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EYA is seeking to build 174 single-family homes on the former Topgolf site in Kingstowne (via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has teed up an approval of a residential development that could replace Rudy’s Golf and Sports Bar in Kingstowne with nearly 200 single-family homes.

Commissioners voted unanimously on Feb. 14 to recommend approval of the development proposal for 6626 South Van Dorn Street, which once hosted a Topgolf before Rudy’s opened in 2022.

The decision came weeks after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a comprehensive plan amendment to increase the housing density allowed at the proposed site from three to four units per acre to 10 units.

The Maryland-based housing developer, EYA Development, initially proposed a much larger project in 2015 that would’ve added 275 residential units and up to 70,000 square feet of retail. However, the developer had to revise its plans multiple times in the face of opposition before finally securing community support.

The latest plan would transform the 17-acre property into 174 single-family homes, 18 of which will be designated as affordable, and create several acres of public park space.

Most attendees at last month’s Board of Supervisors public hearing on the comprehensive plan amendment expressed support, but there were still some holdouts, notably the Franconia Land Use Committee. Speakers argued that the proposed increase in density was inappropriate for the site, citing concerns over traffic congestion and environmental impact.

But when Franconia District Planning Commissioner Daniel Lagana questioned Cooley LLP lawyer Mark Looney about potential traffic concerns last week, the developer representative countered that the property owner has the right to lease out the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant at any time — a move that could generate more traffic than the proposed development.

“Were that restaurant operating at its full capacity with, let’s say, two fast-food-type restaurants, it would have significantly more daytime traffic, as well as higher peak hour traffic in both the morning and evening along South Van Dorn Street,” Looney said.

Looney noted that EYA plans to construct a new underground detention vault, replacing the existing one that’s over two decades old, and multiple bioretention facilities — also known as rain gardens — to capture and purify the majority of stormwater runoff flowing into the Potomac River.

“So, everything that will leave the property at the end of the day will be much slower and much cleaner than the what the storm water is today,” he said.

The Franconia Land Use Committee was absent from the planning commission hearing, where nearly 10 individuals supported the development.

Toward the end of the hearing, Lagana praised EYA for its persistence in working with the community to design something he described as “truly remarkable” and “forward-thinking.”

“Working with this coalition of groups and building this broad alliance of people that were engaged in this for three and a half years…gave you the type of design that you needed to have for this site,” Lagana said. “I mean, it really led to the great solution that we have before us today, which I think is just a beautiful site design.”

The commissioner, however, called the actions of the Franconia Land Use Committee members “unbecoming of any appointed body in this county.”

“We reduced the [number of homes] to 100 units, we improved stormwater, we improved [affordable dwelling units] — I mean, the list goes on and on and on and on, and we’re still dealing with these, I think, fictitious problems that kept coming up,” he said. “And I just want to say the amount of frankly, vitriol and hostility personal hostility that was directed at the applicants at some points was absolutely unacceptable.”

The next public hearing on the rezoning application will take place before the Board of Supervisors on March 5, according to the county website.

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has revised its comprehensive plan for Kingstowne, opening the door for potential new housing development at the former Topgolf site.

After a two-hour public hearing, the board unanimously agreed on Tuesday (Jan. 23) to boost the housing density at 6626 South Van Dorn Street from 3-4 units per acre to 10 units per acre.

The amendment sets the stage for EYA Development, a Maryland-based housing developer, to construct a single-family subdivision with 174 units, 18 of them designated as affordable, and a public park on the 17-acre site currently housing Rudy’s Golf and Sports Bar and an empty Ruby Tuesdays.

The developer must still gain the county’s approval for a rezoning and its official development plan, which are under review.

Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk noted that the currently proposed development has generally won public support, including from the Kingstowne Residential Owners Corporation, the Friends of Huntley Meadows, and Friends of Kingstowne Lake. The planning commission and county staff also recommended approval.

“I think the proposed plan provides significant opportunities to provide a new feature for this site that would integrate well with the surrounding residential communities and the Kingstowne area,” Lusk said.

EYA is seeking to build 174 single-family homes on the former Topgolf site in Kingstowne (via Fairfax County)

Originally proposed in 2015, the development aimed to create a mixed-use area with 275 single-family homes, 16 dwelling units per acre, and up to 70,000 square feet of retail.

Since then, the application has been revised multiple times, primarily due to resident and stakeholder backlash concerning traffic, compatibility with the neighborhood and stormwater management.

