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Here in Alexandria, real estate is a spectator sport. Let’s take a look at some of the most and least expensive townhouses sold last month (March 2024).

Most expensive townhouses sold

  1. 505 Oronoco St — Old Town — $2,450,000 (4 beds | 4.5 baths | 3,213 sq. ft.)
  2. 401 N Lee St — Old Town — $2,200,000 (4 beds | 4 baths | 2,815 sq. ft.)
  3. 808 S Lee St — Old Town — $2,200,000 (5 beds | 4.5 baths | 3,573 sq. ft.)

Least expensive townhouses sold*

  1. 3526 Martha Custis Dr — North Ridge — $328,000 (1 beds | 1 baths | 780 sq. ft.)
  2. 1289 N Van Dorn St — Seminary Hill — $468,700 (2 beds | 1.5 baths | 1,060 sq. ft.)
  3. 1183 N Van Dorn St — Seminary Hill — $519,000 (3 beds | 2.5 baths | 1,350 sq. ft.)

*Minimum home value of $200,000 set to exclude certain land sales, retirement condos, properties with expiring ground leases, etc.

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New parks, 400-foot-tall commercial and residential buildings and more.

The Hoffman family and its associates have a comprehensive idea for the future of the 79-acre site next door to the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood.

The collection of vacant properties are located in and around the Hoffman Town Center, home to the National Science Foundation, a popular movie theater, a Wegmans grocery store, as well as a number of large apartment buildings.

Hoffman, its affiliates and Arlington-based Paradigm Companies will present their coordinated development district (CDD) conceptualization design plan to the Planning Commission at City Hall (301 King Street) on June 4.

Hoffman and Paradigm are proposing the eventual development of multiple apartment buildings up to 400-feet tall, commercial buildings up to 300-feet tall, as well as space for a new school, a new city park, walking trails, a dog park, and tennis and basketball courts.

The 20-page document is a framework for future development, where property boundaries for individual blocks are outlined, and so are building heights, streetscape designs and expected uses, such as open space areas.

As far as a timeline, the developers said in their application that phased development “can occur at any order and is subject to change,” and that uses for the underdeveloped blocks could include vehicle parking, material storage, city agency training, a farmer’s market, festival space, a beer garden and “other similar uses approved by the city.”

Paradigm own the 24-story Parc Meridian at Eisenhower Station apartment building (750 Port Street), the dual-tower Carlyle Place apartment building (2251 Eisenhower Avenue) and well as the unfinished 26-story Meridian 2250 apartment building project (2250 Dock Lane). Hoffman owns seven blocks within the property.

The site has contaminated soil. According to Hoffman and Paradigm:

To the best of our knowledge contaminated soil may be on site… Based on environmental investigations, Block 2 contains arsenic and has high total chromium levels. Block 3 contains arsenic, petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents. Additional investigations will be completed with each DSUP (development special use permit) when a block moves forward with redevelopment.

(via City of Alexandria)
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The Alexandria City Council at it’s March 12, 2024 meeting (staff photo by James Cullum)

A new advocacy group called the Communities for Accountable City Council (CACC) is pushing for Alexandria to return to a wards/district system for City Council elections.

Currently, all members of Alexandria’s City Council are elected at-large. A ward or district system would, like the School Board, have City Council members elected from and represent certain neighborhoods.

CACC leader Tom Kopko said he formed the group after City Council voted to end single-family-only zoning last year. Kopko said his hope is a ward system would make city leaders more accountable to the residents of the city’s neighborhoods.

“We’re a group of people who are totally frustrated with the obvious intransigence and lack of accountability of City Council,” Kopko said. “There’s a long list of grievances, the latest is Zoning for Housing. They betrayed homeowners and, against massive opposition, passed [Zoning for Housing] unanimously.”

Kopko said the at-large system makes it harder to get city leadership to focus on neighborhood-specific issues.

“Citizens have no recourse against seven elected officials and staff, all because they’re elected at large,” Kopko said. “Who is the person who cares about your neighborhood?”

The current City Council expressed unanimous opposition to the idea of wards last year, with some saying it would create more infighting as City Council members worked to secure funding for their neighborhoods at the cost of others and to city-wide programs.

“I would not be supportive of returning to wards,” said City Council member Kirk McPike. “Wards tend to foster competition and division between parts of our city. A lot of challenges we face need to be a whole city effort to address them, not one part or another bearing more of the weight. Under the current system, we can take a broad view on issues such as some of the flooding issues that affect a small geographic area but are incredibly expensive to address.”

Mayor Justin Wilson said wards could backfire on those hoping for better neighborhood representation given that representatives of one neighborhood could still easily be outvoted by the rest of the Council, which would have no incentive to cater to the needs of a neighborhood outside of their ward.

