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Mindy’s Catering (image via Mindy’s Catering/Instagram)

Mindy’s Catering, a catering company based out of the Berkley neighborhood in D.C., is moving to an industrial park just across the street from the Victory Center.

A special use permit filed with the City of Alexandria said the company aims to move into 4942-C Eisenhower Avenue. The permit says the Eisenhower location will serve as an off-premise catering prep kitchen for the company.

The catering company covers Northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C. and offers services for corporate and social events, weddings and more.

“Since 2000, our family-owned and operated full-service social and corporate catering business has delighted customers in the Metro Washington area with personal service and attention that amazes,” the company’s website said. “We have the resources of an industrial-size caterer, but pride ourselves on not getting ‘too big for our britches.'”

The catering company joins an eclectic mix of businesses along Eisenhower Avenue, from indoor climbing gyms to co-warehousing spots. One of the most defining aspects of the area though, the long-vacant Victory Center, could be coming down after the owner submitted plans for demolition and redevelopment in August.

Photo via Mindy’s Catering/Instagram

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Zen kitty Callie is looking for a new home in Alexandria.

The 13-year-old female domestic longhaired brown and gray tabby cat is up for adoption with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

“Callie has gorgeous long fur, and would love the help of a personal stylist who can help her keep it brushed and fluffy,” said AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter. “Callie is the ultimate zen kitty, who would love to be by your side for a variety of calming activities, from reading a book to taking in a movie marathon to watching the world go by outside the window.”

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and Callie’s adoption fees are waived for the rest of the month. Schedule time to meet her by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-746-4774 (opt. 2).

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The Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, ushering in a new era of collaboration with city employees.

If likely approved in the fiscal year 2024 budget this May, the agreement means substantial pay increases for new officers, sergeants and lieutenants. The current base salary of $54,698 for an officer would be increased by 11% to $61,503 at the beginning of the next fiscal year, July 1, 2023. After next year, salaries for officers would increase 2% annually.

Mayor Justin Wilson said that the collective bargaining agreement is historic, since it’s the first of its kind to be approved in Virginia.

“This is a really important step.,” Wilson said. “We came to a place that that was mutually agreeable one that I think moves the needle forward and recognizes our hard working police officers for the work that they do every day for our residents at work that is greatly valued by the community, but does so in a constructive way in partnership with the city, recognizing that we’re all in this together.”

Damon Minnix, president of Alexandria chapter of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, said that the agreement creates a new pay scale based on years of service.

“We’ve spent countless hours working towards this agreement,” Minnix said. “Most importantly, this process and agreement opens the lines of communication between the interests of our officers and city management.”

Compensation issues has plagued the Alexandria Police Department for years.

The collective bargaining agreement includes:

  • A one-time payment to employees who will not get at least a 10% pay increase in the agreement
  • A $1,000 longevity bonus for well-seasoned officers in July 2024 and July 2025
  • A 5% pay boost for officers in specialized units, including academy instructors, motorcycle officers, field training officers and K9 handlers
  • Formation of union committee

The agreement also asks the city to conduct a “cost-neutral, 20-year retirement option with an immediate payout and no minimum age requirement” for officers.

City Manager Jim Parajon said that coming to an agreement was an exhausting process.

“This agreement is not without disagreements, and is a I think an excellent start,” he said. “It really does value our police officers at a very significant level.”

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This week’s Q&A column, sponsored and written by McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria, is a bit of a departure from our usual format. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact us at 703-549-9292. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Beyond Selling Homes

As we head into the holiday season, it’s a wonderful time to give back and thank the communities that helped McEnearney Associates grow to the number-one hyper-local firm it is today.

For forty years, our firm’s focus has been on going above and beyond selling and buying homes for clients and building a brand that invests in the communities where we live and work.

In partnership with Rebuilding Together DC • Alexandria and Atlantic Coast Mortgage, McEnearney Associates rolled up their sleeves and got to work on 4 homes in our Alexandria community. We painted, landscaped, decluttered, organized, and rebuilt to help revitalize our communities.

We would also like to highlight some of the community organizations we have worked with over the years. Our individual Associates have also supported many more throughout the DMV. We offer our sincere thanks to these organizations that strengthen our communities and to all those whose donations of time, money, and resources make it all possible.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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Facing inflation, a $17 million budget shortfall and fewer federal economic recovery funds, the Alexandria City Council will consider a tax increase in its upcoming fiscal year 2024 budget.

City Manager Jim Parajon has been tasked with presenting Council with two budget alternatives — one with a tax increase and another without.

“This year’s budget is going to be tight,” Parajon said at a recent Del Ray Business Association meeting. “We’re also predicting a much slower growth rate than we’ve done in the past. As you can imagine, property tax and the growth in our real estate is what drives a lot of our revenue. And we projected that’s going to be a little slower this year.”

Parajon said that city staff is expecting a shallow recession to impact the city this spring, and is eyeing expenditure reductions. So far, the $17 million shortfall is mostly attributed to an increase in city operations, the annual transfer to Alexandria City Public Schools and city debt service.

Mayor Justin Wilson hopes to not increase taxes, and said that inflation pressures impact city government, just like everyone else.

“We have not increased the tax rate in six years and I am hopeful we can avoid any increase this year,” Wilson told ALXnow.

The city is also contending with collective bargaining agreements with the police and fire department unions. Additionally, ACPS faces a $12 million budget shortfall, and wants to give employees raises.

The current FY 2023 budget saw a $445 (6.5%) increase to residential real estate taxes, although the tax rate of $1.11 per $100 of assessed value did not change.