However, at the hearing, most of the roughly two dozen speakers expressed support for the application. Read More

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Romano’s Macaroni Grill has officially closed in Kingstowne (courtesy LocalAuctions.com)

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is ending a two-decade stay in Kingstowne.

The chain Italian restaurant served its last customers at 5925 Kingstowne Towne Center on Monday (Jan. 15) and officially closed its doors the next day. Now, all of its decor, furniture, equipment and supplies is being auctioned off.

Bidding on tables, gas fryers, art deco-style chandeliers and more is currently open online to anyone 18 and older, starting at $5. The items are also available for in-person browsing until the auction closes at noon tomorrow (Friday).

Everything must be sold and removed from the restaurant by 4 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 20), according to LocalAuctions.com, which is hosting the liquidation sale.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the general public and other restaurant owners,” Gabriel Prado, founder and CEO of LocalAuctions.com, said. “Rarely does the public get a chance to bid on and purchase assets from such a well known restaurant chain.”

Opened in 2003, Romano’s Kingstowne Towne Center location was its last in Virginia, leaving the chain without a presence in the D.C. area. The company didn’t immediately return a request for comment on the closure.

LocalAuctions.com described the closure as a “difficult decision” for Romano’s in a press release.

The American casual dining chain Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar submitted plans to Fairfax County in December for a 10,596-square-foot restaurant that would replace Romano’s. At the time, a Romano’s spokesperson said the change hadn’t been confirmed and declined to comment on a closing date when contacted by FFXnow.

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Jersey Mike’s Subs and a new Starbucks location are slated to open in Kingstowne Towne Center (5890 Kingstowne Center) this year.

The national chains — renowned for their fast-casual, cold-cut sandwiches and coffee, respectively — have both filed for permits adjacent to each other in a section of the shopping center currently home to Ledo Pizza & Pub and the youth gymnastics company, My Gym.

It appears that Starbucks is set to move into suite 120, currently occupied by My Gym, which remains open but has a “For Lease” sign in its window.

Federal Realty, the property management company, confirmed that Jersey Mike’s will occupy a portion of the space currently held by Ledo.

Ledo branch owner, Rekh Karki, told FFXnow that he’s built a wall inside the restaurant, creating a separate space for the sub shop to open next door.

Unless there is a delay, Ledo tentatively planned to reopen today (Friday), Karki said.

Construction appeared to be underway when FFXnow stopped by the shop to take a peek inside earlier this week. A representative for Jersey Mike’s Subs says the sandwich shop is scheduled to open this spring.

Starbucks already operates three existing locations within the shopping center, including ones inside and adjacent to Giant and Safeway, according to Google Maps. The company did not provide further details on the opening of its newest outlet by press time.

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Fairfax County police (file photo)

A Woodbridge man died Tuesday (Dec. 12) after getting shot in the Kingstowne area earlier that afternoon.

Fairfax County police officers were called to the 5300 block of Harbor Court Drive at 1:47 p.m. for a report of a shooting. A 911 caller said they saw someone pull out a gun and shoot at a black Dodge Charger, which drove off, according to the dispatch on Open MHz.

Officers didn’t find a victim or suspect while searching the area, but the Prince William County Police Department later received a call about a man with a gunshot wound at a local hospital. The Fairfax County Police Department says it was notified around 2:30 p.m.

Identified as Bryant Anthony Gillis, 23, the man died at the hospital.

“Detectives determined a friend who was with Gillis at the time of shooting drove him to the hospital,” the FCPD said, noting that he had arrived at the hospital in a black Dodge Charger.

As of 6:30 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday), police were still searching for a suspect. Based on evidence gathered so far, detectives believe the shooting was “isolated in nature,” an FCPD spokesperson said.

“Detectives are still looking into several leads. The suspect is still at large at this time,” the department’s public affairs bureau told FFXnow.

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A new restaurant could take over Romano’s in Kingstowne (via Google Maps)

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is angling to replace Romano’s Macaroni Grill at Kingstowne Towne Center.

As first reported by the Washington Business Journal, Lazy Dog has filed plans with Fairfax County that propose razing the existing restaurant building and adding an outdoor patio and trash enclosure.

However, it’s unclear when Romano’s Macaroni Grill (5925 Kingstowne Towne Center) will close. A spokesperson for Romano’s told FFXnow that the coming of Lazy Dog has not yet been confirmed, declining to comment on when Romano’s lease ends.

