Reston, VA

Morning Notes

Virginia to Lift All Capacity Restrictions on June 15 — If COVID-19 cases continue to decline, Gov. Ralph Northam will lift all remaining capacity limits on businesses on June 15, as suggested last week. He has not decided whether to extend the state of emergency set to expire on June 30, a move that would be necessary to keep mask requirements in place. [WTOP]

Anti-War Activist Disrupts General Dynamics Meeting — The co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink disrupted General Dynamics’ annual shareholder meeting in Reston earlier this week, accusing the company of contributing to war, particularly in Yemen, by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. General Dynamics’ CEO called the comments “potentially libelous and incorrect.” [Common Dreams]

Town Center Parkway Study Comments Due Today — Friday (May 7) is the deadline for the public to provide feedback on the Virginia Department of Transportation’s study of the feasibility of extending Town Center Parkway under the Dulles Toll Road. Comments can be shared via mail, email, or online survey. [VDOT NOVA/Twitter]

Herndon Company to Launch SatellitesBlack Sky announced yesterday (Thursday) that it will deploy two more satellites on May 15 as part of an ongoing mission to launch nine “high-resolution multi-spectral” satellites by the end of 2021. The move will allow the company to expand its satellite network as it prepares to go public. [Business Wire]

Cicadas Spotted in Reston — “Based on some pretty sophisticated data analytics (on the four reported sightings), we can conclude that like Realtors, Brood X apparently prefers fashionable North Reston by a (checks supercomputer) three-to-one margin.” [Restonian]

Worldgate Fitness Facility Affiliate Owner Declares Bankruptcy — Sport and Health Virginia Properties filed for bankruptcy in Alexandria on April 22, about two months after the company had its lease for the Worldgate Sport & Health fitness facility in Herndon terminated. The Worldgate facility is now under new management and has been renamed the Worldgate Athletic Club & Spa. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

New Police Chief to Speak at Public Input Session — Community members will get their first chance to talk to new Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis at 7 p.m. on Thursday (May 6). Local civil rights groups have criticized Davis’s past record and a hiring process they say lacked transparency and public involvement, prompting the county board to issue a statement last night reaffirming its support for Davis. [Supervisor Rodney Lusk/Twitter]

Fairway Apartments Sold to Swedish Investor — Swedish investment firm Akelius has acquired Fairway Apartments, a 346-unit apartment community near Reston Town Center, from JBG for $93 million. Akelius says it plans to add new washers and dryers, renovate some kitchens and bathrooms, and make other minor upgrades to the property, which is 97% occupied. [Bisnow]

More Spots Open for Tour de Hunter Mill — More registrations are now available for the Tour de Hunter Mill bicycle ride that will take cyclists through Reston, Vienna, and Tysons on May 15. The event has expanded in response to Virginia easing restrictions on public gatherings that day, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn’s office. [Walter Alcorn/Twitter]

Herndon IT Firm Acquired by McLean Contractor — “McLean, Virginia-based government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton will acquire Herndon, Virginia-based Liberty IT Solutions LLC for $725 million. Liberty IT Solutions has about 600 employees…Its work includes IT modernization projects for government agencies and in the health care industry.” [WTOP]

Nonprofit Food Pantry Distribution Helps 260 Local Families — “We’re happy to have assisted 260 families from the Herndon, Springfield, Chantilly, Alexandria, and Centreville area with groceries, toiletries, fresh produce and store gift cards to help with pantry staple purchases.” [Cornerstones/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County Clears COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist — The Fairfax County Health Department’s vaccine waitlist is now at zero, according to its data dashboard. That means everyone who registered before the county entered Phase 2 on April 18 has now been invited to schedule an appointment. The department registered a total of 435,981 people. [FCHD]

Northam Raises Capacity Limits for School Performances — “Northam said the spectator cap for school performances, including musicals, is increasing to a maximum of 100 attendees for indoor venues — a substantial boost from the previous limit of 50. Outdoor venues will be allowed to welcome up to 500 people.” [WTOP]

Herndon Police Make Arrest in Two-Year-Old Robbery Attempt — A 20-year-old Herndon man has been charged with multiple counts of robbery, assault by mob, and gang participation, among other charges, for an incident that took place on June 18, 2019. According to police, two people had tried to grab a man’s cell phone while he was going for a walk but ran when the robbery attempt proved unsuccessful. [Herndon PD]

