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A rendering shows what a transformed Tysons Galleria would look like with a new service center and electric vehicle business on the ground floor (via Fairfax County)

Luxury electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors passed a crucial step yesterday (Wednesday) toward getting its first service and delivery center in the D.C. area.

The company is seeking to open a venue in the basement of the former Macy’s at Tysons Galleria, converting the store doors and indoor space to allow vehicles to drive inside for servicing.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted on Wednesday (Oct. 20) to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the special exception proposal, which would give Lucid Motors five service bays and two vehicle display areas. Delivery service would also occur there.

Outside, 10 electric vehicle charging stations would be available for customers and the public in a nearby parking area, bringing the mall up to 22 stations.

“Like Tesla and other companies, this will be a big step forward in helping to further improve the environment and offer customers and area residents an alternative choice to the internal combustion engine,” said Bernie Suchicital, a land use planner with the law firm Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh.

The firm is representing the applicant Tysons Galleria Anchor Acquisition LLC, which is connected to Brookfield Properties, the real estate company that took over the mall in 2018.

“The architecture will be contemporary in style, in keeping with the rest of the building, and will include a glass storefront at the corner of the building as it wraps toward International Drive,” an Oct. 7 staff report said.

A Board of Supervisors public hearing on the application has been scheduled for Nov. 9.

Lucid Motors plans to operate seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with no on-site vehicle sales, according to the county. The company’s least-expensive vehicle starts at around $70,000 when a tax credit is applied, according to TechCrunch.

County staff recommend that the location also be restricted from offering rentals.

Walsh Colucci senior land use planner Elizabeth Baker noted in an Aug. 13 letter that the location will allow customers to configure and experience a new Lucid vehicle virtually as well as in person.

The company would also have 40 parking spots at the mall to store new and serviced vehicles.

The planned service center is part of the Tysons Galleria’s ongoing redevelopment of its former Macy’s store. Next to the proposed location, Bowlero opened earlier this month on the ground floor.

Lucid Motors is also working to open a studio this year at nearby Tysons Corner Center, which has asked Fairfax County to allow vehicle sales for up to eight businesses in its parking garages.

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George Mason University student Adel Batterjee and his friends had one of Bowlero’s first games yesterday (Monday) following the opening of the new Tysons Galleria venue, which combines an arcade with a restaurant and bowling alley.

Bowlero has taken over the basement of the mall’s former Macy’s. The racks of clothing that Batterjee remembers from the old space have been replaced by almost wall-to-wall bowling lanes. Next to a sweeping 26-lane section is a classic Mustang and bar, and another 10-lane section stretches by 70-plus arcade games.

A grand opening for the Tysons Bowlero, which joins existing locations in Annandale, Centreville, and Arlington, is slated for Nov. 6. People can register online for the event, which runs from noon to 3 p.m and will feature free bowling and arcade play

“People are excited,” said Siarra Foster, Bowlero’s Northern Virginia district area manager. “It’s a fun addition of things to do in this area.”

The 39,000-square feet space, which began construction this spring, includes arcade games ranging from “Mario Kart Arcade GP,” complete with race car seats and steering wheels, to classic pinball machines, one of which features “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Other modern twists to the classic bowling alley concept include arcade games with virtual reality headsets and electronic menus on lanes to assist customers.

Food items include a kids’ menu, grilled items such as burgers, salads, milkshakes and other desserts, hand-stretched pizza, party-sized options, and more.

It’s not just for kids, though, given the selection of beers, and screens throughout the location can play NFL games as well as slideshows. Company logos can also be featured on screens for when groups rent a section of lanes or the entire facility.

A prize area features quirky items, too, such as a Bob Ross version of Monopoly.

Even with the soft opening, the business is already inviting stores to participate in a friendly competition for bragging rights in a Tysons Galleria bowling league.

The location opened Friday (Oct. 15) for families and friends and is currently open to the public, Foster said.

Its hours are 2 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, noon to midnight on Saturday, and noon to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

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Urban Plates has closed at Tysons Galleria (courtesy Urban Plates)

Urban Plates at Tysons Galleria is no more.

