A Fairfax County Public Schools bus had a tire catch fire while on Route 7 yesterday (Wednesday), causing some alarm in the surrounding Pimmit Hills neighborhood.
The tire fire occurred around 11:42 a.m. on Leesburg Pike in front of the Trader Joe’s shopping center near Pimmit Drive, as first reported by the Falls Church News-Press.
The bus driver noticed smoke coming from the vehicle’s wheel area and evacuated the students who were on board, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
“Tire fire was small and did not catch fire until students were off,” FCFRD spokesperson William Delaney said, confirming that there were no injuries to students or staff.
FCPS says the bus was towed by Fairfax County’s Department of Vehicle Services, which manages and maintains the fleets for both the county government and the school system. The department “will conduct a thorough investigation,” an FCPS spokesperson said.
Community members on Nextdoor reported hearing explosions, with one resident saying the “second one” made their house shake. Another person said they could hear and feel the explosions from Idylwood Road.
Delaney told FFXnow that the “explosion” was from the tire “popping.”
H/t to Alan Henney
The groundwork has been laid for a new townhouse development on Leesburg Pike in Pimmit Hills.
Vertical construction is expected to start late this spring on Tysons Ridge, a 104-unit complex replacing the circular office building at 7700 Leesburg Pike, according to developer EYA.
Built in 1976, the 150,000-square-foot office building has now been demolished. Fenced off and cleared, the 6.7-acre site is located across the street from Marshall High School and in walking distance of the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library.
“We are currently projected to open for pre-construction sales around Spring of 2023,” Tara Rosenberg, a new home advisor for EYA, told FFXnow.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved EYA’s proposal last January after the developer agreed to install water treatment facilities and an underground detention system, among other steps, to address stormwater runoff concerns.
Per the site plan, the project will include 38,101 square feet, or 0.87 acres, of parkland, concentrated on the north side of the property. The plan shows fitness and play areas as well as an 11,210-square-foot central courtyard with a pergola and terraces called The Green.
According to the Tysons Ridge website, the townhomes will start in the $800,000s and come in four floorplans. Prices for units equipped with private elevators will start at $1.1 million, though a “more concrete” pricing list and more detailed floorplans will be available closer to opening, Rosenberg said.
Move-ins are expected to come sometime in 2024.
The brick office complex at 7600 Leesburg Pike is destined to be eventually replaced by housing, but the amount of housing that will be allowed may still be up for negotiation.
Developer Elm Street Communities is seeking to double the residential density currently recommended in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan for the 442,718-square-foot property adjacent to the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library.
In a site-specific plan amendment (SSPA) nomination submitted Oct. 26, the developer proposes replacing the two existing office buildings with townhouses at a density of 12 to 16 dwelling units per acre — twice the 5-8 units per acre shown on the comprehensive plan map.
“The Nominator’s proposal will provide a more compatible transition than the existing office building between the commercial uses to remain to the south of the Property and the Pimmit Hills single-family detached residential neighborhood to the north,” Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh land-use lawyer Lynne Strobel wrote in the application.
Built in 1986, the 230,620-square-foot, four-story office complex is split into east and west buildings. Tenants include the Standard Healthcare Services College of Nursing, Oak Hill Montessori School and the D.C. Legislative Action Committee.
The property’s current owner, an affiliate of the New York-based real estate firm True North Management Group, acquired it for $36 million in 2014, per county land records.
In its SSPA application, Elm Street says its envisioned townhouse community would be similar in size and scale to the Marshall Heights neighborhood to the south and the 104-unit townhome development now under construction at 7700 Leesburg Pike.
A concept plan shows approximately six blocks of townhouses connected by an internal grid of both public and private streets.
If the nomination is accepted for a full county staff review, the developer intends to file a development plan that will include open space, landscaping and buffers “to improve the quality of life for residents of the redeveloped site and for adjacent properties.”
Elm Street says its proposal will “add a housing type that contributes to the diversity of housing and price points in the area.” It also notes that the location provides convenient access to transit, the library, Marshall High School and retail options, like the Idylwood Plaza and Tysons Station shopping centers.
“The proximity of the McLean Community Business Center, the West Falls Church Transit Station Area and Tysons creates employment and entertainment opportunities,” the application said. “In addition, the proposed residential use will support existing retail use along Leesburg Pike.”
Elm Street’s SSPA nomination was one of dozens accepted for screening by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6. The applications are now being more closely reviewed by staff and will be presented at community meetings throughout January and February.
A growing fast-casual, Mediterranean restaurant chain that started in New York City will open a location in Pimmit Hills next year.
Taïm Mediterranean Kitchen will bring its lauded falafels to Virginia for the first time with a 1,849-square-foot restaurant in the Tysons Station shopping center at 7502 Leesburg Pike. The company anticipates opening the new location this coming spring, possibly April.
“People are craving better, more flavorful meal options and we knew this busy area serving residential and office communities would be a perfect fit,” Untamed Brands founder Phil Petrilli said. “…Whether guests are heading out for a quick lunch or looking for a family-friendly dinner option, taïm is versatile and unique.”
