Long-delayed Rare Bird Opens, Adds to City’s Growing Coffee Scene

By Stephen Siegel
The Falls Church Times

October 6, 2016

Rare Bird Coffee Roasters, a new specialty coffee house that roasts beans right at its store, quietly opened its doors Tuesday in a move that adds to Falls Church City’s growing premium coffee options.

The bar and roastery, located in the former Tutti Frutti space at 230 W. Broad Street, is the brainchild of Bryan Becker and Lara Berenji, who originally operated the shop in a location well off the beaten path in Northeast Washington. They had originally targeted a July opening, but finishing the space and getting the necessary permits took longer than they planned.

The Broad Street location is not a second one for the couple; they opted to close their Washington store and relocate to Falls Church. They appear to have a real passion for coffee, not only because they roast their own beans, but because they carefully measured and weighed the amount of ground coffee that went into a reporter’s cappuccino on Wednesday.

“We want to make really good coffee,” Mr. Becker said, “but we don’t want to be snobs about it. We want to be inclusive. We like what the coffee... [Read more...]

Unlike Fresh Market, Harris Teeter is Poised to Deliver

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 26, 2016

The Fresh Market may have declined to follow through on its letter of intent to locate in the new Reserve at Tinner Hill project on South Washington Street, but another upscale grocery just a few blocks away is expected to open its doors Wednesday.

That upscale grocery is the Harris Teeter, which has leased most of the ground floor at developer Rushmark’s new West Broad building, located at 301 W. Broad Street, on the site of the old post office and Anthony’s Italian restaurant.

The new supermarket will bring yet another grocer to the Falls Church City market, which currently boasts just Giant Foods inside the City limits, but Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Shoppers Food Warehouse just beyond.

It also will create a new amenity for the residents of the West Broad building, who have been moving in floor by floor since the winter. There is underground parking in the building for the store’s customers.

The complex is the first new mixed-use project completed since Northgate on North Washington Street, and also is one of the biggest. Reaching close to... [Read more...]

Fresh Market Leaves, and Leaves City and Developer in the Lurch

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 23, 2016

The Fresh Market, an upscale natural food grocer similar to Whole Foods, has changed its mind and will not open in the new Reserve at Tinner Hill project nearing completion on the old International Motors site on South Washington Street, the Falls Church Times has confirmed.

Rumors about the departure have been circulating for several weeks, but nothing official was released from City Hall, apparently because officials were hoping the chain would change its mind again and come back. But that does not appear to be in the cards.

A City official told the Times Friday that developer Lincoln Property Company is “actively marketing the space” which suggests they believe they no longer have a tenant for the largest space in their new building, a 20,000 square foot ground floor that already has been built out to Fresh Market’s wishes.

That’s a big blow to the developer, who stood to gain substantial cash from a lease with the store. It also hurts their efforts to attract other retailers to the complex; stores like to be near supermarkets because of the traffic they draw.... [Read more...]

Two Armed Robberies On West Broad

May 11, 2016

Falls Church City Police are looking for a suspect who robbed the Wells Fargo Bank at 1000 West Broad Street at about 3:50 p.m. Wednesday. The robber implied he had a weapon, but no injuries were reported from any employees or customers. The suspect is described as a middle eastern male with a beard, eyeglasses, red baseball hat, and brown trench coat, about 5′ 10″ tall, and approximately 25-30 years of age.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

There also was an armed robbery a few blocks away May 6. In that incident, a man staying at the Stratford Motor Lodge, 300 W. Broad St., was robbed of his wallet outside the motel by three masked men with handguns. They fled on foot, and the victim was not harmed.

All three suspects wore blue bandanas covering their faces, black t-shirts and jeans. One is described as a white or Hispanic male in his 20s, about 5’6” with dark hair; the second is described as a black male in his 20s, about 5’10”; the third is described as a black male in his 20s, about 5’11”.

Anyone... [Read more...]

Around Town

SUNDAY, 4/19: Citizens for a Better City Annual Meeting

All are welcome to join Citizens for a Better City (CBC) on Sunday, April 19th for their Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception at Falls Church’s Hilton Garden Inn, 706 West Broad Street.


Reception begins at 5:00 PM with drinks & light hors d’oeuvres followed by our meeting at 6:00 PM.


