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A conceptual rendering for The Block at Scotts Run, which will occupy a currently vacant lot in Tysons (via Fairfax County/VIKA Virginia)

Will it be a hub for food trucks? How about an indoor spa, or a trampoline park with pop-up retail stalls? Why not all of the above?

Cityline Partners, the developer behind the Scotts Run neighborhood in Tysons, can let its imagination run wild — to a point — after the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved its proposal on Wednesday (April 27) to “activate” the 1600 block of Anderson Road.

Right now, the empty 3.5-acre lot is serving as a construction staging area while work continues on Heming, a 28-story apartment complex with retail set to open at Scotts Run next year.

Under the approved development plan, Cityline can add recreational, entertainment, and pop-up retail and restaurant activities to the site on an interim basis for the next 20 years.

“We think this is an exciting opportunity to bring life to this gateway at Tysons East,” said Holland & Knight land use attorney David Schneider, who represented the developer at the planning commission’s public hearing.

Located across the street from The Kingston and Haden apartment buildings and within a mile of the McLean Metro station, The Block at Scotts Run can host activations that fall under five categories:

  • Quasi-public park
  • Outdoor commercial recreation
  • Indoor commercial recreation
  • Retail
  • Restaurant

Those are broad categories, as defined by the county’s recently updated zoning code. Outdoor commercial recreation, for example, encompasses everything from mini golf to drive-in movie theaters and amusement park rides.

There will be a 90-foot height limit and a maximum of 30,000 square feet of gross floor area, but the plan is intended to be flexibile, allowing the site to change with the seasons and the community’s needs. Read More

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Tennis player Lea Blinder practiced with a Slinger ball feeder machine yesterday (Wednesday) at Chalet Woods Park in Centreville, happy to hear that the courts there are slated for repairs.

The Arlington resident, who plays tennis at Chalet Woods a few times a week, was working on her swing before her lesson that afternoon. The three courts are surrounded by towering trees in a cul-de-sac by homes.

“It’s beautiful,” she said, noting that families also enjoy the park.

Expected to undergo repairs and get new color coating for its tennis courts and a basketball court, Chalet Woods is one of five parks across Fairfax County in line for court maintenance and renovations projects this year.

George Washington Park court demolition begins

One of the biggest scheduled overhauls will be at George Washington Park in Mount Vernon (8426 Old Mt. Vernon Road), where the Fairfax County Park Authority has proposed converting the four existing tennis courts into six dedicated pickleball courts and two shared-use courts with lines for both sports.

The county announced on Wednesday (April 27) that a vendor will begin preparing the GW Park courts this week for demolition. The courts are expected to be closed for four months for resurfacing process, depending on the weather.

“Once new asphalt is laid, the courts will sit undisturbed for a period of two to four weeks to allow the color coating to adhere properly,” the park authority said in its news release. “New fencing and nets will be installed once the color coatings have set and the courts are ready to open again.”

People can comment on the proposal through May 27 to 65533@PublicInput.com. The plan is expected to be finalized in early June.

Maintenance needs pave way for pickleball additions

As illustrated by the GW project and a similar renovation planned at Lewinsville Park in McLean, the park authority is using the schedule for repairing and resurfacing many tennis courts as an occasion to make upgrades and add new facilities, especially for pickleball.

“We’ll be nearly doubling the amount of pickleball courts that we have in the next two years,” FCPA Project Manager Adam Wynn said at a March 23 board meeting.

Building on a pickleball study from December, the county plans to create 37 to 42 additional pickleball courts, most of which could take place in coming months, the park authority reported at that meeting.

According to spokesperson Judy Pederson, the FCPA will undertake court maintenance and renovation projects this year and next at Chalet Woods, George Washington, Lewinsville, McLean Central Park, and Dowden Terrace Park near Bailey’s Crossroads.

“As always, [work is] weather dependent and contractor availability will determine how far we get,” she said in an email.

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Work continues on the Perch Putt mini golf course and food trucks (courtesy Capital One Center)

Perch Putt is on its way.

The public will get its first look at the 18-hole mini golf course and food trucks being set up at Capital One Center’s The Perch skypark (1805 Capital One Drive) in Tysons on May 21 and 22 as part of a weekend-long “Perchfest Spring Edition” celebration.

