Sierra, HomeGoods, and other stores could be coming to Fair City Mall - Framebridge opens in Mosaic - Supervisors pass zoning overhaul

Pools expected to open at 75% capacity - FCPS to hold in-person graduation ceremonies - Fairfax Connector to take over several local bus routes, including 29W

Welcome to Braddock Buzz, where we’re thrilled to announce we’ve reached a major milestone: 1,000 subscribers. We’re delighted and humbled by all the support and encouragement we’ve gotten from so many community members. Keep the news, tips, and feedback coming to braddockbuzz@gmail.com, and drop us a note if you’re interested in advertising.

A quick programming update: We’re taking off next week for Easter and will be back in your inboxes the following Monday, April 12. 

Thank you to our sponsors:

  • Realtor Jennifer Mack, whose column this week answers the question, “How long will it really take to sell my home?” Reach out to Jennifer with column suggestions or real estate questions at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com.

  • The Wakefield Chapel Recreation Association, which has a limited number of memberships still available. Are you looking for a neighborhood swim club that offers premier swim and dive programs, youth and adult tennis instruction, and an awesome social calendar that has something for every member of your family? Visit wakefieldchapelrec.org to join today!

Openings and a (non) Closing

Sierra, HomeGoods, and other stores could be coming to Fair City Mall: The owners of Fair City Mall are in discussions with the City of Fairfax about bringing several new tenants to the shopping center at the intersection of Route 236 and Pickett Road. The proposed new tenants are:

  • HomeGoods, to replace A.C. Moore

  • Sierra, to replace Bed Bath & Beyond

  • Big Blue Swim School

No announcements have been made, no timelines or opening dates have been publicized, and representatives for Fair City Mall declined to comment, citing “confidentiality agreements.” We reached out to Sierra and HomeGoods, both of which indicated they weren’t ready to discuss their plans. “At this time, HomeGoods has not announced a new store in the Fairfax area,” said spokesperson Hannah Bramhall. Added Sierra in an unattributed statement: “Generally speaking, it is our practice not to announce store openings until close to an intended opening date.”

But the property owners have filed documentation with the City of Fairfax’s Architecture Review Board seeking to change the storefronts to accommodate the proposed new tenants. Renderings also indicate a Burlington coat store could be coming to the former Best Buy location, though Burlington is not mentioned in the text of the proposal. Here are two photo illustrations from the proposal of what the new storefronts would look like:

Framebridge opens in Mosaic: Framebridge, the custom framing company launched in 2014 and headquartered in D.C., has opened a new store in Mosaic. This is Framebridge’s sixth physical location, with the others in Atlanta, D.C., New York, and Maryland. The Mosaic store’s capacity will be limited because of the pandemic, but appointments can be made online. The address is 2910 District Avenue #165.

The Ravensworth post office is here to stay: A reader emailed us last week saying she’d heard the post office in the Ravensworth Shopping Center might be closing—a concern possibly prompted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s announcement of nationwide service cuts as part of a new 10-year USPS roadmap. We asked around and determined there are no plans to close the facility, at least for now.

“While there are no immediate plans to close the Ravensworth Post Office, customers and Congress are fed up with DeJoy’s service cuts and record delays,” said the Braddock District’s congressman, Democrat Gerry Connolly. USPS spokesperson Felicia Lott also confirmed there are no plans to shutter the facility “at this time,” and a representative for the shopping center noted the lease extends until 2026.

“I hope that branch isn't closing,” said the reader whose email sparked our inquiries. “As far as I can tell, it gets a steady stream of customers every day.”

The second summer of Covid

Pools expected to open at 75% capacity: Community swimming pools are expected to open this summer with restrictions similar to last season, according to Olivia McCormick, a division director with the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Environmental Health Services. In an interview, McCormick said state officials do not anticipate significant changes to the existing guidance, though they continue to monitor the situation and will make adjustments accordingly.

Under the current restrictions, pools are limited to 75% capacity and patrons must be screened for Covid-19 symptoms prior to entry. Free swim is allowed, but swimmers are required to maintain 10 feet of distance. For swim classes, the 10-foot rule applies “where practicable.”

