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.”
Plans for the senior housing call for the construction of a 16-story building with 275,000 square feet of gross floor area and up to 210 beds with 198 rooms. Of those rooms, 118 will be designated for independent living, 56 for assisted living and 24 for memory care. The facility is not anticipated to have skilled nursing care.
The other parcels include two workforce and market-rate residential buildings with approximately 34,000 square feet of retail, with one block offering 122 residences and the other 421 residences. The two buildings could be complete in 2024.
The final block is planned for town homes or a health club to supplement a park at the corner of Clover and Broad streets.
The planning commission’s approval of the plans and rezoning application for the senior living facility comes on the heels of an Oct. 6 public hearing, where citizens shared comments about accessibility, stormwater management, the design of streetlights, and more.
In terms of stormwater management, county staff explained the inclusion of bioretention tree pits in the project to treat storm water from adjacent roadways.
“On this particular application, it’s treating more than 30% of the storm water generated on this site,” Katie Quinn, from the county’s department of planning and development, said.
“I think, more broadly, staff acknowledges and appreciates the concern of having these next to parking lanes, and we’ll be doing some more research internally to see if there’s something differently we can do going forward to address that concern.”
Quinn also noted that landscaping amenity panels planned next to on-street parking will have an 18-inch step off between the curb and tree pits, but there will be breaks in the panels “so that someone can kind of cut through the landscape amenity panels to get to the sidewalk.”
Elizabeth Baker, a land-use lawyer with Walsh Colucci who represented The Meridian Group, gave the commission a commitment to provide the same kind of lighting on this new portion of The Boro as originally provided, while keeping with the Tysons Urban Design Guidelines.
In response to a query about providing an alternative to dog parks, Baker said the project will include multiple parks and proposed an additional proffer to provide pet waste stations in each park and on Clover Street.
Lynne Strobel, an attorney representing Silverstone, responded to concerns about emergency access for residents at the facility by saying that the drop-off area provided on Boro Place will allow easy access to the building for emergency responders, and that the garage will also have an area designed for non-emergency pickups.
Before Wednesday’s voting concluded, however, multiple members of the commission emphasized the need for conscious thought and planning for accessibility to be implemented in The Boro going forward.
“I think that we need — and I mean both applicants and the county staff — to think more carefully and creatively about accessibility issues throughout Tysons,” said John Ulfelder, who serves as the planning commission’s vice chairman and represents Dranesville District.
“The fact is, this is a new city, highly diverse, something for everyone, and we’re trying to make certain that everybody with accessibility issues are fully accounted for and included in the new urban community.”
Metrorail Returns Normal Service After Train Derailed — “On Friday, October 15, normal service will resume on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. Intermittent delays are possible as the investigation into Tuesday’s derailment continues.” [WMATA]
Vienna ExxonMobil Now Serves Up Indian Cuisine — “Raja and Bindu Puri opened Chit Chaat cafe inside the gas station at 200 Maple Avenue E a few months ago. The husband and wife do all the prep and cooking. Their children Neil, Maggie, and Nikki take on respective roles in operations, finance, and social media. Although it’s not the family’s first restaurant, it’s their first one surrounded by fuel pumps.” [DC Eater]
Sexual Assault Reported Near Bailey’s Crossroads — Fairfax County police are looking for two men who reportedly broke into a woman’s apartment in the 6000 block of Knollwood Drive around 5:10 a.m. yesterday morning (Thursday). The woman told police that she woke up to one of the men sexually assaulting her. He punched her, and they ran from the apartment. [WTOP]
Tysons Senior Living Development Lands Construction Financing — “Mather, an award-winning senior living provider, announces that it has secured $300 million in construction financing for The Mather, a luxury Life Plan Community being constructed in Tysons, Virginia, with the syndicated transaction led by The Huntington National Bank. Expected to open in 2024, The Mather is a $500 million development.” [The Mather]
I-66 Paving Work to Close Lanes and Ramps in Vienna — I-66 East will be reduced from four to three travel lanes throughout the day tomorrow (Oct. 16), with just a single lane open overnight today and tomorrow. The Nutley Street North and South ramps will also be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for paving work as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [VDOT]
Tysons Consultant Plans Major Spending — “Tysons-based consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton plans to step up its spending on acquisitions over the next few years, targeting companies…in areas such as healthcare technology and cybersecurity services, the Wall Street Journal reported. Booz Allen plans to spend about $4 billion between April 2022 and March 2025, largely on acquisitions, executives said last week at the company’s investor day.” [Fairfax County EDA]
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]
NOVA Welcomes Afghan Refugees with Beds and Donations — Several hundred refugees and Special Immigrant Visa recipients arrived at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus on Saturday (Aug. 21) after being evacuated from Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover. The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management set up more than 500 cots, while volunteers provided food, water, and donated clothes and other supplies. [The Washington Post]
Person of Interest ID’d in Burke Double Homicide — “Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, have identified a person of interest who they say lived at the Burke home where two female victims were found dead on Friday. It is being treated as a double homicide by detectives. Authorities said in a news release that Bradley Lister, 33, is currently unaccounted for.” [WTOP]
Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care Reopens Today — “Adult Day Health Care teams are reviewing health and safety protocols as our centers plan their reopening (on Monday in Lewinsville, and Sept. 7 for other locations). We are looking forward to welcoming back our participants to our program!” [Fairfax County Health Department/Twitter]
Inova Hosts Back-to-School Health Clinic — “Visited the @InovaHealth back to school clinic in Falls Church this am- they were expecting 350 but had over 1000 patients show up for physicals & school immunizations & to enroll in expanded Medicaid – spent most of my time handing out water and snacks to kids in line” [Del. Marcus Simon/Twitter]
(Updated on 9/2/2021) The former National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters building will be demolished this month to make way for a planned expansion of The Boro, the developer behind the Tysons mixed-use neighborhood announced today (Monday).