“If anything, it could make the Council less likely to incorporate the concerns of localized opposition,” Wilson said.

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The Alexandria Branch of the NAACP, Shiloh Baptist Church, and The Departmental Progressive Club present the following two Primary Candidate Forums for the City of Alexandria Virginia. The events are free of charge and open to the public.

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Submit your own Community Post here.

The ALX Dog Walk at Oronoco Bay Park is on Saturday, April 20, 2024 (via Facebook)

Here’s a roundup of all the events, live music, and entertainment happening around Alexandria this weekend.  Enjoy! 

Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow.

Friday, April 19

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Saturday, April 20

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Sunday, April 21

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Image via Facebook

Ryan Belmore is an award-winning news publisher, editor, and journalist. Born and raised in Rhode Island, he now resides in Alexandria with his wife and two rescue dogs. He was recently appointed to the City of Alexandria’s Board of Zoning Appeals and previously served on the City’s Commission For The Arts. Email listings and events to Ryan at [email protected]. Follow Ryan on Instagram at whatsupalexandria.

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Beautiful, calm and easygoing can be used to describe Burch!

This four-year-old black cat is ready for her lucky break and she’s been on the prowl for a wonderful forever home.

Burch is, of course, a beauty with piercing green eyes. She just loves the company of people, according to AWLA spokesperson Erin Shackelford.

“She likes to be pet and receive affection and will give you loud purrs of content,” said Shackelford. “So far, Burch seems to prefer human interaction over toys.”

This kitty just knows what she wants!

Is Burch that special companion you’ve been searching for? Read her entire profile to learn more and to start the adoption process email [email protected] or call 703-746-4774

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Image via McEnearney

The Alexandria Police Department is asking City Council to fund an incentive program to help it monitor crime in real-time.

Council will consider the release of $20,000 to help create the Alexandria Real-Time Information Center (ARTIC) at its meeting on April 24.

City staff said in a memo that ARTIC will establish a “doorbell camera registry, phased implementation of security cameras (license plate readers) and future integration with privately owned security camera systems.”

The city has experienced a crime surge the last several years. APD said that the main goal of the program is to monitor and analyze data in real-time and enhance public safety.

City Council placed the funds in a reserve account during last year’s budget process. The initial plan was to encourage homeowners and business owners to be incentivized to buy private security cameras, but the City Attorney found a number of “legal hurdles” to creating such a program.

Last year, Council also approved $490,000 for five speed cameras at school crossing zones around the city, adding to the speed camera program in multiple school zones.

Image via McEnearney

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Pride On The Avenue is opening at the pop-up space at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue in May 2024 (courtesy image)

In recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month in June, Del Ray’s seasonal pop-up bar will open in early May as Pride on the Avenue, it’s owners tell ALXnow.

Bill Blackburn and his business partner “Mango” Mike Anderson of the Homegrown Restaurant Group and their staff gutted the space that was home the last few months to their ski lodge concept, Aspen on the Avenue. Just what they’re planning for the interior is still under wraps, as is the menu, but Blackburn said that renovations will be extensive.

“We’re expanding Pride Month into a two-to-three month period in celebration of openness and inclusiveness for the LGBTQ+ community,” Blackburn said. “I can tell you that we’re going to have a new, extensive craft cocktail program, and the interior of the pop-up is going to be completely different.”

The pop-up is located between HRG’s other Del Ray restaurants Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow Del Ray on Mount Vernon Avenue.

Blackburn said that he got the blessing to open the bar from Freddie Lutz, the owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant in Crystal City. He also said that HRG is planning on donating $500 a week to Equality NOVA, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

“I anticipate that Del Ray will rally behind us with this concept,” Blackburn said. “We want everyone to be welcome in all of our restaurants, and this is a way for us to showcase that.”

Pride on the Avenue will likely stay put until October, when the pop-up will be transformed into its Halloween concept Nightmare on the Avenue. After Thanksgiving, the bar will once again be turned into the Christmas-themed Joy on the Avenue.

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Good Thursday morning, Alexandria!

🌤️ Today’s weather: The weather will be partly sunny with temperatures reaching a high of around 77°F, accompanied by a northwest wind blowing at 6 to 9 mph. In the evening, expect increasing clouds and a low temperature around 49°F, with an east wind at the same speed of 6 to 9 mph.

🚨 You need to know

Advanced metal detectors will be used for a pilot program in two Alexandria City Public Schools locations as part of a pilot program (via ACPS)

Alexandria City Public Schools is looking for public feedback on its weapons abatement program. The metal detectors have been in place in Alexandria City High School and the city’s secondary school locations, and the school system is conducting a survey on the pilot that will end at 11:59 p.m. on Friday.