Cocktails including 2015 dues $30 per person


You may pay at the door or in advance. Make your check out to Citizens for a Better City and mail to CBC, PO BOX 6080, Falls Church, VA 22042


Parking... [Read more...]

April 9, 2015 | Leave a Comment

ANALYSIS: Council Poised to Push Back on Schools’ Budget Request

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 25, 2016

For many years, the song remained the same: Residents concerned about Falls Church City’s property tax rate complained that the City Council wasn’t pushing back enough against school funding requests, and instead gave school officials whatever they wanted.

But that appears poised to change tonight, when the Council is expected to approve a budget that gives the schools $912,000 less than they have asked for.

They aren’t doing that for fun, of course; they are doing it because a majority of the Council has decided they want to keep the property tax rate flat with last year and not raise it by any amount, not even the 2.5 cents proposed in City Manager Wyatt Shields’ initial budget proposal, which is required by law to include the schools’ request without any reductions.

The Council’s stiffer spine seems to have caught school officials by surprise. They are lamenting the impact they say it will have on the schools, and school advocates, including City Councilor Marybeth Connelly and School Board Chair Justin Castillo, have been making calls, sending out emails,... [Read more...]

Fundraiser for Annual GMHS Graduation Party Set for Saturday

Special to the Falls Church Times
April 20, 2016

For the 27th year, the George Mason High School All Night Grad Celebration is being planned for this year’s seniors. To help defray the cost, organizers are holding a fundraiser Saturday from 3 to 6 pm at Clare & Don’s Beach Shack on North Washington Street.

Called the Byrd Feeder after Mason Principal Ty Byrd, the fundraiser will feature a silent auction hosted by Mr. Byrd. It’s an event for the entire GMHS parent community, featuring auction items donated by GMHS families, local organizations, and other businesses. The Byrd Feeder netted more than $6,000 last year.

The all-night party, known as the ANGC, had its start 27 years ago, when GMHS parents, concerned about the risks of alcohol, drugs, and unsafe driving at traditional “grad night” celebrations, decided to offer new graduates a fun, safe alternative.

Now a cherished tradition with participation rates averaging more than 90 percent over the last several years, ANGC boasts a certain mystique that keeps the kids engaged and eager to sign up year after year. Outgoing seniors share stories of the activities... [Read more...]

City Manager Proposes Budget With Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Increases

March 15, 2016

City Manager Wyatt Shields on Monday night proposed a Fiscal Year 2017 budget of $87 million, an increase of 5.1 percent over the previous fiscal year. The proposed budget provides for a 1.2 percent ($438,421) increase in general government operating expenditures and a 5.4 percent ($2,065,130) increase in local funding for public schools, as requested by the School Board and required by City ordinance.

Three tax increases are proposed by the City Manager to meet needs and requirements set forth in the budget. A 2.5 cent increase in the real estate tax – from $1.315 to $1.34 per $100 of assessed value – is proposed to meet the school funding request. Taxes for the median home value of $647,800 would increase $163.

Mr. Shields also proposed a 16 cent increase on the personal property tax – from $4.84 to $5 per $100 of assessed value – and a 10 cent increase on the cigarette tax – from 75 cents to 85 cents per pack – to help offset a $627,112 increase in Metro funding required of local governments. The increase in the personal property tax would mean an additional... [Read more...]

Dream Season Ends in Semis for Mason Boys’ Hoops

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
March 11, 2016

The George Mason High School Boys Basketball team was living the dream. Winners of its first 29 games this season, including a last second, 74-72, thriller earlier this week, they were poised for an unbelievable 30th straight victory against zero losses as they headed to Richmond.

But their hopes for a state championship were dashed in the semifinal round of the playoffs by the Greensville County Eagles, who came from behind in overtime to end Mason’s stunning season Friday, 66-63.

Had they won, Mason would have played for all the marbles Saturday afternoon at 4 pm. Instead, they’ll head back north while Greensville County takes the place they wanted. Greensville is a rural county near the North Carolina border.

It wasn’t like they didn’t give it their best shot. Trailing 30-23 at the half, the Mason boys battled back and took a 55-51 lead in the fourth quarter, only to see Greensville tie it up shortly thereafter. Greensville then scored again to take a 57-55 lead late, but Mason’s Elliot Mercado, a senior and the team’s second leading... [Read more...]

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