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ALDI is coming to Penn Daw’s new South Alex development (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

Aldi is expected to open a new location in Penn Daw’s South Alex development later this year.

The development by Combined Properties includes 41 townhouses, 400 apartments with ground-floor retail, and the grocery store.

“We are excited to share we plan to open a new Aldi store later this year in Fairfax County,” Jeff Baehr, Aldi’s Vice President of the company’s Frederick Division, said in a statement.

South Alex is located at the intersection of North Kings Highway and Richmond Highway. The area already has a grocery store on Richmond Highway near Hybla Valley.

The project has been on the drawing board for several years after the demolition of the 50-year-old Penn Daw Shopping Center in 2016. A previous deal for a grocer fell through that year after The Fresh Market failed to reach an agreement with the development company.

ALDI, which is a German multinational discount supermarket chain, firmed up plans to open at the development in 2018.

The project is part of a plan to revitalize the area with mixed-use projects and transit-oriented developments. Overall, up to 45,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space is planned on the site — 20,000 of which is taken up by the Aldi lease.

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Morning Notes

Gum Springs celebrates Juneteenth with a Community Day on June 18 (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Fairfax County Holds Primary Today — It’s primary day for voters in the 8th Congressional District, which now includes McLean, Bailey’s Crossroads, Annandale, and the Route 1 corridor in Fairfax County. With the Republican nominee already set, there is only a Democratic contest between incumbent Rep. Don Beyer and challenger Victoria Virasingh. [Fairfax County Office of Elections]

Man Dies in Oakton Crash — An 18-year-old driver died on Sunday (June 19) after losing control of his car while driving south on Fox Mill Road and hitting a tree near Bronzedale Drive. A juvenile passenger was taken to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening. Detectives believe speed was a factor in the crash, which resulted in the fifth non-pedestrian fatality of the year. [FCPD]

Drowned Man Remains Hospitalized — A 29-year-old man who drowned while swimming in Difficult Run Stream in McLean on Sunday is still in life-threatening condition. According to police, the man became submerged and was pulled out of the water by friends when he didn’t resurface. Fire and Rescue personnel found him about a quarter mile away from Georgetown Pike on a nearby trail. [FCPD]

Report Finds Discrimination by Housing Providers — “A fair housing test conducted by The Fairfax County Office of Human Rights, in partnership with The Equal Rights Center, showed ‘discernable differences’ between housing providers’ treatment of white and minority testers. The results also showed that ‘certain housing providers lack the training to provide the same level of treatment to Deaf individuals as they do to hearing individuals.'” [Inside NoVA]

Tysons West Vehicle Pursuit Leads to Arrest — A male juvenile allegedly “verbally threatened the victim” in the 1500 block of Cornerside Blvd on Jun 12. The juvenile attempted to drive away, striking two vehicles, before an officer stopped him using the controversial precision immobilization technique. The juvenile was arrested, and two people were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. [FCPD]

Springfield Trader Joe’s Looking to Move — Trader Joe’s is in talks to take over the roughly 24,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market at Old Keene Mill Shopping Center, suggesting that the new Whole Foods under construction at Springfield Plaza will be a relocation. The space would be larger than Trader Joe’s current 10,673-square-foot store next to the new Giant in Springfield Plaza. [Washington Business Journal]

Bank Plans Relocation From Herndon to Tysons — Part of a larger branding overhaul, Forbright Bank is moving its Herndon branch at 150 Elden Street to 1600 Tysons Blvd., a 13-story office building adjacent to Tysons Galleria. The Herndon location is the company’s only Virginia location among five branches in the region. [Washington Business Journal]

Fairfax County Police Helicopter Appears at Smithsonian Event — “Saturday, our helicopter was on display at the National Air & Space Museum’s Annual Innovations in Flight Event. 50+ aircraft fly in from around the region for this special day. Pilots Mountjoy & Edgerton greeted community members as they got a glimpse into Fairfax 1.” [FCPD/Twitter]

County Partners on Older Adult Activities — “Arlington County, Fairfax County, Prince William County, the Town of Vienna, and ServiceSource Inc. host live virtual programming on Zoom five days a week. The events range from fitness classes to special presentations to interactive games. This resource is free and all older adults and adults with disabilities who live in Northern Virginia are welcome to use it.” [Neighborhood and Community Services]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 81 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The former home of Giant will soon welcome another grocer.

Permit documents suggest Whole Foods Market plans to open at 6426 Springfield Plaza, a county spokesperson told FFXnow in a statement, supporting rumors circulating among local residents and employees in the shopping center.

