Reston, VA

Monday Morning Notes

Local Podcast Explores ‘Gray Love’ — Reston resident Laura stasis is returning with the second season her podcast for people over the age of 50. The podcast is called Dating While Gray. [Reston Patch]

True Food Kitchen On Track for April Opening — The business is still on track for an April opening in Reston Town Center. It will be located at 11901 Democracy Drive. [The Burn]

Delayed Opening for Inova Vaccine Clinic — Because of yesterday’s wintry mix, Inova’s vaccination center is planning for a delayed opening today. All canceled appointments will be honored. [Inova]

School Board Approves Capital Improvement Program — The Fairfax County School Board approved the capital improvement program for FY2022-2026. The program includes partial funding for the Silver Line Elementary School. [FCPS]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Thursday Morning Notes

Playa Bowls Brings Taste of Jersey Shore to Reston — “Robert Giuliani started Playa Bowls in 2014 on the Jersey Shore, as a surf-themed restaurant offering healthy food for people on the go.” [Reston Patch]

Herndon Police Arrest Man in Connection with Child Pornography Charges — “After an investigation in conjunction with the Internet Crimes Against Children  Taskforce, Zoubir Chenini. 39, of Annandale, VA, was arrested by Herndon Police Department on one felony count of possession of child pornography, nine felony counts of 2nd/subsequent possession of child pornography, and five felony counts of distribution of child pornography.”[HPD]

CEO of Reston-based Company Lays Out Five-Year-Plan for Embattled Firm — “For years, comScore was distracted by prolonged and pricey internal investigations and high-cost debt. Now, at long last, CEO Bill Livek said he can focus on its future. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Makers Union is striving to embody the moniker “Pub For The People” with an offering of local products and community engagement throughout Reston Town Center.

The restaurant, a project by Reston-based company Thompson Hospitality, opened this past August at 1811 Library Street. It replaced American Tap Room, which closed in December 2019.

The restaurant’s general manager, Alex Brown, bills the establishment’s concept as an effort to provide a welcoming atmosphere and traditional American dishes “with a twist.”

“We wanted to really kind of create a space where everyone feels comfortable celebrating whatever life’s occasion is,” Brown said.

The menu reflects a variety of the restaurant’s ideals with trying something a bit different while paying homage to the local makers of the area. The menu features a diverse sampling from 30-layer deep-fried lasagna to yuzu lemon drop martinis.

“An occasion doesn’t have to be a birthday or anniversary. We really believe that when you go out to dine, whether it’s for lunch, brunch, dinner, celebrating happy hour with friends or maybe it’s just a casual lunch or dinner during the week or on the weekend, it’s a celebration.”

Makers Union offers an eclectic menu for lunch and dinner options as well as its happy hour, “The People’s Hour.” It also features a brunch with à la carte and family-style options.

“We wanted to bring the idea of a pub into the modern day… so food, beverage and décor while still holding true to traditional pub value – welcoming, energetic & celebratory environment,” Brown said.

The menu items feature a sampling of local wares from makers when possible for food and drink. A list of those makers can be found on the restaurant’s site.

“Obviously being a local Reston based restaurant, we really wanted to feature and celebrate local makers,” Brown said.

“Everybody who kind of had a piece in helping put this restaurant together is a group of makers. Everybody has different backgrounds in different areas, whether it be breweries, roasters, chefs, distillers, farmers. So a group of makers came together to kind of create this pub for the people.”

That celebration of local makers has spilled into the restaurant’s work to try and create a familial feel within the community.

The restaurant, like so many others in the area and country, was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to adhering to local, state and federal guidelines for safe business practices, Brown said the restaurant has significantly leveraged its to-go program to aid in establishing itself in the community. It has also offered free delivery within Reston Town Center.

Makers Union has also hosted a ghost kitchen pop up for another Thompson Hospitality restaurant, Big Buns Damn Good Burger Co.

“We say we’re made in Reston for Reston,” Brown said.

“We really wanted to look at what Reston Town Center was missing and what we felt the community was looking for, and then use that to kind of ideate the restaurant.”

Makers Union hosted a soft opening with a to-go event in August. It has since had a dog costume contest for Halloween and a “Yappy Hour” that allowed patrons to bring their dogs to the patio introduce the restaurant’s happy hour.

Brown says the restaurant is eyeing future opportunities to connect and serve the community, including offering Super Bowl Sunday dining packages and Valentine’s Day weekend specials.

“We just want to continue to get to know the community and really just grow the business through excellent food and high-level service in an amazing, clean environment with welcoming décor,” Brown said.