Herndon Contractor Buoyed by Space Rover Work — “By spring, coming off a successful mission to help NASA land the Perseverance on Mars and having acquired two big-name companies — a section of Northrup Grumman and Perspecta — Peraton will soon employ 24,000 people and bring in $7 billion in revenue.” [Inside NoVA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

New Fairfax County Registrar Sworn In — Scott O. Konopasek was officially sworn in as Fairfax County’s new general registrar by Clerk of the Court John T. Frey yesterday (Monday). Konopasek was appointed by the Electoral Board in March 11 and replaces Gary Scott, who retired after working for the county’s elections office for 24 years. [Fairfax County Office of Elections/Twitter]

Pedestrian and Bicycle Fatalities High Despite Pandemic — “Despite the reduction in vehicle traffic, early data from 2020 indicate the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in traffic incidents remained steady across the [D.C.] region — accounting for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities, the Metropolitan Council of Governments said in a news release.” [Inside NoVA]

Governor Tours Tysons Mass Vaccine Site — “Today, I toured @TysonsCorner Vaccination Center w/ @GovernorVA, @RepDonBeyer, @DelegateKeam, @JeffreyCMcKay, & @SupvPalchik to see the set up for tomorrow’s opening. From machines that connect folks to a translator in real-time to 3k appointments for tomorrow. The site is ready.” [Senator Mark Warner/Twitter]

Herndon Satellite Company Expands Capacity — “BlackSky, a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services that recently announced a planned business combination with Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: SFTW), today shared that its BlackSky 7 satellite completed the commissioning process and entered full commercial operations within two weeks of launch.” [Black Sky]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Local police are investigating burglaries at three Herndon businesses that happened on March 15.

Two burglars smashed the front doors and windows of businesses on the 700 block of Grant Street with rocks and stole cash registers. A third suspect waited in the car, according to the Herndon Police Department.

Information about the incident was released on Tuesday. A spokesperson for HPD declined to release the names of the targeted businesses.

“We aren’t releasing the business names right now, for privacy reasons and because of the ongoing investigation,” the spokesperson told Reston Now in a statement.

Police believe the burglars attempted to target another business but ultimately failed.

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A new French-inspired cafe and bakery is coming to Sunset Park Drive in Herndon next month.

Le Vingt-Trois Cafe and Bakery plans to open on Feb. 23 at 311 Sunset Park Drive, according to Inside NOVA, which first reported the opening of the businesses.

The cafe offers a mix of fresh breads, bagels, croissants, sweets, coffee, and tea. Gluten-free options are available upon request.

Customers can drop by on weekdays between  7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Orders can be placed online. Curbside pickup is also available.

Photo via Le Vingt-Trois Cafe and Bakery

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Herndon officially has one less Starbucks location.

As of Dec. 27, the location at 13035A Worldgate Drive in Worldgate Centre shuttered its doors.

A spokesperson for Starbucks told Reston Now that the location was closed as part of a standard course of business” that aims to ensure a health store portfolio.”

“We look forward to continuing to serve the Herndon community and encourage our customers to visit us at our other stores in the area,” the spokesperson wrote.

Coffee lovers can still enjoy coffee at Weird Brothers, which has a location at 12825 Worldgate Drive in the Worldgate Metro Office Park. Starbucks also has other nearby locations at Village Center and on Elden Street.

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After nearly four years of waiting for approvals and other planning issues, Aslin Beer Company has finally opened its location in the Town of Herndon.

“We’ve waited almost four long years to share the Herndon taproom with you and we couldn’t be more excited and proud,” the business wrote on Facebook. “Thank you so much for your patience and support over the years and we hope you love it as much as we do.”

The Herndon taproom, which opened on Monday at 767 Elden Street, has the same hours as the Alexandria location. It is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, between 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Customers are allowed to bring outside food to the Herndon location and food trucks are planned to be at the site. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the taproom is open to individuals who are 21 or above. Dogs are welcome in the beer garden.

Masks are required except when seated.

Here’s what on draft today in Herndon:

  • Fragile Kind
  • That Shiz Slaps
  • Nope Rope
  • Karate in the Garage
  • Johann Needs A Bigger Broat
  • Bunk Beds
  • You Call That A Knife
  • Triple Orange Starfish
  • Sexy Time… I Like
  • How Now Brown Cow
  • Buku Mocha

The business also offers curbside pickup and next-day delivery in the Northern Virginia region and the District.

