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1660 International Drive in Tysons (via Google Maps)

While many return-to-office plans have been put on hold, companies seeking to bring workers back in person might face a challenge of an unexpectedly furry nature: employees reluctant to leave the pets they acquired during the pandemic.

A new business, Connected Canine, aims to help businesses alleviate that potential conflict. It operates out of the coworking space Industrious (1660 International Drive, Suite 600) in Tysons as well as out of Boulder, Colorado.

“We provide an HR toolkit with resources such as a health and behavior assessment used to understand a dog’s history before inviting them into the office and hands-on support to make the process of establishing a dog friendly office as simple as possible,” Jeff Skalka, founder and CEO of Connected Canine, said in an email.

Skalka said the company provides largely free resources and employs a team of veterinarians, an architect, and human resources professionals who have found ways to ease the process.

“Once a company establishes their dog friendly office, we charge a low, variable fee based on the number of participating employees and dogs to provide software and other services,” he wrote. “For example, our software allows employees to schedule time to bring in their dog, take pictures of their dog’s vaccination records to ensure offices remain healthy and safe for everyone, and gives employers the ability to track who is bringing in a dog and how often and ensure only approved dogs are allowed onsite.”

Skalka formed Connected Canine in December after talking with friends and fellow dog owners who shared concerns about leaving their pets back at home when they returned to the office.

Over 11 million households acquired a pet during the pandemic, The Guardian reported, citing a survey by the American Pet Products Association.

“One thing companies really like is that our solutions are customized to their exact needs which we uncover through employee surveys and conversations with senior leaders,” Skalka wrote.

The surge in pet ownership coincided with the pandemic-prompted shift to remote work for office-based employees across the U.S., many of whom say they would quit rather than go back to the office.

Though some companies have shifted back to in-person work, telecommuting may continue to prevail, with research and consulting firm Gartner projecting that over half of U.S. workers will be remote in 2022.

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated at 10:50 a.m. on 10/15/2021) A new circus coming to Tysons is catering to all people and seeking to eliminate barriers for those with disabilities — both performers and audience members.

From a juggler on the autism spectrum to an aerialist born without legs as well as a deaf clown, Omnium Circus has a diverse staff and a variety of special accommodations for visitors, including a show that prominently incorporates sign language, headsets for those with visual impairments that provide narrated coverage, and a special section for those with autism looking for reduced stimuli.

“Our goal is to make sure that everybody with every need has the access that they need to be able to enjoy the performance with their family,” founder Lisa Lewis told Tysons Reporter.

Named after a Latin word meaning “of all,” Omnium Circus will make its in-person world debut at Lerner’s Tysons III (8025 Galleria Drive), with performances from Nov. 18 through Jan. 9. Tickets are $35, $65, and $95.

Lewis launched the circus with a December 2020 livestream and a nonprofit called CircuSense that supports the circus through donations. She started off as a clown and has experience working with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, schools, and in hospitals with the Big Apple Circus.

She also volunteered with a program that Big Apple Circus created in 1987 called Circus of the Senses, which caters to visual and hearing-impaired audiences. She became an interpreter for the program and, later, served as its head.

Lewis considered creating a unique circus for years before launching it with online shows, partnering with schools from Australia to the U.S., Cambodia, and the U.K. Schools can still access the online show, with tickets costing $10 for each student, and educational materials are available.

For audience members with visual impairments, two speakers narrate the show in a manner similar to a sportscaster paired up with a circus expert to create a verbal version of the excitement that’s happening in the ring.

“The way you guys audio describe blew my mind,” Erik Weihenmayer said of Ominum Circus.

The first blind person to summit Mount Everest, Weihenmayer talked about his experience listening to the show during a podcast for a nonprofit he co-founded, No Boundaries USA.

“Yeah, it’s like a world that was completely cut off to me,” he said. “I went to Circus de Soleil with my family and my kids are like, ‘Dad, I can’t even describe what’s going on. It’s happening too fast. So just sit back and enjoy the music.'”

He said the narration for Omnium “really made it accessible and an open door for me and so many people.”

