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Apr
23

Metro Matters: All On Track Mixed Use, Transit Oriented Development Following Silver Line Stations

The positive economic impact of the opening of the first phase of the Silver Line in 2014 continues in Tysons and is rapidly rolling west along the Phase 2 alignment in Reston and Herndon, according to recent reports.

The three new metro stations in this area – Reston Town Center, Herndon and Innovation Center – along with the existing  Wiehle-Reston East Station are attracting new commercial and residential development, all part of the goal to attract high-density projects where people can work, live and play.

The latest news for the Wiehle-Reston East area  is the announcement that Google has signed a lease to occupy 90,000 square feet in Comstock Holding Cos. Inc.’s 1900 Reston Metro Plaza building. That’s more than one-quarter of the space available in that building. The Washington Business Journal reports that a sought-after Cleveland Clinic spinoff Centerline Biomedical is looking at the Tysons area to house a new technology facility for its research and development staff, which is on the forefront of using breakthroughs in
vascular surgery. 

Bisnow recently listed 8 new projects planned near the Phase 2 stations:

Near Reston Town Center Station

Reston Gateway: Boston Properties announced plans for almost five million square feet of mixed use development between Reston Town Center and the rail station. The site is directly across Sunset Hills Road from the north pavilion. The development includes 1.8 million square feet office, 2,010 residential units, a hotel and retail.

RTC West: JBG Smith is planning a 22-story apartment building with 283 units, a 20-story condominium building with 293 units, an eight-story office building, a seven story loft-like office building around the existing development, including the popular Cooper’s Hawk at Sunset Hills Road and Town Center Parkway.

Brookfield Properties has plans for its 36-acre site north of the Reston Town Center Station that include 1,500 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office space and 250,000 square feet of retail space, including a Wegman’s. Brookfield anticipates completion of the project in 2026.

Near Herndon Station

Metro Square: Stanley Martin Homes’ Metro Square at the corner of Herndon Parkway and Van Buren Street is nearly sold out of the 64 condos finished or under construction.

Woodland Park East: Tishman Speyer, Pinkard Group and NVR are planning 1.6 million square feet of mixed use, including office, retail and housing units, including apartments and townhouses. Construction has begun on the development located south of the Dulles Toll Road and west of
Monroe Street.

555 Herndon Parkway: Penzance has plans for a mixed used development at 555 Herndon Parkway, adjacent to the north pavilion that calls for a mix of uses in 10-, 23- and 24-story towers.

Lerner Cos. has submitted a proposal to the Town of Herndon for a large mixed-used development at the north pavilion. Details have not yet been publicized.

Near Innovation Center Station 

Innovation South: Being built directly south of the rail station by Rocks Engineering and Penzance,  plans call for more than  1,000 residential units, hotel and retail and office space at The Landing.

The Hub: In Loudoun County, The Hub, by Open-Reebes, is approved for 3.5 million square feet of office, more than 1,200 housing units, retail, hotel space and entertainment facilities.

Waterside: Also in Loudoun County and north of the Hub, the 335 acres upon which Chantilly Crushed Stone sits has been approved for nearly 2,600 homes, two hotels, and 500,000 square feet of retail space.

CIT: On the Loudoun/Fairfax line is the Center for Innovative Technology building and campus, a 24-acre facility recently put up for sale by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Pomeroy Cos. has two projects planned on 40 acres at Sunrise Valley Drive and Frying Pan Road. Aurora Station at Dulles will include 1,000-plus housing units and commercial space, while Pomeroy and CRC Cos. will have another 1,114 units and space for an elementary school.

Protective Sealant Application Underway on Silver Line

Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews have resumed spraying a protective sealant called Silane on precast concrete wall panels to help prevent future damage from road spray and salt at some of the Phase 2 Metrorail stations.

Sealant application is 98 percent complete at Herndon Station and will begin soon at Reston Town Center Station. Spraying is also planned at the Ashburn and Loudoun Gateway stations. 

Working when weather permits, crews appear to passers-by as if they might be exterminators. Indeed, they are not. The chemical they are applying is  a protectant that has been approved as a solution to a problem with the concrete panels first reported in spring 2017 related to air entrainment and improper ratios of the water to cement mix in the concrete. This issue did not create safety concerns, but did raise concerns about the panels’ long-term durability.