“There's no evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted in water,” McCormick said. “That is not the concern in the swimming pool setting. The concern is the behavior if the water wasn't there—people exercising together and having close contact. Those are really the same concerns you'd have at a gym or restaurant, or other places where people are not wearing face coverings, or where they're exhaling forcefully.”

How are local pools preparing? Volunteers are already at work getting pools in the area ready for the summer season—including cleanup, furniture inventory, repairs, pool draining and cleaning, and more, according to Brad Otto, president of the Wakefield Chapel Recreation Association. “It takes a lot of time and effort after seven off-season months to prepare a facility of our size,” Otto said in an email.

The leaders of several area pools—including WCRA, Truro, Ilda, Mantua, and Fairfax—have started holding biweekly calls to share lessons learned and discuss their planning. “We’re all volunteers operating under challenging circumstances, so it’s helpful to have a supportive and regular dialogue,” Otto said. If pools opened under the existing guidelines, he added, it would look a lot like the end of the 2020 season. “We would have reservation time slots, limited furniture, and periodic closures for facility cleaning.”

There will be swim team this year: The Northern Virginia Swimming League has released a statement saying it is “moving forward with plans for a season,” after canceling the 2020 season due to the pandemic. “This is a fluid situation and we are closely monitoring the state and local health guidelines that govern youth sports,” the statement says. “These guidelines will help us determine the type of season we are able to have.”

County News

Supervisors pass zoning overhaul: The Board of Supervisors has approved a major overhaul of the county’s four-decade-old zoning rules, including several controversial changes such as streamlining the process for building an Accessory Living Unit and regulating the height of flagpoles. The new rules, part of an effort called the Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project, or zMOD, take effect July 1. A summary is here.

Fairfax Connector to take over several local bus routes, including 29W: It’s official: The Fairfax Connector will be taking over local bus routes that are being discontinued by WMATA, including the 29W Pentagon Express that made stops in several Braddock District neighborhoods. Here’s a list of the Connector’s new Braddock District routes, via District Supervisor James Walkinshaw’s latest newsletter:

  • Fairfax Connector Route 835 – Braeburn Dr. – Pentagon Express: This route will replace the Metrobus Route 29W by providing rush hour service every 30 minutes (eastbound in A.M. and westbound in P.M.).

  • Fairfax Connector Route 834 – Annandale: This route will replace the Metrobus Route 29C by providing rush hour service every 30 minutes (westbound in A.M. and eastbound in P.M.) and will make schedule adjustments to improve efficiency and performance.

  • Fairfax Connector Route 803 – Annandale Rd.: This route would replace the Metrobus Route 3A and will operate 7 days a week. Weekday rush hour service would operate every 30 minutes, non-rush hour service would improve to every 40 minutes, and weekend service would improve to every 45 minutes. The service operates from Seven Corners on weekends. 

Sponsor Message

Wakefield Chapel Recreation Association has limited memberships available

News in Brief

  • Gov. Ralph Northam is easing some pandemic restrictions effective April 1, including an increase to the limit on indoor social gatherings to 50 and outdoor gatherings to 100.

  • The Fairfax Health District has opened vaccine eligibility to two more essential worker groups: mail carriers and public transit workers, not including airline employees.

  • A Washington Post investigation highlights staffing issues at the Braddock Glen assisted-living community near Woodson High School—part of a pandemic-fueled labor shortage in the long-term care industry.

  • FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said in a message to the community there will be in-person graduation ceremonies this year. He also said he would provide an update after spring break on whether in-person learning can be expanded in response to the CDC recommending three feet of distancing between students, down from six.

  • The Washington Post Real Estate section has published a profile of the Burke area, detailing a failed 1950s effort to build an airport in Burke that started the community’s transition from rural to suburban. The article also discusses the urban legend of the “Bunny Man.”

  • George Mason University has named Kim English its new men’s basketball coach. English comes from the University of Tennessee, where he was an assistant. A Baltimore native, English spent one season in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons and also played professionally overseas.