Photos via Aslin Beer Co./Facebook

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Company Buys Matchbox –Thompson Hospitality, a Reston-based company, has brought Matchbox out of bankruptcy with new ownership. The company expects to open a new location at Wiehe-Reston East. [WTOP]

Herndon-based Company Acquires Maryland Cyber Defense Firm — “ManTech International Corp. (NASDAQ: MANT) has made its first acquisition move of the year, buying cybersecurity firm Minerva Engineering in a deal announced Thursday. The terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, but it marks the Herndon information technology company’s first mergers & acquisition activity since 2019’s $115 million purchase of Kforce Government Solutions Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]

Fairfax County Park Authority Names New Director of Golf — “The Fairfax County Park Authority has selected Jesse Coffman to head operations at its eight public golf courses. Coffman will begin his duties as Director of Golf Operations on Dec. 7, 2020. He succeeds Todd Johnson, who will retire in December as Golf Enterprises Branch Manager after more than 32 years with the Park Authority.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Some new food options are coming to Herndon as Spice Village is set to open this month at the Village Center at Dulles.

Spice Village will function as a food hall featuring four restaurants and their takes on halal. There will be halal options with influences from China, Portugal, the United States and the Shinwari, a Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Some people, they have their different tastes; some have a preference for Chinese, some want to have steaks,” owner Zayan Abbasi said.

“So, if there are five, six or seven family members, if somebody is not happy with one thing, there will be another option under the same roof and they won’t have to go to another location.”

Abbasi says he is aiming for Spice Village to have a soft opening in the middle of November. He’s been planning to open this space for two years.

The first of the restaurants inside Spice Village to open will be Peri Peri Original, an international chain restaurant. Abbasi plans to have Mandarin Halal Express open two weeks following the opening of the food hall.

Kallisto Steakhouse and Khybar Shinwari, respectively, will open over the next couple of months.

While the food hall has yet to open, Abbasi says he’s already received plenty of interest from the community.

“We have had a very good response so far,” he said. “I receive a lot of calls every single day and receive emails. People are ready for that concept, and they’re very excited.”

Abbasi is planning for a grand opening in about two or three months. He says he is holding off due to COVID-19 safety reasons and a desire not to create “long queues” at this time.

Photo courtesy Zayan Abbasi

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On Wednesday, Nov. 4, the Town of Herndon Architectural Review Board will be holding a virtual work session to discuss the signage of a new retail store called Herl’s Bath and Home Solutions.

Herl’s Bath and Home Solutions is a bathroom remodeling company with two locations throughout Maryland — one in Salisbury, and one in Columbia. The Herndon location will be coming soon. The business has been running since 1990, according to the company website. Reston Now did not hear back from them about an opening date. 

The store, looking to move to the Herndon Reston Industrial/Business Park (366 Victory Drive), proposed a sign with a font type and color that does not meet the standards required by the facility’s Master Sign Plan, according to a report released by the ARB. At the work session, the ARB will review their application.

The ARB will discuss the four motion alternatives: to deny the application, approve the application as submitted, approve the application with conditions, or continue the public hearing at another date, according to the report.  

After the work session, the Board can take action on the case at the Board Public Hearing on Nov. 16, according to Anne Curtis, the Chief Communications Officer for the Town of Herndon.

The work session will take place at Herndon Council Chambers Building (765 Lynn Street) tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.

Photo via the Herndon ARB

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Several Reston and Herndon’s local officials came together virtually yesterday (Monday) to discuss the possibilities of what the retail industry will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts “Metro Monday” on the last Monday of each month. This month Herndon’s Mayor Lisa Merkel, Fairfax County’s Director of Economic Initiatives Rebecca Moudry and other local business owners were present to talk about the future of retail in Reston and Herndon.

The possibilities of the future of retail include promoting more online ordering for food, creating new digital ways for businesses to interact with its customers, and merging more restaurant and retail places together.

Merkel believes “restaurants are becoming anchors for retail centers which promotes social engagements and draws in the office crowd during lunch hours.”

Although many local businesses received grants to help with its loss of income, Moudry said the coronavirus pandemic has particularly affected the retail system.

RISE grants have been awarded. We mailed postcards to every single business for local and federal grant programs,” Moudry said. “Economic Recovery Framework was recently launched to confront the economic shifts. That is the current task at hand.”