“Capital One Center is delighted to celebrate the next phase of The Perch, which has become an unparalleled rooftop experience and dynamic gathering place for our community and Capital One associates,” Capital One Center Marketing and Community Affairs Manager Meghan Trossen said in a statement.

Similar to last fall’s grand opening party for The Perch, this iteration of Perchfest will feature live music, lawn games, community vendors, and a new “Perchfest Session IPA” from Starr Hill Biergarten, according to a media release.

The festival will also once again benefit the nonprofit Best Buddies of Northern Virginia and D.C. Community members are encouraged to donate to the organization, which provides support services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Perchfest will take place from noon to 11 p.m. on May 21 and noon to 5 p.m. on May 22. It will include a “Kids Party” from noon to 3 p.m. on May 21 that will have face painting and a “puppy party” hosted by the Merrifield-based nonprofit Wolf Trap Animal Rescue.

The music lineup features six artists:

Saturday, May 21st

  • Noon — Pebble to Pearl
  • 2:30 p.m. — Nowhere Men
  • 5 p.m. — Bobby Ryan Band
  • 8 p.m. — KleptoRadio

Sunday, May 22

  • Noon — Run for Cover
  • 3 p.m. — Starting Early

Admission to all events will be free, but advance registration is required, due to limited space in the 2.5-acre park.

In addition, The Watermark Hotel, which opened adjacent to The Perch in September, is offering VIP packages for its guests that include a suite overlooking the park, welcome amenities from Starr Hill Biergarten and the restaurant Wren, and a future gift card for the food trucks.

Capital One Center hopes to make Perchfest a regular occurrence, stating that 10,000 people attended the inaugural edition in September 2021.

“Our intention with Perchfest is to create a signature spring and fall event our guests look forward to every year,” Trossen said. “We will build upon the success of our fall opening with a springtime festival full of surprises and unique experiences — and we are so proud to team up with Best Buddies and elevate their mission to support inclusive hiring and job training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

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The Fairfax County Park Authority is seeking $650,000 to renovate the aging tennis courts at Lewinsville Park in McLean.

The proposed project will restore the surfacing and fencing at all six existing courts at the park, and one of the courts will be converted into four dedicated pickleball courts.

“The Park Authority Board, working closely with Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, has endeavored to move this project forward quickly to address the growing interest in pickleball locally and countywide,” the FCPA said in a news release on Friday (April 22).

The recommended project is slightly scaled down from the three options that the park authority presented to the community at a meeting in December.

Staff’s suggestions then were to repurpose between two and three courts for pickleball use, either exclusively or as a shared-use with tennis. Many tennis proponents in the meeting argued that the county’s available facilities are too limited to share that many courts with pickleball players.

A countywide pickleball study finalized last year concluded that pickleball has grown in popularity locally, mirroring national trends, but Fairfax County trails other similarly sized jurisdictions in terms of the availability of facilities dedicated to the sport, leading to conflicts with tennis and other recreational activities.

The county opened its first pickleball-only courts at Wakefield Park in Annandale in November, though it has about 50 outdoor tennis courts that have also been outfitted for pickleball.

In addition to adding another dedicated pickleball facility, the Lewinsville project will bring much-needed repairs to the park on Chain Bridge Road. The existing courts remain busy despite cracked surfaces that tennis players say render them almost unusable.

The pickleball study confirmed that use of all of the county’s outdoor courts has climbed during the pandemic.

The Park Authority board will consider the Lewinsville project during a planning and development committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. on May 11. If the committee advances the proposal, the full board will vote on whether to approve the project and the requested funding at 7:30 p.m. that day.

The FCPA says the estimated $650,000 cost of the project would be covered by “a variety of sources,” including approved park bonds.

Public comments on the project will be accepted through parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov until May 10.

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A project to widen the Herndon Parkway has taken away trees — to the dismay of some community members.

Crews with heavy machinery are still surrounding Haley M. Smith Park, located at the intersection with Van Buren Street, replacing a corridor of trees once along the parkway.

“I want to cry when I drive through that intersection,” one Herndon resident wrote last week on Nextdoor. “There had to be a better way.”

Work on the year-long project began last month. It will widen travel lanes to 11 feet, install on- and off-road bicycle lanes in each direction, and make other modifications intended to improve the overall pedestrian experience in the area.

