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Construction continues to chug along on Sunrise Senior Living’s upcoming facility in McLean.

Sunrise of McLean Village broke ground at 1515 Chain Bridge Road on June 18, 2021 and is projected to move in its first residents in spring 2023, according to spokesperson John Chibnall.

“Sunrise of McLean Village is in the heart of McLean, which appeals to the growing number of older adults living in the community looking forward to their next step in life and want to remain in McLean proper,” Sunrise Senior Vice President of Design and Construction Andy Coelho told FFXnow.

Replacing the defunct McLean Medical Building, whose original owners included the first doctor to administer a polio vaccine, the senior care facility will have 100 residential units for 122 people, including 61 assisted living residences and 39 memory care residences.

Amenities for residents will include outdoor terraces, a multi-purpose bistro, lounges, a library, a formal dining room, an activity room and a theater room. A “heritage garden” will have a private section for residents and a public section open to the surrounding neighborhood — a unique feature of the McLean location, according to Coelho.

“The latest and safest building codes were taken into account when designing and building this community,” he said.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the redevelopment in October 2019 after an earlier attempt to build a 73-unit facility on Kirby Road got voted down in May 2017.

After the Kirby Road plan faced opposition over its potential impact on nearby residential neighborhoods, the approved Chain Bridge location puts Sunrise closer to downtown McLean, which is in the midst of a gradual revitalization effort.

The building will be three stories tall and have 89,983 square feet of space, with 88 parking spots, Chibnall told FFXnow.

A sales gallery and model unit are scheduled to be installed this fall. Sunrise did the interior design, while Rust Orling Architecture served as the architect. The building is being constructed by The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

“We selected this location because it complements our surrounding communities in the area, filling in the gap where Sunrise hasn’t been able to serve yet,” Coelho said. “We have already seen a great response from the community and have several future residents preparing to call the community home.”

Started in 1981, Sunrise has over 280 senior living communities in the U.S., including an existing Sunrise of McLean just north of the Dulles Toll Road near Tysons.

The company is also working on a facility in Vienna that’s expected to open next year. Coelho says Sunrise will share interior renderings of the building “in the coming weeks,” with a sales gallery opening to potential residents and their families in December.

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The first major renovations to Reston Town Center’s in 30 years are well underway, with the pavilion set to reopen later this year.

A spokesperson for Boston Properties says the opening of the pavilion is anticipated “sometime in November with the return the ice rink for the winter season.”

“The Fountain Plaza and Pavilion rehabilitation and renovation work at Reston Town Center has made significant progress since commencing in March 2022,” Sapna Yathiraj, Boston Properties’ marketing director, wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

The Fountain Plaza is also slated to open later this year, although an exact timeline was not immediately available.

The upgrades are led by Alan Ward, a principal at Sasaki Associates. As previously reported the enhancements include:

The Pavilion

Two fire pits in front of the Pavilion adjacent to Market Street will add to the holiday and cooler months’ experience

Large fans will help cool the space during warmer months for both formal and informal gatherings

An expansion through the service street adjacent to the Hyatt will create more flexibility and space for programming, events, and daily activations
A wooden deck that will serve as a seating area and a stage for smaller events and performances

Additional seating areas in the artificial turf area during warm months

Other

The fountain: Renovation of the lower base area, with new tiling, expanded seating, and tiered landscaping, and replacement of the entire outdated mechanical system. The original design of the upper base and Mercury statue will remain unchanged.

New trees and plantings to replace aged greenery and damaged root systems

Expansion of outdoor seating, including stadium-style structures and traditional tables and chairs

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National Park Service staff, elected officials, and community volunteers celebrate the reopening of Mount Vernon Trail’s Bridge 12 (via National Park Service)

The National Park Service has completed the first of four planned projects to reconstruct bridges along Mount Vernon Trail.

Park service staff, elected officials and community members celebrated the reopening of Bridge 12 near Fort Hunt Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (Sept. 24). The occasion coincided with National Public Lands Day, which encourages volunteers to help restore and improve national parks and other public lands.

“The Mount Vernon Trail is a very popular recreational resource and these bridge improvements will greatly increase safety for thousands of trail users,” said Charles Cuvelier, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which runs parallel to the 18-mile trail.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and state Sen. Scott Surovell were among the officials who attended the ribbon-cutting.

The reconstruction began on Feb. 14 and involved relocating Bridge 12, expanding it to 14 feet in width, installing upgraded railings, and resurfacing the trail to the bridge from Waynewood Blvd to Fort Hunt Road, according to the NPS.