City staff are also working on re-timing projects in the city’s 10-year $2.7 billion Capital Improvement Program to “better align with ability of operating budget to absorb costs increases and City’s ability to execute projects,” according to a presentation to Council on Tuesday night (Nov. 22).

Parajon will present his proposed budget on Tuesday, Feb. 28 — a week-and-a-half after the School Board approves its budget request. The budget will be approved in May and go into effect on July 1.

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1225 and 1229 King Street (image via Google Maps)

In what’s become a trend in Alexandria, the owners of an office and retail building in Old Town are hoping to have the upstairs space converted to residential units.

The buildings in question are 1225 and 1229 King Street, the buildings containing American in Paris Boutique and the T-Mobile store on the street level in the middle of Old Town.

In a special use permit application, the building owners said the change to the building type would take advantage of ordinances codifying housing uses above retail space. The application said the residential use will be within the existing footprint of the building. Applicant King Street Apartments LLC said in the application it would convert the upstairs units into 12 condominium units.

Alexandria has become a capital for office-to-residential conversions, ranking fourth in the nation in conversions from office space to apartments or condominiums between 2020 and 2021. Office buildings throughout Old Town are in the process of being converted to residential spaces.

Still, City Manager Jim Parajon warned the City Council in a recent meeting not to be too hasty in abandoning office space, saying that the city could lose valuable office space in a rush to follow an economic trend. In nearby Vienna, the Town Council recently rejected a townhouse development replacing office space — partially on the basis of clinging to hopes that the office market will return.

“The conversion approach for outdated office makes a lot of sense, but I want to be careful that we don’t lose good office space to conversion,” Parajon said. “That’s really important, and that may mean we play out a cycle or two in the economy so we’re looking at a balance of commercial to residential.”

The conversion of 1225 and 1229 King Street is scheduled for review at the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Sunset in the West End (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

Alexandria City Council approves funding for increased police pay — here’s how much — “The Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a resolution to fund a new collective bargaining agreement with its police department Tuesday night, in a move to help with staffing shortages.” [WJLA]

Thanksgiving Grocery Store Hours — “For the Thanksgiving holiday, some stores around Alexandria will be closed, and others have limited hours.” [Patch]

Assistant Dockmaster Job with City Of Alexandria — “Employees in this class coordinate the administration, personnel management, operation, and maintenance of City Marina and related facilities” [Washington Post]

It’s Wednesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 57 and low of 34. Sunrise at 7:02 am and sunset at 4:51 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Police car lights (file photo)

A 61-year-old Arlington man is behind bars for the alleged abduction and brutal rape of a woman in the Skyline area in 1988.

George Thomas, Jr., was identified by a Fairfax County Police Department fingerprint examiner, who matched a fingerprint found on the victim’s vehicle in 1988 to a fingerprint from a 2020 concealed weapons charge that was on file in Alexandria. He would have been 26 years old when the incident occurred.

“In this case, justice was delayed but justice was not denied,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis announced in a press conference on Tuesday (Nov. 22). “Closure is really not a representative description of how victims feel, even many, many years later. This is another chapter for the victim in this case.”

On the evening of August 24, 1988, the 22-year-old victim was walking to her car in the mall parking garage when she was abducted by two men.

“The victim was forced into her vehicle and made to drive to a secluded location in the Northern Virginia area here in the DMV,” said Major Ed O’Carroll, the commander of the Fairfax County Police Department’s Major Crimes, Cyber and Forensic Bureau. “The victim was led to a wooded area. Both men raped her before, again, forcing her back into her car to drive to yet another secluded location and raped her again.”

O’Carroll continued, “This is a horrible, tragic and profoundly horrifying series of events. The victim thankfully was able to escape in her car and fled the scene following the second assault.”

After discovering the fingerprint match, Fairfax County Police then identified the second suspect as Gregory Allen Thomas, the suspect’s deceased younger brother. He died in 2009.

“As the years passed, the FCPD never forgot about this case,” O’Carroll said. “We always hoped for a forensic development.”

Thomas was charged with two counts of rape, one count of sodomy and one count of abduction. He is being held without bond in the Montgomery County Detention Center and goes to court on Dec. 21.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Marhals Service, the Metro Transit Police and the Fairfax County Police Department.

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Children sit in a circle at a Celebree School location (via Facebook)

A new day care center to accommodate 190 children is planning to open in the new Carlyle Crossing development in January.

There are 750 luxury apartments in Carlyle Crossing, and the Celebree School of Alexandria will be located within the 1 million-square-foot luxury residential development, on the ground floor of the brand new 13,648-square foot space at 2450 Mill Road.

The daycare franchise will be located in the same building as the Wegmans (150 Stovall Street), which opened in May. Its hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and it will be able to hold up to 190 children and 30 staffers working on-site at any given time, according to a special use permit filed with the city.

Founded in 1994, the school provides early education and childcare service-based programs for children aged six weeks to 12-years old.

The company has 26 corporate locations (24 in Maryland and two in Delaware), as well as 10 other franchises, and is “aggressively” expanding to open 150 new locations and franchises within the next three years.

“After developing successful schools in our home state of Maryland, Virginia was a natural next step as a target growth area for our continued franchise expansion,” said Richard Huffman, founder and CEO of Celebree School. “With a 25-plus-year history, we’ve built an incredible infrastructure for growth. By partnering with like-minded franchisees who believe in our brand and our mission, we’re poised for long-term success.”

There are four other Celebree Schools in Virginia — in RestonHenricoAshburn, and Tysons-Jones. Sixteen new locations are also planned to open next year, including the Celebree School of National Landing, at Metropolitan Park in Arlington, in Herndon and Dulles.

Via Facebook

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