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Capital One’s headquarters and the upcoming “Block A” mixed-use tower provide a backdrop for The Perch (courtesy Capital One Center)

One year ago, Capital One Center launched The Perch, a 2.5 acre park with mini-golf and a biergarten adjacent to the Capital One headquarters. To celebrate the anniversary, Capital One Center is launching a weekend-long festival.

Capital One Center said guests are invited to come play elevated mini-golf at Perch Putt or drink at Starr Hill Biergarten while musicians perform at the venue’s amphitheater stage. Other features of the festival include a meet-and-greet with adoptable puppies and a pie-eating contest.

“Participate in bocce tournaments hosted by DC Bocce,” the center said in a release, “enjoy specialty treats from community vendors; dig into one of the Wegmans-sponsored pie eating contests; play with Wolf Trap Animal Rescue’s adoptable puppies; and make an impact by supporting the Perchfest charity partner, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington DC.”

The celebration is scheduled to start on Friday, Sept. 16, from 4-11 p.m. It will continue on Saturday, Sept. 17, from noon to 11 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 18, from noon to 5 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Online registration enrolls guest into a raffle.

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Fairfax County will acquire a parcel of land currently owned by The Gates of McLean for a road connecting Scotts Crossing Road to the Dulles Airport Access Road (via Fairfax County)

Fairfax County will use eminent domain to obtain land valued at nearly $3 million so it can build a road connecting Capital One Center in Tysons to the Dulles Airport Access Road.

With Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity abstaining, the Board of Supervisors voted 9-0 after a public hearing yesterday (Tuesday) to authorize county staff to acquire the 25,374-square-foot parcel, which is currently part of the Gates of McLean property north of Scotts Crossing Road.

In exchange, the Gates of McLean Condominium Unit Association could get more than $2.9 million based on an appraisal conducted on Nov. 4, 2021, county documents show. The county sent a letter to the association with the compensation offer on March 25.

Nicole Wilson, a right of way agent in the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services’ land acquisition division, confirmed that the board’s vote allows staff to pursue an agreement, but the deal hasn’t been finalized yet.

“This is not certainly the end of the conversation from the owners’ association, but allows you to continue to proceed moving forward and negotiate some of the terms under which the acquisition would occur,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said.

Lisa Samuels, president of the condo association’s board of directors, previously told FFXnow that the group had no concerns with the county taking the land for the road.

The association’s bylaws require a majority of owners in the 624-unit development to approve any land changes, but since most units are rented out to tenants, a vote was deemed “impractical,” according to a county staff report.

As a result, the board needs to use its quick-take powers so construction can begin, staff said. The adopted resolution states that the land rights must be acquired by Sept. 3 to keep the project on schedule.

The planned public street from Scotts Crossing to the airport access road “will help to relieve traffic congestion in the area” and pave the way for a “future realignment of an existing ramp connection to the Dulles Toll Road,” Wilson told the board.

Developer Cityline Partner offered to help build the street with the Scotts Run North project it got approved in 2015. After taking over the 9.4-acre property in 2019, Capital One has proposed building a portion of the road as part of a plan for parks on the site.

Though Samuels characterized the parcel sought by the county as too overgrown to be useful for recreation or other purposes, Gates of McLean owner and resident Donald Garrett — the only speaker at the public hearing — testified that it includes a walking path used by residents and their dogs.

“There should be recognition that we are asked to give up part of our green space and recreation space for a road project,” Garrett said. “Outside of financial compensation, I believe there are policy options at the county’s disposal to offer unit owners an equitable compensation.”

He suggested the county include pedestrian enhancements in the road project or give Gates of McLean residents priority booking at a nearby park or athletic field for events.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said the county will keep working with the condo association and residents throughout the negotiation process.

“We definitely want to ensure that, as the development continues in this area, that there will be definitely focus on the access to green spaces, safety for pedestrians, and ensuring that we have access to the businesses and residential communities in this area,” Palchik said.

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Fairfax County hopes to acquire land from the Gates of McLean for a future Tysons connector road (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County could exercise its eminent domain powers to acquire land for a road planned to connect Capital One’s future campus extension with the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons.

The Board of Supervisors agreed yesterday (Tuesday) to set a July 19 public hearing on the proposed acquisition from the Gates of McLean Condominium Unit Owners Association, which represents the 624-unit neighborhood that currently owns the land.

The land is needed for the construction of “an important public grid street” that will eventually run north from Scotts Crossing Road to the toll road’s eastbound off-ramp, according to the board agenda for yesterday’s meeting.

The connector road is in the street network envisioned by the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, and developer Cityline Partners committed to helping build it as part of the Scotts Run North project that the county approved in 2015.

