Morning Notes

Vienna ambulance behind Cedar Park at start of Virginia State Little League Majors Tournament Parade of Champions (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Drivers: Expect Delays on Georgetown Pike Starting Monday — “Georgetown Pike (Route 193) between Swinks Mill Road and I-495 (Capital Beltway) will have one lane of alternating traffic in each direction via flagging, weather permitting, Monday, July 26 through Wednesday, July 28 between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe at the Saigon Road intersection, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]

Founders Row II Proposal Modified — Developer Mill Creek presented revised plans for a second phase of its Founders Row project to the Falls Church City Council on Monday (July 19). Changes since it was first proposed in March include reductions of the height and number of rental residential units and the addition of “more street-level retail and amenities to please its neighbors.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Former Container Store to Host Tysons Block Party — The Celebrate Fairfax! Festival has been canceled for a second consecutive year, but the nonprofit that organizes it is returning next Friday (July 30) with a block party to kick off its 40th Anniversary Series. The event will go from 3-7 p.m. outside the former Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike with live entertainment, refreshments from Caboose Brewing Company, and more. [Celebrate Fairfax/Facebook]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Governor to Throw First Pitch for Little League Tournament — The 2021 Virginia State Little League Majors Tournament kicks off at 5:30 p.m. today in Vienna with a Parade of Champions led by the Washington Nationals Racing Presidents. Opening ceremonies begin at 6:15 p.m. at Yeonas Park with Gov. Ralph Northam and Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert throwing out the first pitch. [Town of Vienna/Facebook]

Idylwood Substation Timeline Extension Supported — A State Corporation Commission hearing examiner recommended approval of Dominion Energy’s request to extend the timeline for construction on its Idylwood substation until Dec. 31, 2026. The project has frustrated residents, but Holly Crest Community Association President Lori Jeffrey expressed hope when contacted by Tysons Reporter that requiring the utility company to file quarterly construction status updates will bring some degree of accountability and prevent a repeat of this past spring. [SCC]

Merger Floated for Tysons Company — Tysons-headquartered Cvent, a private event-management company with around 4,000 employees, will merge with Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II and become publicly traded, according to The Wall Street Journal. “The company isn’t commenting on WSJ speculation at this time,” spokesperson Nevin Reilly told Tysons Reporter. [WSJ]

Police Department Adds First Data Director — “Fairfax County Chief of Police Kevin Davis has hired Dr. Noah Fritz as the Department’s new Director of Crime Control Strategies & Data Analytics. Dr. Fritz will be a key contributor to Davis’ data-driven strategy, which aims to guide FCPD’s approach to fair and effective policing through the collection, analysis and sharing of statistical information.” [FCPD]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0 Comments
via Alesia Kazantceva/Unsplash

(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Two technology companies in Tysons have each received $100,000 grants as part of a new state initiative intended to support projects that turn research into commercial products or services.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday (Monday) that Virginia will award $3.4 million in grants to 34 small, technology-focused businesses for the inaugural round of the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF), which launched in 2020 to help advance promising technology through the development process.

The Tysons-based recipients are the cybersecurity company Onclave Networks Inc. and Jeeva Informatics Solutions Inc., which is developing a cloud platform to help medical researchers recruit and work with patients for clinical trials.

“Facilitating research breakthroughs and getting new technologies out of the lab and into the hands of consumers is key to driving economic growth and creating jobs in the Commonwealth,” Northam said in the news release. “I am confident this first round of CCF awards will produce far-reaching benefits and congratulate these innovators and entrepreneurs on their success in developing transformative solutions to improve lives and address some of the most pressing challenges we face.”

The CCF consolidated Virginia’s existing Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund and Virginia Research Investment Fund. Each of the Fiscal Year 2021 recipients received $100,000 and will provide matching funds.

According to the news release from the governor’s office, the fund focuses on technology “with a high potential for economic development and job creation” and that “position the Commonwealth as a national leader in science- and technology-based research, development, and commercialization.”

Onclave received a grant for its Zero Trust network, which aims to allow for remote communications and operations of “smart” infrastructure, such as telemedicine services or autonomous transportation, while providing protection from security threats.

The company previously received funding from the 2020 Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund and was selected to participate in the Smart City Works accelerator program as a winner of Fairfax County’s first Smart City Challenge in March.

Onclave is also working with the Center for Innovative Technology to deploy its technology at the Virginia Smart Community Testbed in Stafford County.

