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by RestonNow.com — February 22, 2017 at 10:15 am 13 Comments

J.McLaughlin store at Reston Town Center

Reston Town Center announced Tuesday that clothing store J.McLaughlin will open on Market Street later this year.

According to a press release:

J.McLaughlin, a classic American clothing and accessories brand for women and men, is expanding its retail fleet to RTC with a new location slated to open later this year.

The 1,113 square foot store will feature all of the elements that classify the trademark J.McLaughlin aesthetic, an inviting feeling with distinctive details, furnishings and décor. In keeping with the colorful palette and cheeky details of the brand, the interior of this store is decorated with marine shades of green and blue complemented by bamboo-inspired furnishings.

The Reston Town Center location marks J.McLaughlin’s fifth location in Virginia and the 177th store to open nationwide. Originally founded by two brothers, Kevin and Jay McLaughlin, in 1977, the retailer believes in “being a good neighbor” and approaches business as a welcome and active community member.

The shop will be located at 11932 Market St., the former location of Origins, which closed in January. As we previously reported, signs advertising the new clothing store were posted by Feb. 1.

by Dave Emke — February 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

Morning Notes Oct/NovLooking for something to do this weekend? Here is a sampling of what’s available in Reston:

by RestonNow.com — February 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Students from around the area are preparing to have their artwork on display at the Greater Reston Arts Center, where two March exhibits will be celebrations of Youth Art Month.

The first, GRACE Art: Celebrating Creativity, will be on display March 3-11 and will showcase the work of local elementary school students. The second, Emerging Visions: Interactions, will be on display March 17-April 1 and will feature the work of high schoolers.

Celebrating Creativity will highlight projects from GRACE Art program. Nearly 40 area schools participate in this program, in which trained classroom volunteers deliver an interactive art history lesson with materials and visuals supplied by GRACE, followed by a related in-class art project. Schools whose students will have art displayed in the exhibit include Academy of Christian Education, Aldrin Elementary, Armstrong Elementary, Crossfield Elementary, Flint Hill Elementary, John Kerr Elementary and Willow Springs Elementary.

After viewing GRACE’s exhibition last fall, Shih Chieh Huang: Synthetic Transformations, students from three area high schools — Herndon, Oakton and South Lakes — were asked to explore different interpretations and aspects of interactions. They worked directly with the education director at GRACE, and the final selections from their work will be shown in the Emerging Visions exhibition.

Several free art activities will also be offered for families throughout the month, and gallery visitors will be able to participate in hands-on art activities related to the art shown in the exhibition.

Key dates throughout the month are as follows:

  • GRACE Art: Celebrating Creativity opening reception and Family Day: Saturday, March 4, noon-4 p.m.
  • Emerging Visions: Interactions opening reception: Saturday, March 18, 6-8 p.m.
  • Studying Art Post Secondary School workshop, Saturday, March 25, 5-6:30pm

To register for the workshop, contact Stephanie Booth at [email protected] or 703-471-0952, ext. 118

The Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

by Dave Emke — February 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 4 Comments

Reston Town Center logoReston Town Center will host family-friendly events each Saturday in March, to benefit Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston.

The first such event is scheduled for March 4, from 1-4 p.m., and will include free rides on a vintage carousel, free s’mores and hot chocolate, and a performance by the Fairfax Jubil-Aires.

Future events, according to information provided by Town Center owners Boston Properties, will feature complimentary music, pet adoption, balloon artists, carriage rides, funnel cakes, RTC mascot “Resty the Dog,” mini train rides, caricature artists and more.

Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston began in October. It is part of a countywide movement that aims to identify areas of need and provide resources that will allow all children to gain a strong academic foundation, family resilience, and a culture of engagement and success. It was developed and launched by planning partners including Cornerstones, Leadership Fairfax, Reston Association, Reston Community Center, YMCA Reston/Fairfax County, Fairfax County Public Schools and various county departments.

“Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston (RestON) is about community partners working together to foster the health and wellbeing of the next generation. We are grateful to Boston Properties for choosing to support RestON through their March weekend family events at Reston Town Center,” said Toni Francis-Bowie, director of Opportunity Neighborhoods. “When we invest wisely in children and families, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship.”