Citing a federal contracting goal that seeks to have at least 7% of employees be people with disabilities, Omnium Circus says 26% of the circus’s team of 87 people are differently abled.

While training inexperienced staff can be a huge undertaking, the circumstances of the pandemic also allowed the circus to launch an apprenticeship-like program, furthering its racial diversity, Lewis said.

“From the boardroom to the box office to center ring, Omnium is leading the way in inclusivity and we are proud to announce we have such a high percentage of disabled employees in the Omnium family, especially during National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” Lewis said in a statement. “The circus has traditionally always been a place of diversity and acceptance and all are certainly welcome under our big top.”

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Envision Route 7 Bus Rapid Transit concept (via NVTC)

A regional study of the proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) route from Tysons to Alexandria is moving into a new phase that will assess options through the Seven Corners area.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission voted last night (Thursday) to approve a contract for the fourth phase of its Envision Route 7 mobility analysis study, which began in 2013 to evaluate the possibility of bus service between the Spring Hill Metro station and Alexandria’s Mark Center.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave their support to NVTC’s plans to continue the study in February and approved a recommended route for the Tysons segment of the BRT line in July.

“As we look to the corridor in segments, Fairfax has done a lot of work from Tysons to the border of Falls Church,” NVTC staff said at yesterday’s meeting. “This picks up on the analysis they’ve done and continues down to Seven Corners.”

The study is expected to take up to 18 months, ending in April 2023. It will be followed by environmental and preliminary engineering design before staff comes back with a strategic framework for the plan. The contract was approved with a $516,800 cap.

According to a report prepared for the meeting:

The Envision Route 7 Phase IV-1 Mobility Study will evaluate and determine the mobility benefits and impacts resulting from the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Tysons to Seven Corners. The overall study objectives for this effort for the section of Route 7 from Tysons to Seven Corners are:

  • To determine the mobility benefits of BRT along Route 7;
  • To gain a better appreciation of the traffic impacts of BRT along Route 7;
  • To gain an understanding of the traffic operational issues with a BRT operating along
    Route 7; and,
  • To facilitate the public understanding of how a BRT would operate along Route 7.

With the 11-mile Route 7 corridor expected to see a 35% growth in population and jobs by 2040, NVTC anticipates that the planned BRT will generate about 30,000 boardings per day, two-thirds of which will be for shopping and recreation, according to the project webpage.

The project is part of a larger effort to create a regional BRT network, with services also planned for Alexandria’s West End and Richmond Highway in Fairfax County.

Photo via Northern Virginia Transportation Commission

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A satellite in orbit (via NASA/Unsplash)

A telecommunications company dedicated to filling gaps in NASA’s data-relaying satellite network will create dozens of new jobs in Fairfax County with newly announced plans to expand its headquarters in Tysons.

A subsidiary of the Australian aerospace and defense contractor Electro Optic Systems, SpaceLink currently employs 10 people in Virginia at the headquarters it established at 8260 Greensboro Drive in March. It also has offices in Silicon Valley, California.

With the expansion, the company will create 41 new jobs and gain more capacity to develop and deploy a satellite communications system intended to “provide secure and continuous communications between spacecraft on orbit and the ground,” according to a press release from Gov. Ralph Northam’s office.

Fairfax County’s proximity to D.C. and the region’s abundance of government agencies and contractors made it “a natural choice” for SpaceLink’s headquarters, CEO David Bettinger says.

“As an innovative space company, we also have the opportunity to draw from the rich pool of talented technology and business professionals who are drawn to the region for its opportunities and dynamic environment,” Bettinger said in a statement. “Northern Virginia is an important hub for the aerospace and defense industry, which makes it a great fit for SpaceLink’s corporate headquarters.”

According to Northam’s office, SpaceLink’s relay network will be developed in Fairfax County and is designed to fill in the gaps of the U.S. Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.

Here are more reactions from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, which collaborated with the Commonwealth to secure the project:

“We are proud to see SpaceLink growing here and we welcome the opportunity to work with the company further,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “Fairfax County and Northern Virginia have developed a robust aerospace and satellite cluster and SpaceLink is the perfect company to take advantage of our many assets in that industry sector and the workforce supporting it.”