Extending The Boro to the north side of Westpark Drive, the vacated office complex will ultimately be replaced by approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space, more than an acre of public park and active recreational space, and more than 800 residential units, The Meridian Group says.
“This next phase will continue to deliver on the goals and objects of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, including increased connectivity, walkability, balanced housing, vibrant streetscapes with active storefronts, and exceptional public amenities like the first installation of a Tysons-wide cultural and recreational trail,” The Meridian Group Senior Vice President Tom Boylan said in a statement.
The project will involve development on four parcels:
- Block J: the 16-story Silverstone Senior Living building, which will have 197 units, 79 of them dedicated to assisted living and memory care, and ground-floor retail. Construction could start by the end of this year, and the Dallas-headquartered senior living provider expects to finish the project in late 2023.
- Blocks I and K: workforce and market-rate residential buildings with approximately 34,000 square feet of retail. Co-developed by Meridian and the real estate firm Akridge, Block I will consist of 122 residences, and Block K will offer 421 residences. The two buildings could be complete in 2024.
- Block L: townhomes or a health club to supplement a park at the corner of Clover and Broad Streets
In a news release, Meridian says its Boro expansion will introduce a new grid of streets with a signalized, pedestrian-only crossing at the Whole Foods entrance and “pedestrian connections” at Westpark Drive’s intersections with Greensboro Drive and a new road called Broad Street.
In a rezoning application submitted to Fairfax County in May, the developer says Broad Street will be a private road that will eventually stretch past The Boro’s northern property line to Spring Hill Road.
Meridian also proposes adding a new public street called Clover Street to connect Broad and Greensboro and extending Boro Place as a private road across Westpark, which is currently divided into six lanes by a median with Greensboro and Route 7 as the closest traffic lights.
A five-story-high glass corridor bridge will be constructed over Boro Place to link Blocks I and K.
In addition, an on-road bicycle lane will be added to Broad Street, but the application says one along Westpark Drive “is not possible due to existing right-of-way constraints.”
According to Meridian’s press release, its expansion of The Boro will further fulfill the county’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan by adding bicycle share locations, new dedicated bicycle lanes, two new bus stops, a dedicated Tysons Circulator travel lane, and three blocks of an “active recreation amenity” that it calls the Tysons Circuit.
“The Tysons Circuit will include interpretative signage, benches, landscaping, and specialty paving, which together will form a distinct and unique pathway along Westpark Drive down to Leesburg Pike,” the press release said.
The plan also calls for a linear ribbon park system dubbed Allsboro Park that will feature garden and seating areas, public art, and a pickleball court.
Opened in 2019, The Boro turned the government contractor SAIC’s former campus into a mixed-use space with luxury high-rise apartments, the office-oriented Boro Tower, restaurants, and the mid-Atlantic region’s largest Whole Foods.
Meridian purchased the NADA building for $33.7 million in 2018 in anticipation of the development’s expansion.
Earlier this summer, a massive mural was unveiled at The Boro, accompanied by a new pop-up bar from The Sandlot. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (1669 C Silver Hill Drive) also opened there this spring, and the Australian coffee shop Bluestone Lane could open this month.
Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik’s office declined to comment on specifics of the application, because it is pending with county hearings scheduled in October. Spokesperson Caroline Coscia said the applicant also intends to re-submit the application on Friday (Aug. 13).
The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the project at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, and the Board of Supervisors is slated to hold its hearing at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 19.