For additional information about Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston and these upcoming events at Reston Town Center, contact Cornerstones CEO Kerrie Wilson at 571-323-9571 or [email protected].

by Dave Emke — February 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments

Former BRB location, Reston Town Center

Pheast Food Group will bring a new Southern-style restaurant to Reston Town Center.

The subsidiary of Thompson Hospitality has posted on its website that it is seeking a general manager for a restaurant called Hen Penny. The job is also cross-listed on websites including Indeed, where the listing includes a bit more information about the restaurant:

Pheast Food Group has another new concept coming to town!

Hen Penny is our quick-service version of our full service concept, Hen Quarter.

And we need a General Manager to lead our very first location opening in the Reston Town Center!

Southern-style Hen Quarter restaurants in Alexandria and Silver Spring were opened last year by Pheast, both in former locations of Tex-Mex restaurant Austin Grill. The restaurant is described by Pheast as “an ode to the best of Southern fare and classic cocktails” with “dishes full of flavors that can only come from the best in farm to table design.”

A third location is scheduled to open in D.C.’s Penn Quarter — again, in a former Austin Grill space — later this year.

BRB ClosedThe new Reston Town Center restaurant will be located at 1820 Discovery St., according to a permit processed last week in Fairfax County. That’s the former location of burger restaurant BRB, which was closed last month by Pheast. Signage on the storefront indicated “another exciting concept” would be coming soon.

Calls to Pheast for comment about the new restaurant have not been not returned.

Pheast also manages The American Tap Room, which has a Reston Town Center location. It was announced this week that The American Tap Room location near Richmond would be renovated and re-opened as Addie Mae’s Southern Cuisine and Raw Bar.

While no information is available about the future status of The American Tap Room at Reston Town Center, Pheast’s website reads that it manages “The American Tap Room, Austin Grill, Willie T’s Lobster Shack and Be Right Burger holdings and will be updating those concepts in 2017.”

by Dave Emke — February 10, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

Reston sign

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here is a sampling of what’s available in Reston:

  • The Virginia Polar Dip is Saturday at Lake Anne Plaza. Registration starts at noon, with the event itself scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. All proceeds will benefit Camp Sunshine.
  • Events at Reston Town Center this weekend include a handmade Valentine card workshop, a pre-Valentine cooking class at Il Fornaio, a wine tasting and more.
  • A pub crawl is slated for 2-6 p.m. Saturday, beginning at World of Beer (1888 Explorer St.). The event is to support the Fairfax Boxing Club.
  • An open house is scheduled for The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) from noon-2 p.m. Sunday.
  • Reston Community Center Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) has a Sunday Afternoon Dance and a Sunday Country Western Dance both slated for this weekend.
  • Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) will offer a workshop, Career in the Arts: Opportunities for Visually Creative People, Saturday evening.
  • The Reston Chorale will present Camerata: Inside Out at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) on Sunday afternoon.
  • Art exhibitions “CUT” and “Springtime in Winter” remain on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) and Reston Art Gallery & Studios (11400 Washington Plaza W.), respectively.
  • Tom Saputo and Friends will play at Café Montmarte tonight.
  • Kalypso’s will have musical guests New Dominion Band tonight and DJ Kram on Saturday.
  • Wuayra Peruvian Silver Jewelry will have a pop-up shop in collaboration with Scrawl Books (11862 Market St.) this weekend.

by Dave Emke — February 9, 2017 at 11:30 am 75 Comments

Reston Town Center Red Garage

(Updated at 12:40 p.m. to correct title of Kathy Walsh. She is marketing director of the Fallston Group, not of Boston Properties.)

Following Monday’s meeting of Reston Town Center merchants discussing their concerns with Town Center owner Boston Properties’ handling of paid parking, Reston Now reached out to Boston Properties with some questions.

Printed below is the full text of the responses received from Kathy Walsh, marketing director of the Fallston Group and a spokesperson for Boston Properties.

Q: Has Boston Properties met/spoken with any of the merchants since paid parking began? Are there any plans in the near future to do so?
A: Yes. Boston Properties team members remain in routine, personal contact with merchants, particularly around the paid parking model and its roll-out. The ongoing communication occurs at differing levels within each organization, from business owners to management.