The 9.4-acre development site at the northwestern corner of Scotts Crossing and Dolley Madison Blvd was sold to Capital One in May 2019. In a recent proposal to redevelop the land with parks and, later, mixed-use buildings, the financial corporation said it has been working with the county to accelerate the connector road portion of the project.

“Capital One…is committed to advancing construction of this planned public street, among others in the vicinity, to frontload critical transportation infrastructure as Tysons East continues to develop,” county staff said in the board agenda. “Acquiring this piece of land will enable this process to move forward.”

A parcel of land currently owned by The Gates of McLean is needed for a road connecting Scotts Crossing Road to the Dulles Toll Road (via Fairfax County)

The Gates of McLean has owned the parcel in question since the community was first built as apartments in the late 1990s, according to Lisa Samuels, president of the association’s board of directors.

Located on the neighborhood’s southeastern side, the land is currently undeveloped green space, and pieces of it are protected by conservation easements.

“In terms of future plans for development, we certainly didn’t have any, but we knew that there might come a time where some of it might be acquired in order to build the extension of the road,” Samuels said.

According to Samuels, Capital One informed the association’s board of its interest in acquiring the land for the road about two years ago, but the discussion was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Samuels says the board “has no concern” about the county’s plan to take the land, since heavy overgrowth prevents the community from using it for recreation or other purposes.

However, the association’s bylaws require approval from 75% of unit owners for any land changes, and because most Gates of McLean owners don’t live on-site, instead renting out their condos to tenants, the board typically struggles to get a response rate higher than 15%.

“It’s just very difficult for us to get that supermajority that would be needed to sell the land,” Samuels said. “Our owners aren’t overly responsive to communications from us.”

Taking the land through eminent domain would enable construction on the connector road to begin on schedule, according to county staff.

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Morning Notes

Construction at Reston Station during a recent sunset (photo by Wil Villatoro-Reyes)

Fairfax County Man Dies in Alexandria Jail — “Alexandria law enforcement is investigating the death of Anthony Mouf, a 25-year-old Fairfax County man in Alexandria’s William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. According to a city release, Mouf was found suffering from an apparent medical emergency alone in his cell in the jail’s booking area.” [ALXnow]

Fort Belvoir Housing Contractors Hit with Lawsuit — “After bouncing around houses near Fort Belvoir, pleading with Michaels for repairs and remediation and asking officials on the base for help, Roman filed a lawsuit on March 16 of this year, alleging the owner and manager of thousands of housing units on the base allowed safety hazards and other substandard conditions to persist for years.” [Bisnow]

Fairfax Diner Plans Comeback — After being destroyed by a fire before Thanksgiving last year, the 29 Diner will reopen on Oct. 10, owner John Wood announced earlier this month. Still serving “the thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, milkshakes, and Texas-style barbecue patrons know and love,” the restaurant will have an updated, open kitchen and restored furnishings that pay homage to its 1947 opening. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Tips for Handling the Baby Formula Shortage — “As the nationwide infant formula shortage continues due to a temporary shutdown of the plant that manufactures about half of the U.S. supply, local families are impacted, too. Our Health Department advises if you have any questions, check with your baby’s physician or healthcare provider, especially if your baby is on a restricted diet or has any medical conditions.” [Fairfax County Government]

Vienna Burger Joint Expands to Arlington — “HQ2 will be home to Arlington’s second Conte’s Bike Shop, a South Block, the second location of Vienna-based Social Burger and the first brick-and-mortar location of HUSTLE — a high intensity cycling workout business.” [ARLnow]

Capital One Sets Timeline for Office Return — The Tysons-based financial company announced that it will fully reopen all U.S. offices under a hybrid work model on Sept. 6, almost exactly a year later than previously planned. Capital One is one of the D.C. area’s largest employers, with 11,530 associates and contractors just for its headquarters, according to a spokesperson. [Capital One]

McLean Tennis Court Project Approved — The Fairfax County Park Authority Board “approved $650,000 in funding for court improvements at Lewinsville Park in McLean…FCPA anticipates the courts to be closed for up to four months, while these renovations and repairs are made.” [FCPA]

Reston Shop Hosts “Bike to Work Day” Stop — “National Bike Week happens to be this week with the 21st anniversary of Bike to Work Day in the National Capital Region falling on May 20…In Reston, bicyclists can head to a pit stop just off the Washington & Old Dominion Trail at The Bike Lane, 11150 Sunset Hills Reston, VA, 7 a.m.-9 a.m.” [Patch]

Annandale Food Festival Seeks Sponsors — “Now that planning is underway for the 2022 Taste of Annandale, the top priority is securing sponsors. The family-friendly community festival scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1 in the center of Annandale, is likely to draw at least 6,000 people.” [Annandale Today]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the morning. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:54 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Approaching Capital One’s headquarters in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

At many businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed worker frustrations and fueled labor conflicts, but that apparently isn’t the case at two of Tysons’ most prominent employers.