Map via Fairfax County
Fairfax County will soon offer in-person adult day health care services for the first time since they were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
The Adult Day Health Care program announced on Thursday (Aug. 5) that the Lewinsville center (1611 Great Falls Street) will reopen on Aug. 23, followed by the Herndon Harbor (875 Grace Street), Lincolnia (4710 North Chambliss Street), and Mount Vernon (8350 Richmond Highway) centers on Sept. 7.
“We are confidently and safely reopening at this time and look forward to welcoming our participants back home,” Adult Day Health Care Program Manager Natalia Giscombe-Simons said in a statement. “This pandemic has taken a toll on older adults. After so much time in isolation, our participants will be able to enjoy the social, health and wellness benefits of our service once again.”
Adult Day Health Care provides therapeutic, recreational, and social activities during the day for adults with physical and cognitive disabilities, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Relatively high vaccination rates, particularly among senior residents, convinced the county’s Adult Day Health Care leaders that this would be the right time to bring the program back, according to the announcement on the Caregiver Insights blog.
As of yesterday (Sunday), 64.6% of Fairfax Health District residents have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, including more than 92% of adults between 65 and 84 years of age. About 80% of people in the 55-64 and 85-plus age groups have received a dose.
According to the program website, the availability of staff factored into the reopening schedule as well. When the centers closed last year, most Adult Day Health Care workers were reassigned to support the Fairfax County Health Department’s COVID-19 response, assisting with testing, vaccinations, and other needs.
“Now, the pandemic response operation is able to release these staff members back to Adult Day Health Care to continue their work with the service,” the county website says.
The Lewinsville center will open sooner than the others because it is the biggest space, making it the most appropriate facility for a two-week pilot period to implement the program’s new health and safety protocols, according to the county.
When the centers reopen, face masks will be required for both participants and staff. Fairfax County announced on Friday (Aug. 6) that masks are now mandatory in all county facilities, effective today (Monday).
The centers will also follow social distancing guidelines and further emphasize cleaning and health monitoring, according to the blog post:
The Centers always followed a strict protocol for deep cleaning and disinfection of its centers, but now this has been elevated even more to include enhanced cleaning of high contact areas, door handles, counter tops, hand railings, and other high-touch areas in between center activities. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the centers, with distribution occurring regularly. The centers are professionally cleaned each night.
Health care monitoring, another Adult Day Health Care program cornerstone, is also elevated with new procedures in place to ensure there is no infection spread should a participant fall ill. Additionally, caregivers will be required to complete a daily health screen for the participant each day they are at the center.
The Adult Day Health Care program says that “almost all” of its staff are vaccinated. Vaccinations are “highly encouraged” but not required for either employees or participants at this time.
Enrollment will be limited by the health and safety protocols, but the program will permit single-day enrollments, as opposed to the usual two-day minimum, to accommodate as many people as possible.
The county says the program’s activities will largely be unchanged, but there will be no volunteer-led activities, and family members won’t be allowed to join participants for lunch or activities.
“We will adapt this policy as needed in the future,” the Adult Day Health Care website says.
Tropical Storm Elsa Heads to Virginia — After leaving Florida behind, Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to bring heavy rain and strong winds along the East Coast from Georgia to New England through Friday. Forecasts show the storm passing to the east, but the D.C. area on I-95 could get some rain and breezy conditions tonight. [Capital Weather Gang]
Falls Church Developer Proposes More Senior Housing — “The Falls Church Gateway developer partnership getting underway with work on the 9-acre site of the former George Mason High School came to the F.C. City Council Monday with a request, granted a preliminary vote by a 7-0 margin, to expand the senior living building set for the site from 225,000 square feet to 260,000, including a height increase to 15 stories to accommodate up to 215 units.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Cause of Bird Deaths Still Unknown — The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources received more than 1,400 reports of sick or dying birds in Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, between May 23 and June 30. No cause has been identified yet, but symptoms of the illness include eye swelling and neurological issues. [Vienna Police/Twitter]
Travel Ban Puts Falls Church Couple’s Wedding Plans at Risk — “The pandemic has prevented a couple from Falls Church, Virginia, from walking down the aisle, and now they say they’ll lose $30,000 if the U.S. travel ban on citizens from Britain and other European nations isn’t lifted soon.” [WTOP]
A majority of Fairfax County’s senior centers have reopened, allowing residents to come in to workout, play games, and use the computers.
Eight of the county’s 14 senior centers opened their doors on June 29 for the first time since March 2020 for “self-directed activities,” meaning those that are not led by staff like card games, ping-pong, billiards, working out in the fitness room, and using the computer labs.
