Several companies in the Tysons area have earned bragging rights for their efforts to reduce vehicle trips.
The University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research announced its annual lists of the Best Workplaces for Commuters and Best Sites for Commuters on Thursday (Jan. 27), recognizing employers and urban projects across the country that promote transit, carpools, vanpools, and telework.
“Receiving this designation is a significant accomplishment,” Best Workplaces for Commuters program manager Julie Bond said in a press release. “Employers named to the list demonstrate a strong commitment to their employees by providing outstanding commuter programs, like telework, discounted transit passes, bicycle-friendly amenities, rideshare solutions, and emergency ride home programs.”
Awardees in the immediate area includes the following:
- Archer Hotel Tysons
- Bart & Associates
- Citizens’ office at Fairview Park
- Hilton McLean Tysons Corner
- IronNet Cybersecurity
- Ross, Langan & McKendree
- Strategic Resources, Inc.
- The Boro (Best Site)
- The MITRE Corporation
- Towers Crescent (Best Site)
- Tyson Corner Center’s Access Tysons concierge service (Best Site)
- Wells + Associates
The first Best Workplaces for Commuters list was unveiled in 2002 by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation as an outgrowth of a federal commuter choice initiative started in 1999, according to the program’s website.
The Center for Urban Transportation Research took over the program in 2007.
To get the designation, employers must meet environmentally friendly standards and pay membership dues.
According to its website, workplaces must meet criteria across three tiers.
To qualify, an employer must offer one primary benefit, such as employer-paid tax-free transit or vanpool passes, teleworking, bicycling or parking cash-out (enabling workers to trade free parking for its cash equivalent).
Other standards, such as supporting benefits and commitments, must also be met.
There’s flexibility for how those standards are met, though, so if a place doesn’t have bicycle racks or shower facilities, it could still fulfill the criteria with other benefits, such as bus stop amenities and an on-site business center.
The Best Sites designation is for commercial developers, shopping malls, corporate campuses, and other developments with multiple employers.
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Monday, Dec. 6
- Santa on the Antique Fire Engine — 5:30-6 p.m. daily throughout December — Jolly Old St. Nicholas spreads the holiday cheer, distributing candy canes, on daily runs with the McLean Volunteer Fire Department.
Tuesday, Dec. 7
- A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live On Stage — 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) — A new touring production featuring actors who sing music and dance comes to Capital One’s new performance venue. Tickets start at $39.50.
Wednesday, Dec. 8
- Holiday Tea & Sweets — 12:30-2 p.m. at St. Mark Catholic Church (9970 Vale Road) — Kick off the holiday season with treats and people ages 55 and up. Cost is $10.
- Virtual Health & Care Job Fair (Online) — 1-4 p.m. — Inova, Sunrise Senior Living, and more than 30 other employers from the health and caregiving industries will participate in this free job fair hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Work in Northern Virginia. Register online in advance.
Thursday, Dec. 9
- Secret Things — 7:30 p.m. at 1st Stage Theatre (1524 Spring Hill Road) — A journalist investigates mysterious tips in her hometown involving Mexican-Americans and Judaism. Tickets are $50 with steep discounts available. The show runs through Sunday (Dec. 12).
Friday, Dec. 10
- Mayor and Town Council Holiday Reception — 4-6 p.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center Street S) — Enjoy refreshments while engaging with Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert and the town council in an informal, festive setting.
- Disney in December — 7 p.m. at George C. Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike) — The school’s student choir performs songs from Disney movie classics. Shows also take place on Saturday at 1:30 and 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 11
- Story Time with Santa — 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — Holiday stories, photos, hot cocoa, and more fill this free event, along with a Toys for Tots donation drive. The nonprofit Turning the Book will have a pop-up book store on the site from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Holiday Market — 12-5 p.m. at The PARC (8508 Leesburg Pike) — Take care of your holiday shopping list at this pop-up market of local artisans and small businesses from Celebrate Fairfax. The event is free, but food, drinks, and the merchandise aren’t. The market is indoors, so masks are required.
Sunday, Dec. 12
- Psychic Connections in Criminal Investigations — 1-2 p.m. at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike) — Meet Noreen Renier, a psychic investigator who has been featured on shows from “Larry King Live” to Court TV’s “Psychic Investigators.” A book signing follows her talk. Masks are required for the free event.
Curiosity Doughnuts has closed its store located inside Whole Foods Market at The Boro.
The location closed last week due to “unforeseen circumstances” after operating there for years, serving ingredient-conscientious goods with colorful toppings and unique names.
“It’s been a great couple of years at this location and we appreciate all of our staff and customers immensely,” the owners said in a post on Facebook, noting that its locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are still in operation.
The store’s last day was Wednesday (Nov. 24), the day before Thanksgiving.
The company didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking to clarify what happened.