The straighter alignment and reduced slope of the trail leading to and from the bridge enabled by its new location will improve safety, the park service said in its news release.

According to On the MoVe, the previous bridge was “known for frequent bike mishaps” and had been under consideration for an overhaul for decades before getting the needed funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2018. The Federal Highway Administration also assisted.

First opened on April 15, 1972, the Mount Vernon Trail spans over 18 miles from George Washington’s Mount Vernon to Theodore Roosevelt Island near Arlington. Maintained with help from the volunteer nonprofit Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, the facility reached its 50th anniversary earlier this year.

NPS’ next reconstructions for the southern end of the trail will focus on Bridges 23 and 24 between Belle Haven Road and Tulane Drive, On the MoVe reported. The park service plans to replace four bridges in all over the next five years.

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Huntington Metro station (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Shuttles, increased capacity, and an extension of the Blue Line are among the changes Metro will make to help riders when the Yellow Line shuts down this weekend, a closure that will last eight months.

Starting this Saturday (Sept. 10), the Yellow Line bridge and tunnels will close until May 2023 for long-overdue repair work. Construction will also be done to connect the new Potomac Yard station to the main rail system so that station can open this fall.

Both projects will result in a months-long shutdown of the Yellow Line, which runs through Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County. Parts of the Blue Line will also be closed through Oct. 22.

While this will undoubtedly inconvenience many local riders, Metro hopes to mitigate the impact of the construction and shutdown, which will happen in two phases.

During the first phase, which begins Saturday (Sept. 10) and lasts through Oct. 22, all six Blue and Yellow Line stations south of Reagan National Airport will be closed, as the Potomac Yard construction is completed. Those stations include Braddock Road, King Street, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, Eisenhower Avenue, and Huntington.

Metro will offer seven free shuttles will be offered during this time. Options include local, express, and limited-stop shuttles that cross the Potomac River.

The local shuttles will stop at all Metro stations and be available during all Metrorail operating hours.

  • Blue Line Local: Between Franconia, Van Dorn Street, King Street, Braddock Road, and National Airport stations every 10-20 minutes
  • Yellow Line Local: Between Huntington, Eisenhower Avenue, King Street, Braddock Road, and Crystal City stations every 10-15 minutes.

Express shuttles, which will stop at the Pentagon and at the end of each line, will be available from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

  • Blue Line Express: Franconia-Pentagon Express service between Franconia and Pentagon stations every six minutes.
  • Yellow Line Express: Huntington-Pentagon Express service between Huntington and Pentagon stations every six minutes.

Limited shuttles, which will take riders into D.C., will be available during weekday rush hours only.

  • VA-DC Shuttle 1: Between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes
  • VA-DC Shuttle 2: Between Pentagon, Smithsonian, and Archives stations every 12 minutes.
  • VA-DC Shuttle 3 (former 11Y route): Between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria, and Potomac Park stations every 20 minutes. Peak direction service only.

Metro will increase capacity on the other lines by shortening wait times and increasing the length of railcars. Read More

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A new playground will be ready to go in December (via FCPA)

A new playground is on the horizon for Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park in Herndon. 

The Fairfax County Park Authority is expected to begin construction to replace the aging equipment. Demolition of the existing playground will begin the week of Sept. 19, according to FCPA. 

The new playground should be completed by the end of November and be ready for use this December.

The equipment — which is faded and rusting in many areas — has only seen minor repairs and upgrades since it was originally installed in the 1990s.

“The equipment has now exceeded its life expectancy and no longer meets currently safety guidelines,” the park authority said. 

The project is expected to cost $180,000, an estimate that includes the design, layout, drainage and demolition of the existing playground.

The project will also improve an accessible route from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation trail to the playground. 

While construction takes place, access will be available from Ashdown Forest Drive. Residents should expect construction traffic entering and exiting the park entrance to that location. 

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A 356-unit, seven-story apartment building is taking shape near the Innovation Metro station. 

Makers Rise, which is on just under 4 acres of land at the intersection of Dulles Station Blvd and North Side Street and South Side Street, is set for completion in July 2023.

With the expected launch of phase two of the Silver Line this fall, the development team, which includes real estate company Crimson Partners, is hoping to implement new signage and way-finding tools in the area.

Originally, the developers didn’t anticipate including the residential development in any comprehensive signage overhaul. But they now say the current, nearly 20-year-old signage is not appropriate “for the use, scale and quality of the mixed-use building,” according to application materials submitted on Aug. 9.

