Tysons, VA

The Meridian Group earned a viral response certification with the highest score in the country to date since the Fitwel healthy building certifications system launched in July.

The real estate firm behind The Boro development in Tysons announced on Jan. 14 that it received a 99 out of 100 rating from Fitwel for the policies and practices it has put in place to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 in its buildings.

“During an unprecedented time in real estate and the world, we are honored to be recognized for our innovative efforts to optimize safe environments in our buildings,” Meridian Group Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Mark King said. “We are dedicated to — and 100% focused on — the health, safety and well-being of all our buildings’ tenants and visitors.”

Based in Bethesda, Md., the Meridian Group owns the Tysons Technology Center office complex in Vienna as well as The Boro.

Meridian says it partnered with the sustainability and green building consulting firm Paladino and Company — a tenant of The Boro — to develop indoor air-quality testing and monitoring protocols, personal protective equipment guidelines, plans for surface hygiene stations and contagious disease outbreak preparedness, and enhanced cleaning, disinfecting, and maintenance procedures.

According to a press release from Meridian, Paladino provided oversight, quality control, and technical advice, while also managing the real estate company’s submission to the Center for Active Design, the nonprofit organization that operates Fitwel.

Fitwel was originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the General Services Administration to set industry standards for healthy building environments and viral mitigation policies.

The third-party certification system launched a viral response module last year to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative was developed by real estate companies with input from a Fitwel Academic Advisory Group of public health experts.

The CDC remains involved with Fitwel as its research and evaluation partner, according to the Center for Active Design.

“Addressing health and mitigating viral transfer is one example of how we must respond to the new realities of potential pandemics,” Paladino and Company Managing Director Katie Rothenberg said. “Fortunately, there is so much we can do to promote health and transparency in buildings where we live and work.”

Photo courtesy The Meridian Group

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About four months after opening its doors at The Boro in Tysons, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka has found its soup legs.

At first, the ramen shop focused exclusively on its signature noodle soups, but the menu has since expanded with appetizers, desserts, and seasonal items that are available for a limited time.

“We want to make sure that what we do offer was at the highest quality that we could possibly do,” Junchiro Kawakami, the general manager of Santouka Tysons, said. “Now that it’s been a couple months, all of our staff have gotten used to the menu items and the general operation of the restaurant. We felt comfortable expanding our menu.”

Originally started in Hokkaido, Japan, in 1983, Santouka chose The Boro as its first Virginia location because they saw “huge potential” in all the development happening in the Tysons area, Kawakami says.

Plans for the new restaurant got underway in 2019 with the goal of opening this past March.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Fairfax County, and the opening was delayed due to concerns from the construction company about the safety of its crews, according to Kawakami.

The pause gave Kawakami and Food’s Style USA, which operates the Tysons location, time to adapt to the unique constraints imposed by the pandemic.

In addition to obtaining sneezeguards and dividers for each table, as well as protective equipment and cleaning supplies for employees, Santouka Tysons pivoted from a mostly dine-in operation to one that could accommodate more carryout and delivery orders.

That required finding takeout containers that can hold soup and noodles separately and replacing a key ingredient.

“We normally use lard for one of our ingredients, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to use that for carryout,” Kawakami explained. “As you might be able to guess, once it gets colder, it starts to look very unappetizing, so we had to change that ingredient to an oil base.”

While opening in the middle of a pandemic has been a challenge, Kawakami says the restaurant has been “going strong,” thanks to the support of its new customers and its suppliers’ flexibility with the changing construction schedule and operations.

In the hopes of carrying that success over into the new year, Santouka Tysons has added some new menu items over the past month, including tsukemen – where the noodles are dipped instead of kept in soup – and a riff on dora-yaki – a pancake filled with red bean paste – that involves bacon bits and maple syrup.

Kawakami says the family-sized, delivery-only appetizer dishes that Santouka has been offering during the holiday season have proven popular.

He has also gotten adept at using social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram, to stay engaged with customers and share promotions, such as a Japanese snack giveaway that will take place on Jan. 1.

“Our aim is to bring to… the DMV area authentic Japanese ramen,” Kawakami said. “That hasn’t changed, but how we do that, we had to think about it and change that up.”

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Tysons IT Company Expands Microsoft Collaboration — “DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) today announced an expanded strategic collaboration with Microsoft to deliver a more personalized, intelligent, secure and modern workplace experience to help companies to address rapidly evolving business challenges and customer and employee needs.” [Business Wire]

Falls Church City School Board Member to Resign — “Lawrence Webb, a member of the Falls Church City Council and School Board since 2008, announced his resignation as of Jan. 1 from the School Board on Tuesday.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Northrop Grumman Finishes Design Review of Artemis Astronaut Living Quarters — “Falls Church-based Fortune 100 defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. announced Wednesday it has completed the initial preliminary design review (PDR) for the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), which will serve as living quarters for astronauts at the Lunar Gateway mini space station during lunar exploration missions.” [Virginia Business]

The Boro Commissions Mural from D.C. Artists — “The new addition to the Boro is designed to invite passersby into the neighborhood and ‘infuse happiness and joy to everyone who sees it, whether that is a commuter on the metro, a resident or shopper at the Boro, or a driver on Route 7,’ the company said in a news release.” [Inside NOVA]

Photo via VDOT

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The holiday season is here, but it will look a little different this year as communities try to create a festive environment while following public health guidelines for reducing the possible spread of COVID-19.