“We have repeatedly seen how important it is to secure not just our devices and networks, but the data as well,” CIT Chief Technology Officer David Ihrie said in a statement. “As the Internet of Things continues to rapidly expand, cybersecurity solutions like Onclave’s Zero Trust platform are essential foundational elements of our new digital infrastructure.”

Other Fairfax County recipients of CCF funding include AtWork Systems and Rimstorm Inc. in Herndon as well as Service Robotics & Technologies in Springfield and Keshif in Alexandria.

“The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority applauds the granting of the inaugural round of the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund awards, including to the 6 Fairfax County-area-based companies,” Fairfax County Economic Development President and CEO Victor Hoskins said by email. “The CCF awards will provide funding support to spur research commercialization, with the intent of technological development leading to economic growth in Virginia.”

Photo via Alesia Kazantceva/Unsplash

0 Comments
The Virginia Department of Transportation will build a shared-use path on Old Meadow Road and a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over I-495 (via VDOT)

The Virginia Department of Transportation has selected Shirley Contracting Company to build a bridge and shared-use path along Old Meadow Road, providing a crucial connection from Tysons Corner Center to the McLean Metro station over I-495.

The contract was awarded in June but has not been finalized yet. VDOT project manager Abraham Lerner confirmed that construction is still expected to start this summer.

“At this time we do not have a specific date when the construction of the Tysons Old-Meadow Road project is expected to begin,” Lerner told Tysons Reporter by email. “We need to finalize the administrative processes related to getting the contractor under contract…We will reach out to the community prior to starting construction work.”

Based in Lorton, Shirley Contracting is an affiliate of Clark Construction, which has been involved in numerous other projects in Fairfax County, including the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line project.

The project will provide a bridge over the Capital Beltway for pedestrians and bicyclists, who currently have no easy way to cross the interstate at the Route 123 interchange. It will also involve the addition of a 4,662-foot-long, 10-foot-wide trail along the west side of Old Meadow Road.

Construction will unfold in two phases due to the availability of funding, according to Lerner.

The first phase will introduce the bridge and a portion of the shared-use path up to the Provincial Drive intersection. Construction will be supported by $8.5 million in funding and is expected to be complete in the summer of 2022.

The shared-use path will then be extended to Route 123 during the project’s second phase, which will begin construction once “additional funding becomes available,” VDOT says.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

McLean District Leads String of Vehicle Thefts — Fairfax County police have been investigating a series of stolen vehicle reports since early June. The incidents usually take place overnight and involve the suspects entering unlocked vehicles with the keys inside. The majority of thefts have occurred in the McLean District, which has 15 cases. [FCPD]

Tysons Boulevard Closure Delayed — Plans to close a section of Tysons Boulevard’s northbound lane for bicyclists and pedestrians have been postponed “due to a small delay in installation.” The temporary closure was scheduled to begin today (Tuesday) but will instead start next Wednesday (June 14). [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]

I-495 Ramps in Idylwood to Close Overnight — “The ramps from northbound I-495 to I-66 East and I-66 West are scheduled to be closed nightly Tuesday, July 6, through Thursday, July 8, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., and Friday night, July 9, from midnight to 4 a.m. for paving and implementation of a traffic shift…The I-66/I-495 Interchange is being rebuilt as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.” [VDOT]

Nearby: Tornado Touched Down in Arlington — The National Weather Service confirmed on Friday (July 2) that a tornado touched down during the thunderstorm that passed through the D.C. area the previous day. The twister charted a 4.4-mile path from northern Arlington to the National Mall and brought winds that reached 90 miles per hour. [ARLNow]

0 Comments
Site of power outage affecting 1,215 people in Tysons’ Pimmit neighborhood after July 1, 2021 storm (via Dominion Energy)

Updated at 4:40 p.m. — Metrorail service has been restored between the Vienna and West Falls Church stations after the transit system encountered power issues at its Dunn Loring station.

“Residual delays continue in both directions,” Metro says.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. — The I-66 eastbound and westbound left lanes in the Vienna/Oakton area have now reopened, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

Earlier: More than a thousand people in the Pimmit area of Tysons are currently without power after a thunderstorm rattled the D.C. region last night (Thursday).

According to Dominion Energy’s outage map, the most substantial power outage in the Tysons area involves 1,215 customers in the Pimmit neighborhood west of Leesburg Pike, specifically along George C. Marshall Drive.

Those affected include the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, which will not open at 10 a.m. today as scheduled.

Dominion is attributing the outage to the storm and says crews have been dispatched. The estimated time of restoration is between 6 and 11 p.m.

