Istanbul Kitchen owners Feride Ozkan and Arzu Ozen (courtesy Istanbul Kitchen)

Tysons Corner Center welcomed its latest restaurant last week with the opening of Istanbul Kitchen.

Run by Feride Ozkan and Arzu Ozen, who also own Ozfeka Catering, Istanbul Kitchen joins a number of other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern eateries at the mall, from Cava Mezze Grill to The Halal Guys, but this is the only one to specialize specifically in Turkish cuisine.

“You can find all kinds of international food in the mall and we thought ours would be a great addition,” Ozkan said.

Ozkan says Istanbul Kitchen serves “homemade gourmet and healthy selections of Mediterranean cuisine,” including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options so there is something for all dietary preferences.

There is also a variety of desserts, including baklava, rice pudding, cookies, and Turkish coffees and teas.

“We are hoping to become one of the best restaurants in the mall with exceptional quality of foods and customer service,” Ozkan said.

Istanbul Kitchen is located on the first level between McDonald’s and Pokeworks.

“We are pleased to provide small and independent eateries like Istanbul Kitchen the opportunity to showcase their global cuisine with Tysons Corner Center as the backdrop,” said Matt Barry, the assistant vice president of property management for Tysons Corner Center.

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Morning Notes

Lantana flowers by Spring Hill Road post office in McLean (photo by Joanne Liebig)

Construction Closes I-66 West Overnight — Starting last night (Wednesday), all lanes of I-66 West approaching I-495 in the Dunn Loring area will be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night through Saturday (June 19). The closures are necessary for overhead bridge work on the interchange as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [VDOT]

Rally in Support of Public Schools Tonight — The Fairfax County Democratic Committee is organizing a rally in support of Fairfax County Public Schools ahead of the school board’s meeting at Luther Jackson Middle School. The school board has faced criticism from some for making political statements and closing schools last year due to COVID-19, including a recall campaign led by a parents’ group that identifies as bipartisan but has received substantial funding from Republican donors. [Fairfax Democrats/Twitter]

Rick Springfield Fans Once Shut Down Tysons Corner — “June 17 is the 40th anniversary of the day Rick Springfield shut down Tysons Corner. Larry Houck was there. ‘Talk about having a front-row seat,’ said Houck, who worked at the Variety Records in Tysons Corner Center, where Springfield was scheduled to meet fans.” [The Washington Post]

McLean Startup Raises $60 Million — The McLean-based kidney care startup Somatus Inc. has secured $60.12 million in new funding, bringing the company’s total funding to $165 million over its five years of existence. The funds come from an equity offering that had its first sale on June 1 and will be used to support the company’s continued expansion as it now serves more than 150,000 patients in the U.S. [Washington Business Journal]

Maryland Beltway Project in Jeopardy — The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board voted yesterday to remove Maryland’s Capital Beltway toll lanes plan from a list of long-term transportation projects, jeopardizing its ability to secure federally required environmental approval. The project will also replace and expand the American Legion Bridge and is considered a necessary supplement to Virginia’s 495 NEXT project in McLean. [The Washington Post]

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(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) Despite the uncertainty introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tysons Corner Center has welcomed several new retailers in recent months, and a handful of newcomers are slated to move in within the foreseeable future, the shopping mall announced last Friday (June 4).

Tysons Corner Center Senior Marketing Manager Todd Putt says the mall has seen a “large volume of shoppers returning” as the pandemic has started to recede in Fairfax County.

“Clearly, shoppers are ready to move past the pandemic and we are seeing shoppers from across all age demographics,” Putt said in a statement to Tysons Reporter. “After being forced to stay close to home, individuals are looking for better experiences and services when they shop. Specialty retail brands are eager to get back on track launching their concepts and we are excited to be a partner to make that happen.”

Tenants waiting in the wings include Chopathi India Kitchen — a fast-casual Indian restaurant that currently has locations in Dulles Town Center, Ashburn, and Hanover, Maryland — and Fantasticks, which makes custom gelato bars and pops. This will be the artisan gelato shop’s third location, coupled with one in Gaithersburg and a pop-up at One Loudoun in Ashburn.