Starting this week, The Boro in Tysons (8350 Broad St.) will celebrate the holidays throughout December with a series of public events for all ages:

  • Festive Art Installation (Dec. 1-27) — The Boro Park will feature a variety of art, including gift boxes, festive cutouts, and holiday lights. Guests are encouraged to post their photos on social media and tag @theborotysons to be entered in a weekly raffle for a swag bag with items from local retailers.
  • Elves at The Boro Scavenger Hunt (Dec. 1-28) — Hidden elves will be spread out across The Boro all month long. People who find a hidden elf and post a photo of the elf on social media while tagging @theborotysons will automatically win a $5 Flower Child gift card. They will also be entered into a weekly raffle.
  • Make & Take Holiday Crafting with Paper Source (Dec. 2-16, 5-7 p.m.) — For $10, guests can obtain kits for seasonal crafts kits such as paper wreaths and 2D globes. The kits include all required materials as well as a $10 gift card to Paper Source. Those who wish to participate can sign up through this link.
  • The Boro Howliday Series (Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 11 a.m.) — Guests and their pets can visit The Boro Park’s pop-up dog zone for fun events and treats for both humans and pets. This event is free, but preregistration is required. To register, use this link.

All events will practice social distancing, and guests 5 or older are required to wear a face covering. The Boro says there will also be sanitation measures taken at each event.

For more information about The Boro’s schedule for this holiday season, visit the company’s website.

Photo via The Boro Tysons/Facebook

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Updated on 12/1/2020 — The Church Street Holiday Stroll was moved online this year. The live stream of the event can still be viewed on the Town of Vienna’s Facebook page. Tysons Reporter apologizes for any confusion or inconvenience caused by the outdated information in the Weekly Planner.

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 (Nov. 30)

  • Church Street Holiday Stroll — 6-8:30 p.m. at Vienna’s Historic Church St. (131 Church St.) — Enjoy favorite holiday tunes performed by school choruses and others, along with s’mores, children’s activities, and more, the website says.

Tuesday (Dec. 1)

  • Holiday Gingerbread Decorating (Dec. 1-25) — 6:30-8 p.m. at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — McLean Community Center will provide a pre-built gingerbread house, traditional candy decorations, and frosting. To register, use this link.
  • Children’s Book Writing and Publishing Workshop (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — Learn how to effectively write, publish, and market a children’s book with a masterclass from Global Book Publishing CEO Sush Dutta. To register, use this link.

Thursday (Dec. 3)

  • The Boro Howliday Series — 5:30-7 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — Pets and their owners can enjoy a dog pop-up zone. Toys and treats will be provided for the dogs, and guests can enjoy treats as well with specialty seasonal warm beverages, the website says.

Friday (Dec. 4)

  • Fairfax Virtual Employment Expo (Online) — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — In lieu of its usual employment expo in Fairfax County, the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington is hosting several virtual events. Job seekers of age 50 or more can attend workshops and network with employers. To register, use this link.

Saturday (Dec. 5)

  • McLean Holiday Arts & Crafts Festival (December 5-6) — 9 a.m to 5 p.m. — The McLean Holiday Art & Crafts Festival is a juried arts show. See behind the scenes and watch how these artists create their masterpieces. Support the arts and buy a unique gift for someone special, the website said. Admission is free. To register, use this link.
  • Cookies with Santa — 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (400 Center St. S.) — Share holiday wishes and Mrs. Claus’s delicious holiday cookies with the jolly ol’ elf, the website said. The cost is $5 per person. To register, use this link.

Staff photo by Ashley Hopko

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Monday Morning Notes

NoVa Leads State in COVID-19 New Cases — “There has been an uptick of cases in Northern Virginia for over a week and an increase in the southwest region during October.” [Patch]

The Boro Wins Regional Development Awards — “KETTLER, one of Greater Washington, D.C.’s leading real estate services companies, announces the acceptance of multiple awards for Rise and Bolden Apartments, and Verse Condominiums located at The Boro in Tysons, Virginia.” [InsideNova]

Tysons Corner Center Announces Contact-Free Santa — “Santa and his helpers will be back at Tysons Corner Center, but there will be some changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Yahoo]

Macerich Secures Loan for New Residential Tower in Tysons — “While reporting its financial results for the third quarter on Thursday, Macerich Co. (MAC), a self-administered real estate investment trust, said its joint venture has secured a commitment for a $95 million loan on Tysons Vita, the residential tower at Tysons Corner.” [Nasdaq]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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An upcoming blood drive at The Boro will also double as a chance for folks to find out if that bad sickness they had might have been COVID-19.

Following up on a blood drive in July, which raised enough blood to save 38 lives according to a press release, Tysons development The Boro will host another blood drive tomorrow (Thursday) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Boro Station (1775 Greensboro Station Place).

