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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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A Fairfax County police cruiser outside Tysons Corner Center (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Fairfax County Police Department is seeking the public’s help identifying suspects in three recent jewelry store robberies, two of which are believed to have been committed by the same people.

The first robbery occurred at the Prince Jewelers in Tysons Corner Center at 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 8, police said in a release last night (Wednesday).

The FCPD says its detectives believe preliminarily that the same men were also behind a Sept. 18 robbery at Fair Oaks Mall, where two men entered Henzley Jewelers at 1:06 p.m. and stole “a number of high-end watches.” The store’s display case was also destroyed, according to police.

“In each case, they used hammers to destroy the display cases and fled the scene in stolen vehicles,” the department said. “The stolen vehicles were found in nearby parking lots. Detectives continue to investigate, including an extensive review of surveillance footage.”

Police are also investigating a robbery of Sonia’s Jewelers & Boutique Inc. (6681 Backlick Road) in Springfield.

According to the FCPD, two men entered the store at 11:50 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 20):

The first man was let into the store under the guise of shopping for jewelry. Once inside he presented a handgun and instructed employees to let the second man inside. The two men used hammers to destroy the display cases and fled the scene in a black Lexus SUV with stolen license plates. The stolen vehicle in this case has not been recovered.

No injuries have been reported in any of the incidents. Detectives are still working to determine if all three cases are connected, police say.

Police describe all of the potential suspects as Black men who are about 6 feet in height. Those allegedly involved in the Tysons and Fair Oaks robberies wore gloves and masks.

The FCPD says anyone with information about these incidents or others that may be related can contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS) and online.

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The U.S. Capitol building (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A Springfield man assaulted a U.S. Capitol Police officer with a barricade during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot by supporters of former president Donald Trump, federal prosecutors allege.

Joseph Brody, 23, was arrested on Sept. 15 and faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. announced Tuesday (Sept. 20).

Other charges relate to interfering with law enforcement during a civil disorder, obstructing an official proceeding, occupying a restricted building, and disorderly conduct and picketing in a Capitol building.

The Department of Justice says Brody communicated and traveled with at least four other men before the insurrection, which investigators say was an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election where President Joe Biden beat Trump.

All aged 21 to 23, Thomas Carey of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Gabriel Chase of Gainesville, Florida; Jon Lizak of Cold Spring Harbor, New York; and Paul Ewald Lovley of Halethorpe, Maryland have also been arrested and charged in the criminal complaint, filed Sept. 12.

All five men are members of the white nationalist group America First, which opposes “the demographic and cultural changes in America,” an FBI agent says in a statement of facts.

According to the agent, CCTV footage showed the men entering the Capitol at 2:16 p.m. In the next 35 minutes, they entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, and Brody went on the Senate floor, where he “filmed and/or photographed the desks of U.S. Senators.”

After leaving the Capitol, the men joined other rioters who were trying to breach a door to the north end of the building:

Brody assisted another rioter in using a metal barricade against a Capitol Police officer, knocking the officer back as he attempted to secure the North Door. Brody’s associates watched as he assaulted this law enforcement officer. The group then watched the destruction of media equipment, which had been surrounded by metal barricades. While there, both Brody and Chase participated in the destruction. Brody appeared to damage a corded phone, and Chase appeared to loot a pair of headphones. Lovley joined the circle and filmed the looters and rioters.

The FBI agent says Lovley was identified first with data provided by Verizon and Google. Investigators connected an Gmail address to a PayPal account, where he paid $84.72 to a Domino’s Pizza in Maryland and received Venmo payments from the four other men.

Brody, who allegedly used the screen name “Broseph Broseph” on Venmo, visually matched a man seen at the Capitol wearing a gray suit and striped tie, the statement of facts says.

While at the Capitol, the individual also had an American flag lapel pin and a neck gaiter sewn in the pattern of the flag that he appeared to be wearing as a face mask, based on photos in the statement.

After an initial appearance in D.C. the day of his arrest, Brody was released “pending further court proceedings,” the DOJ says.

More than 265 individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding police during the insurrection, which resulted in over 870 arrests overall, according to the Justice Department.

Investigations into the attack by the FBI and a House select committee are ongoing.

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Albert Vega, Democrat running for the Springfield District Supervisor seat (photo courtesy of Albert Vega’s campaign)

(Updated, 4:10 pm) Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity has gotten his first challenger in next year’s Board of Supervisors race.

Albert Vega, the co-founder of the local tech business Building Momentum, announced earlier this week in a press release and video that he’s set to run in the Democratic Primary in June 2023 for the Springfield seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

He’s the first Democrat to submit a statement of organization for that seat, the Fairfax County Board of Elections confirmed to FFXnow.

The primary winner will likely take on the incumbent and Republican Pat Herrity in the general election in November 2023.

Vega is the chief technology officer for Alexandria-based Building Momentum who also spent time in Afghanistan working with the United States Army. He’s using his tech experience as one of the main driving points for his candidacy.

