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The Tysons Mobil gas station on Chain Bridge Road was damaged by a tornado in March (staff photo by David Taube)

The Mobil gas station by Tysons Corner Center was looking to make some changes before it got hit by a tornado this spring, but the damage resulting from that storm added a new sense of urgency to the project.

When it meets tomorrow (Wednesday), the Fairfax County Planning Commission is poised to approve a renovation of the station at 1953 Chain Bridge Road that would replace the existing vehicle service bays with a convenience store.

The car wash and repair bays haven’t operated since a tornado briefly touched down in Tysons on March 31, damaging the Mobil and adjacent Sunoco gas stations, Wire Gill LLP partner David Gill told the commission at a public hearing last week.

“We are very eager to move forward on this so we can begin repairs on the building,” said Gill, who is representing PMG in the land-use case.

The renovation of the eight-pump gas station, which has been running since 1973, would add a convenience store sales floor, a 350-square-foot cooler vault and a 240-square-foot employee work room. The 2,585-square-foot building’s façade would be replaced.

While no new exterior construction or additions to the building have been proposed, PMG has agreed to realign the existing sidewalk on Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) and widen it from 4 to 6 feet, including in front of the Sunoco station up to International Drive.

A private road that connects the two gas stations will be closed off “to reduce vehicle conflicts and the possibility of collisions,” leaving the site with two entrances off of Chain Bridge and a rear service road to International Drive, the staff report says.

Gill said the closure will also give the site some additional open space that will be filled with trees and other landscaping.

However, the landscaping along Chain Bridge will be located between the property and sidewalk, rather than by the street, a deviation from Tysons’ design guidelines that Gill said will allow more trees to be planted and prevent visibility issues for drivers.

“Overall, this is an incremental change that reflects larger trends with the fueling station industry, where convenience stores are replacing service stations,” Kevin McMahan with the Department of Planning and Development said. “In staff’s opinion, the upgrades to the building’s architecture and streetscape improvements along Chain Bridge Road will be positive improvements to the area.”

The planning commission stopped short of approving PMG’s special exception request last week, because a development condition that would require the property owner to install two electric vehicle charging stations was still being finalized.

Staff had initially pushed for Level 3 chargers to be required, but the condition has been revised to less-intensive Level 2 chargers. Gill said the site doesn’t have the space to accommodate the infrastructure needed for Level 3s.

Who will be responsible for installing and operating the chargers hasn’t been determined yet, but Gill said PMG has partnered with providers to install stations at other sites in the past.

“We’ve figured out, if worst comes to worst, we’re in that game ourselves now if we put in these chargers,” he said.

Providence District Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner observed that the growing acceptance and use of electric vehicles presents a potential opportunity for convenience stores and other businesses that could serve drivers waiting for their cars to charge up.

He said the commission will “need to look thoughtfully at what expectations we have for future developments,” suggesting that they push for Level 3 stations at sites along I-495, I-66 and other major highways.

“The matter of electric vehicle charging is going to continue to come before us, and I think we’re getting more and more insight into what that really means for the future of vehicle use in Fairfax County,” Niedzielski-Eichner said.

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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

An Alexandria man was convicted earlier this month in connection with a series of armed gas station and convenience store robberies in Herndon.

Rashawn Perkins, 28, allegedly wore a ski mask and used a firearm during four robberies over five weeks, according to court documents.

“The evidence established that Perkins robbed a 7-Eleven on December 30, 2021 and a Sunoco on January 19, 2022. The evidence further proved that on February 5, 2022, Perkins returned to both locations and robbed them at gunpoint again,” the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a Sept. 23 release.

According to court documents, Perkins — who previously had been convicted of three felony offenses — threw a firearm out of his bedroom window when the Fairfax County Police Department executed a search warrant for his home.

“Evidence at the trial established that this was the same firearm Perkins used to commit several of the robberies,” the release said.

Perkins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 28 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment when sentenced on Jan. 12, 2023.

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Upgrades are planned for a prominent gas station in Springfield (via Google Maps)

A Springfield gas station that has been owned by the same family since 1955 is getting a big makeover.

After sorting through several hiccups, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the project to upgrade the Ravensworth Shell station (8011 Braddock Road) at a Sept. 21 meeting.

Applicant Capital Services, Inc. plans to convert four service bays into a two-story convenience store — an expansion predicted to result in roughly 900 additional trips in the area. An outdoor seating area, landscaping and stormwater management enhancements are also planned.

The increase in traffic, the gas station’s close proximity to a high-traffic area, and a planned pedestrian improvement project in the Braddock District prompted several amendments to the proposal.

“In what seemed to be a very straightforward application to exchange one accessory for another was complicated by the site’s location,” Braddock District Planning Commissioner Mary Cortina said.

The county and the applicant worked through a number of issues — including managing traffic from the gas station onto Braddock Road.

Cortina noted that traffic is already challenging in the Ravensworth Shopping Center where the station is located.

Braddock Road — which has expanded significantly since the gas station first opened — is also very close to the gas station.

The applicant’s representative, David Gill of Wire Gill, said the family is looking forward to expanding the “next phase of evolution for this family business.” The project was previously deferred after a July 27 public hearing.

Cortina said Capital Services agreed to restrict one entrance to be one-way-only and provide a pedestrian crossing in the area, a new landscape island, a dedicated loading space, a roof that could support solar equipment, and a parking space for electric vehicles.