Photos courtesy Makers Union

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Arlington-based MakeOffices is shutting down all of its local locations, including their offices at Reston Town Center.

The news about MakeOffices closing down was first reported by Washington Business Journal.

Last week, members of the coworking company began receiving notifications at many locations that the co-working spaces would be closed.

Reston Now spoke to representatives at the Reston location, which opened in 2015, and an employee confirmed that they would be closing as well within the next three months.

While the deal isn’t fully done yet, another coworking operator may move into the MakeOffices space in Reston Town Center, an employee said.

In an email to Reston Now, MakeOffices spokesperson said they are closing but ‘still in the process of reorganizing.'”

MakeOffices opened its first location in Rosslyn in 2012 and has since expanded to 14 locations in Northern Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Chicago, and Philadelphia.

The Clarendon location is its flagship, opening in 2016 with 40,000 square feet of space and 135 private offices. The Reston location is similar in size.

Photo via Google Maps

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Monday Morning Notes

Big Leasing Activity for Reston — Ranked by square footage, Microsoft Corp.’s lease for nearly 400,000 square feet of space at Reston Town Center was the largest office lease inked in the DC area so far this year. [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Association Issues Candidate Call — Three seats are open on the nine-member Board of Directors. All positions are for three-year terms and the deadline for filing as a candidate is Jan. 22. [Reston Association]

What to Expect About Local Vaccinations — The county has rounded up information on what to expect what you receive your COVID-19 vaccine, including common side effects and how the vaccine works. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Although last year’s festival was postponed and eventually canceled, organizers anticipate that the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival will be on for 2021.

The festival, which typically takes place in the spring and is hosted by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), will take place on Sept. 10-12.

“Even with news that a nationwide roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine will be available, there is still uncertainty that an outdoor event will see a return to normalcy by May. We believe taking this proactive step will better ensure that we can safely host our annual vibrant celebration of the arts,” said Jaynelle Hazard, GRACE Executive Director and Curator.

Erica Harrison, GRACE’s associate curator and festival director, added that the same reasons that motivated the center to cancel the festival this year guided decisionmaking for 2021.

Recent guidelines influenced this decision, including the Governor of Virginia’s modified stay-at-home orders, strongly urging all Virginia residents to limit indoor and outdoor in-person gatherings to no more than 10 people, and the Centers for Disease Control statement encouraging the continuation of social distancing and avoidance of mass gatherings and crowded places.”

Harrison said Boston Properties, its onsite partner and sponsor, could accommodate the new dates.

“The board and staff of Greater Reston Arts Center, and our community partners do not make this decision lightly, knowing how deeply this impacts our artists, our audience, and the organization. We look forward to next year, the Festival’s 30th anniversary, and delivering another culturally-enriching, successful, and safe experience for all.”

Photo via GRACE

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Reston area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Dec. 1)

  • Herndon Book Club (Online) — 6:30-7:45 p.m. — Discussing Mrs. Everything: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner, the group will meet via Zoom. Club members should call the Herndon Library (768 Center S.) during the Curbside Pickup times (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to have staff check out and set aside your copy or visit the branch, the website said. To register, use this link.
  • Holiday Craft Class (Online) — 11-11:30 a.m. — Reston Community Center will host a card making class on its Facebook page. Participants should have the following items ready before the class begins: two or three sheets of card stock, colored paper, markers, crayons, scissors and cookie cutters.

Wednesday (Dec. 2)

  • Best of 2020 Book Discussion (Online) — 10:30-11:30 a.m. — Great Falls Library will meet via Zoom to discuss the best reads of 2020, the website said. To register, use this link.

Thursday (Dec. 3)

  • Zumba Gold (Online) — 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. — Reston Community Center will host a virtual Zumba Gold class on its Facebook page.

Saturday (Dec. 5)

  • Magical Moments at Woodland Park (December 5-20) — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Woodland Park Crossing (12960 Highland Crossing Drive) — Families can stop by Woodland Park Crossing to revel in lights and a festive scene of Santa’s Workshop, the website said. Family photos are available with preregistration.
  • Reston Town Center Holiday Performances — 12-4 p.m. at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.) — Holiday characters, still walkers and jugglers will be on hand to entertain and make for fun socially distanced holiday selfies, the website said.
  • Christmas Festival — 3-8 p.m. at Emily Rose Lewis Ministries (503 Carlisle Drive Suite 275) — Kingdom Living Ekklesia & Academy is hosting an indoor/outdoor Christmas Festival, the website said. Participants can enjoy free food and drinks.

