Newsletter

Morning Notes

Early Voting Starts Today — Voters can now cast their ballots for the Nov. 2 general election by mail or by visiting the Fairfax County, North County, and Mount Vernon government centers. Virginia has three statewide offices and all 100 House of Delegates seats up for election, and Fairfax County voters also face a school bond question. [Fairfax County Government]

Parents of Sexual Abuse Victim Object to Plea Deal — The family of a girl who was sexually abused by a relative wants a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge to reject a plea deal today (Friday), arguing that the 17-year maximum prison sentence is insufficient. They feel Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano has prioritized defendants over victims, a criticism increasingly leveled against progressive prosecutors across the U.S. elected on promises of reducing mass incarceration and addressing historical inequities in the justice system. [The Washington Post]

Virginia Adds QR Codes to COVID-19 Vaccine Records — “As requests for proof of COVID-19 vaccination by businesses and employers increases, the Virginia Department of Health has announced that QR (quick response) codes are now available. Virginia is now the fifth U.S. state to adopt the SMART Health format for QR codes.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Vienna Unveils Annual Holiday Ornament — “The town of Vienna later this year will begin selling a 2021 holiday ornament, which depicts the ‘Taking Flight’ bronze statue situated in front of the Vienna Community Center. Vienna Town Council members on Sept. 13 unanimously approved the sale of the ornaments, which will be available at the community center, Town Hall and at the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration.” [Sun Gazette]

Tysons 5K Run Raises Money to Feed Community — “Tysons Partnership is proud to have sponsored the @foodforothers Tysons 5K and Fun Run. Sunday’s Fun Run raised over $91,000 for community members facing food insecurity. Thank you to everyone for your support and participation in this year’s race!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

Merrifield Church to Celebrate 151st Anniversary — “The First Baptist Church of Merrifield will kick off their 151st Homecoming Anniversary Weekend on Saturday, September 18 and Homecoming Sunday Service on Sunday, September 19. Immediately following the worship service we will have a soft opening Ribbon Cutting ceremony followed by Lunch on the Grounds.” [Greater Merrifield Business Association]

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Now-closed Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike (photo by Michelle Goldchain)

Updated at 10:15 a.m. on 9/24/2021 — The community event venue at the former Container Store will be called The PARC, Celebrate Fairfax announced on Sept. 17.

Earlier: After this weekend, the former Container Store in Tysons will no longer be known as just “the former Container Store.”

The county-owned, 19,260-square-foot site with 95 parking spaces at 8508 Leesburg Pike is being transformed into a community hub and venue for local events through a collaborative effort between Fairfax County, Tysons Partnership, and Celebrate Fairfax Inc.

Tomorrow (Friday), Celebrate Fairfax and participating vendors will host another Tysons Block Party from 4 to 8 p.m., during which a new name will be announced for the venue. The name was chosen based on an online poll that Celebrate Fairfax conducted across its social media accounts.

“Activating this site is part of a multifaceted community building process in Tysons that recognizes the importance of placemaking,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “Having spaces like the one at 8508 Leesburg Pike in Tysons allows us to build social infrastructure, in addition to the built infrastructure that continues to grow.”

Singer Caz Gardiner is scheduled to perform at the event with a collections of vendors such as Settle Down Easy Brewing Co., Zainy’s Flyin’ Grill and Hangry Panda present.

In addition to a new name, the site will get a facelift in the near future with a mural by artist Rodrigo Pradel. Before work begins on the mural, however, Tysons Partnership is soliciting the community for input on the design with an online survey.

“The upcoming events in this space, including the Tysons Block Party and the mural live painting event, are just two of many opportunities for the Tysons community to share experiences, and make new connections, right here in Tysons,” Palchik said.

“This site can be a leader in facilitating in-person experiences, and a model for placemaking around our county,” she added.

After the Container Store relocated to 8459 Leesburg Pike in 2018, the county acquired the site in 2019 for $16.6 million with an eye toward utilizing it to support community innovation and entrepreneurship.

The county received a variety of proposals for the use of the site prior to the pandemic, including a suggestion from development officials to use it for community events.

However, during the pandemic, the building was adapted for emergency use. Over the past year, it has been used as a storage site for personal protective equipment, and it was designated as a hypothermia shelter from Dec. 1 through April 1.