As of 9 a.m. today (Friday), there were 6,699 customers in Northern Virginia without power, primarily in Fairfax and Arlington counties. Overall, the storm produced 33,000 power outages in the area, according to Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox.

“Due to much damage from last night’s storm, it’ll take most of day for our @DominionEnergy crews to repair all the damage & get everyone’s power back,” Fox said in a tweet. “Thank you for your patience!”

Metro announced just after 5 a.m. that the power issues had affected its Dunn Loring-Merrifield station, requiring a suspension of train service between the Vienna and West Falls Church stations. Shuttle buses are being provided to serve that section of the Orange Line.

As of 9:30 a.m., service has not been restored yet.

In addition, the Virginia Department of Transportation says the Interstate 66 east and westbound left lanes have been closed at the new split near the 61-mile marker in Vienna so that crews can clear standing water left by last night’s rain.

The I-66 westbound ramp to Nutley Street was also temporarily but reopened around 7:35 a.m.

According to The Washington Post, the National Weather Service is investigating whether a tornado touched down after a tornado warning was issued last night for neighboring Arlington County and D.C.

0 Comments
A car parked in front of a “No Parking” sign (via Google Maps)

Updated at 3:55 p.m. Fairfax County is seeking public feedback about people’s parking habits and priorities in Tysons and Reston with a survey available now in English and Spanish until the end of July.

County staff are using the online survey to help establish a managed parking program in the Tysons Urban Center and Reston Transit Station Areas, which they hope will address issues ranging from limited parking options to avoiding vehicles reportedly remaining in spaces for weeks at a time.

Fairfax County currently has no paid on-street parking meters and collects no money in on-street parking revenue. Parking meters are on private streets, the county notes.

In addition to asking about people’s current parking habits, the survey tells respondents to prioritize five factors that affect when and where they decide to park:

  • Lowest price or free
  • Proximity of parking to desired location
  • Flexible payment options (credit cards, smartphone apps)
  • Ability to pay with cash
  • Overnight parking is allowed for free

The county is looking to get input from both commuters and residents. In addition to filling out the survey, community members can submit comments through an online feedback form, by mail to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, and by calling 703-877-5600.

The survey will build on the results of a two-year study that FCDOT conducted to look at the availability of on-street parking on state-owned roads in Tysons and Reston.

In Tysons, the study found 1,272 on-street parking spaces along 22 miles of curb, amounting to 29% of the available space. Recommendations included implementing timed or paid parking near Metro stations to encourage turnover and addressing issues with commercial vehicles parking in front of businesses.

The county is looking to support businesses with “shorter duration parking and parking space turnover,” according to a page about the survey.

“Ultimately, the goal is to provide parking that supports the mixed-use development in these increasingly-urban areas of the County,” FCDOT said in a news release.

County staff is slated to use the information from the survey to propose policy and ordinance changes to the Board of Supervisors next year. FCDOT says the managed parking plans will mostly not take effect until new grids of streets are built in Tysons and Reston and accepted by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Correction: This article has been updated to show when county staff expect to recommend ordinance changes.

via Google Maps

0 Comments
The existing office building at 1953 Gallows Road (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 3 p.m. on 6/29/2021) A developer is looking to transform a site with an eight-story, 88-foot-tall concrete office building into a three-building residential development called Flats at Tysons Corner.

The existing building at 1953 Gallows Road in Tysons would be replaced with a multifamily residential building with 225 to 260 units. The new structure would be 50 to 75 feet high and include a courtyard in its center, according to a development plan filed Tuesday (June 22) with Fairfax County.

Other proposed changes include converting parking lots into space for two 60-foot high multifamily buildings — one with 36 units and the other for 50 units, including 14 workforce dwelling units total — and also creating two publicly accessible parks with amenities such as lawn furniture, ping pong tables, and more.

The existing office building, built in 1983, would remain during the first phase of the project, which would focus on the parking lot area, and then be demolished in the second phase, per the development plan from Pulte Homes.

Approximately 2,628 square feet of space in the property’s northeastern corner will be set aside during the project’s first phase to accommodate a planned extension of Boone Boulevard in accordance with the county’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan, according to a statement of justification submitted by the law firm DLA Piper, which is representing Pulte.

The development will also contain a new service road that will be constructed as a future public street to connect Gallows Road to Boone Boulevard, with the potential to eventually be extended to Leesburg Pike.