Sunday (Dec. 6)

  • Reston Town Center Holiday Performances — 12-2 p.m. at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.) — Reston Town Center tradition returns this year for holiday songs performed by members of the Reston based Northern Virginia Ukulele Society, the website said.
  • Holiday Family Portraits — 12-4 p.m. at Worldgate Centre (13007 Worldgate Drive) — Take a holiday family picture and go home with a free print. Participants can enjoy holiday favorites and free giveaways.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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As winter settles in and it gets a little colder outside, there’s a chance to reclaim a bit of the summer spirit with a new restaurant opening at Reston Town Center.

Playa Bowls will open its 101st location in the United States and Puerto Rico at 1820 Discovery Street on Saturday, Nov. 28, in partnership with Jeffrey Giuliani and Dave Eynon.

The acai bowl shop is based at the Jersey Shore and specializes in superfoods and healthy options including chia seeds, coconut, kale, bananas and pitaya. Playa Bowls offers a variety of acai bowls, smoothies, juices and poke bowls.

“Dave and I are excited to bring the beach vibes and delicious, healthy acai bowls, smoothies and fresh juices to the Town Center and can’t wait to contribute to this awesome community,” Giuliani said.

In recognition of the restaurant’s opening day, free bowls and T-shirts will be given to the first 50 customers in a socially distanced line beginning at noon on Saturday.

The 1,400-square-foot store will be open for restricted indoor dining while adhering to social distancing and requiring masks. The store will also offer takeout, no contact delivery and curbside pickup through DoorDash, Postmates and Grubhub.

Photo via Playa Bowls/Facebook

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Reston area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (Nov. 23)

  • Thanksgiving Food Drive (November 1-23) — Patrons, businesses, and organizations are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food and other items at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) and Lake Anne facilities, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and a variety of other drop-off points throughout the community, the website said. View this link to see the most needed items.

Tuesday (Nov. 24)

  • Spanish Chat (1-2 p.m.) — Residents can practice Spanish conversation informally online at this virtual event, which is organized by Great Falls Library. A Zoom invite will be sent to registered participants one day before the discussion.

Friday (Nov. 27)

  • Chocolate Factory Band (7 p.m.) — The Chocolate Factory Band will grace the stage of P.J. Mulligan’s once again. Patrons are encouraged to come early as COVID-19 restrictions will be in effect at the location (2310 Woodland Crossing Drive).

Saturday (Nov. 28)

  • Carriage Rides (November 28 – December 19) – 4-9 p.m. at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.) – For $30, enjoy a journey along the streets of Reston Town Center and benefit local charities, the website said. The carriage will depart from the Pavilion on Market Street. Groups are limited to five people and masks are required. To register, use this link.

Sunday (Nov. 29)

  • Train Rides (November 29 – December 20) – 12-3:45 p.m. at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.) – For $20, enjoy a mini train ride with the family through the streets of Reston Town Center and benefit local charities, the website said. The train will depart from the Pavilion on Market Street. Groups are limited to four people and masks are required. To register, use this link.

Photo by Wade Gilley

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A new Turkish restaurant will replace Midtown Kabob next year.

Taste of Istanbul, which has typically limited its offerings to local farmers’ market for the last four years, is expected to open in the spring of 2021 at 11190 Explorer Street.

Taste of Istanbul currently takes part in the EatLoco markets at One Loudoun (Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Brambleton (Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) as well as Reston Farmers Market (Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m.). Orders can be placed online.

The owners say they’re prepared to open despite the uncertainty of expanding during a pandemic and particularly as cases rise in the county and throughout the country.

“This is a time where people don’t know what’s going to happen next,” the representative said. “…But we believe we are prepared for this.”

The business plans to take safety precautions and offer a safe environment for customers and employees.

Taste of Istanbul will offer doner kebabs, wraps, stuffed grape leaves, chicken shish kebabs, and other items.

Photo via Taste of Istanbul

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Microsoft Corp. plans to expand with about 45,000 square feet in Reston Town Center, according to a recent earnings call by landlord Boston Properties.

The expansion is an addition to the 400,000-square-foot tech hub that is planned for the development.

Here’s more from the Washington Business Journal on the expansion:

The new space adds to what Redwood, Washington-based Microsoft is already leasing at Two Discovery Square, which stands at 12012 Sunset Hills Road. It’s also separately establishing a tech hub at Two Freedom Square, at 11955 Freedom Drive, bringing its total footprint across those two buildings to above 600,000 square feet, according to earnings data and company officials familiar with the situation.