The mall also confirmed that Lucid Motors is still set to open a studio on site. The electric car company announced in July 2020 that it will move into Tysons Corner Center as part of plans to expand with 20 new studios and service centers in North America by the end of this year.

Lucid is also planning to bring a store and service center to Tysons Galleria, but its special exception application for that location is not scheduled to go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission until Oct. 20.

The clothing retailer Primark announced on April 28 that it will make its entry into Virginia with a two-story, 37,100 square-foot store at Tysons Corner Center. The London-based fast fashion company has opened 12 stores in the U.S. since September 2015 and anticipates launching in Tysons sometime between September 2023 and September 2024.

The final announced upcoming retailer is Fabletics, which sells sportswear, footwear, and “athleisure” accessories. The company primarily operates online selling subscription memberships, but it also has over 50 brick-and-mortar stores and plans to bring that number up to 74 stores in 2021.

Tysons Corner Center also announced that the following retailers and eateries have recently opened:

Psycho Bunny — a New York City menswear brand known for sophisticated styles that stand apart from the rest, with an unconventional logo, unexpected detailing and expressive pops of color that together offer an escape from ordinary.

Therabody — World-leading percussive therapy massage devices. Everybody experiences soreness, tension, or tightness — whether it’s from sitting at a desk, working out, or just living life. Therabody’s products make it easier than ever to feel better on your schedule and on your terms.

Diesel — Known for its long and storied history of strong, ironic, and playful campaigns, the Italian retail brand reopened in its new location on Level 2 of the mall and sells denim, clothing, footwear, and accessories.

Roll by Goodyear — a popular pop-up concept by Goodyear that says goodbye to garages and waiting rooms and brings tires to you.

Ardene — a family-owned Canadian value fashion retailer based in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1982, Ardene started as an accessories and jewelry retailer, and has since added clothing, shoes, brand collaborations, and licensed apparel into its product mix.

3DEN — Flexible urban amenity spaces and work lounges. 3DEN Tysons Corner has cozy nooks everywhere, space to work, space to lounge, plus free coffee and lightning-fast WiFi. Guests only need the 3DEN app and to access the lounge for just $5 an hour or $99 a month for unlimited access.

Minte — provides a high-end, natural plant and mineral-based teeth whitening experience in a relaxed setting.

Squishables — a popular toy store known for its soft, cuddly, and adorable plush products.

Tysons Reporter previously reported that 3DEN had opened in Tysons Corner Center’s BrandBox space in March.

The pandemic has hit shopping malls hard over the past year, with The Washington Post reporting in April that nearly 200 department stores have closed and another 800 locations are projected to follow suit by the end of 2025.

According to Retail Dive, the pandemic accelerated a shift toward online shopping, and the retail industry saw a significant decline in foot traffic throughout 2020, though numbers started to improve in June as states like Virginia started to ease public health restrictions.

Tysons Corner Center never entirely shut down, instead reducing operating hours and intensifying cleaning protocols. The mall has been fully open since May 19, 2020.

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(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) The mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic that opened at Tysons Corner Center in April will close on June 26, the Fairfax County Health Department announced today (Friday).

Before then, the community vaccination center (CVC) will expand its hours of operation into the evening starting on Tuesday (June 8). The new hours will be 8:30-5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“Extended evening hours two nights a week expands access to obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are unable to visit during the day,” the county health department said.

Located in the mall’s former Lord & Taylor store, the Tysons CVC was Fairfax County’s first large-scale site for delivering COVID-19 vaccinations. It was organized by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Health, with the county health department and emergency management office providing support.

According to county officials, the site can accommodate about 3,000 people per day. It primarily utilizes the Pfizer vaccine, which is available to everyone 12 and older, but individuals 18 and older can also request the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The clinic is now open for walk-ins, and Fairfax Health District residents can also schedule an appointment through the health department’s Vaccine Administration Management System or by calling the call center at 703-324-7404.

When asked for comment about the decision to close the Tysons CVC later this month, a county health department spokesperson advised Tysons Reporter to contact VDH instead, since the site is state-run.