Extensive construction on the site — which was home to Giant before it was renovated and moved to a larger space in the plaza — is currently underway.

But it’s still unclear what’s in store for the Whole Foods Market in Old Keene Mill Shopping Center in Springfield.

Whole Foods declined multiple requests for comment from FFXnow on its plans for Springfield, including whether or not the current location plans to relocate.

A company spokesperson simply noted that a location in Springfield is “in development.”

Based on plaza leasing materials, the new location has a significantly larger footprint.

Representatives for Rappaport, a commercial real estate management company of the plaza, repeatedly declined comment.

Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk’s office, which represents the area, told FFXnow that it had not been “directly informed by the Springfield Plaza owners or managers as to what the new tenant located at 6426 Springfield Plaza will be.”

However, the office says it obtained publicly available documents related to a permit for renovations on the site. The permit is listed in the county’s FIDO database for a “future tenant.”

“Upon a request to Land Development Services (LDS) from the Supervisor’s office, we were able to discern from the application documents of permit # 220400083 that the name ‘Whole Foods’ would be the name placed upon the new frontage of the building,” Lusk’s office said by email.

Fatimah Waseem, Angela Woolsey and Brandi Bottalico contributed to this report.

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Amazon is bringing its version of a grocery store — Amazon Fresh — to Lorton this month.

The business plans to open a 38,000-square-foot location on June 23. It’s one of three locations coming soon to Northern Virginia.

A location in Manassas opened today (Thursday), and an Arlington location is expected to open in the coming weeks.

Amazon is proud to support these communities by creating hundreds of high-quality jobs with the opening of each store, offering a starting wage of $15.50/hour, and donating surplus food to local food banks,” the company wrote in a press release.

The Lorton location is at 9409 Lorton Market Street and will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Like the Fairfax City store that opened in April, all three locations will feature Just Walk Out shopping — technology that allows customers to skip the checkout line.

Customers enter the store by scanning an in-store QR code in the Amazon app or using a credit or debit card to open the “Just Walk Out’ gates. Anything taken off a shelf is added to the virtual card. Customers then scan or use their card to exit the grocery store.

Amazon Fresh will accept cash, SNAP/EBT, credit or debit card, and the Amazon app.

The store will include national brands, made-to-order pizzas, rotisserie chickens, hot sandwiches, 365 by Whole Foods Market organic products, and local brands like Mason Dixie Biscuits, Bread First Bakery and Taharka Brothers Ice Cream.

According to the press release, Amazon Fresh will provide a coupon for $10 off orders of $20 or more that can be used at its new stores.

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McLean residents turned out in force yesterday (Wednesday) for the grand opening of Fairfax County’s newest Lidl — its first north of I-66.

Starting with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:40 a.m., the 25,000-square-foot grocery store saw a steady stream of customers pack the parking lot at 1330 Chain Bridge Road, drawn by promises of giveaways and special deals.

Upon entering the store, visitors were greeted by bold yellow signs touting the chain’s reputation for low prices and the warm scent of fresh bread and pastries, which proved irresistible to at least one shopper.

“I was very impressed with the bakery,” she said, noting that she doesn’t normally buy baked goods but decided to grab some this time.

A first-time Lidl patron, the McLean resident said she typically frequents Trader Joe’s and ALDI with the Giant Food just down the road as a “fallback.” However, the arrival of a coupon flier and a friend who likes Lidl convinced her to check out the new store, which she thought had “variety” and was “well-stocked.”

Another shopper told FFXnow that she has visited the store in Merrifield, but the McLean location will be more convenient, since it’s “basically right across the street from us.”

“It’s a little crowded,” she said, expressing hope that the store will be calmer after the grand opening excitement fades.

In anticipation of a busy day, Lidl set up two extra checkout counters to accommodate shoppers with smaller items, according to an employee. The store has six permanent checkout bays.

Lidl views the store’s opening as a decided success, reporting “a great turnout” in the morning and continued excitement throughout the day.

“I think that the community’s very, very excited,” McLean store manager Oleg Perederiy said. “We’ve been having a lot of people here. People are really happy they’re getting the products that they want. They’re happy with the prices, and just the overall experience for them is great.”

The store’s operating hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. It will eventually be joined by Matchbox Pizza and Big Buns Damn Good Burgers, though Perederiy said it will likely be another month or two before the restaurants open.

Lidl still has stores in the works for Tysons, Lorton, and Chantilly. A spokesperson says timelines for the new locations haven’t been set yet, but the Tysons one could be ready sometime this year, Pike 7 Plaza owner Federal Realty previously told FFXnow.