Job access and workforce development are essential factors in the framework. Moudry said the framework will work with the local transit system to improve both.

“The Reston bus plan will significantly improve bus transit and people’s access to jobs, as well as more opportunities for retail and people to come in and out,” Moudry said.

Tony Stafford, owner of Ford’s Fish Shack, said many businesses have had to take steps they thought they would never do.

“A lot of businesses had to reinvent themselves. We’ve seen a loss of lunch business because people aren’t going to work,” Stafford said. “This time last year, our takeout business was 7 p ercent of our overall sales, this year its 43 percent. of our overall sales. People are now comfortable ordering their meals off computer screens.”

Omar Aru, the owner of Escape Room Herndon, said setbacks posed by the pandemic have been significant, despite grants from the federal government and local assistance.

“There used to be a 15-minute wait period between each visit, but now it’s a 30-minute to an hour wait period between each visit to allow more time for proper cleaning and for rooms to air out,” Aur. said. “This means that we’re getting fewer games in and less people because we’re taking longer to clean.”

Photo courtesy of Omar Aru

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With many businesses shutting their doors for good during the COVID-19 pandemic, cigar aficionados will have a new place to get their tobacco fix in when Cigar Town opens a new store in Herndon next week.

The shop, located at the Franklin Farm Village Center, will hold its grand opening on Sept. 21 becoming the fourth store for the family-owned chain of cigar shops in Fairfax County.

Unlike their other stores, the new Cigar Town shop in Herndon will have a walk-in humidor and a public smoking lounge that will be open to costumers who want to sit back and smoke a cigar after purchasing one from the shop’s wide assortment, according to Hassan Hamdan, who helps manages the stores along with his uncle and father.

While social distancing concerns could keep cigar aficionados away from the store Hamdan said, he hopes the perks for the Herndon store will attract a new customer base. Following health guidelines, the shop will require costumers to wear a mask before entertaining and will limit capacity for the smoking lounge Hamdan said.

Cigar Town signed the lease for the shop in January before the pandemic and has had to push back the grand opening by a few months because of the economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamdan said.

“I mean, the challenges are obvious — they’re financial,” Hamdan said. “Just opening a store takes a lot of money for construction, a lot for product, a lot for advertising — all of that has kind of been scaled back and slowed down.”

Cigar Town was originally started by the Hamdan family over 20-years-ago slowly expanding their business of cigar shops with locations now in Tysons, Fairfax and Reston. While Hamdan said some costumers have been opting to purchase their cigars online and to smoke them at home, he said family’s business is banking on costumer-loyalty built over decades in Northern Virginia.

“We have lived in Fairfax and Herndon since 1987, so hopefully we’ve developed some skills in building a customer base,” Hamdan said. “We’re going to have to apply them now.”

Photo via Cigar Town

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Camp David Dog Resort & Day Care is seeking the county’s approval for an outdoor play area on its property in Herndon.

The business, which is located at 13806 Redskin Drive, is seeking the county’s approval for the outdoor kennel after receiving a violation notice for operating the outdoor area in June.

The outdoor area is roughly 7,100 square feet and is bordered by the walls of the main building.

Since 2018, the kennel was offered dog boarding services, daycare, and training services, with an average of roughly 25 customers per day. The business scaled back its staff from three to two employees due to COVID-19, according to the application.

The application is in its early stages and was submitted on August 10. It was head to the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a vote at a date that is to be determined, followed by the consideration of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Photo via Camp David/Facebook

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In Forbes’ second annual ranking of America’s Best Employers by State, several Fairfax County businesses topped the list. 

In the Virginia state ranking, Reston’s Science Applications International Corporation, or SAIC, ranked #55 (12010 Sunset Hills Road). 

Peraton, the Herndon based IT company founded in 2017, was ranked #78 (12975 Worldgate Dr.).

Reston’s Leidos, a holding company involved in defense, intelligence, civil and health markets ranked #87 (1750 Presidents St.). 

The list was compiled by surveying 80,000 Americans, according to Vicky Valet’s article on Forbes. Surveys were conducted on a rolling basis from October 2019 through May 2020.

Additionally, responses about the same employers were compared to make up for any variation before and after the onset of the coronavirus, according to Valet. 

Photo by Peraton via Google Images

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