Virginia health officials have said in recent weeks that the state is starting to shift away from mass vaccine sites as supplies have become more widely available at primary care providers, pharmacies, and other locations. The vaccination campaign will now focus more on community-based clinics that can target specific populations that might have less access to the vaccine or be more reluctant to accept it.

A VDH spokesperson confirmed that the department is closing the Tysons CVC as part of a general transition away from large events and toward smaller, mobile, pop-up clinics, a reaction to declining demand at community clinics over the past several weeks.

“These smaller mobile clinics will enable VDH and its providers to get into neighborhoods, schools, churches, barbershops, and similar venues where people congregate in their daily lives,” VDH said in a statement. “At this point in the vaccination campaign, the keywords are “convenience” and “accessibility” — making getting a vaccine as convenient as possible and accessible as possible to as many people as possible.”

The Tysons CVC played “a key role” in vaccinating Fairfax County and Northern Virginia residents against COVID-19, VDH says, adding that 42,075 vaccine doses have been administered at the site as of June 3.

Fairfax County has surpassed the federal goal of getting at least one vaccine dose to 70% of all adults by July 4. As of today, 76.8% of adult residents and 58.7% of the overall Fairfax Health District population have received at least one dose, and 62.2% of adults — or 47.6% of all residents — are fully vaccinated, according to the FCHD dashboard.

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Morning Notes

Revisit Original Tysons Corner Apple Store via AR — “On May 19, 2001, Apple opened its first two retail stores in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. Now you can revisit the world’s first Apple Store exactly as it appeared twenty years ago on grand opening day through an interactive augmented reality experience.” [9 to 5 Mac]

Apple Anniversary at Tysons Corner Center —  “Twenty years ago today, Steve Jobs opened the first ⁦@Apple store in Tysons Corner, VA, a suburb of D.C. Here I am talking to him during his press walkthrough of the store.” [Walt Mossberg/Twitter]

Falls Church School Vaccine Clinics Coming — In addition to bringing COVID-19 vaccine sites to Fairfax County high schools, the Fairfax County Health Department will provide school-based clinics to Falls Church City Public Schools students on Friday (May 21) and June 11. The deadline to register for the clinics is today (Thursday) at 8 p.m. [FCHD]

Civilian Review Panel to Hold Public Forum for Police Chief — The Fairfax County Police Civilian Review Panel will host a virtual public forum on WebEx at 7 p.m. on May 26 to discuss civilian oversight of law enforcement with new Police Chief Kevin Davis. This is the second opportunity that community members will get to question Davis, whose appointment was met with skepticism from local civil rights advocates. [Supervisor Dan Storck/Twitter]

Retired MCC Executive Director Gets Sendoff — “State and local officials, along with past and present members of the McLean Community Center Governing Board, gave a final send-off to the center’s departing executive director, George Sachs, during a May 2 gathering at McLean Central Park…Sachs retired May 7 after 11 years at the center. His successor, Daniel Phoenix Singh…assumed his new post April 12.” [Sun Gazette]

New Maintenance Facility Opens at Pimmit Run — “The Fairfax County Park Authority has opened a new Area 1 Maintenance Facility at Pimmit Run Stream Valley Park to better meet current and future maintenance needs. The project involved the demolition of three aging maintenance buildings, the relocation of two storage sheds on site, and construction of a new one-story 7,500-square-foot maintenance building.” [FCPA]

McLean Leads Virginia in Billionaires — “McLean has two billionaires with a collective net worth of $4.7 billion, making it the top locale in Virginia in terms of billionaire wealth, according to a new analysis from the financial news website 24/7 Wall St.” [The Center Square/Inside NoVA]

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Morning Notes

CVS Allows Walk-in Vaccine Appointments — CVS Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations to walk-in appointments and same-day scheduling at all stores in Virginia, joining Giant, which started allowing walk-ins at its pharmacies on Monday (May 3). CVS has three stores in Vienna, two in Merrifield, eight in Falls Church, and one in McLean. [Patch]