Curiosity Doughnuts also said it would close corresponding popups for its Tysons location but didn’t provide further details. It operated popups in a Whole Foods Market in Alexandria on the weekends.
The Boro — the mixed-use development emerging near the Greensboro Metro station — recently added coffee shop Bluestone Lane as its newest tenant. The restaurants Circa Bistro, El Bebe, and Caliburger are expected to open next year.
Meanwhile, an expansion that will extend The Boro to the north side of Westpark Drive is slated to add hundreds of residential units, a senior living facility, public parks, and more.
Man Dies in Forklift Accident in Merrifield — “Officers are on scene of a workplace accident at Home Depot, 2815 Merrilee Dr, Fairfax. Preliminarily, a man was fatally injured by a forklift he was operating & pronounced dead on scene.” [FCPD/Twitter]
Reduced Metro Service Sticks Around — “The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said Monday that rail service will continue at reduced levels through December 31. In a news release, WMATA said there is a delay getting parts for 6000-series rail cars because of global supply chain challenges. The 7000-series rail cars are still offline due to safety issues.” [Patch]
County Adjusts COVID-19 Hospitalization Numbers — “During a recent review process, the Health Department identified approximately 200 reported COVID-19 cases, primarily from 2020, that were incorrectly marked as ‘hospitalized.’ While these patients were seen at emergency departments for COVID-19 illness, they were not admitted to the hospital.” [FCHD]
Fire Department to Engage Frontline Personnel With Upcoming Strategic Plan — “The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is preparing for the future by bolstering recruitment, building community partnerships and enhancing service in Tysons, Fire Chief John Butler told the McLean Citizens Association (MCA) in an online discussion Nov. 17 with Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
The Boro Is Centerpiece of Transforming Tysons — “Change has indeed come to the north side of Leesburg Pike along Westpark and Greensboro drives in Tysons since the arrival of the Silver Line in 2014. Once dominated by office structures and the landmark West Park Hotel — which has been demolished and serves as a parking area while awaiting redevelopment — the area is quickly becoming a strong example of transit-oriented development.” [Viva Tysons]
(Updated at 1 p.m. on 11/11/2021) The Boro can officially venture west of Westpark Drive.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday (Tuesday) to approve a pair of rezoning applications that will expand the Tysons mixed-use community with 1.1 million square feet of housing, retail, and other amenities.
The new development will be concentrated on a 9.37-acre site previously occupied by the former National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters. Demolition work on the existing building began at the end of August.
While three of the four buildings proposed by developer The Meridian Group still need to get approved individually, the overall project will benefit the community by adding housing, including affordable and workforce units, as well as recreational facilities and pedestrian improvements, according to Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.
“While there is quite a bit of work ahead as we look at the [final development plans] for the remaining buildings, I do find that it’s an important asset to walkability, to the amenities, to a possibly new type of housing stock in this area,” Palchik said.
Major elements of The Boro expansion include:
- Block J: Silverstone Senior Living’s 210-bed, 198-unit continuing-care facility, expected to finish construction in 2023
- Blocks I and K: residential buildings with 122 and 421 units, respectively, and approximately 34,000 square feet of retail, joined by a glass bridge over Boro Place
- Block L: a 145,000 square-foot health club or 42 townhouses with a central green space
- A new grid of streets, including an extension of Boro Place and construction of the new Clover and Broad streets
- A rapid-flashing pedestrian beacon on Westpark Drive at Boro Place
- Tysons Community Circuit: the first three blocks of a 10-foot-wide recreational trail that will eventually loop through Tysons
- 1.49 or 1.59 acres of publicly accessible parks and recreational facilities
Prior to the board’s vote, Walsh Colucci land-use planner Elizabeth Baker, who represents Meridian, reported that the developer has made progress toward resolving a conflict with the neighboring Greensboro Square Condominiums regarding the size of retaining walls along their property line.
Ongoing negotiations over that issue were one factor in the board’s decision to defer voting on the development after holding a public hearing on Oct. 19.
Baker told the board yesterday that Meridian has come to a verbal agreement with the condo association for an off-site grading easement that will enable the developer to reduce the height of the retaining wall.
Palchik questioned Baker about The Boro’s attention to accessibility, citing a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post by a resident who took issue with the lack of streetlights, passenger loading areas, and parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities.
Baker says Meridian believes it is in compliance with accessibility guidelines and took “great pains” to consider those issues when working with Silverstone on its plans for the 16-story building, noting that the developer had an accessibility consultant.
“We will also do the same for [future development plans] to ensure that we are meeting the standards for both handicapped parking and accessibility,” Baker said. “We understand it’s an issue, and we take it seriously. We will be working on it diligently.”
Overall, the development will have approximately 40,000 square feet of retail and over 800 residential units, depending on whether Block L ends up being townhomes or a health club.