According to the submitted plan, Lazy Dog’s new restaurant would be 10,596 square feet in size, including a 1,379-square-foot patio area with 62 seats. Inside, the establishment would have 186 seats.

An entry tower is proposed, along with building finishes that are built out of stone, wood, stucco and metal canopies. The application describes the future restaurant as a “warm and inviting” spot for all guests.

“From the moment guests step out of the parking lot, they become immersed in the landscaping surrounding the building, which ties directly to the building architecture, emphasizing an inviting Jackson Hole, Wyoming experience,” Jared Taylor with Golden Property Development LLC wrote in the application.

Federal Realty Investment Trust paid $200 million last year to acquire the town center and Kingstowne Shopping Center.

According to the WBJ, Romano’s opened at Kingstowne Towne Center in 2003. This is the company’s last location in Virginia and the D.C. area, though it can still be found elsewhere in the U.S.

Lazy Dog can be found in Fair Oaks Mall and at The Field at Commonwealth in Chantilly. Inspired by founder Chris Sims’s days spent with family in the Rocky Mountains, the restaurant began in 2003 in Huntington Beach, California, and serves burgers, rice bowls, barbecue, salads and other American fare, according to its website.

Image via Google Maps

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Rudy’s has opened in the space formerly occupied by Top Golf in Kingstowne (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

A pitch for housing at the Kingstowne site previously occupied by Topgolf and now home to Rudy’s may finally become a reality.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended on Wednesday (Sept. 27) that the Board of Supervisors approve a proposal to allow residential development at 6626 South Van Dorn Street. Most community members who spoke at the preceding public hearing voiced support for the proposal — a change of pace from the vocal opposition that greeted previous redevelopment plans.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors first requested county staff to consider an amendment to the county’s comprehensive plan in 2015. At that time, the proposal would’ve allowed up to roughly 275 residential units and up to 70,000 square feet of retail uses.

However, feedback from the community, including “comments related to the proposed density being too high, too many dwelling units proposed and also opposition to retail uses on the site,” led to a series of changes, according to county planner Aaron Klibaner.

“The first iterations included both residential and retail uses, and then later transitioned to all residential,” Klibaner said. “The proposed density has steadily decreased, beginning at 16 dwelling units per acre in 2015 down to 10 dwelling units per acre.”

The latest concept also includes affordable housing units and allows consideration of “a consolidated open space in the form of a publicly accessible community park,” he added.

The updated proposal also ensures connections for pedestrians and cyclists to Kingstowne and guidelines to protect the preservation of trees. 

Resident Kenneth Bailey opposed the plan, saying his son is now on his school’s golf team because of Rudy’s, which opened last year and offers recreational golf and entertainment. However, he said he understood the benefits of the proposal. 

“I’m still going to say my position on behalf of my son and…all the other young people that could benefit from a place like Rudy’s,” Bailey said. “I mean, I get it. We need housing. Sure. There’s not enough housing in Northern Virginia.”

Aaron Wilkowitz, vice president of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County chapter, said he supports the updates for several reasons,t the most prominent being the development of more affordable housing.

“Every single home matters. Every new unit matters to driving down prices and making Fairfax County affordable for everyone,” Wilkowitz said.

Paul Wagner, a Kingstowne resident, commended staff for incorporating suggested changes since the plan was first introduced.

“What was on the table with 275 units in that property was worrisome to me and my family,” Wagner said. “What we have on the table now seems much more reasonable to me. It’s a plan that has been considerate.”

After the 2015 and 2021 versions of the amendment petered out, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk revived the redevelopment effort on Dec. 6, 2022, reporting that it had secured resident support, including from the Kingstowne Resident Homeowners Association, “as a result of extensive community outreach and engagement.”

If the Board of Supervisors approves the amendment after its scheduled public hearing on Oct. 24, the project is expected to be undertaken by developer EYA, the Washington Business Journal reported last week.

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Smashburger will open its newest location at Kingstowne Towne Center on Saturday, Sept. 23 (courtesy Smashburger)

Patties and patrons alike can get smashed at the new Smashburger in Kingstowne.

Set for a grand opening celebration this Saturday (Sept. 23), the burger chain’s new location at 5920 Kingstowne Center will be its first with a full bar, selling beer and cocktails with names like Blackberry Smash, Smoke & Spice Margarita, Smash Rum Punch and Coconut Mule.