There are no plans to replant the trees at this time, Herndon spokesperson Anne Curtis said in an email.

The Nextdoor commenter wasn’t the only one dissatisfied. Several people, including children, have noticed the change.

“It’s incredibly sad to see decades old trees taken down within hours,” another person wrote.

Others countered that the project will bring upgrades.

The $5.3 million project also calls for stormwater management improvements, utility relocations, and the addition of a turning lane, part of a broader effort to transform the area for the future opening of the Herndon Metro station.

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Morning Notes

A spring dandelion (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Case Against Park Police Who Shot McLean Man Dropped — “Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) on Friday dropped the state’s federal appeal in the manslaughter case against two U.S. Park Police officers, effectively ending any attempt at criminal prosecution of the officers who fatally shot unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in a Fairfax County neighborhood in 2017.” [The Washington Post]

Hundreds Help Pack Ukrainian Refugee Donations — “Hundreds of volunteers gathered this weekend in Oakton to help pack approx. 1800 boxes with donations collected for displaced Ukrainians. Huge thanks to our community members for donating, these wonderful volunteers, and to Paxton Co. for generously shipping these items.” [Chairman Jeff McKay/Twitter]

Mount Vernon Fire Started by Hair Dryer — A house fire in the 3700 block of Nalls Road on Wednesday (April 20) was started accidentally by an electrical event involving a hair dryer in the basement bathroom, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says. There were reported injuries or displacements, but the fire caused an estimated $37,500 in damages. [FCFRD]

Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers Critical to Covid Response — “Since February of 2020, over 1,400 MRC members volunteered more than 65,000 hours at vaccination clinics and testing events, and assisting with outreach, isolation and quarantine efforts, logistical support, and so much more.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Merrifield Nonprofit Gets Boost from Football Fans — “Wolf Trap Animal Rescue keeps receiving donations from the public in honor of Dwayne Haskins, the former Washington quarterback who died in an accident on a Florida highway on April 9. Haskins…selected Wolf Trap Animal Rescue as his organization to represent for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign.” [Patch]

Turner Farm Observatory Seeks “Dark Sky” Designation — “To help reverse the trend of growing light pollution, the Great Falls observatory applied to become an Urban Night Sky Place with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)…If approved, the observatory would become the first IDA-designated place in the Washington region.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Construction Starts on Woodley Hills Park Playground — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will begin the installation of a new playground and removal of the existing playground the week of April 25, 2022. Construction access to the site will be from Old Mount Vernon Road. It is anticipated that the playground replacement will be completed by early June 2022.” [FCPA]

Reston Library Book Sale Starts Wednesday — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library will host its biggest book sale of the year, starting with a members-only night from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday (April 27). The sale will be open to all starting at 10 a.m. Thursday through Sunday (April 28-May 2) and include 35,000 to 40,000 books. [Friends of the Reston Regional Library]

It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 55. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 7:57 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Sunrise at Reston National Golf Course (photo by Terry Baranski)

Masks Now Optional on Metro — “Effective immediately, Metro will make masks optional on Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess for its customers. Masks also will be optional for Metro employees. This change comes as a result of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) suspending enforcement, while the Biden Administration reviews a federal judge’s ruling.” [WMATA]

McLean Community Center Faces Anti-Equity Backlash — Protests of a “Drag Storybook Hour” at Dolley Madison Library last summer by some McLean residents have grown into broader opposition to MCC promoting diversity and inclusion in its programming. The tension has manifested in this year’s governing board race, where nine candidates, including a former Trump administration official, are vying for three open seats. [The Washington Post]

Capital Beltway Overnight Closures Planned in Tysons — “The I-495 (Capital Beltway) general purpose lanes and 495 Express Lanes will have nightly lane closures Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 to allow crews to set the new pedestrian bridge truss in place as part of the Tysons/Old Meadow Road Bike/Ped Improvements project.” [VDOT]

Recess for Middle Schools Approved — “Middle school students in Fairfax County, Virginia, will get a short daily recess period beginning next year. The school board voted Thursday night to update its student and staff health and wellness policy to allow for a 15-minute recess period every day.” [WTOP]