The proposed townhomes would be triplexes that meet Fairfax County’s affordable and workforce housing policies for Tysons, Baker says. If the developer opts for a health club, it has committed to giving the county $3 per square foot of non-residential space to fund housing elsewhere in Tysons.
A final plan for Blocks I and K remains under review by county planning staff. If approved, those buildings could be delivered in 2024.
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday, Nov. 9
- On Deck with Mercury — 6-7 p.m. at Great Harvest Bread Co. (136 Church St. NW) in Vienna — For his monthly public forum, Town Manager Mercury Payton will be joined by other Vienna officials to talk about upcoming holiday events and how participating can help the town.
- David Ryan Harris with Justin Kawika Young — 7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. East) in Vienna — Accomplished guitarists share easy listening vibes. With Young’s multilingual singing and Harris’ performing ties to John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, and others, the show should delight listeners’ ears. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $15, plus fees, for general admission.
Wednesday, Nov. 10
- Parking Reimagined (Online) — 7-8:30 p.m. — Weigh in on the future of off-street parking in Fairfax County at this virtual town hall hosted by the Hunter Mill District Office, one of four scheduled town halls with additional dates planned. Community feedback will inform updates to parking rules in the county zoning ordinance.
Thursday, Nov. 11
- John Lloyd Young’s Broadway! — 8 p.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Road) — Originally scheduled to perform at Wolf Trap a year ago, the Tony and Grammy Award winner brings together songs from several shows, including “Chicago,” “Dreamgirls,” and “Jersey Boys.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $37, plus fees.
Friday, Nov. 12
- Tea Okropiridze — 6-9 p.m. at McLean Textile Gallery (6819 Elm St.) — The art gallery holds an open house and reception to celebrate its new exhibit featuring the work of a Northern Virginia artist Tea Okropiridze, who specializes in tapestry, fiber art, and more. The exhibit opens Tuesday and runs through Dec. 7.
- The Blessing Tour — 7 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) — Grammy-nominated singer Kari Jobe and special guest Cody Carnes, both Christian musicians, bring “a full worship experience” to Tysons. Tickets start at $25.
Saturday, Nov. 13
- The Boro’s Gambit — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sandlot Tysons (behind The Boro at 1640 Boro Place) — Watch Grandmaster Rashad Babaev, who lives at The Boro, play 30 games of chess at once. Proceeds benefit United Charities for Azerbaijan. Cost is $20 plus fees to compete. Free for spectators.
- 4th Annual Veterans Day Salute — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Falls Church Distillers (442 S Washington St. Suite A) — After going online last year, the distillery’s block party is back in person with live music, alcohol tastings, food, and more. Tickets for food and alcohol are $5 each, and donations are encouraged to support partners Northern Virginia Veterans Association (NoVA Vets) and George Mason University’s Veteran Initiatives.
Sunday, Nov. 14
- McLean Antiques Show & Sales — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — The final day of a weekend event features a variety of antique dealers. Proceeds benefit the high school arts-focused James C. Macdonald Scholarship Fund. Cost is $10 with a discount available. Free for children age 17 and younger.
Photo via Justin Higuchi/Flickr
Youngkin’s Teen Son Tried to Vote Twice — The Fairfax County Office of Elections is investigating reports that Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s 17-year-old son attempted to cast a ballot two times on Election Day despite being ineligible to vote. Poll workers told him he couldn’t vote but gave him a form to register for future elections. [NBC4]
Roaming Rooster Opens Doors in Tysons West — “Happy Friday, RR Fam! Our Tysons Corner location is almost ready to hatch. We are having a soft opening this weekend to train our staff. All menu items are 10% off. Please stop by! Grand opening will be announced soon.” [Roaming Rooster/Twitter]
The Boro Resident Criticizes Lack of Accessibility — Retired architect and land developer John G. Colby says the vision of Tysons as an urban center with “‘accessibility for all’ is sadly turning out to be a hollow promise.” The Boro’s second phase is set to be approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tomorrow (Tuesday) despite having no ADA-reserved curbside parking or streetlights on Westpark Drive, among other issues, he notes. [The Washington Post]
Lucid Motors Opens Tysons Corner Showroom — “Electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors will open a showroom at Tysons Corner Center in Virginia on Saturday [Nov. 6]. It’s the automaker’s 11th showroom to open. Newark, California-based Lucid, founded in 2007, delivered the first of its electric vehicles to customers Oct. 30.” [WTOP]
Robberies Reported in McLean District — A man displayed a firearm and robbed the Tower Market & Deli in the Trillium Apartments complex in Fairfax on Oct. 29, according to Fairfax County police. There was also a robbery in the 7400 block of Lee Highway in the Hollywood Road Park area on Nov. 1, where a man “took the victim’s property by threatening force and left the area in a vehicle.” No injuries were reported in either incident. [FCPD]
However, the scope of the project and lingering concerns from neighbors led the board to defer its vote on two rezoning applications submitted by developer The Meridian Group to Nov. 9.