“Fairfax County leads the Commonwealth in innovation and our businesses reflect that,” said Fairfax County BOS Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “The Board of Supervisors has invested significantly over the decades to build Fairfax County into a community that attracts great companies and a great workforce, and that work continues to pay off. We are looking forward to welcoming SpaceLink.”

The FCEDA worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to secure the project for Virginia and will support SpaceLink’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). State-funded VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies and demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for residents.

“SpaceLink’s expansion in Fairfax County will strengthen the Commonwealth’s position as a leader in the aerospace industry,” Gov. Northam said. “Small businesses are critical to fueling economic growth, and we are proud to support this Virginia-founded company as its innovations make a name for itself in space exploration and defense.”

Photo via NASA/Unsplash

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Capital One Hall is ready for its public debut.

The 125,000-square-foot performing arts venue at 7750 Capital One Tower Road in Tysons features a 1,600-seat performance hall, a 225-seat black box theatre, an atrium space for events and weddings with room for 500 people at tables, and an adjoining terrace with a standing capacity of 450.

The building’s façade is wrapped by a glass and Italian Carrera marble while the venue is topped by The Perch — a rooftop green space featuring a stage, Starr Hill Biergarten, and additional event space that opened in August.

“These openings are really a pathway to the future,” Capital One Hall Executive Director Dolly Vogt said at a media preview tour on Tuesday (Sept. 28). “It’s going to bring so much vibrancy and energy to the community…Theaters or arenas, venues like this really do help drive so much. It’s an economic driver in the community; it drives the arts in the community.”

The venue will host its inaugural performance on Friday (Oct. 1) at 8 p.m., courtesy of Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and actor Josh Groban. The country band Little Big Town will round out the grand opening weekend with its 2021 Nightfall Tour on Saturday and Sunday.

Since announcing its first booking in June, the venue has filled out its first season through May 2022 with a mix of shows, from pop stars and comedians to local orchestras. Next season’s events are in the midst of being finalized.

“You’ve got a world class entertainment venue that also serves the community,” said Bob Papke, vice president of theaters for ASM Global, which operates Capital One Hall.

“You can see ‘Waitress’ on one night, and you can go see the Fairfax Symphony on another night and a local dance troupe a night after that in this environment and this space, and they’re all sharing the stage and we’re all sharing the experience.”

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra will be the first local group to perform in the venue on Oct. 9. The scheduled Broadway shows include the musicals “Waitress” from Oct. 29-31, “Fiddler on the Roof” from March 11-13, and “An Officer And A Gentleman” from May 13-15.

“Working with Capital One, it’s a Fortune 100 company, and you have ASM, which is the leader in facility management worldwide, we’re going to be interacting with not only the major promoters, but we’re going to be interacting with those local arts groups,” Papke said.

Community groups that use Capital One Hall are vetted by the nonprofit ArtsFairfax as part of Capital One’s development agreement with Fairfax County, which also includes a subsidized rate for local organizations.

“We’re going to be able to help them not only from the artistic side by giving them this great space to perform in, but also help them on the business side…helping those organizations with their marketing, their finance, with their long-range planning so that they continue to be a viable arts organization and continue to grow,” Papke said.

The venue will require patrons to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours before an event. Masks are also required for everyone ages 12 and up.

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Heale Medical reception desk rendering (courtesy Heale Medical)

A new primary care medical office is having its grand opening in Tysons today (Tuesday).

Heale Medical is opening at 8300 Boone Boulevard, an office building just south of the Chain Bridge Road and Leesburg Pike interchange, at 11 a.m.

Founder Dr. Amit Newatia told Tysons Reporter that, despite the area’s swelling population, there’s limited access to primary care treatment. There are, at least according to Google, around a dozen medical clinics or general practitioners in Tysons, along with a new emergency room opening next year.

