Falls Church News Briefs

Smithsonian Collects F.C. Obama Office Memorabilia

Representatives from the Smithsonian Institution appeared at the huge office of the Obama campaign in downtown Falls Church last Thursday to haul off large quantities of memorabilia from the site, presumably for use in a future museum display of last week’s historic presidential election.

The office had earned a regional reputation as among the most active and heavily-populated with volunteers of all ages. Among the items removed by the Smithsonian folks was an old barber’s chair, which came with the office space that was leased by the Obama campaign in August. The site had previously been an employment training center. Following a volunteer “thank you” party at the 360 S. Washington St. location on Saturday, the office was closed at the beginning of this week. The future plans for Kyle Lierman, the office’s chief organizer, were unknown as of press time. Falls Church City Council member Dan Maller, at Monday’s Council meeting, said the location should be considered “hallowed ground” because of the organizing that went on there, even as the building is now planned for eventual demolition to make way for a new 174-unit affordable housing complex.

F.C. Council Adds Fiscal Stability to Vision

At its annual weekend retreat last Saturday, the Falls Church City Council revisited the Vision Statement it crafted in 2005 aimed at giving direction to the City staff and citizens on how it wants the City to look in 2025. All the elements of the statement were reaffirmed, according to Mayor Robin Gardner, with the addition of a key new component referring to the priority of long-term fiscal stability. The principles of smart growth, sustainability, promotion of diversity, environmentalism and affordable housing, among others, were reaffirmed.

Syms to Leave Falls Church Site

Falls Church’s Economic Development Office reported this week that Sym’s Department Store, a long-time fixture on the Seven Corners end of the City, will not renew its lease on the three-acre property where it sits. The current lease will expire next summer, and the owner of the property, according to reports, desires only to re-lease the existing building there. City Economic Development officials are already working to help find a new tenant for the space. The property is assessed at almost $10 million.

New Eateries Opening in Falls Church

Progress is slow, and stalled in some cases, but new eating establishments are coming to Falls Church, some in the retail spaces of new mixed use development projects. According to a recent report from City Hall, the “Not Your Average Joe’s” restaurant chain is currently paying rent on its leased site at The Spectrum, 444 W. Broad St., even though it is progressing slowly, due to the need for building permit revisions. Foster’s Grill, another restaurant slated for The Spectrum, has not yet signed its lease. At the 800 W. Broad St. building currently under construction, one restaurant has put plans on hold due to the economy, but another, Flippin’ Pizza, has signed a lease on 1,400 square feet there. At the Tax Analysts building adjacent to Pearson Square on S. Maple Street, a 4,308 square foot lease for Pizzeria Orzo has been signed, with rent payments beginning in April. Finally, an Uncle George’s Carryout and Dine-in, featuring Lebanese food, is now open at the West End Plaza, 1079 W. Broad St. Another new restaurant, name not known by press time, is opening in the Eden Center.

Organizing for New Year’s Eve ‘Watch Night’ Begins

Barbara Cram, chief organizer for the annual New Year’s Eve “Watch Night” in downtown Falls Church, began this week signing up businesses, performers, special events, benefactors and volunteers to make this year’s event another major success. Cram prepared a brief video which she unveiled for the monthly meeting of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors Tuesday. The deadline for sign-ups and contributions is Dec. 1. For inquiries, or to contribute, contact Watch Night, c/o F.C. Chamber of Commerce, 417 W. Broad St., Suite 205, Falls Church, VA 22046.