Events

  • Tuesday, March 30, 7 p.m.: There will be a Braddock District Budget Town Hall featuring District Supervisor Walkinshaw, School Board Member Megan McLaughlin, and the county’s chief financial officer, Joe Mondoro. Details here.

  • Tuesday, April 6, 7 p.m.: Walkinshaw and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will host a virtual meeting on the new DMV service center coming to 9911 Braddock Road. Details will be in the next edition of Walkinshaw’s newsletter.

  • Thursday, April 8, 7 p.m.: Walkinshaw and the Park Authority will host a virtual meeting on plans to repurpose two platform tennis courts at Wakefield Park for pickleball. Details on how to attend are here.

Service

130 people participate in Truro kindness walk: Two Girl Scouts from Troop 147, Lauren Moreth and Kendall Sprague, sent us the update below on the Truro Kindness Walk they organized on March 13:

We would like to thank you all so much for attending the Kindness Walk on March 13th! There was an amazing turnout with about 130 people walking and 17 dogs with them. Because of this we had a crazy amount of art supplies donated to UMFS. People were so generous with their donations. We think that all of the kids and families at the UMFS Leland house will be really happy to receive the art supplies, and are so happy that all of you came out on the walk and donated to UMFS. We hope you all enjoyed the walk and Remember to look for the Silver Lining!

Kids Give Back has four events lined up for the spring and summer: The local organization Kids Give Back, which teaches kids about volunteerism and provides them with service opportunities, has four events lined up for this spring and summer:

  • April 17, Earth Day Celebration, led by a nature expert

  • May 22, Snack Pack PACK-A-THON where volunteers will try to pack 500 snack packs in less than two hours

  • June 14-18, Summer Volunteer Camp

  • July 12-16, Summer Volunteer Camp

More info on the events can be found here.

Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Jennifer Mack column: How long will it really take to sell my home?

Lately, I get a lot of questions from potential sellers on what a typical timeline looks like for selling their home so they can better understand when they would actually need to have new living arrangements in place.

The answer is there are many variables depending on your situation—and there are ways to get creative and develop “win-wins” for the seller and buyer.

One variable that can impact the timeline is whether a seller does a “coming soon” listing. This is usually done to drum up interest in a property so that word starts spreading among potential buyers. Homes that are “coming soon” cannot be shown but the listing may have photos uploaded and there is usually a sign in the yard. A buyer can actually present an offer on a home in “coming soon” status if they are willing to do that before they see it in person. Some sellers may consider these offers, while others may prefer to wait until the listing goes live so they can truly be exposed to the whole market. This is a strategic decision I discuss with my clients in advance so they are prepared if this happens.

Once a property becomes active, a seller may start receiving offers immediately if the home is priced well and prepared for market effectively. It is up to the seller whether they wish to accept an offer right away, set an offer deadline, or continue to review offers as they come in. Again, this is a strategic decision, usually made in consultation with an agent. Once a seller accepts an offer, the escrow period begins. This can last from three weeks to as long as a couple months and is completely negotiable. The seller and buyer agree on a date prior to the contract being finalized, and in Virginia that date is set in stone unless either side asks for an amendment to it and the other party agrees. Sometimes, a seller requests to remain in the property after closing in what is called a "post settlement occupancy." 

If a buyer is getting a loan on a property, then typically a seller may only remain in the home for up to 60 days per lender requirements. If a buyer is paying cash, then a seller can remain for as long as is negotiated upfront. Sometimes a buyer charges the seller "rent" and other times a seller is offered occupancy at no charge. The seller keeps utilities in their name and is responsible for maintenance and upkeep on the home. In a true sellers market, it is possible for sellers to request and receive rent backs to accommodate their preference.

For more information, join me and my team for our next online sellers seminar on May 3 from 7-8pm! Email me if you’re interested at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com.

Jennifer Mack has more than 15 years of experience in the real estate industry, with her team servicing Virginia, Maryland, and D.C.

