Reston Chamber Plans for 2022 — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is offering a full slate of live events to support local business owners. President Charles Kapur reflects on last year’s successes. [Reston Patch]
Restonian to Chair State Chamber of Commerce — Fred Thompson, chief administrative officer of Reston-based Thompson Hospitality Corp., was elected chair of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. [Virginia Business]
Reston Art Gallery Begins New Shows — Reston Art Gallery is kicking off a new display called Winter Winds. The gallery is on display through Feb. 27 at Lake Anne Plaza. [Tysons Today]
Metro General Manager to Retire — Paul Wiedefeld, Metro’s general manager and CEO will retire from Metro in six months after more than six years with the transit agency. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
A Reston information technology firm is moving from its original office to a newly renovated space that will also house a security center.
Neovera will relocate its global headquarters at 1840 Michael Faraday Drive near Reston Station to an office at RTC West. The new site will also encompass the company’s security operations center (SOC), which is currently in Ashburn.
Ryan Child, the company’s president, says the move could be complete by March.
“We’re moving into the office because it gives us better access to the Reston market and the Reston Town Center,” he said, noting the shift will allow the company to retain and add new employees.
Child says the area has been a good location and recruiting tool for the company’s approximately 50 employees, most of them based in the firm’s headquarters. Reston’s appeal was a factor in deciding to remain in the area.
The move westward puts the business next to the yet-to-open Reston Town Center Metro station. The company notes that while employees have always been able to telework, the new office space will help with its return-to-office plans.
“Our expectation is to definitely grow because our staffing requirements are increasing,” Child said.
Photo via Google Maps
Plans for an environmentally friendly farm in Herndon are starting to take shape.
The company started with a farm in Newington, creating a system that uses 95% less water than a field to grow lettuces and other food by keeping machinery stationary and moving plants through its growing process, its website explains.
Beanstalk announced plans to expand to Herndon last year, using the location for a scaled-up version of its farm with growing, package and research operations.
Beanstalk makes baby kale, spring mix salad greens and baby romaine as well as baby arugula and spinach. Customers can get the products in stores, at farmers markets and online.
Herndon spokesperson Anne Curtis said the town’s community development staff approved a zoning permit for the business in December 2020.
Beanstalk is looking to have an internally lit letters by an entrance of the building, and a public hearing will occur before the town’s Architectural Review Board at its 7:30 p.m. meeting today (Wednesday) in the police department’s community room (397 Herndon Parkway).
A nonprofit makerspace that supports local artists, craftmakers, and entrepreneurs is securing grants to support a move from Reston to Fairfax.
Nova Labs, which launched in 2011, is moving from its 18,000-square-foot space at 1916 Isaac Newton Square West to 3850 Jermantown Road this year, possibly by March.
It is in the midst of a capital campaign to fund the move and recently added an executive director position.
“We’re in a pivotal moment in the life of our organization,” Nova Labs Executive Director Derrick Washington said in a statement. “As we transition to Fairfax City, my hope is to expand our reach into untapped communities that could greatly benefit from our capabilities and culture to grow to the next level.”
The nonprofit acquired the roughly 40,000-square-foot property — a low-rise building with rooftop parking — on Oct. 25 for $4.4 million, according to a city property database.
The current space in Isaac Newton Square has classrooms and equipment for members to pursue projects that involve woodworking, laser cutting, metalworking, blacksmithing, sewing and embroidery, arts and crafts, 3D printing, computer numerical control, and jewelry making, its website notes.
For one of the nonprofit’s grants, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Dec. 20 that Nova Labs is one of 13 projects receiving Growth and Opportunity for Virginia grants. The $100,000 award will help it add new tools and equipment as well as support programs for member companies, according to the state.
“The project’s long-term goal is to double the number of entrepreneur members and double the Innovation Center’s prototyping capacity in order to enhance [the region’s] start-up ecosystem, small business growth and technical workforce,” the governor’s office said.
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, which provides scholarships and philanthropic grants, announced on Dec. 21 that it’s awarding over $52,000 to the organization.
“Over the past decade, we’ve been fortunate enough to leverage our facilities and community of makers to support creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation, as well as contribute to a number of projects benefitting both our local and global communities,” Washington said, noting the organization’s appreciation for the foundation’s continued support.
Photo via Google Maps
Investment firms in New York and Canada spent hundreds of millions of dollars this year to acquire office and residential buildings near the Dulles International Airport in Fairfax County.
Ivanhoé Cambridge, a real estate company based in Montreal, acquired Ashton at Dulles Corner, a set of luxury apartment buildings along Sunrise Valley Drive in McNair, on Nov. 12 for over $149 million. A spokesperson, Véronique Désilets, suggested by email that the company increased an existing stake it has in the property but declined to say what its long-term plans are for the property.