“We are thrilled to bring another Smashburger location to Virginia, this time with an elevating dining experience and full bar,” Toni Bianco, Smashburger’s senior vice president of global operations, said in a press release. “Now the residents in Alexandria and the surrounding community will have the opportunity to enjoy a great tasting, high quality burger accompanied by a refreshing cocktail or beer, all at an affordable price.”

For the grand opening, the restaurant will offer its classic single burgers for $5, along with $10 chicken wings and beer. There will also be Smashburger merchandise on hand, cocktails served by HOT 99.5 host Elizabethany, and Washington Commanders ticket giveaways from noon to 2 p.m., while supplies last.

Located in Suite 210 near the Regal Kingstowne movie theater, Smashburger will be open daily from 10:30 am. to 10 p.m. The 2,794-square-foot restaurant can accommodate 71 customers, including 12 seats at the bar.

Founded in Denver, Colorado, in 2007, Smashburger has grown to 236 locations across eight countries and 34 states, including in Sterling and at National Airport in Arlington.

However, Smashburger hasn’t ventured into Fairfax County until now. The company opened a restaurant in Fairfax City in 2012 that has since permanently closed.

According to the press release, Smashburger emphasizes its use of never-frozen certified Angus Beef for its burgers, which get “smashed” on a grill in an open kitchen. Other menu items include wings, chicken sandwiches, turkey and black bean burgers, salads and milkshakes.

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Fairfax County police vehicle (file photo)

A Kingstowne man has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman he met online at a townhome in the Manchester Crossing neighborhood.

Fairfax County police officers were called to the 6000 block of Alexander Avenue around 5 a.m. today (Monday) after getting a report of an adult woman who had been raped and “maliciously assaulted,” the department said in a news release.

Police say 22-year-old Yeudy Saul Chavez Sandoval met the victim online. When they agreed to meet in person, he “lured her into an apartment.”

“She was pushed down the stairs where she sustained significant injuries,” the Fairfax County Police Department said. “The suspect then sexually assaulted her. The victim was able to escape and call 911.”

The woman was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

According to the FCPD, Sandoval had left the scene when officers arrived, but detectives identified him as the suspect and took him into custody “after thorough investigative efforts.”

Sandoval has been charged with rape, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration and malicious wounding, police said. He is currently being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) The Utah-based bakery chain Crumbl Cookies has added Kingstowne to its ever-growing roster of Fairfax County locations.

The business will have a grand opening for its new store in Suite 100 at 5810 Kingstowne Center at 8 a.m. on Friday (Aug. 18), the Mount Vernon Springfield Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday.

During the grand opening, the store will offer free mini cookie samples to customers while supplies last, according to franchise owners Joel and Deenie Frary, who also run an Ashburn location.

“We just knew Crumbl would be perfect for this area!” the couple told FFXnow by email. “Our family spent several years living just minutes from this specific shopping center so we knew that it would be a hit! As natives of NOVA, we love this area and are excited to bring Crumbl to the community.”

Crumbl opened its first store in Logan, Utah in 2017. Emphasizing high-quality ingredients and the experience customers get from watching their treats get made in real time, founders Jason McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley — now, respectively, the CEO and chief operating officer — started the company after developing what they believe to be the “perfect” chocolate chip cookie recipe.

The chain now has more than 800 locations across the U.S., including in Reston, Vienna, Chantilly and Fair Lakes.

Deenie Frary says she and Joel both grew up in Northern Virginia and have lived in the area for more than 25 years. They first came across Crumbl Cookies while living in Texas and decided to open their own franchise after returning to Virginia, the Loudoun-Times Mirror reported when the Ashburn store opened in 2021.

“To us, Crumbl means happiness and joy and sharing all wrapped up in an extra delicious treat!” Deenie Frary said. “We have been in the ‘cookie business’ for several years now and are so excited to share our love of Crumbl with the Alexandria community. We hope you will come and visit us again and again!”

In a press release, the Mount Vernon Springfield Chamber of Commerce called the bakery “the perfect addition” to Kingstowne Towne Center, a sprawling 45-acre shopping center anchored by Giant, Safeway and a Regal movie theater.

“Customers looking for options have the advantage of Crumbl’s rotating menu inspired by popular flavors, foods, desserts of all kinds,” the chamber said.

Expanding beyond the original chocolate chip cookie, Crumbl’s menu features different flavors that rotate weekly. It also serves pies, cakes and other desserts.

The Kingstowne location will operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

The company is also expected to open a store at the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria this summer.

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