While the German company’s current U.S. expansion remains focused on the East Coast, Perederiy says it could make the leap to the West Coast someday.

“At the moment, this company’s still opening stores, we’re still rapidly growing, and we’re still having massive success in the States,” Perederiy said.

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Get ready, McLean: Lidl is about to make its debut.

As promised, the German grocer known for its low prices will welcome customers to its newest store this summer, with a grand opening celebration on June 1, the company announced today (Friday).

“McLean residents have been looking forward to the opening of the Lidl grocery store for some time because of its reputation for high-quality products at discount prices,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said in the press release. “Congratulations to Lidl on the opening and welcome to the wonderful community of McLean.”

Located at 1330 Chain Bridge Road, Lidl takes the place of McLean’s Safeway, which closed in April 2021. The store will operate from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day going forward.

Launching with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:40 a.m., the grand opening celebration will include “special giveaways,” samples, a raffle for a $500 gift card, and gift cards ranging in value from $5 to $100 for the first 100 customers.

Lidl says it has also partnered with the local food bank, Share of McLean, to donate $1 during that first week through June 5 for every customer who signs up for its myLidl rewards program and sets the McLean location as their home store.

According to the release, Lidl invested about $10 million in renovating the site, its 34th in the U.S. The new store will create more than 45 new jobs, and all workers start at $16 per hour with benefits — including healthcare coverage for both full-time and part-time employees.

“Lidl has a long commitment to Virginia,” Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr said, referencing the company’s choice of Arlington as its U.S. headquarters. “This McLean store will be their 34th in Virginia and their $10 Million investment will bring affordable food and groceries to families across the region. We greatly appreciate all they do for the communities they serve.”

Since establishing its Crystal City base in June 2015, Lidl has focused on expanding its presence along the East Coast, opening more than 150 stores across nine states.

The news of an opening date in McLean comes shortly after Lidl confirmed to FFXnow that it has plans for a Tysons location at Pike 7 Plaza. The company already has stores in Merrifield, Fairfax, Lincolnia, Burke, and Springfield, and new Lorton and Chantilly franchises are also in the works.

“We are excited to see Lidl continue to expand its presence in Fairfax County,” Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Victor Hoskins said. “With the opening of its McLean store, Lidl continues to help strengthen our economic base and enhance the vibrancy of our community.”

The new Lidl will be accompanied by Big Buns Damn Good Burgers and Matchbox Pizza, but there’s no word yet on when those eateries will open.

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Staples has permanently closed its store at Pike 7 Plaza in Tysons (via Google Maps)

Office supplies are out, and cheaply priced groceries are in at Tysons’ Pike 7 Plaza.

The German grocery store chain Lidl has signed a lease for space in the shopping center at 8305 Leesburg Pike, spokesperson Chandler Spivey confirmed to FFXnow.

“We are looking forward to bringing our high quality, fresh assortment, low prices and simple shopping experience to customers in the area,” Spivey said, adding that it’s too soon to project a timeline for the new store.

According to a site plan from Federal Realty Investment Trust, the company that owns the plaza, Lidl will take over the nearly 24,000-square-foot suite that had been filled by Staples for more than a decade.

Staples didn’t immediately return a request for comment, but its store locator lists the site as closed. An employee at the chain’s Falls Church store confirmed that the Tysons location has permanently closed, saying that workers started moving merchandise out and transferring it to other stores in late April.

Lidl has been making a strong push to bolster its presence in Fairfax County in recent years, with stores in McLean, Lorton, and Chantilly slated to join existing franchises in Merrifield, Fairfax, Lincolnia, Burke, and Springfield.

“We’re excited to continue our expansion in Northern Virginia,” Spivey said.

Federal Realty said in a statement that it’s “thrilled” to welcome Lidl, suggesting the grocer could arrive at Pike 7 Plaza “later this year.”

“Adding a specialty grocer recognized for providing high-quality products at competitive prices including European pastries, local produce and imported cheeses is a wonderful addition to the shopping center and benefit for the community,” said Deirdre Johnson, senior vice president of asset management for Federal Realty.

After adding Ulta Beauty on April 1, the shopping center is still awaiting the restaurants Grill Kabob and Ingle Korean Steakhouse, according to “coming soon” signs posted to the storefronts.

Fairfax County also processed a commercial building permit yesterday (Tuesday) for Shake Shack, which will occupy the drive-thru restaurant planned for the southeast corner of Pike 7’s parking lot.