An anonymous tipster alerted Tysons Reporter to the healthy-eating restaurant’s closure yesterday (Tuesday), and a company spokesperson confirmed in an emailed statement that it is indeed permanent:

Urban Plates has made the very difficult decision to close our Tyson’s Galleria location so we may focus energy on growing and supporting our West Coast restaurants. We know this is sad news…for us, for our locals who dined with us, and of course our team members. We trust that our fans understand we would only choose to close a location if it was the right decision for the greater Urban Plates family long term. Decisions like these allow us to continue to make the quality, craveable, affordable food our guests count on us to deliver.

When asked by Tysons Reporter, the spokesperson added that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was a factor in Urban Plates’ decision to focus on its West Coast restaurants.

Primarily based in California, Urban Plates opened next to Saks Fifth Avenue at Tysons Galleria on July 16, 2018, making that its first East Coast franchise. Since then, the company added restaurants in Columbia and Bethesda, Maryland, both of which have now also been shuttered.

With a menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, and meat-based dishes, the restaurant emphasizes its use of healthy, sustainable ingredients, a reputation that made it the lunch of choice for three former presidents on Inauguration Day earlier this year.

Bigger changes are in store for Tysons Galleria, as work continues on a redevelopment of the mall’s former Macy’s space, which is being subdivided to accommodate a movie theater, a bowling alley, and other new retailers.

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Among a crowd of pizza crafters applying fixtures with eyedroppers or a brush, chef Andy Brown did what he did best: make the same kind of pizza he’d make if he were any given Friday at the shop.

That’s how Andy’s Pizza, a small regional chain with a location in Tysons Galleria, took home the first-place prize in the traditional pizza category of the International Pizza Challenge last month.

“The whole point of the traditional category is: what do you do really great at 7 p.m. on a Friday?” said Emily Brown, Andy’s cousin and co-owner of Andy’s Pizza. “Maybe it was a risky move, but we just did what we put out on Friday. No paint brushes, no eye-droppers.”

Originally introduced in 2007, the International Pizza Challenge is the largest pizza-making competition in the U.S. It unfolded this year from Aug. 17-19 as part of the 37th annual International Pizza Expo.

Part of the rules for the traditional category is to use no more than two toppings, but as Emily explained, traditional doesn’t necessarily mean simple. There’s a specific process behind the scenes that goes into making the pizza.

“We do a 72-hour minimum cold fermented crust,” Emily said. “For our sauce, we have a beautiful red sauce with a pinch of salt, and we use the best cheese money can buy — mozzarella from Grande Cheese. Our crust is blistered, and we use a special technique to keep it chewy and soft while being crisp on the bottom.”

Emily suspects it was the blistered crust that helped Andy’s Pizza stand out from the competition.

“A lot of people do that ferment, and a lot of people use that cheese, so it’s really the blister,” Emily said.

Meanwhile, the pizzeria just started serving its first vegan pies. Emily says they were previously unimpressed with the quality of artificial cheeses, but they found the right one with Vertage in Ivy City in D.C.

Emily also helped spearhead the pizzeria’s beer menu, which has started to see a gradual comeback after lunch and happy-hour crowds took a hit with office workers staying home during the pandemic.

“Tonight, people came out from D.C. and were like ‘how did you get this beer?'” Emily said. “Our bread and butter was office, and they were gone and started to trickle back…You still don’t get that automatic 50-person-on-a-Tuesday Capital One happy hour yet, so you have to work really hard not to let that program slip. If you do something hard enough, people will notice.”

