sign up and participate in the challenge: walk or ride along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail from the Vienna Caboose to the Herndon Caboose or vice versa.” [Patch]
(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) Former Container Store Gets New Name — The former Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike has been dubbed The PARC (People, Art, Recreation, and Community) as Fairfax County, the Tysons Partnership, and Celebrate Fairfax Inc. turn the vacant site into a community events venue. Determined by a social media poll, the name was announced on Friday (Sept. 17) at Celebrate Fairfax’s Tysons Block Party. [Celebrate Fairfax/Twitter]
County to Use Mobile COVID-19 Testing Lab — “The Fairfax County Health Department is deploying its mobile laboratory to provide COVID-19 testing in several locations starting Tuesday, Sept. 21. These mobile testing opportunities are for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to COVID-19.” [FCHD]
Tysons Corner Nordstrom Robbed — A man entered the Nordstrom in Tysons Corner Center (8075 Tyson Corner Center) at 5:22 p.m. on Sept. 11 and took merchandise while assaulting an employee. Three days later, the store was robbed again at 11:17 a.m. by a man who took merchandise and implied he had a weapon as he exited the store. No injuries were reported in either incident. [FCPD]
See New Scotts Run Fire Station — Fairfax County leaders celebrated the opening of the new Scotts Run Fire Station 44 at 1766 Old Meadow Lane with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (Sept. 18). Community members can get a glimpse inside the station, which became operational on Aug. 14, with a virtual tour led by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Lt. Payne. [FCFRD/YouTube]
Police Officers Recognized at Cultural Festival — “Yesterday, our officers participated in the Korean American Festival, KORUS, at Tysons Corner Center. Several of our Korean American officers were recognized for their contributions to our community.” [FCPD/Twitter]
School Boundary Policy Meeting Tonight — Consultants hired by Fairfax County Public Schools will share information about their review of the district’s boundary policy at a virtual public meeting at 7 p.m. today (Monday). Requested by the school board in 2019, the review focuses on what factors should be considered when making boundary changes, rather than the boundaries for specific schools. Register online to get the meeting link. [Dranesville District School Board Member Elaine Tholen]
FCPS Looks to Tighten COVID-19 Protocols — Missed emails have led some Fairfax County Public School students to show up for class when they’re supposed to stay home after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The school system is working with county health officials to speed up the complicated contact-tracing process. [Reston Now]
Abortion and Taxes Take Center Stage at Tysons Forum — Nearly 300 people gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons to hear all six major-party candidates for statewide offices. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe warned that the abortion restrictions approved in Texas on Wednesday (Sept. 1) could come to Virginia if his opponent is elected, while Republican Glenn Youngkin detailed his recently announced tax cuts plan. [Associated Press]
Falls Church Sets Opening Date for Renovated Library — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will reopen next Friday (Sept. 10) after a year-long renovation that expanded the facility by 6,000 square feet, reconfigured the layout, and updated its amenities and infrastructure. City officials and library staff will mark the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with a public grand opening celebration to come later in the fall. [City of Falls Church]
Caliburger Food Truck Coming to The Boro — “Southern California burger joint @caliburgerdc is coming to #TheBoroTysons next year! In the meantime, get a preview of their sunny SoCal style from the CaliBurger Food Truck on Sat evenings from 6:30-8:30pm (beginning 9/4), & lunch on Wednesdays from 11:30am-2pm (starting 9/8).” [The Boro/Twitter]
Photo by ERTRIPP9/Twitter
Police Investigate Offensive KKK Flyers — Bigotry-filled flyers aimed at the Fairfax County School Board were found earlier this week in the Springfield and Sully Districts, apparently distributed by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. School board members and local leaders, including Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and the president of the county’s NAACP chapter, denounced the flyers, which are under investigation by county police and the FBI. [Patch]
County Government Observes Juneteenth — Fairfax County government offices are closed today in recognition of Juneteenth, which falls on Saturday (June 19). Fairfax County Public Library branches are closed, as is the McLean Community Center, but many park facilities are open, and the county’s trash collection services will proceed as normal. [Fairfax County Government]
Athletic Training Facility Opens in Falls Church — Capital City Sports Academy will hold a grand opening ceremony from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) for its new, 4,500 square-foot sports training facility at 3431 Carlin Springs Road. Attendees can meet the owners and coaching staff, take a tour of the facility, and win two months of free classes. [Capital City Sports Academy/Instagram]
Volunteers Clean Up Vienna Park — “As Vienna Little League prepares to host Virginia’s Little League Major Baseball State Tournament in July, George C. Yeonas Park is getting a facelift with the help of two dozen sweaty and hard-working volunteers. On Thursday, around 25 volunteers who work for Dominion Energy showed up at Yeonas Park to tackle projects to improve the fields and other facilities.” [Patch]
Great Falls and North West Street Sidewalks Extended — “After much effort by @fairfaxcounty and @FallsChurchGov staff, and local residents, today we celebrated completion of the NW Street and GF Street sidewalk extensions. It was a beautiful day and I am so glad we were able to gather together in person!” [Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust/Twitter]
Today is the first day of hybrid learning in the City of Falls Church, and for some, it’s an introduction to the recently unveiled new George Mason High School.
Falls Church City Public Schools streamed a virtual ribbon cutting on Sunday (Feb. 21) to open the school and thank everyone involved in the process of completing this project.
“This has been a long time in the making,” FCCPS Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan said. “I just want to thank everybody for your continued support for the last decade or more, making sure we were on track.”
The $108 million project to construct a new high school began in earnest with a bond referendum passed in 2017 to finance the construction. Workers broke ground on the endeavor in June 2019.
Among the features of the new five-story school are a black box theatre, a green roof, fabrication and robotics labs, a gym with an elevated running track, a main gym, and an auditorium. It also includes counseling offices, a café, library and media services, and maker space.
“My friends and I have been watching the schools go through this process of building a new high school since we were in elementary school, and it’s really wonderful seeing the final product,” said Elisabeth Snyder, a senior and the Falls Church City School Board’s student representative. “I can’t wait to learn in this building, and I know students are going to have a wonderful time learning in this building for generations to come.”
The new building is designed for a student capacity of 1,200 to 1,500.
The new high school was built next to the existing one. The school now connects to the adjacent Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School.
“Education has always been the crown jewel of our community and always will be,” City of Falls Church Mayor David Tartar said. “And this school will ensure for years and generations to come, students will be coming and learning the most important lessons in life here in this building.”
The old high school is set for conversion into a mixed-use development known as Little City Commons.
The names of the high school and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School are still subject to change after the city school board voted on Dec. 8 to rename both. The decision came after some community members advocated for the changes following protests against racial injustice and police brutality last year.
The Traveling Players Ensemble plans to celebrate its new permanent home in Tysons Corner Center with a ribbon-cutting later this week.
Founded 18 years ago, Traveling Players trains young artists in grades 3-12 in classical theater, according to a press release from the mall.
Located adjacent to the former Lord and Taylor spot on level one, the 42,000-square-foot studio opened on Jan. 11, Tysons Reporter previously reported.
The ribbon-cutting is set to take place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Feb. 5).
The theater group has plans for later this year.
In March, Traveling Players will perform “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the mall, along with hosting spring and summer camps.
“These shows will be performed in Tysons Corner Center on March 14, 15, 21 and 22 and open to the public,” the press release said.
Photo courtesy Tysons Corner Center