Q: Does BP have any response to the claims sales went down 10-50 percent in January?
A: Although Boston Properties generally doesn’t receive January revenue data until February or March of the same year, they have specifically reached out to retailers to more quickly analyze January 2016 to January 2017 revenue data. Upon close analysis, it is clear that some of the most vocal retailers who have publicly claimed year-over-year sales are down due to paid parking are actually experiencing sales increases for that time period. It is important to emphasize this is a 30-day snapshot and not a longer-term trend, and this reflects a small sampling of retailers. Boston Properties will continue to closely analyze all revenue activity.

Q: Has there been any discussion internally at BP about what this change has done to the business climate at RTC?
A: While Boston Properties fully expects to see some change upon the onset of paid parking, our data reflects far less impact than what is being reported publicly by certain merchants. For instance, when analyzing parking occupancy in garages Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., there were 68,000 visits in January, compared to 72,000 in November, which is naturally higher as the holiday shopping season kicks off. We believe this is a normal seasonal decrease. Interestingly, data shows that, on average, those visitors stayed longer in January – 4.59 hours – as compared to November (4.5) and December (4.25).

Q: A business owner at [Monday]’s meeting claimed she signed a new lease last year and BP’s plan to switch to paid parking was not disclosed. Was the intention to implement paid parking disclosed to all incoming/renewing businesses?
A: Without exception, there is language about paid parking built into every lease, so any renewing or new tenants should have been fully aware of the possibility.

Q: Is BP confident about maintaining paid parking as is?
A: While Boston Properties is confident paid parking is here to stay, the paid parking model has only been activated for five weeks. As Boston Properties continues to monitor impact and feedback, Boston Properties will assess if modifications to the system and process are necessary.

Walsh also said paid parking has not been the explicit reason for any retailers leaving Reston Town Center since its implementation.

“Every tenant who has left either already planned to leave Reston Town Center and was in the process of negotiating their departure or closed their doors for other business reasons.”

Walsh said 13 retailers renewed leases in the Town Center in 2016. Already in 2017, she said, two have renewed and four new retail leases are in progress.

The spokesperson also stressed that Boston Properties has determined that many owners of Reston Town Center establishments have “a very high degree of concern” about what people representing their businesses are saying publicly:

“Through Boston Properties’ efforts to engage retailers, they have determined that many of the most vocal people allegedly representing Reston Town Center retailers are employees rather than owners of those establishments. Boston Properties has had numerous discussions with owners and senior managers who have indicated they do not share their employees’ views or approve of their behavior in response to paid parking. In fact, Boston Properties has received numerous calls from retailers who expressed a very high degree of concern about the public posture of a few. Candidly, they want no part of those who are attempting to dissuade customers from coming to Reston Town Center.”

In regard to the ParkRTC app, Walsh said the number of phone calls and emails regarding questions about the app have “dropped significantly,” though she says Boston Properties understands some people continue to experience frustration.

“Boston Properties is continuing to work to implement changes to make it even more user-friendly. Many people are successfully using the app, with 78% of daily parkers paying via the app. There have also been 75,000 downloads of the app to date, with an average of 1,000 new downloads per day.”

While a number of people have expressed fears about the security of the app, Walsh said those worries are unfounded:

“The ParkRTC app is supported by Passport, the largest provider of mobile payment software for parking in North America. Both Passport Inc. and Reston Town Center take the important responsibility to protect credit card information very seriously. Passport conducts regular audits of its information security systems to ensure there are no vulnerabilities — data security is core to their business. In fact, Passport employs a two factor authentication (2FA) process that requires first-time users to verify their identity by entering a text authorization sent to verify device ownership in addition to a pin number. Passport also holds compliance with PCI DSS Level 1 certification, the most stringent data security framework administered by the PCI Security Standards Council. Passport will never sell or distribute ParkRTC user information to third parties.”

