Newsletter

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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Fairfax County police received multiple reports of robberies and larcenies in the McLean District this week.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department’s weekly recap, two men shoplifted merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue (2051 International Dr.) at Tysons Galleria around 4:04 p.m. on Jan. 10. When leaving, they threatened to assault a store employee.

Then, at 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 14, a man and a woman took two carts of merchandise without paying from Safeway on 6244 Old Dominion Dr. in McLean. They reportedly assaulted two employees while leaving the grocery store.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

The FCPD also confirmed today that it received two separate reports of larceny on Jan. 13 from people whose vehicles were robbed at Clemyjontri Park in McLean around 5 p.m. that day. In both cases, the vehicle windows were broken, and personal items were taken.

“We would like to remind our community members to hide valuables that must be left in a vehicle, even if you are stepping away for just a few minutes,” FCPD Sgt. Tara Gerhard said.

Fairfax County police suggest placing purses, laptop bags, and larger items in the trunk of the vehicle and hiding loose change, phones, or other small valuable items “that could make your vehicle an easy target for a criminal.”

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Monday Morning Notes

Second Dead Capitol Police Officer Was Madison Alumnus — The Capitol Police announced on Saturday (Jan. 9) that officer Howard Liebengood had died — reportedly by suicide — after being on the scene when a mob breached the U.S. Capitol last week. Liebengood attended Vienna’s James Madison High School in the 1980s and participated in the school’s wrestling team. [The Washington Post]

Fairfax County Libraries Return to Curbside Service Only — “Effective Monday, Jan. 11, all Fairfax County Public Library branches will provide curbside and virtual services only. Please stay home if you’re sick, if you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or if you’re awaiting your own COVID-19 test results.” [Fairfax County Public Library]

Bowlero to Move into Former Macy’s at Tysons Galleria — “Bowling alley operator Bowlero plans to open its fifth location in Greater Washington this November at Tysons Galleria…The new location will house 36 bowling lanes, more than 70 arcade games, a full-service kitchen, sports bar and audio-visual capabilities including hi-definition video screens above the bowling lanes.” [Washington Business Journal]

Construction on New George Mason High School Nearly Complete — “The new school set to replace the old George Mason High School in the City of Falls Church will be opened in the coming weeks, but in-person learning may not be allowed despite a recently announced reopening plan.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Fairfax County Requests Flexibility and Funding from State — During a public hearing on Jan. 9, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay told the county’s General Assembly delegation that localities need the flexibility to determine their own priorities as they try to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. [WTOP]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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As the holidays approach, Tysons Galleria has announced that it will display a new interactive art installation called “Warm for the Winter.” The installation serves as a coat drive to benefit Alexandria’s Volunteers of America and their donation initiatives.

Through this initiative, Tysons Galleria is collecting new coats, scarves, and gloves for Northern Virginia families in need from Nov. 20 until Dec. 11. The art installation was designed by Richmond-based artist Noah Scalin and utilizes the donated coats before they are given to the families, according to a press release from Tysons Galleria.

“It has been a challenging year for so many, and we are excited to be part of this initiative to support our local community,” Tysons Galleria Senior General Manager Rich Dinning said.

Volunteers of America has helped underserved people for 125 years, the press release says. According to CEO Mike King, the partnership was a “natural fit” since Brookfield Properties — the real estate company that owns Tysons Galleria — is one of the largest mall operators in the U.S.

“Our goal is to collect as many donations in as many communities possible, and we are able to maximize those efforts through their shopping centers across the country,” King said. “We look forward to working with them in the coming weeks and look forward to the opportunity to give back to American families this holiday season.”

Scalin will design a custom installation with more than 3,000 coats that will be displayed through Dec. 31 before the coats are donated to those in need. Scalin’s work is interested in reorganizing the noise of American culture into recognizable signals by “illuminating people, moments, and objects that should be prioritized over the distracting spectacle of society,” according to the release.  

Community members can donate new coats, scarves, and gloves at collection points throughout the mall near Maggianos, PF Chang’s, and on the lower level near J. Crew. Organizers are requesting new items because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Photo by Joshua Hanson/Unsplash

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With colder weather approaching, Tysons-area restaurants are preparing for a warm, socially-distant eating experience for their guests.

Last week, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to approve an ordinance amendment that allows enclosed tents with heaters, both inside and outside, for outdoor dining, fitness, and exercise activities, and a few local restaurants are planning to take advantage of the ordinance.

Founding Farmers (1800 Tysons Blvd.) is planning to follow the ordinance by creating an outdoor-dining space. Majority-owned by American family farmers, Founding Farmers serves American dishes, along with seasonal fruits and vegetables from Virginia farms.

“We’re working through the final details of our tents but we do plan on installing some soon,” Farmers Restaurant Group Vice President and Marketing and Communications Specialist Meaghan O’Shea said.

“What we’re hoping to achieve is to continue to offer safe dining options both inside and outside through the cooler weather months,” O’Shea said. “If you want to be outside, we want to be sure we can accommodate that request and that it’s an enjoyable experience for both the guests and our team.”

Tyson’s first annual Restaurant Week earlier this month (Oct. 12-18) was a huge success, according to many local restaurant owners and managers.

Urban Plates (1782M Galleria at Tysons II), which participated in Tyson’s Restaurant Week, currently has an outdoor heated patio, so no further accommodations need to be made, according to General Manager Tony Bass.

“We also always have inside seating available, following Fairfax County COVID-19 guidelines — less than 10 people at one table, sitting six feet apart,” Bass said.

The Town of Vienna has not yet permitted restaurants to use closed tents for outdoor dining. The town council most recently re-adopted an emergency ordinance allowing institutions and businesses to get temporary waivers from zoning regulations on outdoor activities on Oct. 5, but the measure still requires tents to “remain open on all sides.”

Still, that limitation has not stopped the town’s restaurants from proactively preparing for the winter months.

Vienna’s Blend 111 (111 Church St. NW), a food and wine bar that specializes in Latin dishes, has already began “winterizing” its patio, according to owner/sommelier Mike Biddick.

“We added gas heaters, pop-up tents for use when it is rainy, and blankets,” Biddick said. “We are also working with a firm to design eco-friendly, heated chair cushions for later into the winter.”

Biddick says over 90% of his customers choose to enjoy their meals outside, but the restaurant has still worked to create a safe, socially-distant dining experience for the customers that choose to sit inside.

“Inside, we set up only eight tables,” Biddick said. “…While our open kitchen required that we installed very robust air ventilation when we opened last year, we also installed air particle filters next to each of the tables for added airflow and circulation. Masks are mandatory, as are gloves for our staff.”

Photo courtesy Jennie Kuperstein

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