Photo via Google Maps

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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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Lidl is coming to McLean, with Big Buns and Matchbox Pizza in tow (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on McLean’s upcoming Lidl.

The grocery store is on track to open this summer, the company says, putting the project slightly behind previous projections of a spring opening.

“Opening a beautiful, brand new store has many components,” a Lidl spokesperson told FFXnow. “…The D.C. area is our home and we can’t wait to introduce customers to the high quality experience we offer.”

Located at 1330 Chain Bridge Road, the McLean Lidl will be smaller than the Safeway that it’s replacing, which closed in April 2021. The additional space has been subdivided to make room for three other tenants.

Two of the spaces have been leased by Big Buns Damn Good Burgers and Matchbox Pizza, which were expected to arrive in the second quarter of 2022 — between April 1 and June 30. Thompson Hospitality, the group that owns both restaurants, didn’t return FFXnow’s inquiry by press time on whether that timeline is still likely.

Fairfax County issued commercial interior alteration permits for Matchbox and Big Buns on March 30.

The third space — a 2,357-square-foot suite that could be expanded by another 2,112 square feet — remains available for lease, according to a brochure from real estate broker H&R Retail.

Originally started in Germany in 1973, Lidl now operates over 11,200 stores around the world, according to its website. That includes four stores in Fairfax County, with the most recent one opening in Merrifield last summer.

While the McLean location appears to be the next one up, construction began in December on a 30,000-square-foot store in Lorton (9001 White Spruce Way). When contacted by FFXnow, Lidl indicated that it has not set a timeline for opening yet.

Lidl also has plans for a store in Chantilly, specifically at the Chantilly Crossing Shopping Center, according to county permits issued for a wall sign on Dec. 8. Marketing materials suggest the store will take over a currently vacant lot adjacent to Lee Road.

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) Fairfax City’s latest grocery store is giving a new meaning to the term five-finger discount.

Amazon Fresh opened in Point 50, previously known as the Fairfax Shopping Center, today (Thursday), boasting new technology that lets shoppers buy items without having to get them individually scanned.

All they need to do is swipe an app or a credit card when they enter and exit the store.

“The goal is to make the smoothest transition,” Amazon Fresh District Manager Jim Gillespie said.

Shoppers inundated the approximately 30,000-square-foot store at 10360 Fairfax Blvd. when it opened at 7 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting and the potential for prizes and discounts.

Fairfax resident Nile Milton grabbed a pineapple and wondered how the store would know who and what to charge.

“We’re going to see how this works out,” said Milton, an Aldi regular who also frequents Giant and Walmart.

When Milton asked how purchasing worked, a worker explained that the store’s overhead cameras detect what items customers take and link them to people when they enter the store. Weight sensors also assist.

Traditional checkout lines with clerks who scan items are also available.

The new technology is a first in the region for Amazon and involves some 1,600 cameras for the store, according to a tech worker. A public relations representative later challenged that figure, saying that the number of cameras in stores are in the hundreds.

“Anything they take off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything they put back on the shelf comes out of their virtual cart,” Laura Hayes, a public relations representative for Amazon, said in an email regarding customers who choose to pick the Just Walk Out technology option.

People can use the Amazon app to link their bank account. And those with the app can use their palm to swipe in and out of the store, somewhat like a touchless digital fingerprint.

It’s one of the ways the company is looking to transform the industry. The store also touts competitive prices, such as 15-cent bananas and 89-cent loaves of fresh bread, and it plans to offer two-hour delivery of groceries, a standard for the brand, within coming weeks.

Fairfax resident Tom Castro arrived at the store at 3:55 a.m. and waited with others in the rain. As part of a prize for being first, he received flowers, which he promptly gave to his wife.

Castro said he visited the store about a half dozen times before it opened, wondering what the company’s timeline was. He said the pandemic led him to become a believer in having groceries delivered.

“We’re thrilled Amazon has decided to bring this technology to Fairfax — a city that embraces innovation and technology — for the benefit of our residents, office workers, and visitors,” Mayor David Meyer said in a statement. “Amazon has been a great partner in the development of this Fresh store, and we are looking forward to welcoming them into our community.”

Other stores in the region are planned for Arlington, Lorton and Manassas. The company is hiring hundreds of workers for those stores. Hayes said the Lorton store could open this year.

Amazon has also targeted Bailey’s Crossroads for a grocery store, but staff were unable to identify whether it will be an Amazon Fresh. The company also operates Whole Foods.

The Fairfax store’s hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The company first brought Amazon Fresh to Fairfax County last summer, with a store opening in Franconia (7005 Manchester Blvd.).

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