Walsh said Boston Properties has implemented, or plans to implement, a number of system improvements in response to customer feedback, including:

  • Doubled the number of parking ambassadors, primarily at night for retail shoppers
  • Added educational signage
  • Added a list of validating retailers to the app
  • Updated the FAQs on the website
  • Coming in March, look for an upgraded credit card pay station with a screen three times the size of the current screen and that provides better functionality in extreme weather

Walsh said a task force is working to ensure the future of Reston Town Center is bright.

“Boston Properties has assembled a task force consisting of development, leasing, marketing and property management personnel representing residential, commercial and office properties who are meeting with national consultants to develop and implement a strategy designed to ensure Reston Town Center remains an upscale destination and draw for those looking to live, work, shop and play.”

Aaron Mervis, who manages Big Bowl restaurant and is one of the organizers of the merchants’ group opposing the current paid parking system, issued this statement to Reston Now in response:

“It is important that Boston Properties understands that the Tenants’ goal is to improve the situation in the Reston Town Center and protect their businesses, which will also benefit Boston Properties. Tenants have expressed a large list of concerns directly related to the paid parking, including decreased sales and a significant rise in customer complaints about both the complexity of the system and the cost.”

“Boston Properties’ desire to wait while continuing to analyze the effects on business in the hope the uproar will recede will only make it more difficult to convince disenchanted customers who have changed their eating and buying habits to return. They have many options.”

“While owners and managers of establishments are upset, we also encourage management from Boston Properties to speak directly with the employees of the various stores in the town center for their thoughts on the impact of paid parking. Many of these employees receive tips or commission. As business has slumped, hours have been reduced and they are earning less in commissions and tips.”

by Dave Emke — February 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm 66 Comments

The battle between Reston Town Center businesses and RTC owner Boston Properties over paid parking appears to be just beginning.

About 50 people, including dozens of representatives from Town Center restaurants and shops, met Monday at Vapiano restaurant to share information, voice their frustrations and continue to work out how they should proceed. They did so as sales at their shops and restaurants continue to dip, as customers have been staying away from the Town Center since paid parking began Jan. 3.

Monday afternoon’s meeting came on a day when Fairfax County Public Schools had not been in session. Yasser Meshki, general manager of Vapiano, said you wouldn’t know that from the lack of customers in his restaurant.

“Every time, when school is off, we’re packed for lunch,” he said. “We make easily, let’s say $3,000. We didn’t make half of that today.”

Meshki’s comments were among numerous that were shared during the hourlong meeting. Aaron Gordon and Aaron Mervis, of Red Velvet Cupcakery and Big Bowl respectively, are organizing the group. One of the goals of Monday’s meeting was to begin the process of assimilating all the upset businesses under one association that can legally stand together against Reston Town Center.

“We’re not necessarily threatening lawsuit, but we are saying that we can explore a few different avenues,” Gordon said. “The first one is going to be to all get under one umbrella, pitch in a little money and then see where it takes us.”

Representatives of law firm Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC, who have not been retained by the group at this time, addressed the crowd and offered some preliminary advice regarding organizing. Gordon and Mervis had company representatives who attended the meeting sign up and show their willingness to join.

Some merchants who spoke during the meeting shared information about how much their sales have dropped from this time last year, with most falling between 10 and 50 percent. Even businesses that appear on the surface to be doing relatively well, such as Potomac River Running, are actually not.

“This weather is fantastic for us, so we’re having much higher sales than we normally would among our eight stores,” said owner Ray Pugsley. “My other seven stores are up between 10 and 50 percent in the last 30 days. This store here is down 4 percent.”

Evan Matz, CEO of World of Beer, said even the customers who are stopping into his restaurant show the effects of paid parking.

“We used to see customers come in with bags after shopping, and they would sit down and have a meal or lunch or a beer or something, but we don’t see those customers come in anymore,” he said. “They’re coming in, doing what they need to do, getting back in their car and leaving right away.”

Concerns about the paid parking are more than just about the cost, the merchants said. They also expressed opinions about the ParkRTC app they say is driving customers away, and about how designated employee parking spots blocks away from stores are causing hardships on their workers, among other issues.

Cliff Hallock, owner of the Ben & Jerry’s on Market Street, said he is extremely concerned about the coming months.