“The American Red Cross is also currently testing all blood, platelet, and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time and donors will receive the free results of their antibody test within 7-10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or by logging in to the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org,” the press release said.

According to the CDC, antibody tests can show if someone may have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, though the virus can’t be use to diagnose current cases.

Appointments can be scheduled to donate online.

As hospitals begin to reopen, the need for blood in previously-delayed surgeries is resurfacing.

“There is an urgent need for blood donations right now, to meet the needs of patients in hospitals, as surgical procedures and treatments that were temporarily paused due to the pandemic resume again,” the press release said.

Photo courtesy Hilde Kahn

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Grab your steins and face masks and prepare for a socially distant Oktoberfest event at The Boro in Tysons on Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10.

The event — held in collaboration with URBNmarket — will run from 3:30-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, and from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 10 at The Boro, 8359 Broad Street. Masks will be required at the event, unless you are seated at your table in the biergarten, and hand sanitation stations will be in place.

The event will feature an assortment of seasonal beverages in a pop-up biergarten, and vendors, local artists and crafts as a part of the URBNmarket. Open to all ages, the event will also include a kids zone featuring crafts, cornhole, a nine-hole mini golf course, live entertainment and more.

URBNmarket and the kids zone will be limit the number of guests in each area, and will be based on a first come, first serve basis. Crafts and games for the kids zone will be sanitized throughout the day. Face masks are required for everyone over the age of 5.

Reservations for the biergarten can be made at eventbrite. Each reservation is $25, which includes four free drinks in addition to a $5 donation to a local charity from every reservation. A maximum of six people will be allowed per table reservation, in accordance with Fairfax County COVID-19 regulations.

Additional beverage costs include $5 for beer, $6 for wine and $5 for non-alcoholic drinks from an onsite bar.

Visit The Boro Tysons website for directions, parking and reservations.

Photo courtesy Hilde Kahn

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Silverstone Senior Living is slated to build senior housing in Tysons, becoming the first potential tenant at a proposed new development that will serve as an extension for The Boro.

The “continuing care home”, will have 200 available units for seniors and will include a fitness center, a barbershop and salon, a theater and multiple dining areas, according to documents from developer the Meridian Group. Senior housing in Tysons has been traditionally hard to come by, and much of the housing in the pipeline is not cheap.

The senior housing is a part of a 1.1 million square foot extension of The Boro, an upscale development in Tysons with apartments, offices, a movie theater and a Whole Foods. If approved, the extension will be a mixed-use development with residential housing, ground-floor retail space and a health club along with senior housing.

The site of the proposed development will be on the former grounds of the National Automobile Dealers Association Headquarters located on 8400 Westpark Drive after Meridian Group acquired the property in 2018 for $33.7 million, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Plans call for four buildings on the site with Silverstone’s senior housing to be inside a 180-foot-tall structure with 260,000 square feet of gross floor space. A representative for the Meridian Group declined to comment as no other details for what will go inside the planned development have been released.

The other planned projects include two other residential buildings with ground-level retail space that will be have a maximum height of 90-feet-tall. The fourth building is slated to become the health club if approved.

“The vision is to extend The Boro development across Westpark Drive and to continue the transformation of Tysons from a suburban office park to an urban center,” Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh told Tysons Reporter in May.

Rezoning for the proposed development is still in the review process and likely won’t go before a public hearing until 2021, Baker said.

Image via Google Maps

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(Updated 9/9) The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Sept. 8)

  • 2020 Tuesday Night 5k –6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Caboose Tavern (520 NE Mill Street)– Runners and walkers can take part in this multi-part series held on the W&OD Trai. Registration is $10 and people should arrive 45 minutes early for registration, the page said.

Wednesday (Sept. 9)

Thursday (Sept. 10)

  • Pets for Vets –4 to 8 p.m. at Settle Down Brewing (2822 Fallfax Drive)– This event invites people to take place in a fundraiser for Pets for Vets, which provides service animals that used to be shelter animals to military veterans. People can enjoy drink specials and free bingo, the Facebook event page said. 
  • The Boro Farmers Market –3 to 7 p.m. at the Boro Tysons(8301 Greensboro Drive)– This local market will feature fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and pastured eggs and baked goods, the event page said.

Sunday (Sept. 13)

  • Adoption Event –12 to 3 p.m. at Chico’s Natural Pet Market (6349 A Columbia Pike)– Anyone looking for their next furry friend can check out this dog adoption event. This event will allow attendees to meet pups up for adoption and learn about foster opportunities, the event listing said.
  • Intro to Traditional Climbing –9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides East (9200 Old Dominion Drive)– For $125 people can try out this all-day experience which will teach them safe practices for outdoor climbing. Top rope climbing and belay experience is required, the page said. 
  • Music In the Gardens –3 to 4 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct)– This series will feature live music from the Virginia Chamber Orchestra. Guests are welcome to bring a blanket or fold-up chairs to sit on. The concert is free with admission to the gardens.

Photo via Meadowlark Botanical Gardens/Facebook

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