The centers that are now open are:
- Herndon Senior Center (873 Grace Street, Herndon)
- Kingstowne Center for Active Adults (6488 Landsdowne Center, Alexandria)
- Lewinsville Senior Center (1613 Great Falls Street, McLean)
- Lincolnia Senior Center (4710 North Chambliss Street, Alexandria)
- Little River Glen Senior Center (4001 Barker Court, Fairfax)
- Lorton Senior Center (7722 Gunston Plaza, Lorton)
- Sully Senior Center (14426 Albemarle Point Place, Chantilly)
- Wakefield Senior Center at Audrey Moore RECenter (8100 Braddock Road, Annandale)
Residents can use any of the centers, even if it’s not their usual one. Lunch and bus service can also be provided by calling the individual center.
However, the centers currently have limited hours, operating from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
Residents also have to sign a liability waiver prior to visiting. Masks are still required for those who are not fully vaccinated, but are optional for those who are.
The remaining six centers will reopen on Sept. 7, with the exception of Hollin Hall in Alexandria, which is undergoing renovations.
At that time, all of the centers will revert to “full capacity,” including bringing back instructor and staff-led activities, a spokesperson for the county’s Neighborhood & Community Services says.
The senior centers cater to residents 50 years and older.
Three quarters of the Fairfax Health District’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and those rates are even higher for those residents over the age of 55. About 93% of residents 65 to 84 years old have received at least one dose.
Vaccination efforts have allowed more and more county services and facilities to open back up.
“The county’s senior centers are a lifeline for our older residents, providing them with opportunities to exercise, play games, take classes and most importantly socialize with each other,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said by email. “The pandemic was especially isolating for older adults, taking a toll on both mental and physical health. It is a very welcome step forward to open up several of the senior centers now and have the full reopening in September.”
Virtual activities, classes, and programs will continue to be offered throughout the summer for those who prefer to remain at home or want to participate in a staff-led activity. These include Tai Chi, crossword puzzling, and crafts.
(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) When residents at McLean’s Vinson Hall Retirement Community wanted outdoor recreation during the pandemic, retired Marine Col. Mike Cluff grabbed a pickax and sledgehammer and built the sought-after amenity himself.
Decades before he became a resident at Vinson Hall (6251 Old Dominion Dr.), Cluff oversaw the building of an encampment in Vietnam and was present during the Tet Offensive in 1968.
More recently, he put his “keep moving” mentality to use to construct horseshoe and bocce ball pits for the McLean retirement community, an approximately 400-room facility that focuses on caring for military veterans and their families as well as high-ranking former federal government employees.
“The genesis of this was…everyone wanted to play outside,” Michelle Crone, director of philanthropy and engagement for the Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation, said.
As Vinson Hall’s philanthropic arm, the foundation supports facility renovations and provides financial assistance to residents in need.
Cluff, 82, was motivated to construct the horseshoe and bocce pits by fellow Vinson Hall resident Midge Holmes, who is active with getting people involved and wanted residents to be able to play horseshoes.
After looking up plans for horseshoe pits online, Cluff worked with the retirement community to get the materials he needed and spent a few weeks during the spring of 2020 finishing the project, which is located on the site of a former house that was demolished years ago and is now becoming an outdoor recreation area.
Vinson Hall later added artificial turf to the horseshoe and bocce ball pits to help with maintenance. A multi-surface area next to them is under construction and could facilitate more outdoor activities, such as pickleball, which was played inside at the facility until the pandemic halted it.
The new outdoor recreational area is one of several capital projects that Vinson Hall has undertaken during the pandemic after getting a financial boost, thanks to a Fairfax County Economic Development Authority measure that let the retirement community refinance bonds that had been previously issued to fund campus improvements.
Vinson Hall Chief Financial Officer Rick Bova says the move will bring savings and help improve the lives of residents and staff by supporting property upgrades and salary increases for staff.
The retirement community is refinancing around $70 million in debt to get a savings of some $10 million to $12 million over a 12-year period with the economic development assistance, he says. The FCEDA approved the measure on June 14, and the money is being facilitated by Truist Bank.
“In our business, every dollar counts,” Bova said.
Among the ongoing improvements is a renovation of The Sylvestery (1728 Kirby Rd.), a memory care unit that assists residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Other proposed changes include enhanced lighting and other additions to the memory care unit’s sensory room, which offers an array of items for residents to touch and interact with, from stuffed animals to tropical colored bowling pins.
Called a sensory oasis, the room helps patients with dementia calm down, says Antionette Doublin, senior director and administrator of the skilled nursing facility Arleigh Burke Pavilion and The Sylvestery. Research shows that multisensory sessions can help verbal agitation and provide other benefits.
“So, we bring them in here, and it calms them down,” Doublin said.
The Sylvestry is also getting a central kitchen area that can host cooking demonstrations. The project is currently under construction and could be finished in two to three weeks.