A former Chipotle regional manager, Petrilli created Untamed Brands with fellow veterans of the fast-casual scene to support restaurants seeking to grow long term. The company partnered with Taïm in 2018 as the eatery embarked on an expansion.
Run by chef Einat Anthony and her husband, Taïm launched as a modest, all-vegetarian storefront focused on Israeli street food in New York City’s West Village in 2005. It gained a following for its falafel, adding more locations and a food truck in the Big Apple, and was named the eighth best restaurant in the West Village by GrubHub in 2018.
The company expanded outside of New York for the first time in 2019 with a restaurant in Georgetown. That location closed this year, but D.C. still has a branch in Dupont Circle.
With a New Jersey restaurant that opened in June, Taïm now has a total of eight locations and is planning to double that this year with added sites in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, according to QSR Magazine.
The Pimmit Hills Taïm will be adjacent to China King in a newly subdivided space that once housed Pet Supplies Plus. Two other suites created out of the former pet supply store — one with 1,518 square feet of gross floor area and one that’s 2,130 square feet — are still available, according to property manager Federal Realty’s site plan.
Petrilli says the menu of build-your-own pita and rice bowls will complement the existing tenants at Tysons Station, which is anchored by Trader Joe’s, and retailers like Whole Foods in Idylwood Plaza across the street.
Outdoor seating will be provided, according to Petrilli.
In addition to falafel, the menu includes chicken and cauliflower shawarma — a fan favorite, Petrilli says — as well as crispy eggplant, roasted meatballs, vegan kebabs, and a variety of sides, such as fries. Dishes come as rice bowls, pitas and salads.
“We introduce new menu items, seasonal dishes, and toppings or sauces around three times per year,” Petrilli said. “We just introduced sweet potato fries with whipped garlic. There are family meal options and menu items for kids.
According to Petrilli, all dishes are made from scratch with ingredients “sourced from the best growing regions in the world,” including 18 herbs and spices that are all imported and pita sourced from a baker.
“There are few options in America like taïm where craveability meets better for you with high quality, scratch-made menu items served quickly at an affordable price,” he said. “We offer the rare intersection of what people want and what’s good for them and the first bite always leaves customers raving about the quality.”
A planned street that will eventually connect Tysons East to Pimmit Hills could bring some major changes to Magarity Road, the border between the two neighborhoods.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation shared a conceptual design for Lincoln Street last month that proposed adding two mini-roundabouts on Magarity, including one at the Peabody Drive intersection in front of Westgate Elementary School.
The other potential roundabout will be at the Violet Ridge Place intersection.
Each roundabout will have a pedestrian refuge and crosswalks. A raised median down the center of Magarity will require Lincoln Street drivers to turn right and go through the roundabout at Peabody in order to go east into McLean, according to a presentation at a virtual community meeting on May 19.
FCDOT staff said computer simulations have indicated that the roundabouts will be able to accommodate larger vehicles, such as school buses, fire trucks, and snowplows.
“This dual mini roundabout alternative will accommodate all vehicles,” FCDOT project manager Caijun Luo said.
Acknowledging that the roundabouts will create some inconvenience by requiring U-turns for left turns onto Magarity Road, county staff said it emerged as the best option for connecting Lincoln Street from a safety standpoint. It would also maintain access to the single-family homes lining the road’s east side as well as the existing curbside parking.
With more development coming into place in Tysons East, Lincoln Street will connect Magarity and Old Meadow Road with a bridge over Scott’s Run in an effort to divert some neighborhood traffic away from Route 123.
Though FCDOT previously suggested traffic signals were being considered at both intersections, Capital Projects Section Chief Michael Guarino said at the meeting that there will be stop signs instead, since “the volumes projected right now don’t warrant a traffic signal.”
Lincoln Street will consist of two 11-foot-wide lanes — one in each direction — with a 10-foot-wide asphalt sidewalk on the north side and a 6-foot-wide concrete sidewalk on the south side. In the preliminary design, the sidewalks are separated from the road by grass buffers.
The travel lanes will each expand to 13 feet wide at the bridge over Scott’s Run, which will have concrete sidewalks on both sides. Staff said the bridge will have at least a 10-foot clearance for Scott’s Run Trail.
FCDOT confirmed that crosswalks and curb ramps will be added on Old Meadow Road, but many details — such as the possibility of connections from Lincoln Street to Scott’s Run Trail or flashing beacons at the Westgate Elementary crosswalks — will be worked out once the project progresses to the final design stage.
Staff promised to also examine how the new street will affect other intersections on Old Meadow and Magarity outside of the immediate project limits, particularly where Old Meadow meets Chain Bridge Road to the north.
That intersection already experiences traffic and speeding issues, community members said during the virtual meeting.
“That can be kind of busy and kind of hard to see, because…there’s a curve in the road at that point,” an attendee identified as Greg said. “Adding another road coming out there would certainly complicate that intersection further down, so it’s an impact that I’m glad you’re at least starting to think about.”
Following the community meeting, FCDOT is accepting input on the proposed concept through June 6.
Though the project is already fully funded, a final design isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2024. Land acquisitions could start that year, with construction starting in mid-2026 and finishing in late 2027.