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Morning Notes

Local Woman Gets First Haircut in 17 Years — “There is the slightest chance that as the scissors close in on Zahab Kamal Khan’s hair Thursday morning at the McLean Community Center, she will break from the crowd and the TV news crews and make a run for it. After all, Zahab’s hair — all 6 feet, 3 inches of it — is one of her most prized possessions. She’s been growing it for 17 years, since she was 13.” [The Washington Post]

Vienna Church Celebrates 150th Anniversary — “Vienna Presbyterian Church began in 1871 with nine people — seven female members and two male elders — and in the decades since has ministered to people both in the local area and around the world. The church celebrated its 150th anniversary Aug. 22 with sermons, testimonials, song and fellowship.” [Sun Gazette]

Enjoy Tysons Boulevard Lane Closure — “Looking for a family friendly activity this weekend? Come be #activeintysons because we are hosting a Back-to-School Meetup this Saturday from 10AM-12PM, in Tysons #openstreet along Tysons Blvd. We hope to see you rain or shine for story time with Tysons School Board Representive, Karl Frisch, light refreshments, fun and games!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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Tysons Partnership President and CEO Sol Glasner will retire at the end of 2021 (courtesy Tysons Partnership)

Tysons Partnership President and CEO Sol Glasner will retire from the organization, effective Dec. 31, 2021, he confirmed to Tysons Reporter.

Publicly announced yesterday (Thursday) in the Washington Business Journal, his departure will mark the conclusion of a decade-long tenure with the nonprofit tasked with transforming Tysons from an office-dominated suburb into the “walkable, green urban center” envisioned by Fairfax County’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan.

Initially appointed to lead the Partnership on an interim basis, Glasner says he agreed to take on the role of president and CEO indefinitely because he found it fulfilling, but he always planned to step back after four to five years to enjoy his recent professional retirement.

“It’s consistent with what I was planning to do from the beginning, or from the beginning of this particular phase of my relationship with the Partnership,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful experience, and I hope that I’ve made a meaningful impact on Tysons, on Fairfax County.”

A longtime general counsel for The MITRE Corporation, Glasner represented the McLean-based nonprofit as a founding member of the Tysons Partnership, which was formed in early 2011. He chaired the board of directors from 2012 to 2014 and became acting president in 2017 after retiring from MITRE.

Glasner says Tysons has become “a huge success story” over the past 10 years, praising Fairfax County leaders for developing a vision for the area in advance of Metro’s arrival with the opening of the Silver Line Phase 1 stations in 2014.

Led by private and nonprofit stakeholders, the Tysons Partnership is dedicated to establishing and promoting Tysons as a distinct brand by supporting community events and other placemaking efforts, economic growth, and transit-oriented development.

“I think we’ve evolved tremendously to have a solid and constructive impact on boosting Tysons as a unified place, tying together what would otherwise be…siloed real estate projects and bringing them together into a cohesive, unified urban community,” Glasner said.

While the Partnership has been mostly funded by member dues, it has also gotten public money in the form of Economic Opportunity Reserve grants from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which first awarded $1 million in matching funds in 2019 for an ongoing rebranding initiative.

A second EOR grant was approved on July 27 to support more branding activities and the installation of a mural outside the former Container Store on Leesburg Pike. The arts project is expected to be finished in October and will help turn the space into “a stage” for community events and activities in conjunction with Celebrate Fairfax, Glasner says.

However, Glasner says the Tysons Partnership will ultimately need a new business model to have long-term stability in terms of both governance and financing.

As the Washington Business Journal has reported, one option is a business improvement district that would be funded by a tax levied on property owners in the area. If that happens, Tysons would be Fairfax County’s first BID, but the concept has caught on elsewhere in the D.C. region, including neighboring Arlington County.

“Tysons is four square miles. It’s the economic heartbeat to the county,” Glasner said. “The Partnership as an organization needs to build itself up as a more robust, deeper capacity, higher performing type [of] organization.”

For his last four months with the Partnership, Glasner says his main goals are to work with the county on a sustainable business model and to keep the organization active in trying to create a sense of place and community in Tysons, which he admits has been difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While vaccinations have enabled the return of some communal activities, such as last week’s Tysons Block Party at the former Container Store, the recent rise in coronavirus cases has revived the unpredictability that has become familiar since March 2020.

“We’re planning things for the next two or three months, both indoors and outdoors, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about what we’re actually going to be able to do, what people are going to be comfortable with,” Glasner said. “This is a moving target, so there’s no question that it’s difficult.”