It’s still being managed by global real estate developer and property manager Greystar, which is headquartered in Charleston, S.C.
Manhattan-based Innovatus Capital Partners acquired three office buildings located at 13530 and 13560 Dulles Technology Drive on May 28 for $113.5 million. According to its website, the investment firm seeks to “identify and capitalize on market distress, disruption, and growth.”
And the North American Islamic Foundation, which holds prayers and religious classes at its current location at 13515 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 1, bought a building next door that currently houses the Little Oaks Montessori Academy and Oak Hill Christian School. The $6.8 million purchase happened on Aug. 30.
“An expansion plan is underway on the main campus to match the needs of the rapidly growing community,” NAIF says on its website.
Officials with Innovatus Capital Partners and NAIF declined to respond to messages seeking comment about their plans.
The properties are near the yet-to-open Innovation Center Station for the continued expansion of Metrorail’s Silver Line, which is still facing delays. It also comes as the pandemic has led businesses to rethink whether they’re using office space as efficiently as possible.
Photo via Google Maps
Peraton is moving its corporate headquarters from Worldgate Drive in Herndon to Reston Town Center.
The 19,000-employee company has around 5,000 workers in the D.C. area, and its new space at 1875 Explorer St. could be in use by September 2022, the company announced today in a news release.
According to the news release:
[T]he new headquarters will house Peraton’s Mission Capability Innovation Center, where Peraton employees will generate and apply cutting edge capabilities to develop mission solutions that address customers’ most unique and complex challenges. The Center will provide both physical and virtual working environments and access to the vast network of Peraton Labs’ Research and Innovation Centers.
“With the announcement of our new Reston headquarters, we are excited to remain in Northern Virginia, close to our customers as well as a robust and diverse talent pipeline and supported by world-class resources and infrastructure,” company chair, president and CEO Stu Shea said in a statement.
The company said it’s been “in the middle of a multi-year review of its office footprint. The selection of a new headquarters is the first major decision in that process.”
Photo via Google Maps
Metro Service Reductions Continue — Metro will continue with reduced levels of service through at least November 15 as Metro works with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission on a plan to make sure its 7000-series railcars are safe for service. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
Loan Outreach Center Now Open — The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened up a temporary disaster loan outreach center in Montgomery County, Maryland to help local businesses impacted by Tropical Storm Ida. Fairfax County is an eligible jurisdiction. Residents and businesses can seek help for disaster loan assistance applications. [Fairfax County Government]
County Seeks Police Officers — The county is looking to fill a number of positions in the public safety sector. Applications are open for the Fairfax County Police Department. Salaries range from around $54,000 to $88,000. [FCPD]
What You Need to Know About Vaccines for Kids — Pediatric doses for children between ages five and 11 are expected to begin in the county in early November. As a result of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation, 97,000 kids in the Fairfax Health District are now eligible for the vaccine. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo by David Taube
A pet food store is switching locations after being at Fox Mill Shopping Center for a decade.
Weber’s Pet Supermarket plans to move from 2599 John Milton Drive to 2280 Hunters Wood Plaza in Reston.
“We’re excited about the move, and we’re hoping people follow us,” owner Deb Clark said. “And we hope we’re able to grow in that location.”
The county processed a permit for the new building Aug. 4, but it didn’t appear to be finalized yet as of yesterday (Monday), according to a county database.
Clark said the move was due to the rent, and they’ll move to a smaller footprint but still have a dog wash. The Fox Mill lease ends this month.
The company is putting in shelving with its own crew and making other updates, and they hope to open in early October if possible.
Originally known as the Feed and Grain store, the business launched in 1979, its website notes, and the company has other locations in Fairfax, Chantilly and McLean.
Photo via Google Maps
The Glossary Nail Spa is opening a second location in Reston.
Owner Hollee Ho tells Reston Now that she plans to open a new salon in North Point Village Center in February 2022.
Ho, a Fairfax County resident, has operated more than 20 salons over the course of her career. She now owns five salons, excluding the future location in North Point Village Center.
She hopes to “capture the clients of Reston and Great Falls by providing them a very spacious salon and easy parking.” The new location is roughly 3,200 square feet.
The Reston Town Center location opened in 2019. Ho says that location will remain open for the foreseeable future.
Several salons and studio have come and gone in the last few years at North Point Village Center, including Ellada Studio.
The sushi joint Matsutake Sushi is expected to fill the vacancy left two years ago by Boston Market in November.