The hospitality giant Hilton and financial corporation Capital One both made the top 10 of Fortune’s 2022 list of the “100 Best Companies to Work for” in the U.S., released on April 11.

The rankings were determined by a nationwide survey that garnered responses from over 870,000 workers and data from companies that collectively have more than 6.1 million employees, according to Fortune and the workplace culture data platform Great Place to Work, which have compiled the list annually for the past 25 years.

Hilton, which moved its global headquarters to 7930 Jones Branch Drive in 2009, was named the second-best company to work for in the country — its seventh consecutive year on the list and up from its #3 ranking the previous year.

“I’m so proud of our team members and everything they’ve done to share the light and warmth of hospitality with our guests, especially over the last two years,” Chris Nassetta, Hilton’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “This recognition is a testament to what we’ve built together at Hilton.”

In its news release, the hotel company highlighted recent efforts to expand employee benefits, including parental leave, bereavement leave, adoption assistance, mental health resources, and continuing education.

The company also said it remains committed to improving the diversity of its workforce, aiming to achieve global gender parity and make 25% of its U.S. corporate leadership people of color by 2027.

After coming in at #9 in 2021, Capital One (1680 Capital One Drive) dropped a spot to #10 in the 2022 list, with 93% of employees calling it a “great place to work for.” Workers also reported that the company made them feel welcome when they joined and lets them take time off when necessary.

According to Fortune and Great Place to Work, the ability to create an environment where employees felt supported and valued — even with the uncertainty and challenges brought by the pandemic — separated the “Best Companies” from average ones, where just 52% of workers said they thought management sincerely cared about them.

“Most importantly, they took action,” Great Place to Work CEO Michael Bush said of the companies on this year’s list. “They focused less on broad policies and more on what each person needed — in real, tangible ways. This transformed mental health assistance, elder care support, childcare and isolation support resources.”

Other Fairfax County-based companies that made the list are the engineering company Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (#39, located near Lincolnia) and Navy Federal Credit Union (#76, Vienna).

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Morning Notes

Despite chilly weather, the sun came out Tuesday, casting shadows from trees at the corner of Jefferson Manor Park off Telegraph Road (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

County Libraries to Resume Standard Hours — Fairfax County Public Library will once again open its eight regional branches seven days a week, and its 14 community branches on Mondays, effective this Sunday (April 3). The system truncated its hours starting in January due to the surge in COVID-19 cases and high staff vacancies. [FCPL]

Omicron Subvariant Identified in Fairfax County Patients — “BA.2 is now estimated to be responsible for about one in three COVID-19 infections in the country and one in five COVID-19 infections in Virginia. While BA.2 appears to be more contagious and can spread faster, it is not known to make people sicker.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

County Commonwealth’s Attorney Responds to Miyares Criticism — “The two powerful men have been in a feud for months. Attorney General Jason Miyares is pushing for tough-on-crime policies, while [Steve] Descano campaigned on ending mass incarceration and reforming the criminal justice system.” [ABC7]

“Coming to America” Restaurant Planned for Springfield — “Starting in May, shoppers at the Springfield Town Center can stride through the golden arcs of McDowell’s and order a Big Mick — a burger that is totally different from that other sandwich, thank you very much, because the buns don’t have seeds.” [Washingtonian]

Falls Church Approves Founders Row Part II — “The Falls Church City Council approved yet another large scale mixed use project for its downtown corridor Monday night, by a 5-2 vote giving a final OK to what has become known as the ‘Founders Row 2‘ project that will fill the space at the now vacant Rite Aid and the carpet store at the corner of W. Broad and S. West St.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Congress Members Concerned about Silver Line Phase 2 Delays — “U.S. Reps. Jennifer Wexton (D), Don Beyer (D) and Gerry Connolly’s letter to MWAA came a day after Paul Wiedefeld, the CEO and general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said unresolved issues…are preventing a declaration of operational readiness.” [Patch]

Capital One Partners with MLB — “McLean’s Capital One Financial Corp. is Major League Baseball’s new official banking and credit card partner. Capital One announced the multiyear deal Monday…Terms were not disclosed, but reports have pegged it as a $125 million deal for MLB over five years.” [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Library to Host First Responders on Saturday — “Join us as we celebrate the brave men and women who rush to emergency situations every day to take action when disaster strikes. Meet our local firefighters as they showcase the equiptment used for respond to emergencies. 11am-2pm at Reston Library.” [FCPL]

Local Students Compete in Special Olympics — “Congratulations to the Madison Special Olympics Unified Basketball Team who competed in their first Special Olympics this weekend at Marshall HS.” [James Madison High School/Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 56 and low of 36. Sunrise at 6:57 a.m. and sunset at 7:31 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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