“There are few counties as large or as sophisticated as Fairfax County. With all of the benefits that affords our residents, there comes a set of challenges that are equally as large and sophisticated,” Vega said in a press release. “As our county increasingly relies on new and emerging technologies to solve those challenges, our Board needs a voice that understands those technologies first hand and has spent an entire career solving problems from the battlefield to the classroom.”

Vega told FFXnow that he decided to enter the race now, a full 9 months before the primary and 14 months before the general, because he learned the value of “starting early” from his time training Marines.

“During my time supporting our troops in Afghanistan and years training Marines locally and abroad, I learned first-hand the importance of starting early, having a plan, and adapting often to changing circumstances,” he wrote FFXnow in an email. “That’s exactly how I’m approaching this campaign. Also, following redistricting we have many new residents who call Springfield home. I want to be the first candidate to knock on their door and welcome them to our District.”

He noted that his campaign’s priorities are affordable housing, public safety, local jobs, and protecting the environment.

In Vega’s comments to FFXnow, though not mentioning the incumbent by name, he criticized Herrity for his values not being in sync with the rest of the county or Springfield.

“More times than I can count, I’ve seen the Springfield Board seat used to spout partisan talking points and cast votes in opposition to board items that are consistent with our County’s values and harmful to Springfield,” Vega said. “For example, the recent lone vote was cast against a plan to reduce single use plastics, which frequently wind up in our watersheds such as the Occoquan. Often the supervisor takes no vote at all and leaves the room. Springfield needs a voice on the Board that is actually at the table.”

Herrity first became Springfield District Supervisor in 2007, having won three other elections since. In his latest election in 2019, Herrity narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent by only 441 votes.

In the latest campaign finance report filed in July, Vega has raised about $16,000. Meanwhile, Herrity raised nearly $60,000 during the same time frame.

Vega isn’t the only candidate announcing their intentions to run in 2023 now. In June, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk announced he’d be seeking reelection next year.

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Inova received the county’s blessing to expand its Springfield hospital (Photo via INOVA).

Construction on a new hospital next to Inova’s existing Franconia-Springfield HealthPlex is expected to begin late next year after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the rezoning plan at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

The board voted unanimously to bring 985,000 square feet of medical space to the 21-acre campus on the intersection of Beulah Street and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway. Two representatives recused themselves from the vote due to their tie’s with Inova.

Tim Sampson, Inova’s land use attorney and representative, said that the project represents an “opportunity to fill a space in the geographic area without those facilities today.”

The first phase of the project will include a hospital with a maximum of 144 beds spread across two patient towers and an outpatient center. The current HealthPlex will be incorporated through a new road network and walkway connections.

Eventually, the emergency room will be expanded and relocated into the hospital. The former ER space will be filled with other medical uses.

Phase two may include a third patient tower with up to 72 beds and a second outpatient center. The plan also includes nearly 1,500 parking spaces and a helipad, although Inova officials only expect a few landings.

Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk said he was particularly impressed by the project’s aesthetics and Class A office space.

“The finishes and the design features of the campus are slated to be extraordinarily attractive,” Lusk said, adding that the project will likely bring 1,200 net new jobs to the district.

Inova’s expansion includes planned road improvements along Franconia-Springfield Parkway, Jasper Lane, Walker Lane, Beulah Street and a new internal roadways.

The county’s planning commission unanimously voted to approve the project earlier this year.

I think it is something that Inova and the county will be proud of for generations to come,” Sampson said.

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The gym F45 recently had a grand opening for its Vienna franchise (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 9:15 a.m. on 9/1/2022) A new gym has opened in the Town of Vienna.

The Australian fitness company F45 celebrated the grand opening of its latest franchise at 322 Maple Avenue West on Saturday (Aug. 27). The event was considered a success, according to an Instagram post.

Businesses local to the D.C. area like Greenheart Juice Shop and Vegetable and Butcher participated in the event, which featured massages, food, live music, and vitamin injections.

F45 Vienna says classes are at 5:45 a.m., 6:45 a.m., 8 a.m., and 9:15 a.m. as well as in the evenings. The website says the gym offers cardio, resistance, hybrid and recovery workouts on different days of the week.

The gym is located next to the forthcoming YamaChen Sushi, which has now been under construction for almost a year. An employee at the restaurant’s Fairfax location said she doesn’t know when the Vienna one will open.

Known for its high intensity interval training workouts, F45 has grown rapidly in Fairfax County since 2019, adding franchises in Tysons, the Mosaic District, Fairfax Corner, Fairfax Circle, and Reston. The company says it’s the fastest-growing gym franchise in the world.

Yet another studio is in the works at Springfield Plaza. That location is on track for an opening in November or December, a pre-sales representative for the franchise told FFXnow.

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New District Tacos are coming to Springfield and McLean, the first franchise locations for the regionally-based restaurant.

The Mexican fast-casual eatery, which started as an Arlington taco cart in 2009, will open its first franchise at Old Keene Mill Shopping Center.