A block of office buildings in Herndon previously known as the Spring Park Technology Center is getting rebranded as “Marker 20” as part of a revitalization that will emphasize the development’s proximity to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
Pedestrians already cut through bushes along the perimeter of the business complex at 450-485 Springpark Place to access the trail, so property owner Penzance is looking to formalize that connection with the new name.
During its public hearing at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday), the Town of Herndon’s Architectural Review Board will consider applications for building and site renovations as well as new signage to replace the Spring Park branding still posted at the front entrance of the complex.
“Penzance has been planning a rebranding to revitalize the park and enhance its connection to the W&OD Trail,” the developer says in a presentatation for the board. “The plan encompasses enhancement to four of the seven buildings, owned by Penzance, utilizing similar materials and levels of finish to create and maintain uniformity across the park.”
Penzance bought the Spring Park Technology Center for $71.5 million in September 2019 under the name Springpark Place LLC.
With the Herndon Planning Commission’s approval, the developer divided the property into eight separate parcels for potential sales last year. The parcel at 460 Springpark Place was sold to LDI Propco 2 LLC for $20.4 million in February, according to a Fairfax County property database.
According to the website and a video for the project, Penzance’s plans for Marker 20 include a 9,000 square-foot amenity center in 485 Springpark Place with a tenant lounge, conference facilities, a fitness center, bicycle lockers, and an outdoor patio.
To serve tenants and W&OD Trail users, the developer is seeking a brewery, distillery, or restaurant to occupy Suite 100 — a 18,688 square-foot space — in 450 Springpark Place, according to a site plan brochure.
Proposed outdoor amenities include a bicycle lane that connects to the W&OD Trail, a bicycle repair station, a hammock grove, a linear park with fitness stations, a bocce court, a golf putting green, and additional seating and landscaping.
With the applications submitted to the Town of Herndon, Penzance is seeking to add synthetic wood patios or decks and a garage door with a metal awning at Building 450 as well as a bi-folding door, a new floor-to-ceiling glass storefront, and a common area with a fire pit at Building 485, among other changes.
Town staff has recommended that the architectural review board approve the upgrades and new signage after previously raising concerns.
In an Aug. 4 staff report, town staff withheld its stance on the signage rebranding, citing a need for additional information.
Currently, signage at the business park is “indirectly lit” with ground-mounted spotlights, but proposed internal illumination of the new Marker 20 logo is something usually associated with shopping centers and other commercial uses along business corridors, according to the town.
Staff also recommended indirect illumination or a halo effect to reduce lighting impacts on the single-family townhouse development located on the other side of Spring Street.
Penzance’s revised application now calls for signage that satisfies town requirements, where the Marker 20 logo would be in metal letters highlighted by halo-lot light-emitting diodes, according to a memo that Herndon Deputy Director of Community Development Bryce Perry sent the board on Aug. 12.
“The applicant has submitted new information and revised drawings that address the issues raised by staff in the report,” Perry said in the memo. “A site plan was submitted that confirms all sign placement comply with the applicable zoning ordinance regulations.”
The architectural board is returning to in-person meetings after meeting online for the pandemic. It held an in-person work session on Aug. 4, but this will be the board’s first in-person public hearing since February 2020.
Photo via Google Maps
The online metrics firm Similarweb is expanding into Reston.
The company, which has its global headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel, announced yesterday (Monday) that it is opening an office at the coworking site Spaces that launched in Reston Station (1900 Reston Metro Plaza) in December 2018.
Similarweb is adding around 10 employees and expects to keep hiring more here.
“Our office in Reston, VA is now open,” the company said on Twitter. “A big welcome to our amazing team members who will collaborate there.”
Despite the announcement, the office is scheduled to open Sept. 1, the company said in a statement to Reston Now.
Similarweb provides marketing and research data to businesses looking to measure the effectiveness of their websites and other digital platforms.
With economic development leaders seeking to make sure companies have the talent they need in the area, Similarweb’s hiring between local candidates and those outside the area will serve as yet another example for whether an employee pipeline is meeting needs.
The Reston office is the company’s fourth in the U.S. and its first opening since going public earlier this year. Donna Dror, Similarweb’s general manager for North America, says the technology industry’s growing presence in Reston made it an attractive location for expansion.
“We see the Dulles Tech Corridor as a great opportunity to bring in new talent, especially for our Marketing and Sales teams,” Dror said in the statement. “We’re excited to join the many great companies already based in Reston and surrounding areas.”
Dror told Technical.ly that the company has 200 open positions that are remote, and half of those will be based in the U.S. She said the company is still reviewing its return-to-work strategy and would like to see at least 25 roles filled locally, but the openings aren’t tied to the Reston area specifically.