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Morning Notes

Plastic Bag Tax Public Hearing Scheduled — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized a public hearing for 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 to gather community input on a proposed five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags. If the ordinance is approved, Fairfax County would be the second locality in Virginia to adopt a bag tax. [Fairfax County Government]

Tysons Partnership Funding Approved — The Board of Supervisors approved $250,000 in Economic Opportunity Reserve funds for the Tysons Partnership, which will use the money to support branding efforts, install a mural on the former Container Store property, and position itself for long-term financial health. The board nominated the organization for up to $1 million in EOR funds in December. [Sun Gazette]

McLean Area Is a Hotspot for Rich Politicians — Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates both call Fairfax County’s most affluent zip codes home, with Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe living in a $1.1 million McLean mansion and Republican Glenn Youngkin boasting a $1.7 million estate in Great Falls. More notably, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says he moved to McLean because he and his wife saw “an alcoholic” sleeping on the ground in Old Town Alexandria. [The Washington Post]

Vienna Restaurants Up for RAMMYs — The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington tweaked its 2021 RAMMY awards to recognize how the industry adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finalists include Clarity (Outstanding Covid-Safe Redesign), Caboose Brewing Company (Prime Pandemic Patio Scene), and Taco Bamba (Standout Family Meal Packages To-Go). The latter two categories will be open for a public vote from Aug. 2 to Sept. 2. [Patch]

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After being adapted for emergency uses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the former Container Store in Vienna could undergo another transformation.

The vacant storefront at 8505 Leesburg Pike near the Greensboro Metro station could be used by the Tysons Partnership and Celebrate Fairfax, Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives Director Rebecca Moudry told Tysons Reporter.

The building is 19,260 square feet in size and has approximately 95 parking spaces. The Container Store previously used the space before relocating to 8459 Leesburg Pike in 2018.

The county acquired the space in 2019 for $16.6 million with the hopes of using it to support innovation and entrepreneurship and create a vibrant destination for residents and visitors. Those goals remain and could be realized by this fall, Moudry says.

When the county requested proposals for the space before the pandemic, development officials suggested the property could host temporary or “pop-up” community-oriented events, arts and cultural special events, innovation hubs or exchanges, or civic and cultural programming that complements and supports primary uses of the property.

Over the past year, it has been used for storage, including for personal protective equipment, and it was designated as a hypothermia shelter from Dec. 1 to April 1.

“As we plan for reopening and economic recovery, placemaking, local businesses and community engagement will play vital roles in this work,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a statement. “The county owned building at 8508 Leesburg Pike is uniquely situated to serve the growing residential and business community in this area of Tysons, and we are currently reviewing proposals to provide such opportunities.”

A representative for Tysons Partnership, the nonprofit group charged with implementing the county’s vision for Tysons, had no update on the plans as of mid-June, and Celebrate Fairfax did not immediately respond to a message.

“I hope to be able to see this site activated in the coming months, both with its indoors and outdoors spaces,” Palchik said in her statement.

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Tysons has a new logo.

Replacing the multi-colored “O” that has greeted drivers for the past five or so years with bright blue block letters, the Tysons Partnership unveiled the new emblem on Thursday (May 13) as part of a rebranding effort that included the launch of a new website.

18 months in the making, the Partnership says the new brand “reflects the urban district’s current successes and assured confidence in its future.”

“This has never been just about a new logo. This is about how Tysons defines itself and how, through public-private collaboration, we will be more,” Tysons Partnership President and CEO Sol Glasner said in a statement. “In just ten years we have proven success with a reported 2020 asset valuation of nearly $18 billion, imagine what we will accomplish together in the next ten to thirty years.”

A nonprofit association of private stakeholders formed in 2011 to implement the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, the Tysons Partnership started working to rebrand the area that Fairfax County wants to turn into “America’s next great city” in late 2019.

Supported by a $1 million economic opportunity grant from the county and $630,000 in private funding, the rebranding involved surveys, focus groups, and discussions with county officials and community members to define Tysons’ identifying characteristics and future aspirations, according to a press release.

Features of the new website include:

  • A downloadable Tysons Activation Guide that explains the new brand and the Partnership’s strategy for establishing a consistent, recognizable identity for Tysons going forward
  • Maps of Tysons neighborhoods and completed, planned, and in-progress developments
  • Links to county and other public resources, such as the Comprehensive Plan, Capital Bikeshare and Metro
  • A “Residents’ Stories” section with comments from people who live in Tysons
  • Resources from the Tysons Transportation Management Association, which is dedicated to improving the area’s transportation conditions
  • An events calendar

The brand launch was preceded by the release of an economic report and market study on March 4 that analyzed the state of Tysons’ economy, including trends in office use, retail, housing, development, and employment.

The Tysons Partnership ultimately hopes to establish a data hub that will make it easier for people to find information about the area.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors nominated the Partnership in December for an additional $1 million in economic opportunity funds that the organization plans to use for marketing, research and data analysis, transportation projects, and community events.

Right now, the Tysons Partnership starting to determine what the area’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic might look like with a still-open community survey.

County officials say the rebranding will further their vision of Tysons as a vibrant downtown area with a distinct sense of community, rather than the cluster of office buildings scattered around two shopping malls that it has been in the past.