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Morning Notes

I-66 West Lane Closures Start Tonight — I-66 West in the Vienna area will be reduced to a single travel lane around 10 p.m. today (Friday) and tomorrow with one lane remaining closed during the day on Saturday. The closures are needed to shift the westbound travel lanes between Gallows Road and Nutley Street to new pavement as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [VDOT]

Two Injured in McLean House Fire During Storm — Two people went to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries after a house in the 6600 block of Osborn Street caught fire around 9:10 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 10). The fire, which displaced five occupants and resulted in approximately $25,000 in damages, was caused by an unattended candle placed too close to curtains during a thunderstorm-induced power outage. [FCFRD]

Craft Beer Restaurant Planned for Tysons Galleria — “Yard House, the casual, craft beer-focused restaurant with a growing Greater Washington presence, will open a new location inside the redeveloped former Macy’s store at the Tysons Galleria. Building permits filed this week with Fairfax County describe the project as eventually spanning 14,236 square feet and entailing an outdoor patio at the redone Galleria space.” [Washington Business Journal]

Falls Church Adds Affordable Housing — Falls Church City bought properties at 310 and 312 Shirley Street for $925,000 each on Wednesday (Aug. 11). The 2,560 square-foot buildings consist of four one-bedroom apartments that will be preserved as market-rate affordable units, joining the 16 such units that the City already owns at 208 Gibson Street and 302 Shirley Street. [City of Falls Church]

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The redevelopment of the former Macy’s box store at Tysons Galleria is almost ready for the public, paving the way for the addition of a movie theater, a bowling alley, and other retailers.

Brookfield Properties, which owns the mall, is in the process of breaking up the 260,000 square-foot space that housed the former 30-year old department store into smaller spaces for approximately 10 retailers.

“What the inspiration here was, we wanted people to feel comfortable spending time and sitting, not just shopping,” John Cournoyer, executive vice president of construction, design and development for Brookfield Properties, said on Wednesday (July 28). “So, we wanted…people being able to dwell, do other things, meet people, extend the day.”

Work continues on the exterior façade of a Crate and Barrel that will occupy one of the retail locations, but it is expected that construction will be completed by the end of the year. The spaces are fully leased and will open in a rolling capacity over the next six months.

“Each retailer will have its own timing and ability to open and move quickly throughout the project,” said Chris Pine, executive vice president of anchors, big box leasing and development for Brookfield.

Brookfield had considered opening the whole space at the same time but decided a more gradual approach would work better.

“You could in one strategy wait until everybody is done and turn the switch on and everybody opens up,” Pine said. “But we like the idea of just rolling through it and then, month after month, there’s a new retailer, something new happening, adding to the overall excitement and enthusiasm for the project.”

As part of the redevelopment, Arhaus opened a new showroom for its artisan furniture and home decor today (Friday). The store was previously located on the other side of Route 123 at Tysons Corner Center, according to a press release.

Other new tenants include the interior design store RH, a CMX CinéBistro theater that will occupy the top of the three-level space, and a Bowlero on the bottom floor.

The expected completion date for the overall project is the end of March or early April 2022 as tenants build out their individual spaces after the stores are enclosed.

In addition to the retail space, there is a central area between retailers designed for people “to rest and relax” with a bevy of amenities, such as plug-ins “for people that want to charge their phone or work on their laptop,” according to Mark DeCapri, senior vice president of planning and design for Brookfield.

DeCapri added that the design plans are meant to provide “something unique” with varied lighting, different types of spaces, and unique elements like a moss feature on the center area’s ceiling. At the end of the wing, glass allows natural light in at the future Crate and Barrel site.

In the works since Macy’s closed in January 2019, the project will also give the mall a new outdoor plaza with seating and landscaping, including a live green wall. The streetscape is intended to blend in with the existing mall and enhance customer convenience.

“I think when you go out to the original mall, the spaces are of vast scale and they feel very good. They’re sun-lit, and it’s a different feeling than you get here,” DeCapri said.

“So, this wing was looked at as another place for people to really come if they wanted a more intimate space to sit. You can sit out in the mall and it’s a fine experience, but if you’re trying to move a little way more to a living room setting, this is really a unique instance of having that available to the public.”

In terms of sustainability, Brookfield recycled 7,860 tons of material — 88% of the materials used in the construction of the redevelopment.

“One of the things that we evaluated very early on was saving this building. It would have been easier to tear it down, but we decided that we didn’t want to have all those materials end up in a landfill,” DeCapri said. “…Both those things were very important to us.”