The Property contains multiple street frontages yet is located along a neighborhood-scaled street that carries limited vehicular traffic, and as such demands high quality and high visibility signage, which is proposed in this package,” the application states. “The anticipated opening of the Innovation Metro Station heightens this need as new potential residents, retail patrons, and visitors begin to utilize this transit-oriented development.”

The building also includes 5,600 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.

Makers Rise (2311 Dulles Station Blvd) is one of the first buildings that will be constructed as transit-oriented development near Innovation Center Metro station.

The sign proposal includes changes related to the building, retail, parking and loading. 

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2023. As a result, temporary leasing banners are planned to attract prospective tenants, customers and residents. Artwork is planned along South Side Street near a public gathering space.

Once completed, the building will include a range of housing, from studios to two-bedrooms with dens. Co-working spaces, courtyards, a swimming pool, fitness center, pet spa, and club room are also planned, according to Arlington-based CBG Building Co.

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Safety and operational improvements are under construction at the Backlick Road and Leesville Blvd intersection in Springfield (via VDOT/Twitter)

Work is underway on traffic signal and crosswalk improvements at a heavily used intersection in Springfield, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced yesterday (Wednesday).

Drivers and pedestrians at the intersection of Backlick Road and Leesville Blvd will see a number of changes intended to improve the site’s safety and functionality:

The traffic signal upgrades include new mast arm poles, foundations, wiring, electrical equipment, high-visibility signal backplates and signs. Also, drivers on Backlick Road will have flashing yellow arrows for left turns to Leesville Boulevard and the office park.

Pedestrians will have four new crosswalks with Accessible Pedestrian Signals at the intersection, as well as two new pedestrian islands on Leesville Boulevard. Other pedestrian improvements include American with Disabilities Act (ADA) curb ramp upgrades and installations.

In the works since August 2019, the project carries an estimated cost of $700,000, according to VDOT’s webpage. The funding came from the Virginia Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Located north of the I-95 and I-495 interchange, the intersection averages about 30,000 vehicles a day on Backlick Road and 4,000 on Leesville.

Construction is expected to be finished next summer.

“Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are reminded to use caution when traveling in active work zones,” VDOT said in its news release. “Be alert to new traffic patterns, limit distractions and follow detour route signage.”

Photo via VDOT/Twitter

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The Vienna Police Department’s new headquarters is in the final stages of construction (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Workers are putting the finishing touches on Vienna’s new police station, which will consolidate all police operations under one roof and provide new community spaces.

After some disruptions earlier this year due to supply chain issues, the $14 million facility is scheduled to finish punch-list items and get a final Fairfax County inspection next week, according to an Aug. 12 update from the Town of Vienna Police Department.

If all of that goes according to plan, the building at 215 Center Street South will open to the public with an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting on Sept. 2, Police Chief Jim Morris told Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton on the most recent “On Deck with Mercury” installment.

“That’s a flexible date, but that’s the date we’re shooting for,” Morris said. “…The idea is to have the ribbon-cutting at 11 with yourself, the mayor, and other local dignitaries, and then open the building up for tours.”

Under construction since January 2021, the new station replaces a 9,800-square-foot building from 1994 with a 30,000-square-foot site that will house offices, training facilities, a firing range, locker rooms, evidence storage, and a multi-purpose room.

At 1,500 square feet in size, the multi-purpose room will serve as a local emergency operations center, a meeting area for the Vienna Town Council, and a hub for community gatherings and programs. A central divider will separate the meeting space from work stations for the emergency center.

Morris said the logistics for how community groups will be able to reserve space are still being finalized.

“We do have the community center and everything, so we have to even things up and make sure everything’s spread out, because I would love to have the community in this space as often as possible,” he said.

The push to integrate the station into the community extends to a new outdoor plaza. The old station had a plaza, but Morris admits it became overgrown, and he never witnessed anyone using it in his nine years with the department.

“We wanted to put a space in front that could change all that, and as you walk outside or walk around, you can see it’s a viable plaza,” Morris said. “There’s seating, there’s plants, there’s good sunlight, it’s open space. I think we’ll see a lot of folks using that plaza.”

There’s no official date yet for when the police department will move from its temporary base at the former Faith Baptist Church next door, but it won’t be until after the public opening. The transition should be “seamless” with no service interruptions, Morris told Mercury.

The police chief anticipates that the additional space and upgraded infrastructure will help recruit new officers and retain existing ones, as law enforcement agencies locally and nationally struggle to attract workers.