Calling this “the largest case” she has worked on since taking office, Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik praised the developer, county staff, and residents who will be affected by the project for working to reconcile their differences.
“I believe we have a much improved and very high-quality project to look at now, thanks to your dedication and work on this,” Palchik said. “…We have something that can work, and my only hope is that a few more weeks can give a little additional time for those final improvements.”
The Boro extension will bring 1.1 million square feet of development to the 9.37-acre site occupied by the former National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters building, which is now being demolished.
After securing the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s support for the senior living facility proposed for Block J on Oct. 13, the developer is asking the county to rezone the NADA site at 8400 Westpark Drive as well as the adjacent Westpark Corporate Center lot.
No new development is planned for the corporate center, which has two office buildings, but that rezoning is needed for construction of Broad Street and three blocks of the Tysons Community Circuit, a recreational trail that will eventually loop around Tysons.
Meridian will also modify an existing private alley, county planning staff coordinator Katie Quinn told the Board of Supervisors.
Walsh Colucci land-use lawyer Elizabeth Baker, who represents Meridian, acknowledged that neighbors, particularly residents in The Rotunda Condominiums, raised concerns about the development’s accessibility, traffic, and construction activities.
She says the developer reached an agreement with the Rotunda after making revisions along Greensboro Drive, putting construction management commitments in its proffers, and obtaining approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation for a rapid-flashing beacon on Westpark Drive. Read More
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.”
(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) Step aside, Starbucks: Tysons has a new option for residents looking for a cup of coffee to start their day.
Bluestone Lane officially opened the doors of its cafe at The Boro yesterday (Wednesday), marking the first foray into Virginia for the New York-based but Australia-inspired company.
Located at 1671 Silver Hill Drive, Bluestone Lane Tysons operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, according to its website and Instagram announcement. In addition to coffee, the cafe serves tea, juice, and other beverages as well as lunch wraps, bowls, and burgers and all-day brunch — or “brekkie,” as it’s called on the menu.
“Bluestone Lane is a perfect fit for mixed use spaces, like The Boro’s local dining and entertainment district, because we provide business professionals, residents and visitors with delicious coffee and healthy meals in a vibrant, relaxed setting unlike anywhere else,” founder and CEO Nick Stone said by email. “We are expanding into Tysons Corner and other metropolitan suburbs to serve the droves of people moving into these lively, diverse communities.”
Bluestone Lane is the brainchild of Stone, a former American Football League player who moved to New York City from Melbourne, Australia, in 2010, and Andrew Cook, who worked as an occupational therapist in Perth before becoming Stone’s business partner, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Fueled by a desire to introduce Americans to Australia’s coffee culture, Stone and Cook opened their first Bluestone cafe in the Big Apple in 2013.
They now have 51 coffee shops and cafes across the country, including the Tysons cafe and seven spots in downtown D.C., along with a site in the Cayman Islands.
According to Stone, the company is best known for introducing the U.S. to flat white coffee and avocado smash, two staples of Australian cuisine.
“Bluestone Lane is leading the charge to modernize US coffee culture with an emphasis on the quality of our coffee, fresh healthy food and a hyperfocus on creating an optimal customer experience where we have ‘locals’ not customers,” Stone said. “We have enjoyed rapid adoption from Gen Z and millennials looking for superior coffee, an elevated experience and healthier menu options.”
DC Eater first reported the company’s plans to move into The Boro, which was still under construction, back in December 2018. The cafe anticipated opening in late 2019 or early 2020, but a prolonged permitting process and, later, the COVID-19 pandemic appear to have upended that timeline.
According to Fairfax County’s inspections database, Bluestone filed for a commercial interior alteration permit to construct a standalone building at the heart of The Boro in January 2019, but the permit wasn’t finalized until Nov. 30, 2020.
Construction brought its share of challenges as well, as a backlog of projects built up during the initial months of the pandemic limited the availability of workers and supplies when everything restarted at the same time, a contractor told Tysons Reporter in August.
Bluestone Lane declined to comment on the development process and delays.
However, The Boro believes residents will find the extended wait worthwhile.
“We’re excited to welcome Bluestone Lane to The Boro,” a spokesperson for the mixed-use development said. “We have been working with the Bluestone team to bring their Australian-inspired coffees, juices, meals, and more to our neighborhood, and we are sure they’ll be a fast favorite of our residents, tenants and guests.”
The Boro still has Circa Bistro, the Mexican restaurant El Bebe, and Caliburger on deck for next year. Circa and El Bebe respectively, are currently scheduled to open on March 1, 2022, according to the development’s site plan.