“We are actively hiring and planning to add a number of new employees before the end of the year and beyond,” she told Reston Now. “In the U.S. alone, we have nearly 100 open roles today, and we hope that many of those can be based in Reston.”
The new office will be home for the company’s chief marketing officer, Kevin Spurway, along with other employees in the sales and marketing departments.
Similarweb launched its initial public offering in May and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Its clients have included DHL, Lego, and Lending Tree.
Photo via Web Summit/Flickr
(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) The seafood and steak chain McCormick & Schmick’s in Reston Town Center has closed.
Notices are posted on locked doors, its logo on the front facade has been removed, and the first floor of the building at 11920 Democracy Drive has been approved for interior demolition, according to a permit issued July 29.
“We are grateful for the support of the community,” signs on the restaurant say.
The news was first reported Thursday (Aug. 5) by The Burn, which noted that the restaurant had occupied that space for over 20 years.
A company phone number on McCormick & Schmick’s Facebook page leads to the chain’s Indianapolis location, and an employee there said the Reston location closed about a week ago. The Reston phone number is no longer working.
A customer who noticed the signs when passing by on Friday (Aug. 6) fondly recalled the restaurant’s deals with happy hours and $1 oyster specials.
A media line for the Houston-based hospitality and entertainment company Landry’s, which owns McCormick & Schmick’s, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.
Landry’s also owns another steakhouse chain — Morton’s — that’s still operating nearby at 11956 Market Street in Reston Town Center.
Media representatives for Reston Town Center did not return messages seeking comment by press time.
This is the latest Reston Town Center restaurant to shutter during the COVID-19 pandemic, following Famous Toastery, Le Pain Quotidien, and Big Bowl, which had been there for nearly two decades when it closed in April 2020.
(Updated 12:20 p.m.) A new restaurant and day spa are opening nearby the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station around the holiday season.
Eve’s Garden Lounge & Bar and Emiline’s Day Spa are opening next to each other at the new Faraday Park development at 1831 Michael Faraday Drive, about a 10-minute walk from the Metro station. Both businesses are from the same ownership group, which also own Alo Vietnam in Herndon.
The businesses will open sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, co-owner Don Lee confirmed to Reston Now. They will occupy two 1,746 square-foot spaces — about 3,600 square feet in total — and operate next to each other.
“We were supposed to have construction late last year, but that was delayed because of COVID. So, we just started construction,” Lee said in June.
The day spa will offer services for both men and women like pedicures, facial treatments, hair salon, and massages.
The restaurant has yet to reveal its menu, but Lee says it will be similar to Herndon’s Alo Vietnam, which offers modernized Vietnamese fare like pho, banh mi, and rice vermicelli. The difference, Lee says, is that Eva’s will be “more Asian fusion and focus more on presentation and will be higher end.”
Lee told Reston Now in June that the ownership group’s ultimate goal is to have a business located within walking distance of all the Silver Line stations, extending out to Dulles Airport.
Alo Vietnam opened within a five-minute walk of the future Innovation Center Metro station in late 2019 in anticipation of Silver Line Phase 2’s opening. Of course, the line has yet to open, leaving businesses like Alo Vietnam in the lurch.
Lee hoped that, by being near a Metro station, the business would be buoyed by commuters, office workers, and tourists.
“We did invest in 2019…thinking that we will carry the load the first year until the Metro opens,” Lee said in June. “Then, we will have a good location with a lot of foot traffic with tourists and from all the businesses around.”
But between the long-delayed $2.8 billion public transportation project and the pandemic, that dream has yet to be realized for Lee and Alo Vietnam. Now, Silver Line Phase 2 is looking like it may not open until mid-2022.
When Eva’s Garden Lounge & Bar and Emiline’s Day Spa opens in Reston by the end of the year, they will be the first of Lee’s businesses to be open near a currently operating Metro station.
The businesses are two of four confirmed retailers coming to Faraday Park, which opened one residential tower for move-ins in April with a second tower expected to be completed in the next few months. The gym F45 and the salon A+ Nails are the others.
A venture capital fund that invested millions of dollars in a startup later hit with a federal fraud investigation and bankruptcy is suing the Herndon-based business accelerator Center for Innovative Technology.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed with the Fairfax County Circuit Court on May 10, Savano Capital Partners III — a fund tied to a Baltimore-based investment firm — paid CIT nearly $4.5 million in 2020 to invest in a fraud prevention technology company called NS8.
“On paper, it appeared to be earning millions in customer revenue and to have tens of millions of dollars of assets on hand,” the civil complaint said, adding that “the fraud described above occurred under Innovative’s ownership of NS8.”