In late May, Microsoft announced that it would invest $64 million to establish a new tub hub that would bring 2,500 new jobs to the area.

Photo by Franck V./Unsplash

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Boston Properties, owner of Reston Town Center, held its Third Quarterly Earnings Call earlier this week where the current state and future of Boston Properties in Reston were discussed.

Chief Executive Officer Owen Thomas says Boston Properties (BXP) has performed well, despite the pandemic.

“Despite a challenging recessionary environment, BXP continued to perform well in the third quarter, demonstrating the durability of our business,” Thomas explained. “In the quarter, we collected 99% of our office rents and 97% of rents overall. We completed 811,000 square feet of leasing, 40% being either new requirements or expanding existing customers, and we increased our average net rental rates on our second-generation leases by 20%.”

BXP properties that have recently been sold was also discussed, including Patriots Park in Reston that was sold for $325 million, according to Thomas, or what equals out to $450 a square foot and a 5.6 cap rate.

“This 724,000 square-foot asset is fully leased and sold to an asset management company,” Thomas said. “BXP built and subsequently sold Patriots Park in 2014 at roughly the same valuation.”

President of BXP Douge Linde later chimed in to discuss leasing activity around the country. Northern Virginia is the second market that relaxed its restrictions since the start of the pandemic, following Massachusetts, according to Linde.

“In Northern Virginia companies are actually required just to social distance and there are no limits to the occupancy threshold, and employees drive to their office,” Linde said. “We estimate our census is well under 15%. At this time, the return to work is not about transportation constraints, and it’s not about elevator constraints either.”

BXP also finalized a few leases in Northern Virginia, according to Linde, including Microsoft in Reston Town Center.

“They leased an additional 45,000 square feet and extended the 2028 expiration on 164,000 square feet to 2033,” Linde said. “We’ve also completed another 96,000 square foot of leases, 8 transactions during the quarter there. We are in negotiation on 5 more leases, totaling 65,000 square feet, for vacant space in the Town Center.”

Restonians should expect to see Volkswagon in Reston as BXP recently signed a 20-year lease with the company.

The future of BXP in Reston was also discussed by Chief Financial Officer Mike LaBelle.

“We’ve already signed leases for this space in Reston, and we expect it to be occupied in 2021,” LaBelle explained. “We partially offset the impact of the occupancy decline with revenue growth from a full quarter of contribution from our 100% leased 1750 Presidents Way development in Reston that we delivered in the second quarter, and $2 million of growth in our parking revenues.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Foodies waiting for the opening of True Food Kitchen in Reston Town Center will have to wait longer for opening day.

The restaurant, which aims to offer healthy dishes, has delayed its opening to the spring of 2021, according to the company’s website. The company originally planned to open at 11901 Democracy Drive — space formerly occupied by M&S Grill — in early August.

Company representatives did not return requests for comment from Reston Now.

The chain currently has locations in Arlington and Fairfax, along with others around the country.

Andrew Weil, a doctor. Who supports healthy eating, founded the business in an effort to fight chronic inflammation. Many dishes are gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan.

Image via Google Maps

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The Spectrum is Reston Town Center will have a major vacancy next month.

Best Buy, which is located at 1861 Fountain Drive, will close on Oct. 31, a company official told Reston Now.

A spokesperson said the company decided against renewing its lease.

“Our customers have shown us that they prefer to shop at other stores in the area, including the Tyson’s Corner store nearby, which is just seven miles away, as well as our Sterling and Fairlakes stores.”

The last day of business is Saturday, Oct. 31.

A store employee said increasing rent prices prompted the decision. Currently, the store is opened every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Image via Google Maps

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Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market will shutter its doors in Reston Town Center permanently on Sept. 20 following a lawsuit by Boston Properties over unpaid rent.

All employees will be relocated to nearby McLean, Bethesda and Alexandria stores, according to a company spokesperson.

“With their incredible fresh food selections, chef-prepared offerings, top-notch catering team, as well as award-winning wine, beer and cheese departments, these stores really showcase what Balducci’s does best,” said Judy Spires, CEO of Balducci’s Food Lover’s Markets.

The New-Jersey-based grocery store allegedly failed to pay more than $225,000 in rent since December, according to a lawsuit by Boston Properties filed in June.

The store opened on the ground floor of The Signature apartments in June 2018. The company declined to comment on the reason for the closure or the pending lawsuit.

Boston Properties says that it sent three default notices to the company, which signed a 19,930-square-foot-lease at 1871 Fountain Drive.

Photo via Balducci’s 

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