New listings

10406 Pearl St, Fairfax | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,636 sf | $675,000

5375 Gainsborough Dr, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,000 sf | $649,000

9120 Saranac Ct, Fairfax | 5 beds, 3 baths, 2,367 sf | $749,900

4313 Holly Ln, Annandale | 4 beds, 4.5 baths, 6,026 sf | $1,830,000

4208 Woodlark Dr, Annandale | 4 beds, 2 baths, 1,220 sf | $599,000

6133 Martins Landing Ct, Burke | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,799 sf | $485,000

9708 Lakepointe Dr, Burke | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,812 sf | $514,900

8302 Highcliffe Ct, Annandale | 3 beds, 3 baths, 2,100 sf | $499,900

5338 Anchor Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,184 sf | $499,000

9703 Doulton Ct, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 3,400 sf | $799,900

9112 Saranac Ct, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,204 sf | $675,000

8904 Stark Rd, Annandale | 4 beds, 4 baths, 2,334 sf | $818,800

7618 Boulder St, Springfield | 4 beds, 3 baths, 1,706 sf | $599,888

7723 Donnybrook Ct #106, Annandale | 2 beds, 1 bath, 760 sf | $209,000

9004 Ellenwood Ln, Fairfax | 2 beds, 1.5  baths, 1,224 sf | $725,000

5502 Yorkshire St, Springfield | 5 beds, 2 baths, 2,200 sf | $650,000

5821 Cove Landing Rd #101, Burke | 2 beds, 2 baths, 1,226 sf | $319,900

9517 Farmview Ct, Fairfax | 4 beds, 2 baths, 2,132 sf | $674,950

7716 Lafayette Forest Dr #22, Annandale | 2 beds, 2 baths, 1,205 sf | $349,999

7403 Elgar St, Springfield | 3 beds, 1 bath, 1,259 sf | $550,000

7560 Kingman Dr, Annandale | 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,306 sf | $575,000

8900 Footstep Ct, Annandale | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,082 sf | $735,000

4959 Sabra Ln, Annandale | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,690 sf | $650,000

5000 Portsmouth Rd, Fairfax | 5 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,120 sf | $784,990

4631 Caprino Ct, Fairfax | 5 beds, 4.5 baths, 4,500 sf | $1,099,000

4217 Minton Dr, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,400 sf | $849,000

Recently sold

4301 Holborn Ave, Annandale | 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,510 sf | 2 days on market | $815,000

7901 Schuyler Ct, Annandale | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,914 sf | 4 days on market | $487,500

8107 Ellet Rd, Springfield | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,256 sf | 3 days on market | $635,000

9211 Kristin Ln, Fairfax | 5 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,151 sf | 5 days on market | $775,000

7562 Kingman Dr, Annandale | 4 beds, 2 baths, 1,512 sf | 2 days on market | $572,000

4415 Briarwood Ct N #28, Annandale | 2 beds, 1 bath, 897 sf | 2 days on market | $222,000

4958 Sabra Ln, Annandale | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,768 sf | 6 days on market | $880,000

4956 Schuyler Dr, Annandale | 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,736 sf | 5 days on market | $509,000

11300 Bellmont Dr, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,816 sf | 4 days on market | $850,000

10649 John Ayres Dr, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,694 sf | 5 days on market | $760,000

4800 Thiban Ter, Annandale | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,237 sf | 5 days on market | $864,000

10715 Burr Oak Way, Burke | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,806 sf | 2 days on market | $742,500

4401 Weyburn Dr, Annandale | 5 beds, 4.5 baths, 5,726 sf | 2 days on market | $950,000

10324 Steamboat Landing Ln, Burke | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,240 sf | 4 days on market | $835,000

5328 Gainsborough Dr, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,385 sf | 2 days on market | $753,000

5540 Crossrail Ct, Burke | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,500 sf | 3 days on market | $445,000

5406 Brixham Ct, Burke | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,760 sf | 4 days on market | $555,000

5402 Backlick Woods Ct, Springfield | 6 beds, 4.5 baths, 4,775 sf | 3 days on market | $1,015,000

9687 Poindexter Ct, Burke | 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,720 sf | 2 days on market | $530,000