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New residential buildings are coming to The Boro, but a new partnership with WhyHotel means many of them might temporarily be hotel-style rentals before they’re leased.

WhyHotel is a startup based in D.C. that takes unrented units from recently-built apartments, from studios to two-bedroom units, and rents them out as hotel spaces and pay some of the rent back to the developer. Meanwhile, on-call staff handle the cleaning and other guests needs.

In addition to new WhyHotel locations planned in Arlington, the company announced Monday that it will partner with The Meridian Group and Kettler to operate a “pop up” hotel in The Boro (8395 Greensboro Drive). Up to 150 residential units will be used as WhyHotel rentals. Guests will be able to stay in the units starting late summer or early fall next year.

The new WhyHotel spaces will be located in Rise, a 27-story luxury high-rise apartment building scheduled to open sometime in 2019.

Image via The Meridian Group

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Morning Notes

Friday Night Fire in Merrifield — “On Friday, November 30 at approximately 11:59 p.m., units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the City of Fairfax Fire Department were dispatched for a reported kitchen fire in the 9400 block of Lee Highway in the Merrifield section of Fairfax County.” [FCFR]

More on Bluestone Lane Coffee Shop — “Bluestone Lane plans to break into the Northern Virginia market next year at the Boro development in Tysons Corner in mid-to-late 2019… The global brand from Australia is known for its ‘avocado smash’ toast, cold-pressed juices, custom teas, and other healthy fare.” [Eater]

PSA: Don’t Illegally Park in Accessible Parking Spaces — “With the holiday shopping season underway, finding parking at shopping centers can be harder than tracking down the hottest toy of the year. As a result, shoppers sometimes illegally park in accessible spaces reserved for people with disabilities. Approximately 75,000 county residents have a disability, so it is critical that these parking spaces remain available to them.” [Fairfax County]

Winchester Woman Arrested for Vienna Assault — “Vienna police officers went to Park Terrace Court, S.E., on Nov. 5 at 1:42 a.m. after authorities received a 911 hang-up call. Police located a resident who advised she had been assaulted by her girlfriend.” [InsideNova]

Fairfax Tax Deadline Extended — “Fairfax County Government Offices will be open Wednesday, December 5. However, because Wednesday has been proclaimed as a national day of mourning to honor the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, the due date for 2018 second installment Real Estate tax payments has been extended until December 6.” [Fairfax County]

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The massive Boro development in Tysons has a very small problem: its new Elf on the Shelf needs a name.

The development is holding a social media contest to name the elf as part of some planned holiday activities this month. The person who posts the most creative suggested name, as determined by the Boro, will win a Starbucks gift card.

Thus far the suggestions on Facebook include:

  • Bobo
  • Elfat Burrow
  • Boronimo

Photo via Facebook

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A month after announcing that KPMG was leasing up to seven floors, the Boro Tower is touting another newly-signed tenant.

Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson will be moving into the tower’s 15th floor in mid-2019, developers The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group announced Tuesday morning.

The under-construction, 20-story office tower, part of the massive Boro development next to the Greensboro Metro station in Tysons, is now 68 percent leased. Other announced tenants include the soon-to-be-relocated headquarters of Tysons-based TV station group TEGNA and the law firm Hogan Lovells.

More from a press release:

The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group announced today that Womble Bond Dickinson is moving its Tysons office to Boro Tower, a new trophy office tower near completion at The Boro

The law firm will lease 24,239 square feet – the Tower’s entire 15th floor — beginning in mid-2019. The building is now 68 percent preleased ahead of construction completion, with about 135,000 square feet of office space remaining.

“We are excited and proud to welcome this outstanding law firm to Boro Tower,” said David Cheek, President of The Meridian Group, which is developing The Boro.

Today’s announcement continues the momentum for the mixed-use development. “Womble Bond Dickinson joins a premier lineup of firms, companies and organizations that have chosen The Boro for their new location,” said Gary Block, Chief Investment Officer of The Meridian Group.

Womble Bond Dickinson will relocate its Tysons office at 8065 Leesburg Pike about a mile away. Approximately 40 of the firm’s attorneys and staff will work at Boro Tower.