Still, she noted that there is “very little room left” between Braddock Road and the gas station. County planners anticipate that the future Braddock Road multimodal project will continue despite space challenges.

That project will include a number of upgrades, like a pedestrian overpass west of Burke Lake Road and shared-use paths on both sides of Braddock Road. Design approval is anticipated in the spring.

Photo via Google Maps

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Wawa’s new Fairfax City store will open on Sept. 1 (courtesy Wawa)

Wawa will do its best Oprah impression tomorrow (Thursday) — only instead of giving away cars, it will serve up free coffee to all customers in Virginia.

The occasion prompting this caffeine-fueled largesse is the grand opening of Wawa’s first store in the City of Fairfax, the company’s 100th in the state.

Replacing the old Rodeway Inn, the new convenience store and gas station at 9700 Fairfax Blvd. will welcome its initial customers at 8 a.m. by handing out commemorative T-shirts to the first 100 people to walk through the door.

To mark the milestone opening, Wawa says all 100 of its stores in Virginia will provide free coffee of any size that day. At the Fairfax store, the coffee giveaway will continue through Sept. 11.

Here is more on what to expect from the grand opening from a press release:

Friends and neighbors are invited to count down the exciting moment to when the doors open for the very first time at 8:00 a.m., followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:00 a.m., with Wawa mascot Wally Goose, oversized scissors, red ribbon, confetti and fanfare.

As part of the grand opening festivities, Wawa will present at $30,000 grant from The Wawa Foundation to Special Olympics Virginia to support the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which unites officers from law enforcement agencies and corrections departments across the state to raise more than $1 million annually for Special Olympics Virginia. Each summer, law enforcement officers carry the Flame of Hope across Virginia, culminating with the Torch Run Final Leg and the lighting of the Olympics cauldron to officially open the Summer Games.

The day will also bring a hoagie-building competition between the Fairfax City Police Department, City of Fairfax Fire Department, and George Mason University Police Department, with $1,000 checks going to charities chosen by each department.

In addition, Wawa says it will recognize a member of the local community who has had a positive impact with a ceremony and gift basket. The gesture is part of the company’s “2022 Day Brighteners” initiative, which celebrates standout employees and community members.

“At Wawa, our core purpose is fulfilling lives every day and since our first store opened, we’ve believed that we all have a role in making this world a better place,” Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens said in a statement. “Our store teams and Associates deliver experiences and emotional connections with customers that go beyond what traditionally happens in a retail environment. Simply put, they help make their communities happier and more connected.”

Joining locations in Vienna and Chantilly, the 6,049-square-foot Fairfax store has 12 gas pumps and will offer hot food from its kitchen, including the chain’s signature hoagies and customizable burgers. There are also drinks and ready-to-go items.

Services include mobile ordering, curbside pickup, delivery options and catering.

The store has about 50 full-time and part-time employees. All of the positions are newly created, per the press release.

Started as a dairy processing plant in Pennsylvania in 1902, Wawa evolved into a grocery business with the opening of its first market in 1964. In recent years, the chain has been rapidly expanding beyond its core Pennsylvania and New Jersey service area, with a total of 52 new stores expected to open in 2022.

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Upgrades are planned for a prominent gas station in Springfield (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County is considering a plan to make over part of the Ravensworth Shell Station, which has served the area for more than 50 years.

Applicant Capital Services, Inc. has filed plans with the county to convert its existing service station building into a convenience store at 5200 Port Royal Road in Springfield.

The station is part of the Ravensworth Shopping Center, which county records indicate was originally built in 1965. It was last remodeled in 1983 when the gas pumps were shifted and a canopy was added over the pumps. It currently includes four service bays, back offices and a vehicle lift.

An application before the Fairfax County Planning Commission notes that the changes would add roughly 200 square feet to the building. The existing gas pumps and canopy will not be affected.

“The conversion of the four service bays into the convenience store, and the continued operation of the six fuel pumps is expected to increase the overall daily trips for the site from the current 3,128 trips to 4,033 trips, or an additional 905 daily trips,” the application says.

The applicant plans to convert the existing northernmost curb cut on Port Royal Road into a right-turn only for southbound drivers in order to allow tanker trucks to access and service underground fuel tanks easily.

“This proposal is a unique opportunity to allow a long-standing business to adapt to changing market conditions in order to continue serving the surrounding community,” legal representative David Gill wrote in a statement to the county. “The proposal will provide a convenience store use that will serve the needs of motorists, while improving the traffic operations and safety of this portion of Ravensworth Shopping Center.”

The Fairfax County Planning Commission is expected to discuss the proposal on May 22 at 7:30 p.m. The owner did not return requests for comment from FFXnow.

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Wawa will open a store in Fairfax City this summer (via Fairfax City Council)

Wawa is officially opening its 100th location in Virginia, and Fairfax City will be the beneficiary.

The gas station and grocery store plans to open up shop at 9700 Fairfax Boulevard.

A company representative tells FFXnow that details are scant right now, but the business seems to be on track for a summer opening.

“We’re tracking towards a late summer opening and excited to share that this location will mark out 100th store in the state of Virginia,” Alyson Mucha, a spokesperson for the company, wrote in an email.

The Fairfax City Council approved the project in January 2020. Plans include six fuel stations with 12 pumps on the west side of Spring Street and north of Fairfax Boulevard.

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