“I’m terrified of what’s going to happen in the future, in terms of lower foot traffic, when things should get busy in [the] March, April, May time frame,” he said. “Close friends of mine are telling me, ‘I’m sorry Cliff, I just don’t go there anymore. I love ya, but we’re not going to go there.'”

Anne Mader, co-owner of The Bike Lane, said she and her husband opened up shop in Reston because of the sense of community. She says that sense is now gone at Reston Town Center.

“Now it’s just disheartening, because it feels so unwelcome. It’s not the Reston community that I grew up in,” said Mader, whose shop is publicly seeking a new home. “It hurts my heart, it makes me sad. I really want to do business here.”

by Dave Emke — February 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm 22 Comments

Sign inside Reston Town Center Green Garage

More than 150 people say they will attend a protest of Reston Town Center’s paid parking, and that number is growing.

The scores of potential demonstrators have signaled their intention on a Facebook page titled Park Free RTC (Protest). The group’s organizers are planning the event for Saturday, March 4.

As of noon Monday, 155 people had indicated they would be attending. That number has nearly doubled since Friday. Nearly 400 more had marked that they are “interested” in the event.

Guarang Shah, a Town Center resident, is one of the organizers. He said he expects about 300 people to participate in the “peaceful protest.”

According to the event details listed on the page, which went live last week:

“It’s been almost a month since RTC and Boston Properties has started Paid Parking and nobody is happy about that. Also it is most expensive parking in Northern Virginia compare to any other malls and shopping centers. Now, Reston Town Center looks empty all restaurants, bars and local businesses are down. Reston town center parking been free for years and it should be forever.” [sic]

Dozens of comments from followers of the page detail their frustrations with and anger about the paid parking system, which went into effect Jan. 3.

Reston Town Center merchants have announced they are considering a lawsuit against property owner Boston Properties because of the paid parking, which they say has caused them a large chunk of their sales. Shah said merchants he’s spoken with have shared those concerns.

Shah said he organizes regular social meetups in the Town Center. He said turnout for an annual January charity event he hosts at Vapiano was down by half from last year — and many who came left early.

“Every weekend we have something, and we [would] bring a lot of crowds around the Town Center,” he said. “Right now, nobody wants to go to Town Center. I have events in Herndon and Tysons and Ashburn — we try to stay away from the Town Center.”

Shah said his group of concerned citizens has been holding meetings and plans to fight until paid parking is rescinded.

“We just want to get rid of this [paid] parking,” he said. “It’s been free for 25 years, and this is causing a lot of trouble.”

by Dave Emke — February 3, 2017 at 4:00 pm 11 Comments

Reston historical marker

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here is a sampling of what’s available in Reston:

  • The South Lakes High School Chorus is presenting its Broadway Night event tonight and Saturday.
  • Reston Town Center events this weekend include a kids’ cooking class at Il Fornaio, cartoon skate at the ice pavilion, Super Bowl festivities at American Tap Room and Mon Ami Gabi, and more.
  • Potomac River Running will be putting on its For The Love Of It 10K, beginning at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive), Saturday morning.
  • Reston Community Players will close out their run of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” tonight and Saturday at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).
  • Project-based charter school Ideaventions Academy (12340 Pinecrest Road) will be holding an open house Saturday.
  • Art exhibitions “CUT” and “Springtime in Winter” remain on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market Street) and Reston Art Gallery & Studios (11400 Washington Plaza W.), respectively.
  • Del. Ken Plum will be at Lake Anne Coffee House (1612 Washington Plaza N.) on Saturday morning to discuss issues with his constituents.
  • Red’s Table (11150 South Lakes Drive) won’t just be offering beer specials Sunday during the Super Bowl, but it will unveil its new bison chili as well.
  • Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will host a Super Bowl party Sunday, featuring regional foods from New England and Atlanta. A raffle will also be held to benefit Camp Sunshine.

by Dave Emke — February 3, 2017 at 11:15 am 87 Comments

ParkRTC sign in Reston Town Center

Reston Town Center merchants report a significant drop in sales from this time last year.

Now, an estimated 60 of those merchants are considering a lawsuit against Boston Properties over what they see as the cause of that decline — the installation of paid parking.