The space appears to previously have been a bank. It’s next door to the Pupatella Neopolitan Pizza — another Arlington-based eatery expanding its Northern Virginia footprint — that opened earlier this month.

District Taco at 8432 Old Keene Mill Road is looking to open before the end of the year, a company spokesperson told FFXnow.

Another District Taco franchise location is coming to McLean, but the exact address and time frame for opening are not being shared just yet. The company spokesperson said the paperwork is still being signed, but more details are expected to be finalized within a few weeks.

Once those two locations open, there will be a total of five District Tacos in Fairfax County, which currently has locations in Baileys Crossroads, Tysons, and near the Dunn Loring Metro station.

District Taco began as a food cart, selling breakfast tacos on the streets of Rosslyn in Arlington.

Over the last almost decade and a half, the company has opened more than a dozen brick-and-mortar restaurants in Virginia, D.C., Maryland and Pennslyvania.

The upcoming Springfield and McLean locations are the first steps in the company’s plans to expand further through franchising. They are also looking to add sites further north, in the midwest, and even internationally.

“The sky’s the limit. We want to go everywhere,” co-founder Osiris Hoil told ARLnow earlier this month. “But we gotta take it one taco at a time.”

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Safety and operational improvements are under construction at the Backlick Road and Leesville Blvd intersection in Springfield (via VDOT/Twitter)

Work is underway on traffic signal and crosswalk improvements at a heavily used intersection in Springfield, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced yesterday (Wednesday).

Drivers and pedestrians at the intersection of Backlick Road and Leesville Blvd will see a number of changes intended to improve the site’s safety and functionality:

The traffic signal upgrades include new mast arm poles, foundations, wiring, electrical equipment, high-visibility signal backplates and signs. Also, drivers on Backlick Road will have flashing yellow arrows for left turns to Leesville Boulevard and the office park.

Pedestrians will have four new crosswalks with Accessible Pedestrian Signals at the intersection, as well as two new pedestrian islands on Leesville Boulevard. Other pedestrian improvements include American with Disabilities Act (ADA) curb ramp upgrades and installations.

In the works since August 2019, the project carries an estimated cost of $700,000, according to VDOT’s webpage. The funding came from the Virginia Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Located north of the I-95 and I-495 interchange, the intersection averages about 30,000 vehicles a day on Backlick Road and 4,000 on Leesville.

Construction is expected to be finished next summer.

“Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are reminded to use caution when traveling in active work zones,” VDOT said in its news release. “Be alert to new traffic patterns, limit distractions and follow detour route signage.”

Photo via VDOT/Twitter

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(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Pupatella Neopolitan Pizza is officially serving up its signature Neopolitan pizza in Springfield. 

The Arlington-based business opened at the Old Keene Mill Shopping Center at 8434 Old Keene Mill Road yesterday (Tuesday), according to Pupatella Chief Operating Officer and partner Michael Berger. (Correction: This article previously said the business was in Springfield Plaza.)

“We will open with limited hours for the first few days,” Berger told FFXnow. 

This week’s hours run from noon to 3 p.m. and between 5 and 9 p.m. through tomorrow (Thursday). After that, the restaurant will have regular hours from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

With a full round of funding, the business has been rapidly expanding in the area, most recently with a location at the Mosaic District in Merrifield. The pizza eatery has other locations in Richmond, Dupont Circle, and Arlington. A location in D.C. is planned at 301 Massachusetts Avenue and in Leesburg at 50 East Market Street.

Reston welcomed a new Pupatella in 2020, replacing an iconic Pizza Hut in the area.

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Accotink Creek bridge along Alban Road in Springfield ( via Google Maps)

The seven-decade-old Accotink Creek Bridge along Alban Road in Springfield will be closed to traffic starting Saturday (Aug. 13) to undergo “urgent” repairs. The shutdown is expected to last about five weeks, until late September.

With the bridge crossing shuttered, traffic will be detoured to go around to bridge. That means vehicles will be directed to take Alban Road to Rolling Road to Fullerton Road (Route 4502) to Boudinot Drive and back to Alban Road.

Alban Road detour starting Aug. 13 (via Virginia Department of Transportation)

The work will affect 13 Fairfax Connector bus stops. Service will be consolidated into four temporary, alternative stops along the route.

The 77-foot bridge in Springfield near I-95 was first built in 1950 and last underwent repairs more than 30 years ago. An average of about 10,700 vehicles drove over it a day, per the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

The concrete supporting the bridge is deteriorating and in need of “urgent” repairs, with “severe cracking” and “exposed/corroding reinforced steel” being major issues, according to a VDOT presentation.

Repairs will include removing and replacing old concrete with reinforcing steel as well as new concrete.

The bridge and that section of Alban Road are expected to reopen to traffic in late September. The rest of the project, which won’t require road closures, will be completed later in the fall.

VDOT hasn’t yet provided an estimated cost for the project, which is being financed by the state.

Photo via Google Maps

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