McLean Central Park Plan Meeting Set — Fairfax County will hold a virtual public information meeting at 7 p.m. on May 24 to share a development concept for McLean Central Park based on a master plan that was last revised in 2013. Potential new facilities for the 28-acre public park on Dolley Madison Boulevard include a dog park, an ampitheater, and trail improvements. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Tysons Corner Launches “DreamStart” Competition for Businesses — Tysons Corner Center is inviting entrepreneurs to pitch their product, service, or business concepts for the chance to get pop-up retail space. With applications due May 24, the contest winners will debut in the mall this summer with three months of free rent, a grand opening community event, and marketing support. [Tysons Corner Center]

McLean Volunteer Firefighter Reads for Charity — “On Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. families can tune into “Read Me A Story,” a virtual event featuring a firefighter reading a story. The virtual literacy event is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center, a nonprofit preschool.” [Patch]

McLean Youth Soccer Unveils New Logo — “McLean Youth Soccer (MYS) and Springfield South County Youth Club (SYC) unveiled the name and logo for the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) alliance announced earlier this month. The new alliance will be known as Virginia Union FC.” [SoccerWire]

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A festival celebrating southern cuisine — from beer to bacon and biscuits — is returning to Tysons for a fifth year.

“This 5th Annual affair offers up all those pleasures that true Southerners live by — Beer, Bourbon, Barbecue, Boots, Bacon, Biscuits, Bluegrass, and Smoked Beasts,” the festival’s website advertises. “It’s a great day of beer sippin’, bourbon tastin’, music listenin’, cigar smokin’, and barbecue eatin’.”

Admission to the festival is $49 for a three-hour window on Saturday, May 22. Admission comes with a souvenir tasting glass and an all-you-can-taste sampling of beer and bourbon.

A $79 ticket offers a four hour window at the festival along with a BBQ dinner platter.

This year, the festival will be held at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road).

The festival site advises attendees to bring cash, as many vendors will not accept credit cards, and there might be lines at the ATM. Guests are also allowed to bring their own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

No pets are allowed at the festival and service animals must be registered in advance. No weapons or outside alcohol are allowed either.

A full list of beer and bourbon vendors at the site is available online.

Photo via Beer, Bourbon, BBQ/Facebook

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Lucid Motors, an American luxury electric vehicle company, is looking to open a store and service center in Tysons Galleria.

The company has filed plans with Fairfax County for a store, vehicle service, and delivery center in the lower level of the former Macy’s building. The filing comes less than a year after Lucid announced it would open a studio in Tysons Corner Center.

Tesla’s major rival is eyeing 27,642 square feet in the northern portion of the vacated Macy’s site. It envisions a glassy, contemporary showroom with the delivery and service center tucked away so it would not be visible from public streets.

“This will be the first service and delivery center for Lucid in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area,” Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh P.C. attorney Elizabeth Baker said in the filing. “The proposed use will bring a new exciting business to the Tysons area and help diversify uses in Tysons Galleria.”

In establishing two Tysons locations, Lucid follows a path forged by Tesla, Washington Business Journal reported. Tesla currently has a store at Tysons Corner Center and a showroom at 8500 Tyco Road.

Lucid Motors’ Tysons Galleria location will include a “store” with a few display cars and a vehicle service area. Customers can configure their cars and “experience a new Lucid vehicle virtually as well as in person,” according to Baker.

Cars will come to the location wrapped in a protective film that will be removed onsite, where the vehicles can be detailed and configured to customers’ desires. The nearby parking garage will store up to 40 vehicles.

Last September, the company unveiled its flagship “post-luxury” vehicle, Lucid Air, advertising it as tailored to “progressive buyers” who value sustainability, design, and technical innovation as much as quality and craftsmanship.

Baker said that servicing electric vehicles will be possible in the former Macy’s store because the process is “dramatically different from typical combustion-engine maintenance and service.”

“There is no vehicle exhaust and the amount of hazardous materials used in EVs and their service is substantially reduced by comparison,” she said.

Since Macy’s closed in 2018, the applicant has been renovating and re-tenanting the Macy’s building, Baker said.