In the statement of justification, DLA Piper says the proposed redevelopment will help “rejuvenate” the site by introducing residential uses to an area dominated by commercial and office buildings:

The redevelopment of this site as proposed presents a timely opportunity to rejuvenate the under-utilized, asphalt-covered site and transform it in the vision contemplated by the Comprehensive Plan for Tysons Urban Center with additional meaningful open space, the introduction of residential units to the quadrant, enhanced environmental features, critical multimodal transportation infrastructure, and a stepdown transition in density from the core of Tysons near Route 7 to the outer edges across Gallows Road. If this opportunity is missed because adjacent sites are not ready to redevelop, the Property will likely remain a sea of parking…for another 15-20 years, rather than serving as a catalyst and setting the stage for an exciting transformation of this quadrant.

PulteGroup, which is based in Atlanta, did not immediately return Tysons Reporter’s questions about the project, including its timeline. It’s the third largest homebuilder nationwide.

The Meridian Group, which owns the existing office building, says it has a contract with Pulte to sell part of the surface parking lot for the proposed development, but there are no immediate plans to get rid of the building.

“The developer plans are just designed to give them flexibility for the distant future,” a Meridian spokesperson told Tysons Reporter. “Perhaps in 20 years, they might want to demolish the building. But they have no plans to do so. The building will remain untouched and is not part of the rezoning.”

It isn’t yet clear when the project could go before the county planning commission. Upcoming meetings through July 28 didn’t list the application on board agendas, and the county’s online Land Development System showed no hearing information.

Nearby at Fairfax Square, the mall is seeking to upgrade signs. If PulteGroup’s proposal moves forward, the more than 5-acre residential complex would wrap around that shopping and dining center.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments
Pike 7 Plaza (via Google Maps)

Pike 7 Plaza is going all in on carryout, even with restrictions limiting indoor dining now a thing of the past in Virginia.

When the novel coronavirus arrived in Fairfax County in the spring of 2020, the Tysons shopping center introduced a curbside pick-up program. Now, as the pandemic recedes, property manager Federal Realty Investment Trust wants to build off that momentum by introducing a drive-through restaurant to the plaza.

Federal Realty has filed a special exception application with Fairfax County’s planning department to permit a one-story, pad site restaurant with a drive-through and an outdoor seating area at 8365 and 8371 Leesburg Pike.

“This new use is needed in response to structural shifts in the retail economy that are increasing the reliance on pickup options as part of retail operations,” land-use attorney Greg Riegle wrote in a statement of justification on Federal Realty’s behalf. “Supporting the retail industry and allowing it to logically evolve is critical to maintaining the viability of areas planned and developed with established retail uses and will benefit the County and the Tysons community both economically and from a service delivery standpoint.”

Federal Realty declined to comment on its application when contacted by Tysons Reporter, including on whether a prospective tenant for the drive-through restaurant has been identified.

Current food-related tenants at Pike 7 Plaza include Starbucks, MOD Pizza, Cava Grill, Sakura Japanese Cuisine, and Panera Bread.

“Federal Realty looks forward to making future announcements regarding Pike 7, but as of now, there is nothing to report,” a Federal Realty spokesperson said.

According to plans submitted to the county, the proposed building would be 3,600 square feet in size and 18 feet tall with 16 parking spaces. The drive-through aisle would accommodate 11 vehicles, more than twice as many as required.

Locator map showing the proposed site for a drive-through restaurant in Tysons’ Pike 7 Plaza (via Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development)

Since the building would be situated in a currently unoccupied corner of the parking lot, Pike 7 Plaza would see an overall reduction in the amount of available parking from 738 spaces to 679 spaces. The site does not have a minimum parking requirement because it is located right next to the Greensboro Metro station.

“The proposed parking is more than adequate for a retail center that relies on both transit and automobile arrivals,” the statement of justification says.

Federal Realty does not expect the project to adversely affect neighboring properties or produce any conflicts with traffic in the shopping center or the surrounding area.

According to the application, the new building is being designed to “minimize the potential for turning movement conflicts and to facilitate safe and efficient on-site circulation.”

The site will also provide pedestrian access from Leesburg Pike and to the adjacent Tysons Square shopping center.

“Vehicular circulation takes advantage of existing access points and fits logically within the circulation framework of the greater shopping center,” Riegle wrote.

A special exception is required to allow a drive-through restaurant in a C-7 commercial retail district, the zoning for Pike 7 Plaza. The application says the new building will not preclude future redevelopment of the shopping center, if Federal Realty decides to pursue that option at some point.

Photos via Google Maps, Fairfax County

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list