In fall of 2018, crews for Capital Rail Constructors (CRC), the project’s lead contractor for the Silver Line rail extension, had replaced precast concrete panels that had been deemed inadequate. Inspections determined that the
concrete problems originated in a sub-contractor’s manufacturing process.

The Airports Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which will take over the project when it’s completed, and the contractor agreed to additional mitigation — which is the application of the protective coating periodically over the coming years. These coatings will be funded by the contractor and the frequency of future coatings will be determined by WMATA, which is expected to monitor the durability over the 100-year life of the project. 

CRC suspended spraying at the Innovation Center Station in February because of weather after completing about 75% of that work at Innovation Center Station.  Innovation work has not progressed because of dynamic testing in that area and will resume as dynamic testing permits.

Warmer, drier weather should allow the process to move forward at a faster pace, according to John Kearney, the rail project’s construction manager.

According to Airports Authority rail team, crews have completed power washing panels at all stations in preparation for spraying. None of the flawed panels were installed at the Dulles Airport Station.

Rail project officials said they are happy to see the sealant application moving ahead, noting that unusually heavy rains and snows of the winter months slowed the work, which requires up to 48 hours of dry weather for the process to be completed.

Apr
23

Celebrate Fairfax! Festival

Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide event, the 38th annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, is set to take place June 7-9, 2019 on the grounds of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia.  The Celebrate Fairfax! Festival features 25 acres of amazing concerts, family programs, exhibits, thrilling carnival rides and nightly fireworks. Among the festival’s highlights are more than 120 performances on seven stages, with an exceptional line-up of national, regional and local artists, including three main attractions:

2019 Headline Entertainment Schedule for the Bud Light Main Stage:

Friday, June 7th at 8:00 p.m.  

Better Than Ezra

The ever so talented trio of Kevin Griffin, Tom Drummond, and Travis McNabb are the creative minds that make up the group, Better Than Ezra. The band’s smash hits in the 90’s, such as “Good” and “Desperately Wanting.” ingrained the band into the memories of a generation. Better Than Ezra is deeply aware of their past and they are looking to continue creating wonderful music that resonates with veteran fans as well as
new fans. 

Saturday, June 8th at 8:00pm 

Smash Mouth

Smashmouth photographed in San Jose, CA June 14, 2010©Jay Blakesberg.

Smash Mouth is a band name recognized across all generations, with parents rocking alongside their kids to hits such as “All Star,” “I’m A Believer,” and “Then The Morning Comes.” Having got their start in the late 90’s, Steve Harwell, Paul DeLisle, Greg Camp, Mike “Hippy” Klooster, and Randy Cooke’s, rise to stardom only took a couple of years, although they have since been filling their time with entertaining U.S. Troops overseas. After taking a small break from creating music, Smash Mouth is ready to take off with a new album set to release in the summer of 2019. 

Sunday, June 9th at 11:00am 

The Sunday Brew

The 3rd annual Sunday Brew will feature 12 local and regional breweries, each with up to 4 types of craft beer on tap. This program will also include two stages of non-stop entertainment, and beer-focused activities. All festival attendees are welcome to enjoy the music and activities; however, only those attendees that purchased the Sunday Brew ticket will be able to taste the craft brews. Tickets are limited.

In addition to the outstanding entertainment schedule, Celebrate Fairfax! Festival includes much more – such as the popular Silent Disco, Fairfax County Karaoke Championship, Fairfax County DockDogs Competition, PSISTORM Cup VIII esports Arena, Taste of Virginia Wine Bar, Virginia Tourism LoveArtwork, Celebrate Fairfax 5k Race, Transportation Station, Robotics Pavilion, INOVA Children’s Hospital Avenue, Sunday Brew – plus expanded VIP experiences with front of stage viewing for headliner shows. There will be more than 60 carnival rides, games, and attractions, and 30 food vendors with enough variety to please anyone. 

General admission is available for all performances; shows are free with daily tickets to the event. Super Early Bird tickets went  on sale April 1st at
www.celebratefairfax.com and May 1st at all Northern Virginia Wegmans locations. 

Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c) 3 organization commissioned in 1982 by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.  Its mission, “The Celebration of Fairfax County and Its Communities,” is met through the production of the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, and Fall for Fairfax KidsFest.  

For more information call  (703) 324-3247 or visit the website, www.celebratefairfax.com.  

Apr
23

Homestead National Monument Park, FREE LAND, FREE LAND!!!

Story and photos by Jim Schlett

Since its opening in 1962, Dulles Airport has been a gateway to the nation’s capital as well as a portal to numerous vacation, historical and educational opportunities.   With a multitude of flights from less than a hour to several hours, the world awaits those who need a break from the fast and hectic pace of the Washington DC area.  The rapid expansion has been accelerated in the past decade with numerous businesses moving into the area, including many in the exciting and ever-changing area of technology.   

Can you imagine how much additional growth there would be if someone were to tell you,  FREE LAND, FREE LAND!!  It’s hard to imagine or believe, but for a long time in America, that was the actual cry and declaration.   And while you might find this hard to believe, it was even used to encourage emigration. 

As background, in 2018, I was extremely fortunate to have been selected as one of several Artist-In-Residents (AIR) at several National Parks, including the Homestead National Monument Park located in Beatrice, Nebraska.   This park tells the story of Free Land, Homesteaders, Abraham Lincoln, Emigration and the plight of the American Indian that is still being experienced to this day.   

We flew from Dulles to Kansas City and drove up to the park in early October following a portion of the journey of Lewis and Clark from over 215 years ago.  While I was at the Homestead for 2 weeks, in addition to taking photographs of the park, I began to learn and absorb as much information about the Homestead Act of 1862 and its importance in history.   For the most part, we experienced great autumn weather, crisp coolness, the start of great fall colors and even a day of snow.   My wife, Gail and I enjoyed numerous hikes and were often up for the early morning light of sunrise that is often great for what I called the “Magic Hour” for photographers.   

The area for the park was created by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt back in 1936.  The Park commemorates the Homestead Act of 1862, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, while he was also dealing with the American Civil War.  The Act eventually opened up western expansion of the United States with over 270 million acres of land with approximately 4 million claims filed.  The requirements to obtain the land were relatively simple: be over 25 years old, head of a household, live on the designated land, build a house, farm the land and stay on it for at least 5 years.  Immigrants, enslaved people, and single women could all qualify to file a claim.  Potential homesteaders found and filed their claim at a local, regional land office.  Initially it granted 160 acres of free land to claimants.  The last claim was filed back in 1976 in Alaska.

The Park itself, with about 150 acres of prairie land and 3 miles of trails, offers a fascinating look into the scope and breadth of how Homesteaders just started with a dream.  The park has 2 buildings, a Visitors Center and a Heritage Center, and engages visitors with a wealth of information and hands-on exhibitions.  Since Homesteaders were farmers, there are numerous displays of various farm equipment, a school house, a cabin and machinery at the park.   One cannot help but wonder how, without the many modern conveniences of today, that homesteaders survived their initial brutal winters.  The park, like most National Park sites, offers numerous ranger-lead activities and walks.  There are many special events that demonstrate crafts, games, and activities that would be part of the daily activities of those who claimed the land.  By joining in each day with the rangers and park volunteers, we would learn the various facets and facts of the hard life of farming.  The park arranged for a special tour of a nearby farm, where a farmer, Tim Graff, gave a great overview of running the farm and actually had us join him in his huge combine for harvesting corn for a good portion of the afternoon.  I learned first hand why this is called the “corn huskers” state.

In addition to the park being so interesting, we found that the state of Nebraska has a great deal to offer in terms of history, scenic beauty and very welcoming people. We managed to take in some of the nearby attractions while on this trip.  Some of the attractions would include the childhood home of Willa Cather, American Pulitzer Prize writer, Rock Creek Station – where the Pony Express, the California and Oregon trails all merge for a brief distance – the Arbor Day Farm, the birthplace of National Arbor Day, and a world class zoo in Omaha. 