Aaron Mervis, who runs RTC’s Big Bowl, is one of the organizers of the group. Mervis, who has been in restaurant management since 2000, said he has never seen anything quite like this.

“I’ve never seen the amount of customers that are upset and are just flat-out boycotting the Town Center as a whole,” Mervis said. “As for retailers, I’ve never seen the amount of different retailers grouping together. Usually, when I’m talking to other retailers, it’s seeing what we can do to help cross-market each other’s brands. Talking about protesting and lawsuits, that’s unprecedented.”

Boston Properties initiated paid parking at Reston Town Center on Jan. 3. Backlash from the community, particularly on social media, began quickly thereafter. Mervis said RTC restaurants have been gathering to fight since the paid-parking plan was first proposed by Boston Properties last year, and retailers have since joined the groundswell as well.

Mervis also runs Wildfire restaurant at Tysons Galleria, and he said the trickle-down effect of the parking controversy reaches there as well.

“People are openly talking about it at the bar, saying they are only there because their friends won’t meet them anymore in Reston, or they themselves refuse to park in Reston,” he said.

Cosmetics store Origins closed in mid-January, citing paid parking as one of the reasons. The Bike Lane also announced last month it is actively seeking relocation outside of the Town Center.

Orange parking garage, Reston Town CenterMervis said estimates provided by Town Center merchants show a 10-50 percent decline in sales from January 2016. He said Big Bowl validates two hours’ parking for its customers, but the system doesn’t make sense from neither the business’s nor the customers’ standpoint.

“A $4 beer and $4 for parking, that doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “Our customers are appreciative that we’re doing it… but they still say they’re not coming back. They say it’s too much of a hassle.”

The merchants are planning a meeting Monday at Vapiano restaurant (1875 Explorer Street) to continue to discuss their future plans, including potential litigation. In a press release, reasons for their unrest are spelled out:

Besides being onerous, the system itself is driving people away. It includes:
— Having to download an app, which customers say is confusing, does not work well
— Pay stations are often not working and confusing
— Little or no assistance from Boston Properties and no way to explain the system to non-English speakers
— Confusion: Some retailers have provisions allowing free guest parking in one lot but not another
— Filled parking spots forcing guests to park in a different lot where a retailer may not validate (not all retailers can afford to purchase validation codes for all lots)
— Overnight charges for restaurant guests who have been drinking and want to leave their cars overnight while they walk/taxi/Uber home
— Forcing guests to park in nearby development and angering tenants
— There is no quick parking accommodation for guests to do pickups, dropoffs, etc.
— Unclear rules about weekend parking (holidays? Fridays nights?)
— Validation codes have major limitations (guests must change garages to have their ticket validated for both a movie and dinner at certain restaurants)
— Guests with disabilities without smartphones must find a pay station (not conveniently located)

There are also issues which affect the retailers:
— Negative publicity has spilled over to the retailers
— Employees are affected and are looking for other work
— All retailers are charged the same fee to validate parking (bad for small retailers)
— Employee parking is inconsistent and difficult to manage
— Parking security is not trained to help or answer questions
— Retailers are struggling to hold weekday events because people who would attend do not want to deal with paid parking
— Boston Properties has made changes without notification

“This is unbelievable, what’s happening, what they’re doing,” Mervis said. “Guests don’t want to deal with this. They just want to come in and eat.”

Rob Weinhold, spokesperson for Boston Properties, said it would be “inappropriate” for the real estate trust to speculate on or respond to the merchants’ legal threats. However, when contacted by Reston Now, he did wish to clear up “misinformation” about parking validation “that requires immediate clarification:”

“Each retailer and restaurateur, at their sole discretion, decide[s] which garages they choose to validate. As previously communicated, each retailer and restaurateur makes their own business decision about (1) participating in the validation program and (2) what validation terms they choose to incorporate within their unique business model, to include validating for all or select garages.”

Mervis said his restaurant is trying to do the right thing for customers by validating parking, but the end result is hurting their bottom line.

“We’re paying the same price as the guest pays,” he said. “We spent $1,600 in January to validate parking, and at our price point, that has drastic effects for us.”

by Dave Emke — February 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm 5 Comments

A women’s boutique and a clothing store both have plans to open on Market Street.