Alcorn Plans to Seek Reelection — “Barely halfway through his term as Hunter Mill District Supervisor, Walter Alcorn has announced plans to seek re-election in November 2023 to a second 4-year term…His main reason is that he wants to see initiatives that he has worked on actually implemented.” [The Connection]

Research Reveals County Libraries Were Segregated — “Yes, FCPL was segregated. Yes, separate services were provided for White residents and for Black residents. The surface answer we had provided for years gave way to the truth, that our path to desegregation was mirrored across the region for our residents.” [The UncommonWealth]

Sediment Removal Project Underway in Reston — “Fairfax County Stormwater Management will be performing a sediment removal project at dry pond 0330DP located at 11950 Walnut Branch Rd. The project will start the week of April 18 and is expected to last a few weeks.” [Reston Association/Twitter]

Volunteers Needed to Pack Ukraine Donations — All the coats and other winter clothes collected for Northern Virginia’s donation drive for Ukrainian refugees will be delivered to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Oakton. Volunteers are needed on Friday and Saturday (April 22-23) to help pack the items for shipping to Poland. [Dalia Palchik/Twitter]

New Playground Opens at Lorton’s Laurel Hill Park — “The playground is appropriate for children ages 2 to 12 years old. Features include a large spinning Americans with Disabilities Act accessible play structure, small tot play composite and a large unique play structure for children 5 to 12 years old.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]

It’s Tuesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 47 and low of 37. Sunrise at 6:27 am and sunset at 7:51 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Capital One Center plans to complete Phase 2 of The Perch and the “Block A” office and retail building (left) this year (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The second phase of The Perch in Tysons remains on track for completion later this spring, Capital One Center says.

The 2.5-acre skypark opened on top of the new Capital One Hall performing arts center (1805 Capital One Center Drive) in August. It currently features Starr Hill Biergarten as well as a dog park, bocce ball pits and an outdoor amphitheater.

Phase two will add “Perch Putt,” an 18-hole miniature golf course, and an adjacent food truck area, whose denizens were spotted being lifted 11 stories into the air on Nov. 16.

Details about those amenities remain scarce, but a permit request submitted to Fairfax County in January indicates that, in addition to the three vehicles that got airlifted up in November, the food truck area will include a one-story shipping container outfitted for bar service.

A Capital One Center spokesperson confirmed that the container will serve as a bar, but said the development is not ready to share more details.

Capital One Center officially announced on Wednesday (March 23) that it has signed three new restaurant tenants:

  • Stellina Pizzeria, which will take over the former Starbucks space in Capital One’s headquarters building. When it announced the lease in February, the restaurant said it hoped to open this fall, but Capital One Center now says it will arrive in 2023.
  • A Tex-Mex restaurant with a “strong coastal influence and a large al fresco bar.” The concept comes from the team behind The Salt Line, a seafood eatery in Ballston, as reported earlier this month by the Washingtonian.
  • An unspecified “new concept” from chef Pepe Moncayo, who runs a Japanese and Spanish fusion restaurant and lounge in D.C. called Cranes. The signing was first reported by the Washington Business Journal.

According to the press release, Moncayo’s restaurant will be located in the mixed-use retail and office tower still under construction across from the Capital One headquarters.

Capital One Center says in the release that it plans to deliver the “Block A” tower this year — earlier than the 2023 timeline previously anticipated.

“The latest additions at Capital One Center will enhance our growing collection of retail with acclaimed local restaurateurs and unique entertainment options for both our Capital One associates and our DMV community,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said.

Sisters Thai is also expected to open a new restaurant — its largest yet — at 7730 Capital One Tower Road later this year.

When fully built out, Capital One Center will cover 25 acres in Tysons East with 6 million square feet of development. It currently consists of the Capital One headquarters, Capital One Hall, Wegmans, The Watermark Hotel, and the nail salon Nothing in Between Studio.

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Fairfax County hopes to turn a site for waste into a recreational treasure, reviving plans to redevelop a landfill by I-95 that closed in 2018.

The Lorton Landfill could be transformed into a public park under a new proposal from property owner Waste Management. Dubbed Overlook Ridge Park, the amenities at 10001 Furnace Road could be completed in 2025, according to Fairfax County.

“When opened, this new passive park will be the highest point in Fairfax County, with beautiful vistas of Northern Virginia and the Potomac River, plenty of open space and a performance venue,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck said in a statement.