“The former Macy’s building has been thoughtfully redesigned to incorporate the new business within the existing building with minimal impact, and will complement other existing and future businesses,” she said.

Public hearings on Lucid Motors’ special exception request are tentatively set to take place before the Fairfax County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors this fall.

Photos courtesy Fairfax County

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Morning Notes

First Lady Northam Visits Tysons Mass Vaccine Site — “@FirstLadyVA Pamela Northam is visiting the mass vaccination site at Tysons Corner Mall, which just this week became the first vaccination site in Northern Virginia to allow walk up appointments. They are doing them Monday through Saturday, 9 AM to 4 PM.” [Tom Roussey ABC7/Twitter]

Primark Coming to Tysons Corner — The London-based clothing retailer Primark has signed a lease for a two-story, 37,100 square-foot store at Tysons Corner Center. Expected to open sometime between September 2023 and September 2024, the store will be Primark’s first in Virginia. The retailer prides itself on offering “amazing fashion at amazing prices,” but like other “fast fashion” brands, it has been criticized for exploitative labor practices. [Press release]

Vienna Plans to Lower Tax Rate — The Vienna Town Council signaled on Monday (April 26) that it supports reducing the town’s real estate tax rate by a quarter of a cent to 22.25 cents per $100 of assessed value. This would be the first time that the tax rate has changed from 22.5 cents per $100 in six years, but higher assessments mean that most homeowners will still see higher tax bills. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Thoreau Principal Selection Process Underway — Fairfax County Public Schools officials held a community and staff meeting on the process to select a new principal for Thoreau Middle School. The school’s last principal, Yusef Azimi, was let go after police arrested him for reportedly failing to report child abuse allegations against a teacher. [Karl Frisch/Twitter]

Attorney General Allows Vaccination Requirements for Colleges — “In an official opinion Monday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has concluded that Virginia colleges and universities ‘may condition in-person attendance on receipt of an approved COVID-19 vaccine during this time of pandemic.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

Tysons Mass COVID-19 Vaccine Site Now Accepting Walk-Ins — “Walk-in appointments now available! The Tysons Community Vaccination Center now has first-come, first-served appointments 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday.” [Fairfax County Health Department/Twitter]

Virginia Reviewing New Mask Guidelines — The CDC released new guidance yesterday (Tuesday) stating that people who have been fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks outdoors except when in a big crowd of strangers. Gov. Ralph Northam’s press secretary said in a statement that the governor’s office is reviewing the guidelines “to determine if and where we need to make changes” to Virginia’s mask requirements. [Office of the Governor]

FY 2022 Budget Markup Approved — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a markup package for the county’s fiscal year 2022 budget yesterday (Tuesday) that includes a 1% pay raise for county government employees and an additional $15 million for Fairfax County Public Schools, partly to support compensation increases. [Fairfax County Government]

New Police Chief Use-of-Force Record Scrutinized — Incoming Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis lost two lawsuits over his use of force when he worked in the Prince George’s County Police Department in the 1990s. In the first case, the plaintiff said Davis pulled him over without giving a reason and violently arrested him, while the second victim alleged that “Davis and other officers essentially kidnapped him for a night.” [NBC4]

McLean Day Goes to the Drive-Thru — After getting canceled last year, McLean Day is returning on May 15 as an in-person, drive-thru event with live entertainment, including jugglers, an aerialist, a DJ, and animals. Admission to the annual festival is free, and it will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the McLean Community Center parking lot (1234 Ingleside Ave.). [MCC]

Selfie Studio Coming to Tysons Corner — “Selfie WRLD, a franchise with more than 20 locations across the country, is opening a “do-it-yourself photograph studio” in the Tysons Corner Center mall on June 5…The venue will feature at least 25 different eight-by-eight-foot selfie stations, including a retro pink-and-green diner, a private jet, an upside-down room, a patriotic ball pit with lifeguard stand, and lemon lime neon-colored jail cell with lit-up “smooth criminal” sign (yup).” [Washingtonian]

Photo by Bill Johnson

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