“Despite this population growth, the area suffers from a dearth of options for modern primary care offices that customize care to the individual,” Newatia said. “Traditional primary care offices fail to fully cater to this evolving group of highly discerning patients, especially when it comes to long-term and preventative care. Heale Medical offers a unique perspective on primary care where patients are treated with great dignity and are given incredible empowerment over their health.”

According to the Heale Medical social media page, the office works with all major insurance carriers, though co-pays apply depending on the insurance.

Annual membership fees for Heale Medical are $199, but a press release said the practice is offering free membership for the first year for locals who sign up between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1.

The press release noted that patients have access to health an wellness support services, as well as “health screenings, management of acute and urgent illnesses or injuries, and chronic conditions.”

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Proposed location for Capo Deli in Tysons (staff photo)

An old school Italian-style deli is looking to transform a vacant restaurant space in Tysons previously occupied by Jimmy John’s.

The D.C.-based Capo Deli is moving forward with the planned new location, but the timeline is unclear, spokesperson Natalie Flynn said. It will be located at 8359B Leesburg Pike near the Greensboro Metro station.

“We are opening a spot in Tysons,” she said. “As we look to expand our business, Tysons is a great opportunity.”

Fairfax County began processing an interior alteration permit in July and approved it on Sept. 16. Passersby can see an empty restaurant inside and notices posted on the storefront.

“It’s a vastly populated part of northern Virginia,” Flynn said of the company choosing the Tysons market. “It’s a huge hub for shopping, dining, eating out.”

The company had not yet made hires for the new location as of Thursday (Sept. 23).

Originally started in Florida in 1985, Capo Italian Deli opened in D.C. in June 2017. The eatery is known for its sandwiches, “secret” cocktail bar, and most recently, the “Fauci Pouchy” — a line of pouched cocktails named after National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci that has kept the business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per the company’s DC website:

Reminiscent of the old school, traditional Italian deli’s found in NY, Philly and Boston, Capo Italian Deli is opening in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. No gimmicks, no fancy names or unheard of ingredients, just traditional classics found in your hometown deli. Capo will feature our special homemade Italian dressing, freshly made seeded sub rolls, Boar’s Head meats properly sliced in front of you, in-house cooked roast beef, chicken parmigiana, meatball subs, homemade Marinara sauce, Italian combos, pre-made salads and Italian specialties and desserts. We do not compromise on quality and we do not take short cuts.

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Morning Notes

Plea Deal in Sexual Assault Case Rejected — A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge rejected a plea deal that would’ve sentenced a man accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a girl to three years in prison, stating that it did not “remotely reflect the magnitude of the defendant’s misconduct.” Prosecutors said they offered the deal because they feared a trial might end in acquittal due to issues with the Herndon police investigation. [The Washington Post]

Bias Incident Reported Near Mosaic District — “8300 block of Lee Highway, 9/19/21, 1:55 a.m. After a traffic altercation, the victim was approached by an unknown male who spat in his face and made derogatory statements regarding his race.” [FCPD]

Tractor Stolen from Vienna Softball League Shed — According to the Vienna Police Department’s most recent weekly report, a Town of Vienna Parks and Recreation employee reported that, around 1:41 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 22), someone broke into a shed that the Vienna Girls Softball League owns in Southside Park (1317 Ross Drive SW). A league representative responded to the report and said that a tractor had been stolen from the shed. [Vienna Police]

Scotts Run Fire Station Is Important Step for Tysons — Fire Station 44 “will be an important piece of the public-safety puzzle as the county continues its long-term transformation of Tysons from a suburban office center to an ‘urban lifestyle’ community,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said at the grand opening ceremony on Sept. 18. The station, which is in Tysons East, will eventually be complemented by Station 29 on the western side of Tysons. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Vienna Oktoberfest Still Looking for Volunteers — The Vienna Business Association and the Town of Vienna are still seeking volunteers to assist with the 13th Vienna Oktoberfest on Saturday (Oct. 2). The festival is in need of people 21 and older to serve as ID checkers and beer garden ticket sellers. Interested volunteers can sign up online for two-hour shifts, though anyone who volunteers for five hours or longer will get a meal voucher. [VBA]

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Celebree School of Tysons-Jones Branch owners Brian and Kate Mulcahy hold groundbreaking ceremony at Valo Park in McLean on March 31 (staff photo by Scott Fields)

The first Virginia franchise location of the Celebree School has officially opened in Tysons.