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Construction has begun again on the Monarch, the luxury condominium high-rise being build as a part of the Arbor Row development in Tysons.

The Monarch team announced yesterday (Thursday) that Hoar Construction has been hired as its new contractor, and construction is expected to be completed in mid-2023.

Renaissance Centro, the building’s developer, split with its previous contractor in 2020, and construction had been on hold until Hoar’s recent hiring.

Hoar has experience working on residential buildings in Tysons, having built the nearby Lumen apartments which opened in 2019.

Activity at The Monarch is visible once again, with Hoar Construction starting to work on the building’s site, including pouring concrete for a parking garage, that will continue throughout the summer. A crane to start building vertically will be erect by the end of the summer, according to a spokesperson for  Monarch.

The building is set to be over 250 feet tall with 101 condos inside. It is part of the Arbor Row mixed-use development being built near Tysons Galleria.

A sale gallery for The Monarch is located at 1650 Tysons Blvd Suite 905 and is open on Friday and Saturday from 11-5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information or appoints call 703-734-2020 or visit their website.

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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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Construction on the new Bowlero that will occupy part of the shuttered Macy’s in Tysons Galleria is scheduled to commence around next Monday (March 29), a spokesperson tells Tysons Reporter.

Bowlero Senior Public Relations Manager Jillian Laufer says the bowling alley operator hopes to finish construction in late November.

This will be Bowlero’s fifth location in the D.C. area. The company currently operates venues in Arlington, Bethesda, Centreville, and most recently, Annandale, which had its grand opening in February 2020.

“Tysons Galleria is situated in one of the country’s most well established and affluent markets, and we saw an underrepresentation of family fun options in the community,” Laufer said. “Bowlero is a one-stop entertainment destination for all ages complete with signature blacklight bowling, interactive arcade games, and extensive food and beverage offerings which make it a great fit for Tysons Galleria.”

The Washington Business Journal first reported Bowlero’s plans to move into the former Macy’s at Tysons Galleria in January.

The space has been vacant since the clothing store closed in 2019, as Tysons Galleria owner Brookfield Properties has been working to redevelop the 300,000 square-foot, three-floor building so that it can accommodate multiple tenants.

According to the Washington Business Journal, Apple, Tiffany & Co., Balducci’s, and iPic Theaters have all been in discussions about potentially getting space in the converted building, but Brookfield has not released any new information about those plans.

The new Bowlero will occupy 39,851 square feet on the first floor of the former Macy’s, and it will feature 36 bowling lanes, along with arcade games, a full-service kitchen, and a sports bar, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Bowlero has applied for licenses to serve wine and beer on its premises and to have a mixed beverage restaurant with a capacity of up to 100 seats. Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority records indicate that its applications have been pending since Feb. 22.

Photo courtesy Bowlero

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A new store that specializes in eco-friendly custom furniture will open its doors at Tysons Galleria on Monday (Feb. 1).

Whom will be located in Suite 1126 on 2001 International Dr. Its operating hours will be 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 12-6 p.m. on Sundays.

This will be Whom’s second brick-and-mortar location after the flagship store opened in Los Angeles, Calif., last year.

“We’re eager to expand our showroom concept on the East Coast and have found a great partnership with [Tysons Galleria owner and manager] Brookfield Properties,” Whom CEO and founder Jonathan Bass said.

It is a division of the furniture design company Innova Luxury Group Inc. and the manufacturer PTM Images, which owns and operates a 300,000 square-foot factory in Mexico that produces all of the furniture sold by Whom.

Whom consists of a showroom where customers can browse home furniture and decor that they can then order custom-made. The company says it uses sustainable hardwood, materials from recycled polystyrene pulled from the ocean, and non-toxic paints and finishes. It also offers more than 50 easy-to-clean fabrics.

“Our customer is not only concerned about the initial impact their purchase makes, but the subsequent impact of landfilling their home products,” Bass said. “Consumers increasingly want furniture that will last longer, so they don’t need to replace it as often due to the effects on the environment.”

Photo courtesy Whom Home

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