“We’re excited to be moving into Boro Tower, a premiere office building located in The Boro, which we anticipate will be a vibrant complex and a new hub to the Tysons business community. Our new space will provide an ideal location (including easy Metro access) and office environment to serve our existing clients and attract new ones,” said Gary Nunes, the firm’s Tysons Office Managing Partner.  “Our firm is experiencing an exciting period of evolution and growth, and our new space will help fuel that growth, including helping us recruit and retain top talent. Womble Bond Dickinson has called Northern Virginia home for nearly 20 years, and this move ensures that we will remain an active member of the community for many more years to come.”

Meridian and Rockefeller Group are co-developing the Gensler-designed, 437,000-square-foot trophy office tower.

From its vantage on “The Hill” – the highest ground elevation in Fairfax County -Boro Tower offers panoramic views from the Blue Ridge Mountains to downtown Washington, D.C. The 20-story building, designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, features a shimmering glass curtain wall, accented by a modern, white-glazed terra cotta.

The Tower offers 9- to 10-foot finished ceilings and ideally sized, efficient floorplates that minimize columns and maximize daylight and views. The building boasts ample amenities, including a rooftop terrace, fitness center, locker rooms and bicycle storage that perfectly complement the 10,000 SF of lobby level retail space.

CBRE’s Rob Faktorow and Terry Reiley represented The Meridian Group and the Rockefeller Group in the leasing deal. Womble Bond Dickinson was represented by Mike Shuler and Nate Krill at Avison Young.

“Boro Tower continues to generate significant interest from a wide range of prospective tenants,” said Tom Boylan, Vice President of The Meridian Group. “It offers the best of all worlds: a trophy office building in an ideal location, surrounded by numerous dining, shopping and entertainment options.”

Womble Bond Dickinson is the fourth major tenant to select Boro Tower for its offices.

The three others:

  • Big Four accounting firm KPMG, which announced last month that it will lease up to seven floors of the Tower.
  • Global law firm Hogan Lovells, which will occupy the Tower’s entire 17th floor and the majority of its 16th floor.
  • Media company TEGNA, which is moving its headquarters to the top two floors.

Boro Tower is located in the heart of The Boro, Meridian Group’s amenity-rich development. Located within steps of the Greensboro Metro station, The Boro will be the premier Metro-oriented, mixed-use destination in Tysons.

The 15-acre development will consist of a dynamic mix of office, rental and for-sale residential, retail, entertainment and open park space – a walkable urban environment that has long been sought in Tysons.

The Boro’s dramatic 1.7 million-square-foot first phase, on schedule for completion in 2019, will deliver nearly 700 residential units, 260,000 square feet of destination retail and Boro Tower.

“The Boro  is one of the premier developments in the Washington Metro area,” said Hilary Allard Goldfarb, Senior Vice President at Rockefeller Group.  “Tenants are drawn to Boro Tower for its quality, location and amenities, combined with the sense of place that The Boro district uniquely offers.”

Ideally located near Route 7, Route 123 and Greensboro Drive, The Boro is designed to bring people outside — with pedestrian-friendly roadways, attractive open spaces and a variety of restaurants offering outdoor seating.

The Boro has already attracted such best-in-class companies as Whole Foods Market, which is planning a 69,000-square-foot flagship location; and Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON Theatres, which will open a luxurious new cinema with 15 state-of-the-art screens and upscale dining options.

“The Boro will be a vibrant community to live, work, dine and relax,” Boylan said. “It will be a place that sparkles with life both day and night. We have a lot to look forward to here.”

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

‘Fish Taco’ Coming to Boro in Tysons — “Fish Taco, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant with three locations in Maryland, plans to open its first Virginia store at the Boro development in Tysons… by June next year. A rep for Fish Taco tells Eater the new location in the mixed-use development will have space for 60 customers to consume taco platters, salads, rice bowls, burritos, and quesadillas — all utilizing local and seasonal ingredients.” [Eater]

Mall Hours for Black Friday — “Tysons Corner Center… will be open for 28 hours straight. This year, the mall opens at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 22 and will remain open Friday, Nov. 23 from midnight-10 p.m. Across Chain Bridge Road, Tysons Galleria will be closed on Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, hours will be 8 a.m.-9 p.m.” [Patch]

Dulles Toll Road Rates Going Up — “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board of directors voted Nov. 14 to increase rates on the toll road again, starting this coming January. Drivers of two-axle vehicles, who now pay $2.50 at the main toll plaza, will see that rate jump to $3.25, and those entering or exiting tolled ramps will pay $1.50, up  from the current $1.” [InsideNova]