Scout & Molly’s is set to arrive at 11944 Market Street later this year, Reston Town Center announced Wednesday morning. The location is wedged between Ted’s Bulletin and Bowtie Cinemas, a space that was occupied by PR Barbers before it moved to Discovery Street last summer.

According to a press release, Scout & Molly’s “will carry a wide variety of designers to accommodate any fashion enthusiast’s taste, offering discerning RTC patrons distinctive ways to express their style in a friendly, comfortable environment.”

Scout & Molly’s has more than 30 locations nationwide and expects to double that number soon. It has stores in Merrifield’s Mosaic District and Ashburn’s One Loudoun.

On the other side of Bowtie Cinemas, the storefront that housed cosmetics store Origins (11932 Market Street) until it closed in January is also showing signs of life. Signage on the store’s windows indicates a J.McLaughlin clothing store is “coming soon.” Boston Properties spokesperson Rob Weinhold said more information about the incoming business would be “forthcoming at the proper time.”

J.McLaughlin has more than 100 stores nationwide, including in D.C. and Bethesda.

by Dave Emke — January 31, 2017 at 9:00 am 12 Comments

Morning Notes - Winter

Reston Now Reader Survey — Please help us make Reston Now even better by taking our 2017 reader survey! This year, we’re partnering with the University of Kansas journalism school, which is studying sites like ours. The results of the survey will help us improve the site and will help researchers better understand our role in informing the Reston community. [Reston Now/KU]

Design-Build Firm Marks Grand Opening — Home remodeling company Synergy Design & Construction officially opened its new showroom (11501 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 250) last week. The business began in 2008 and has about a dozen employees. [Press Release]

Police Show Solidarity with Muslim Community — Reston patrol officers of the Fairfax County Police Department visited the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and the Al Fatih Academy to show their support following this weekend’s mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec. [Fairfax County Police Department/Facebook]

RTC Parking ‘Uninviting and Confusing’ — Reston resident Peter Carlivati has visited Bowtie Cinemas at Reston Town Center twice in the last month, and has left with a bad taste in his mouth after trying to pay for parking with cash. [Fairfax Times]

by Dave Emke — January 24, 2017 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments

Burger restaurant BRB (Be Right Burger) has closed in Reston Town Center, but the space is scheduled for new life.

According to its website, Pheast Food Group has taken over the management of several restaurants including Be Right Burger and will be “updating those concepts in 2017.” Signage posted on the shuttered Reston Town Center eatery advertises “another exciting concept coming soon.”

The changes are part of a reorganization within Reston-based parent company Thompson Hospitality, according to Pheast’s website:

“Funded by Thompson Hospitality, the largest minority-owned hospitality company in the country, Pheast Food Group was created to develop new innovative restaurant concepts and will oversee the management of the company’s brands — The American Tap Room, Austin Grill, Willie T’s Lobster Shack, Pizza Studio and Be Right Burger.”

The American Tap Room also has a Reston Town Center location.

Late last year, Pheast turned two former locations of Tex-Mex restaurant Austin Grill — in Alexandria and Silver Spring, Maryland — into Southern-style restaurants under the name Hen Quarter.

BRB opened in Reston Town Center in the summer of 2011. Prior to that, the building (1820 Discovery St.) housed a Marvelous Market deli, also owned by Thompson Hospitality.

The restaurant also has a location at Dulles International Airport.

by Dave Emke — January 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm 29 Comments

Origins will close the doors of its cosmetics store in Reston Town Center (11932 Market St.) later this week.

An employee at the shop Monday morning told Reston Now the store’s last day would be Wednesday. However, she said, no one at the store would give any further information about the decision. Signage in place at the store indicates that it is going out of business and that “everything must go.”

In a recent interview with Reston Connection, manager Mary Tisi said the store has been seeing a decline in business and paid parking was the “nail in the coffin.”

Paid parking began at Reston Town Center in early January and public response has been very critical.

A Reston Now reader who sent an anonymous email about the announcement said it is upsetting news.

“[This is] very sad, as I have been a customer at this Origins location for 15 years,” the reader said.

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