Savano Capital entered into its financial agreement with CIT on March 20, 2020. At the same time, the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating NS8 for fraud, issuing subpoenas to the company and its CEO in November 2019 and March 2020.
The SEC charged former NS8 CEO Adam Rogas with defrauding investors on Sept. 17, 2020, alleging that he had raised approximately $123 million from investors — at least $17.5 million of which he pocketed himself — by falsely claiming millions in revenue in 2019 and 2020.
NS8 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October before being acquired by the software company Avolin this past February. Criminal and civil cases against Rogas are still going through federal court, with the civil case halted while the criminal case unfolds.
Prosecutors allege Rogas’ actions “led to the illusion that NS8 had over $62 million in [revenue] when, in fact, it had just over $28,000” by June 2020.
In its legal complaint, Savano says it made the deal with CIT without knowing NS8 “was virtually worthless and was in the midst of a massive accounting fraud and SEC investigation.”
According to the complaint, the investment fund valued its NS8 stake at over $4.4 million as part of a tech companies portfolio with CIT. The plaintiff is seeking to rescind the contract, arguing that the business accelerator benefited from the windfall of worthless stock, attorney Jason Ohana said at a hearing on Friday (July 23).
CIT, which facilitated funding for NS8 and previously cited it as a success story, called the lawsuit meritless and asked for a dismissal with prejudice to avoid a trial. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Mann denied the request.
During the hearing, Jack McCann, an attorney for CIT, argued that Savano’s investment purchase was a “unilateral mistake” by the plaintiff, because the nonprofit never detailed the underlying value of the companies.
He compared the situation to an “as is” used car sale in which a buyer could inspect the vehicle and review maintenance reports but would be responsible if they realized the next day that they had purchased a hunk of junk.
“I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but the used-car analogy was not well done,” Mann said during the virtual hearing. “It’s a completely different set of circumstances than an ‘as is’ sale.”
He also cited a 1993 Supreme Court of Virginia decision on the right to a jury trial.
Founded in 2016, NS8 was once located in Arlington, but its headquarters were moved to Las Vegas. Rogas resigned on Sept. 1, 2020, according to a legal filing.
In its lawsuit, the SEC said Rogas at one point provided false bank statements to an investors’ consultant who found line items that didn’t correctly add up. The executive allegedly re-doctored information after being questioned.
The SEC also alleged Rogas sent falsified monthly bank statements to NS8’s finance department. In January and February 2020, NS8 claimed $38 million and $42 million in revenue, respectively, on financial statements when in reality, it brought in around $39,000 and $45,000, according to the SEC complaint.
An attorney for Rogas declined to comment. Filings on his behalf refer to the charges as allegations.
Amid the SEC investigation, Virginia sold CIT’s Herndon office complex to a private real estate developer and capital investment firm. Gov. Ralph Northam said proceeds from the $47 million sale would go to the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority, which the General Assembly created last year.
Abandoned shopping carts can create problems and even be left in streams, but a new state law seems to provide little help, Fairfax County supervisors say.
During a land use policy committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday), the Board of Supervisors reexamined a Virginia law intended to discourage people from taking shopping carts away from businesses, worrying that introducing a local ordinance might just add an exhaustive and ineffective process.
“What we’re asking of our investigators is extraordinarily time-consuming and fruitless,” Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw said of the draft abandoned shopping cart ordinance.
A leading concern is that adding an ordinance may take up time and put an unnecessary administrative burden on county staff, who could, for example, document the same incident twice since the state law dictates that a cart’s owner get a 15-day notification period before it can be removed.
Currently, if a cart is blocking a road or a group is cleaning up a stream, there is no restriction on removing it.
The Virginia General Assembly passed a law in 2020 to allow counties to pass legislation to:
- Fine people with a civil penalty up to $500 for removing shopping carts from stores’ premises and parking lots
- Make stores liable for returning or disposing of abandoned carts, including paying up to $300 per cart that the county removes
The land use policy committee discussed the issue in December, though staff advised against adopting an ordinance and board members were skeptical. During the meeting, Chairman Jeff McKay voiced opposition to fining people trying to get groceries home.
The draft ordinance that the county presented on Tuesday only referenced fines for businesses — not individuals.
Even before the 2020 state law, the Commonwealth made removing shopping carts from store premises and parking lots a misdemeanor, with the potential for a fine up to $500.
“My problem with this is…it provides absolutely no incentive for people to stop stealing carts,” said Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, who also wondered if certain areas or customers might be disproportionately affected. “This is kind of outside the businesses’ control.”
Photo via David Clarke/Unsplash