Herndon Site Still in the Running for Apple — Though Apple is “seriously” looking at a site in Tysons for a large new East Coast office, the company is also eyeing some other locations, like the 26-acre, state-owned Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon and sites in Raleigh, N.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. [Washington Business Journal]

McLean Blood Drive Was a Success — “With the holiday season quickly approaching, hospitals are continuously using blood products faster than donations are replacing them. With an urgent blood drive, sponsored by McLean Dermatology and Skin Care Center, volunteers and staff aimed to reach a goal of getting 40 donors during this Sunday’s drive — in which the goal was met.” [WJLA]

Parks Dept. Riffs on Facebook Outage — A tweet this morning from Fairfax County Parks: “Facebook and Instagram are down. Seems like a great excuse to take a walk and enjoy some face-to-face conversation in a park.” [Twitter]

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Auditing giant KPMG LLP will be bringing $30 million dollars and 500 new jobs in a sweeping expansion of its Tysons operations.

KPMG will be moving into seven floors of Boro Tower, part of a massive mixed-use development near the Greensboro Metro station, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Wednesday morning.

The building, expected to open in early 2019, is a block away from the offices that KPMG currently occupies at 1676 International Drive. That building, in turn, is also set for a substantial renovation.

A $1 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund was approved by Northam as an economic incentive to facilitate the move. Virginia also offered a slew of other incentives, including a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for the new full-time jobs coming with the expansion and employee retraining activities provided by the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“We’re committed to Fairfax County and are excited about the growth that we’re seeing here in world-class innovation and leading-edge technology — two areas that align with our own core services and strategic approach,” said Jerry Carlson, a KPMG managing partner, in a press release.

The expansion was also facilitated with local help from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

“KPMG has been a major employer and corporate citizen in Fairfax County for years, and we are delighted to see that the company has chosen the county as a base to expand its audit, tax and advisory business significantly,” said Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the FCEDA, in a press release. “This coincides with the continued growth and diversification of the county economy and the increasing realization that this is a great draw for the workforce the company wants to attract and retain.”

“This illustrates our strength in the professional services sector that creates so many jobs here, and is a great vote of confidence in the kind of business community that we promote here,” a FCEDA spokesman added.

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Hopefully, the firefighters of Station 29 will never have to use their familiarity with new high-rise buildings across Tysons. But just in case, the crew has been spending the last few weeks exploring the unfinished interiors of Tysons’ tallest structures.

Captain David Bentley from Station 29 said it’s useful for firefighters to take a look inside the buildings before the drywall and the finishing touches are added to see how the buildings are structured and to understand the layout.

“If there’s an emergency, when it’s finished or during construction, this way it will be easier for us to get to patients,” said Bentley. “We need to know how the floors are made, what the ceiling looks like, and what’s between the drywall.”

At The Boro, for example, Bentley said they’re using aluminum studs in the walls while many smaller construction projects use wood. While wood burns when exposed to direct flame, or can smolder and fail over time, Bentley said aluminum studs fail quicker because they start to warp when exposed to intense heat. Bentley said information like that helps firefighters understand how much time they have to continue working to extinguish a fire safely or rescue people from the building.

One of the most interesting buildings Bentley said they visited was the new 31-story Capital One tower, the tallest building in the greater Washington area.

“It’s an absolutely amazing building,” said Bentley. “The sheer number of people working there, elevators, and security, it’s all absolutely amazing… Some of these bigger [buildings have fire pumps that run up to the top floor, and the size and amount of these pumps are quite large and they have to have a backup in case they fail. They have five massive diesel generators the size of cruise ship engines to keep the place running.”

One of the unique features of the new Capital One building is a fire suppression device that rolls over the escalators like a conveyer belt and seals them off, which both stops the fire from spreading to higher floors but also cuts off a route of ingress or egress for those needing to get to or away from the fire.

“I’ve never seen that before,” said Bentley. “It would definitely cut off a route, whether we need to go up or down, but it’s meant to stop vertical fire spreads. There are plenty of other exits in that building and I’m sure security has pre-plans, but that’s definitely a unique challenge.”