The 2 weeks passed way too quickly but the sights and information about this unique Act and Park that changed America will long stay with me.  It’s also amazing that, even today, as it is estimated that 93 million homesteader descendants are still alive to tell their stories, including actress Whoopie Goldberg.

To see more of my photos of the National Parks, visit https://photomanva.zenfolio.com/p570512401.

Apr
23

KarHappy – A New App to Make Maintenance Choices Easier

Calling all car-and-vanpoolers! What do you do for car care service right now?  Do you search for services from the same place over and over again like most people do?  Are you tired of: (1) Conducting searches on Google and Yelp; (2) Comparing prices by calling each one of them or look for coupons; (3) Making a phone call to book an appointment; and (4) Having to wait in line to pay after receiving service?

Really?  Why is the car care industry stuck with old school philosophy and technology? While these days you can push the button on your phone to order food, hail ride services, buy clothes, tickets and a lot of other services – but not auto services? Not anymore!

KarHappy is here – and on-demand mobile app that fully automates car care servicing with nearby deals, appointment scheduling and automated payments – for services like car washing and oil changes (to begin with).

Service providers also gain an advantage by coming on board with KarHappy.  Service providers get new customers, automated appointment booking, and mobile payments, with no upfront cost to them. KarHappy charges a small percentage of the business booked through the app, making this a marketing tool with one of the best returns on investment for service providers.  KarHappy also plans to automate customer communication and engagement very soon.

Currently, KarHappy is serving the residents of Loudoun County, but plans to expand its geographic service area soon, says Nick Kondoori,
Founder & CEO.  KarHappy is available free to download by users and service providers on the Appstore (Apple), Play Store (Google)
and online via the website www.KarHappy.com.

The goal for KarHappy is to solve all the problems that currently exist in the car care industry and be the preferred choice for both car owners and service providers.  KarHappy envisions future versions of the App being able to diagnose error codes and to retrieve multiple estimates, secure appointments and make payments at the push of a button.  KarHappy times are here to stay! 

Feb
27

A Resident’s Opinion: The Key to Transportation

By Ken Reiman

People. Relationships. Heart. You need all three. In fact, according to my six year old son, life is about relationships first and foremost.  How lucky we are to have air conditioned and heated public transportation in the United States of America and safety and security standards to keep our loved ones safe.  We are truly blessed.  Pause and say thanks.

I have lived and worked in countries where public transportation pales in comparison to what we enjoy here.  I have also witnessed public transportation systems in other countries that I wish we could emulate here.  In a global world, a global mindset is necessary, one where we value diversity and are humble enough to learn from one another.  That’s the beauty of the United States and the value we bring to the world.  It starts and ends with the quality of our relationships. Share your strengths with others.

Transportation echoes life.  All of us regardless of nationality, religion, gender or background ride the journey of life.  The stops we get off on may be different, but we are all headed somewhere.  Take a moment to think about the people you encounter and their families next time you ride public transportation.  Say thank you to those heroes that protect you and get us to and from work safe.  Theirs is a noble calling. Honor those servants of humanity.

You’ll never see transportation the same way if you view it in terms of relationships: moving hearts and minds.  Even the goods that are transported fulfil a relational purpose – they mean something to someone.  An added benefit of public transportation: you can cultivate a new relationship, strengthen an existing one, pray, read and even write. Move your heart and mind to recognize all those blessings
in disguise. 

Since you made it this far, let me share with you something personal.  My mother came to the U.S. as a student from Japan and faced a car accident that nearly took her life.  She was in the hospital for a year in a coma like stage.  The doctors said she would not live.   Miraculously, she did, obtained her PhD, and became a Professor of Japanese languages, helping American college students learn to love her mother tongue.  Had that crash ended her life, I nor my son would be alive to share this message with you. Be grateful for life and the people in it.

I am a public servant and an author who has taken public transportation all my life.  I always enjoy a good book.  If you are interested in poetry, foreign languages and children’s books or international affairs, my books are available on my website: www.kenreiman.com.  My memoir comes out this year – a story of overcoming adversity to embrace diversity and fight for justice.  Each of us has a story to tell. Thanks for listening to mine and I can’t wait to hear about yours.  Live more, live well, the world is a better place because you are in it..