“With this building, with body cameras, with new radios, with new in-car video, we’re definitely going to be at the upper-end of policing in the area, so we should be a prime choice for people looking for a career in law enforcement,” Morris said.

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Construction is expected to start this week on a sidewalk for Alma Street SE in Vienna (via Google Maps)

A sidewalk is coming to Vienna’s Alma Street SE, whether the residents there want it or not.

Construction to add about 1,500 linear feet of concrete, curb and gutter, driveway aprons, and ramps on the northwest side between Follin Lane and Delano Drive will begin by the end of this week, the Town of Vienna shared on Monday (Aug. 8).

One of many sidewalks in the works as part of Vienna’s Robinson Trust Sidewalk Initiative, the Alma Street project drew some particularly strong opposition from residents along the road, who petitioned against the proposal as it moved through the engineering and design process last year.

The town maintains that the sidewalk is needed for older residents, people with mobility challenges, and anyone else who doesn’t want to walk in the roadway or might benefit from the accompanying ramp, crosswalk and other accessibility improvements.

“The Town believes that sidewalks are an important amenity for residents of a street — and for the community at large,” Department of Public Works Engineer Robert Froh said in an email. “Sidewalks promote good health and pedestrian safety, connect individuals and destinations in the community, support Town businesses and sustainability goals, and enhance the ‘greater good’ of the community — today and in the future.”

A flier dated Aug. 4 that a resident shared with FFXnow said construction would take about three weeks, depending on weather. It will require relocations of water meters for five houses, and homeowners were told to move sprinkler systems and any personal belongings out of the right-of-way.

Street also targeted for Dominion undergrounding project

The resident says they learned earlier this week that Dominion Energy will underground its electric lines, which are on the same side of Alma Street as the incoming sidewalk, leading them to question the location and timing of construction.

Dominion Energy confirmed it has a project for Alma Street SE under its Strategic Underground Program, which focuses on moving its “most outage-prone overhead power lines” underground. Read More

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Morning Notes

I-66 construction in the Oakton area (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Two Face Drug Charges After Seven Corners Police Shooting — “Two men have been charged after an officer-involved shooting that occurred last night at approximately 10:45 p.m. in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard in Seven Corners…The officer involved in the shooting has been identified as an 11-year veteran assigned to the Street Crimes Unit.” [FCPD]

Local LGBTQ+ Student Group Speaks Out — Fairfax County’s Pride Liberation Project released a statement backed by more than 600 students criticizing a proposal from the state Department of Education that they fear will classify any references to LGBTQIA+ people and events as sexually explicit. The guidelines address a new law that requires parents to be notified when school materials include sexually explicit content. [The Washington Post]

Meet Reston Association’s New CEO — “On Thursday, July 28, the Reston Association board of directors voted unanimously to confirm Mac Cummins, AICP* as the next chief executive officer of the non-profit organization…Cummins sat for a Q&A with the Connection Newspapers on Friday, July 29.” [Connection Newspapers]

Police Chief Addresses Staffing Emergency — The Fairfax County Police Department declared a personnel emergency last week, requiring officers to work mandatory overtime to compensate for staff shortages. Chief Kevin Davis says the department’s 189 operational vacancies are exceptionally high, though 51 recruits currently in the academy will eventually join the force. [ABC7]

Back in Nature, Snake Found in Fairfax Is Healing — “K2C Wildlife Encounters, LLC, received a call on June 5 from a Fairfax resident who had a snake in their backyard that they wanted removed…The female, eastern ratsnake had a torn jugular vein, a hole in her trachea, a protruding eye, numerous lacerations, and broken ribs.” [Patch]

New FCPS Teachers Prepare for School Year — “Minutello and Edinborough are among the newest teachers in Virginia’s largest school system, and are starting at a time when staffing challenges are making headlines. The county had hundreds of vacancies at the end of the last school year, but 97% of staffing positions have been filled as of last week, Superintendent Michelle Reid said.” [WTOP]

Centreville’s Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Lot to Temporarily Close — “The parking lot and entrance for Cabell’s Mill will be closed from Aug. 8 through Oct. 7, 2022, for construction. Work related to the new Stewardship Education Center will include a larger parking lot that will include features and a design that will better control and filter water from rain and runoff from the adjacent neighborhood.” [FCPA]

State Sales Tax Holiday Starts Tomorrow — “The 3-day sales tax holiday starts the first Friday in August at 12:01 am and ends the following Sunday at 11:59 pm…During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax.” [Virginia Department of Taxation]

It’s Thursday — Humid throughout the day. High of 95 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]

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