Submitted on Feb. 11, the plan calls for bird sanctuaries, hiking and equestrian trails, picnic areas, exercise and kite-flying areas, bathroom facilities, and an amphitheater with an earthen stage.

The application is going through the county’s initial approval process for new public facilities, known as a 2232 review.

According to county staff, the site would remain privately owned, but the Fairfax County Park Authority would operate the park amenities once they are built.

“WM looks forward to continuing our partnership with Fairfax County to provide a recreational area for residents of all ages to enjoy,” Waste Management public affairs director Lisa Kardell said, declining to answer how insurance liability would work.

Waste Management took over the Lorton Landfill when it acquired former property owner EnviroSolutions in 2018.

Efforts to redevelop the landfill have repeatedly stalled.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors denied a proposal in 2014 to continue landfill operations through Dec. 31, 2040, with the addition of solar panels, a methane-capturing system to create electricity, a baseball hitting area, and a golf range.

In that application, county staff said all structures atop the landfill should be open-air facilities to prevent the build-up of landfill gases. The site continues to undergo regular inspections for runoff that discharges to the area’s sanitary sewer system.

In an August 2020 letter to the county, Furnace Associates requested that BMX trails not be considered for the landfill, saying that they could create safety hazards and would need to be removed along with other paths and trail bridges.

Brian Lemon, who recently rode near the landfill on his mountain bike, said even if more trails were added to the landfill, he’d want others to go down them first.

“I would bike it if it was developed,” the Woodbridge resident said.

The Lorton Landfill collected construction and demolition debris. County staff noted that the type of waste generally raises less of a concern about odors, compared to sites like the county’s I-95 Landfill Complex that accept food and household waste.

Nearby, the company Alpine X wants to build an indoor ski resort called Fairfax Peak on top of another I-95 landfill area between Route 123 and Mordor Drive.

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The Laurel Hill Golf Club has seen a surge in popularity during the pandemic, making it difficult for non-members to get more highly sought-after tee times.

In response, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board agreed during a March 9 meeting to raise the rates for full memberships to the public facility from $5,000 to $6,000 annually. Weekday memberships were increased from $3,000 to $4,500 annually.

Members get priority in booking tee times. During the pandemic, that means tee times from the 9 a.m. opening to 1 p.m. have been typically booked by members.

“The public doesn’t really get onto the course until noon and later at Laurel Hill currently,” FCPA Business Office Manager Josh Colman said at a budget committee meeting on Feb. 23.

Membership play is up 83% from 2017, while public play is up 8%, according to the park authority.

“That lack of public tee time availability is the most consistent complaint we get at Laurel Hill,” he said. “The public…can’t access this course, particularly during those prime hours.”

Full membership fees were last raised in 2017, and weekday memberships have never been adjusted since 2009, according to the park authority.

Meanwhile, public rates have increased twice since 2019.

“This is a private golf club, basically, that we’re running,” FCPA Board Chair Bill Bouie said at the committee meeting.

Memberships still bring significant discounts

For members, the average rate per round has decreased from around $43 in 2019 to about $31 in recent years. During the same time frame, the average rate for the public increased from $60 to $67 before dropping to under $64 in 2021.

With the rate change, the average round for members will become closer to $40, according to a staff presentation on the issue.

“While member rates have changed only slightly over the years, public rates have increased on multiple occasions, leading to a widening divide in per round rates between the public and members,” a March 10 letter to members said. “We recognize a member per round rate will be lower, but the divide has significantly increased beyond what is equitable to the public.”

One golfer who played at the course earlier this week said he won’t renew his long-time membership, but he cited changes in his travel schedule as the determining factor. He still called the $1,000 increase significant.

Ron Kendall, who represents Mason District on the park authority board, argued at the committee meeting that the membership fee increase is necessary.

“I see this as being the place where we need to rip the Band-Aid off on the equity side, and say, ‘Listen, this is a public course. We have to give access to the public at rates that are acceptable to the general golf community,'” he said.

Other factors contributed to staff’s recommendation of a price increase, including a high demand for memberships and upcoming salary increases.

The course has been the site of U.S. Golf Association amateur events, including sectional qualifiers for men and women’s competitions. It will host the U.S. Disabled Open Golf Championship from June 6-9.

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