Bentley said the sheer verticality of these buildings presents a challenge as well. While Bentley says firefighters can respond to most emergencies in downtown Tysons in five minutes, getting the right equipment to the right floor can take twice as long. Once inside, maneuvering around the building in an emergency situation can be difficult as well, as evidenced by the dramatic rescue via construction crane last month.

“We practice a lot,” said Bentley. “We have drills once a week on high-rise operations. We assign people on different apparatus to different tasks. Paramedics will grab one length of hose to take to the fire floor. The firefighter on the right side of the engine will grab another section of hose. I’ll grab the officer’s bag, which has tools to hook into pipes. This way we can take any hose down any hallway to get to the fire.”

Bentley says the crew of Station 29 visited the Boro (8301 Greensboro Drive) and the Capital One building (1600 Capital One Blvd) and older buildings like Kaiser Permanente’s Tysons Corner Medical Facility (8008 Westpark Drive) and Rotunda Apartments (8352 Greensboro Drive).

Bentley said the firefighters also travelled to low rise buildings, like Cava and Honeygrow in Pike 7 Plaza, to familiarize crews with the new small developments he says are popping up all over.

Photos via Twitter

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Morning Notes

HQ2 in Fairfax County? — Amid anticipation for Amazon’s announcement as to where it will establish its second headquarters, officials in Fairfax County are not betting the farm on it coming to the county. But even if it goes elsewhere, the local sites identified as a possible HQ2 landing spot stand to benefit from the Amazon attention. [Washington Business Journal]

Tysons People, Projects Awarded — Some Tysons people and projects were award recipients at the annual CREW D.C. awards ceremony last week. Among those honored by the organization, which brings together women in the local commercial real estate industry, were Capital One Mid-Atlantic Market Manager Sadhvi Subramanian and Meridian Group’s massive The Boro project in Tysons. [Bisnow]

Next Week: Open House at Fairfax Fire Stations — “In celebration of Fire Prevention Week, all Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Stations will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 13 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Stop by your local station that day to meet your firefighters, see the fire trucks, join in the activities and learn about fire safety.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

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(Updated at 4:30) — The Boro, a mixed-use complex being built near the Greensboro Metro station, has topped out.

Caroline Flax, senior analyst for site developer The Meridian Group, said the complex is as tall as it’s going to get, so it’s time for a review of the project and where it stands.

The project is broken into five lettered sections filling the block southeast of the Leesburg Pike and Westpark Drive intersection. The area is just west of the Tysons Galleria mall.

Furthest along is Block C, a grouping of two major buildings and a much smaller kiosk. A third building has been approved for the block but has not begun construction. The largest occupants of Block C are the Showplace ICON movie theater and a 437,000 square-foot office building. The kiosk in the one acre park will be where Bluestone Lane, an Australian-inspired coffee chain, will be opening their first Virginia location.

Flax said this side of the project is expected to be completed by the end of this year. In the first two quarters of 2019, Tysons Reporter was told, the office tenants will begin to move into Block C.

Meanwhile, to the northwest of Block C, the skeleton of Block A has been completed. Block A is the primarily residential area of the complex. In August, Flax said the tall towers of Block A, the 27-story apartment “Rise” tower and the 25-story luxury condominium “Verse” tower, had all of their floors poured into place. Work is now beginning on the facades and the interior of the buildings.

A 69,000 square-foot Whole Foods will occupy the base of the northern point of Block A, at the corner of Greensboro Drive and Westpark Drive.

Block B of the project, southwest of Block A, is The Loft. At five-stories tall, The Loft dwarfed by its northern residential neighbors. But the 77,000 square-foot building will stretch along the length of the new street Boro Place and hold two floors of retail and three stories of offices above that.

“Boro Place is the retail spine of The Boro,” said Flax.

Several restaurants are already signed to move into Blocks A and B, including:

  • Fish Taco, a DC based taco chain
  • Tasty Kabob, the first brick-and-mortar location for a popular local food truck
  • Flower Child, a cast-casual restaurant specializing in healthy food
  • North Italia, an Italian restaurant specializing in handmade pizzas and pasta
  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a national smoothie chain

Taylor Gourmet had been signed to move into the area as well, but the chain filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy at the end of September and closed all locations. Flax said no decision on a new occupant has been finalized but that there are several prospects for the location under consideration.

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