Focusing on early childhood education, the Celebree School of Tysons-Jones Branch serves infants through pre-kindergarten children. It is located on Valo Park’s 16-acre campus at 7950 Jones Branch Drive and operates from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“Tysons was the perfect community for us to open our first Celebree School. It is a vibrant neighborhood with both a residential and business presence,” Tysons franchisees Kate and Brian Mulcahy said in an email.

“We love that we can support the families who live and work in the area and as McLean natives ourselves we enjoy supporting our hometown. Valo Park provides us with extensive campus for our students to explore with varied natural and artistic elements. The children love visiting the koi ponds, sculptures and plant life all around us. We also love that our school has many unique architectural and design elements that the Valo Park location provides.”

The location — which is open for interested parents to tour — provides full-time programs for infants and toddlers, as well as full and part-time programs for its preschool programs. At this time, a school-age program is not in the franchise’s near-term plans.

“Our curriculum gives children the opportunity to explore their own interests to develop pre-academic skills and encourages the use of imagination,” the Mulcahys said. “Our use of classroom management philosophy is to empower children so every child can develop confidence in their interactions with others.”

The Celebree School announced on April 21, 2020, that it had signed a franchise agreement with the Mulcahys to open a center in Fairfax or Arlington county. The couple signed a lease agreement with Valo Park on Nov. 10 and held a groundbreaking ceremony for the location on March 31.

Founded in 1994 in Lutherville, Maryland, Celebree School began franchising in 2019 and now has over 40 locations in 12 states that are open or under development, adding franchises in New York, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

“We chose to partner with Celebree because we are excited to deliver the best possible early childhood education to our students,” the Mulcahys said.

“Celebree has a truly unique and specialized approach to early childhood education. As an independently owned and operated Celebree School, we have an opportunity to meet each student where they are as they experience social and emotional growth and gain pre-academic skills.”

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Morning Notes

(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) Former Container Store Gets New Name — The former Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike has been dubbed The PARC (People, Art, Recreation, and Community) as Fairfax County, the Tysons Partnership, and Celebrate Fairfax Inc. turn the vacant site into a community events venue. Determined by a social media poll, the name was announced on Friday (Sept. 17) at Celebrate Fairfax’s Tysons Block Party. [Celebrate Fairfax/Twitter]

County to Use Mobile COVID-19 Testing Lab — “The Fairfax County Health Department is deploying its mobile laboratory to provide COVID-19 testing in several locations starting Tuesday, Sept. 21. These mobile testing opportunities are for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to COVID-19.” [FCHD]

Tysons Corner Nordstrom Robbed — A man entered the Nordstrom in Tysons Corner Center (8075 Tyson Corner Center) at 5:22 p.m. on Sept. 11 and took merchandise while assaulting an employee. Three days later, the store was robbed again at 11:17 a.m. by a man who took merchandise and implied he had a weapon as he exited the store. No injuries were reported in either incident. [FCPD]

See New Scotts Run Fire StationFairfax County leaders celebrated the opening of the new Scotts Run Fire Station 44 at 1766 Old Meadow Lane with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (Sept. 18). Community members can get a glimpse inside the station, which became operational on Aug. 14, with a virtual tour led by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Lt. Payne. [FCFRD/YouTube]

Police Officers Recognized at Cultural Festival — “Yesterday, our officers participated in the Korean American Festival, KORUS, at Tysons Corner Center. Several of our Korean American officers were recognized for their contributions to our community.” [FCPD/Twitter]

School Boundary Policy Meeting Tonight — Consultants hired by Fairfax County Public Schools will share information about their review of the district’s boundary policy at a virtual public meeting at 7 p.m. today (Monday). Requested by the school board in 2019, the review focuses on what factors should be considered when making boundary changes, rather than the boundaries for specific schools. Register online to get the meeting link. [Dranesville District School Board Member Elaine Tholen]

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