“The fabric of Tysons is changing as residents and families add a new vibrancy to established diverse communities,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “The new brand aligns with this newer Tysons community, reflecting a future of inclusion and equity. It’s fun and vibrant, but more importantly it represents opportunity and possibility.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott, image courtesy Tysons Partnership

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Morning Notes

Tysons Partnership Considers BID — The Tysons Partnership could become a business improvement district that would impose a tax to help fund its efforts to implement Fairfax County’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan. The district would be a first for the county, similar to what Arlington has around Amazon HQ2, but a majority of property owners would have to approve the tax. [Washington Business Journal]

Fairfax Connector Commits to COVID-19 Health Protocols — The bus system has joined the American Public Transportation Association’s Health and Safety Commitments Program, pledging to take “all the necessary measures to operate safely” as Fairfax County plans a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program commits transit systems to following public health guidelines, including cleaning protocols and mask requirements, and keeping passengers informed. [Fairfax Connector]

MPAartfest Submissions Open — The McLean Project for the Arts is seeking submissions for its 15th annual MPAartfest, a one-day, juried fine art and craft show featuring local and regional visual artists. This year’s festival will take place on Oct. 3 in McLean Central Park. The deadline to submit work is June 15. [McLean Project for the Arts]

McLean Teen Organizes Church Food Drive — “A 14-year-old from McLean, Virginia, is making an extraordinary difference in her community by helping hundreds of families who need some extra help during the pandemic…[Sophia] Sears’ efforts were done in conjunction with St. John’s Episcopal Church.” [WTOP]

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Morning Notes

New Fairfax County Police Chief Sworn In — Kevin Davis was formally sworn in as Fairfax County’s new police chief yesterday morning (Monday). The former Baltimore police commissioner begins his tenure amid intense scrutiny of his past conduct and the county’s hiring process. [FCPD]

Wolf Trap Wireless Tower Plans Put on Hold — Fairfax County has paused negotiations with Milestone Communications on a special exception application for a 114-foot-tall monopole on the Wolf Trap Fire Station site. The proposal drew strong opposition from community members, who argued that the structure would be inappropriate for the surrounding residential neighborhoods. [Sun Gazette]

Tysons Pandemic Recovery Survey Deadline Extended — Tysons Partnership has extended the deadline for its survey to evaluate expectations for the area’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to May 21. Previously scheduled to close on May 14, the survey asks about people’s interest in returning to offices, transit, dining, and other activities that were disrupted by the pandemic. [Tysons Partnership]

Vienna Animal Hospital Proposes ExpansionVeterinary Surgical Centers, which is located in Suite 100 in the basement of 124 Park Street SE, wants to expand to the first floor, where it would add neurology treatment, a new imaging center with a waiting room, exam and operating rooms, and other facilities. The Vienna Planning Commission will make a recommendation on the proposal at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (May 12). [Patch]

Clemyjontri Park Playground Named Best in Region — Virginia Living readers voted for Clemyjontri Park as the site of Northern Virginia’s best playground in the magazine’s “Best of Virginia 2021” competition. The McLean park’s unique playground was designed for children of all abilities, including kids who use wheelchairs, walkers, or braces and kids with developmental or sensory disabilities. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Photo by Hilde Khan

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Morning Notes

Wind Advisory in Effect — The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County, starting at noon today (Friday). In effect until 2 a.m. Saturday, the alert says to expect northwest winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 55 miles per hour. Gusts could blow around unsecured objects and bring down tree limbs, potentially leading to power outages. [NWS]

McLean Community Center Gets New Executive Director — The MCC Governing Board has chosen Daniel Phoenix Singh as the center’s next executive director was to succeed George Sachs, who is retiring on May 7. Singh’s selection to the position, which has an annual salary of $150,000, was effective April 12 but not publicly announced until the board’s meeting on Wednesday (April 28). [MCC]

Help Tysons Plan for COVID-19 Recovery — The Tysons Partnership is conducting a community survey until May 14 to gauge people’s interest in transit, dining, shopping, office work, and other activities affected by the pandemic. A follow-up to a similar survey from last summer, the results are expected to be released at the end of the month and “will be significant to recovery efforts,” President and CEO Sol Glasner told Tysons Reporter. [Tysons Partnership]

Police Body Cameras Coming to Falls Church — The City of Falls Church City will use grant funds and an anticipated $650,000 surplus in the current fiscal year to establish a body camera program for its police department. City Manager Wyatt Shields told the News-Press that the cameras should arrive in the next couple months. A Use of Force Committee recommended that the city evaluate the feasibility of body cameras in February. [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Social Tavern Reopens With Outdoor Patio — After a year-long closure, Tysons Social Tavern is back with operating hours from 4-10 p.m., seven days a week, and a new outdoor patio. The bar took over the O’Malley’s Pub spot at the DoubleTree Hilton in Tysons two years ago. [Tysons Social Tavern]

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