According to ACPS:

The Department of Facilities and Operations, Office of Safety and Security at Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is administering a survey on the current pilot weapons screening equipment program that is open through Fri., April 19, 2024. As shared during the February 22, 2024, School Board meeting, the weapons screening equipment program started in May 2023 and has been ongoing at all secondary school locations (not including the K-8 schools).

This survey is an opportunity for all stakeholders (students, staff, families and community members) to provide thoughts and feedback on the pilot program. The results of this survey will help inform the formal staff recommendation to the School Board regarding the future of the weapons screening equipment program in ACPS.

The last ACPS survey on the subject was conducted in March 2023 — two months before the pilot program started. There were more than 4,000 respondents, with about 85% supporting some form of weapons abatement.

📈 Wednesday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Apr 17, 2024.

  1. Notes: Old Town North building sold for $15.4 million to be turned into mixed-use apartment building (2655 views)
  2. Alexandria City Council approves new ‘neighborhood’ at former Vulcan Materials site (1191 views)
  3. Mystic BBQ & Grill opens on Lee Street in Old Town (862 views)

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on today in Alexandria, from our event calendar.

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Alexandria City Council Candidate Kevin Harris, a professional basketball trainer who is also president of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority resident association (staff photo by James Cullum)

Kevin Harris didn’t like the way the 2021 City Council primary went down and now he’s taking another shot.

Harris was edged out by just 750 votes, with Council Member Kirk McPike taking the sixth and last available Council spot. Now he faces 11 opponents in the upcoming June primary.

“This truly is a family affair for us,” Harris said. “Obviously some tears were flowing from my wife and children… It’s a commitment to be up here, and it’s a privilege to have been working on all the things I’ve been doing in the city of Alexandria.”

Harris has been president of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) Resident Association for more than a decade. He’s a lifelong city resident and lives in Old Town with his wife and four children in an ARHA property near to where a rash of shooting incidents have occurred.

ARHA and the police erected video cameras in the area and patrols have increased over the years. Harris says that when the city hires a new police chief that community policing and officers on foot patrols need to be brought back to the area.

“I’m talking about community policing in terms of having a real relationship, real connection with your residents,” Harris said. “Where people can identify the officers, they know their names, they don’t feel threatened when they see an officer coming towards them.”

Harris got his Bachelor’s Degree in business from Alabama State University, where he got a full athletic scholarship and was named captain of the basketball team. He later played professionally for the Dakota Wizards. In 2003, he founded Hoop Life Inc. and has since taught basketball camps, clinics, classes and after-school programs throughout the region. He’s also an ordained Minister at the Love of Christ Church in Del Ray, where he teaches Sunday school.

On the failed Potomac Yard arena deal, Harris said that it’s better that the Washington Wizards and Capitals are staying in D.C.

“Aside from the huge fact that the deal could have caused displacement for marginalized communities, partially sidelined labor unions, and created a complex traffic situation, it was clear from my talks with community members from various sects of the city that the vast majority of Alexandrians didn’t want it or were indifferent towards it,” Harris said. “Regardless, this situation has sparked a unique opportunity for our city to continue in dialogue on the real issue, how to boost our commercial tax base.”

Harris has gotten endorsements from NOVA Labor, former City Council Member Willie Bailey, as well as the ARHA Resident Association and other labor groups.

Harris said that outgoing Mayor Justin Wilson will be missed, and needs to be replaced with “someone who listens.”

“Before you get into the technicalities of what it takes to run a city, you got to first really care,” Harris said.

Harris would like to see a free trolley, like the King Street Trolley, drop visitors at the city’s historic spots. He also said that the city should look for creative solutions before deciding on a tax increase and needs to favor a more welcoming small business environment.

“I always say that a budget is a moral document,” he said. “That’s my key thing, and understanding that our children are really important. But running the city is not not too much different than running a household. A lot of times you know, you have to make sacrifices.”

Harris also grew up homeless, living with his single mom at the homes of family friends. Consequently, he says that he’s been a lifelong advocate for affordable housing.

“Basketball has been a tool that has taught me so much in my life,” Harris told ALXnow. “You have to learn how to deal with adverse situations and push through them by using your fundamentals you’ve learned so hard to master. Basketball allows you a better understanding of who you are, and how to leverage your strengths and weaknesses.”

Harris said that Michael Jordan was his idol growing up.

“It was his mindset,” Harris said of Jordan. “He was determined to win, to be competitive and understood what was needed to win.”

The Democratic primary is on June 18.

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