Alexandria, VA

(Updated at 5 p.m.) There’s no official word yet, but multiple sources have told ALXnow that British clothing and accessories retailer FatFace is looking at moving into the former Old Town Trading Post at 128 King Street.

A local commercial real estate source told ALXnow that FatFace is looking at moving into the location. Another source said FatFace was considering a lease but may not have signed one yet.

FatFace and KLNB — the commercial real estate service leasing the space — could not be reached for comment.

The retailer offers clothes designed in the UK with an emphasis on materials meant to last, as opposed to more cheaply-manufactured fast fashion. FatFace has a handful of stores in the United States, primarily located across New England, and other locations in partnership with department store Von Maur.

Signs for Old Town Trading Post remain on the building, but the souvenir shop closed in July 2017 according to Port City Wire.

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Alexandria officials have voted to allow mobile carriers to start installing what’s billed as a faster, and smarter, cellular network.

The Alexandria City Council voted during its meeting this past Saturday, October 19 to approve a 5-year agreements with Verizon and AT&T, allowing the company to install small wireless equipment on street poles to boost 5G cell networks to the city.

Experts say that 5G technology promises data speeds ten times as fast as the existing 4G network. The technology also has the potential to make real-time data sharing things like for “smart city” infrastructure possible, potentially enabling drivers to connect autonomous vehicles to the city’s infrastructure. However, 5G requires cellular companies install many backpack-sized signal devices with antennas across an area to form a network.

The city’s newly-approved agreements require the cellular companies to pay a one-time $750 fee to the city to host the cellular equipment on the public land next to streets, and requires companies pay for whatever electricity is used to power them. The poles themselves can be light, traffic signal, or utility poles — as long as the small equipment doesn’t interfere with existing utilities.

Members voted 6-0 in favor of the contracts after a quick deliberation, with Councilman Mohamed Seifeldein abstaining.

“Alexandria business, residents, visitors, and commuters depend on this enhanced service and connectivity during normal communication use and emergencies especially in critical services in fire, police, and ambulance, and hospital calls,” said Verizon Wireless Real Estate Manager Jeff Ott on Saturday.

The vote makes Alexandria the third Northern Virginia community to permit 5G small cell technology.

“We look forward to deploying the next generation of wireless technology throughout the city, and working again on future collaborations,” said Genelle Newhard, AT&T’s senior real estate and construction manager.

Residents elsewhere have opposed the technology over concerns about health effects of low levels of 5G radio wave emission. Paul Dugan, a Pennsylvania-based consulting engineer at Millennium Engineering, P.C. who testified Saturday, noted there was “a lot of misinformation being circulated among communities” regarding health effects from small cell technology and emphasized that studies have not shown the radio waves cause harmful effects.

“There’s nothing that suggests that the introduction of these small cells is going to elevate the electromagnetic exposure around these facilities,” he said. “These facilities are transmitting on the order of five watts or less. We’re talking about the power of a residential nightlight.”

The permit given to Verizon and AT&T specifies that the companies’ technology installation can “not result in human exposure to radiofrequency radiation in excess of the applicable safety standards specified in Federal Communications Commission regulations.”

When asked by City Councilwoman Redella ‘Del’ Pepper who benefits from the technology, Dugan replied that anyone who lives in Alexandria will be served by the stronger, faster network. Dugan also added that industries like healthcare may be able to innovate with systems like telemedicine systems thanks to 5G.

“It’s going to revolutionize whole industries, healthcare, agriculture, you name it,” he said. “It’s going to transform society.”

“I think we want to see new technology deployed too,” Mayor Justin Wilson told the Alexandria Times last week. “The last thing we want is to be left behind again on broadband deployment. This is the next step to that.”

Pepper thanked the Verizon and AT&T representatives for their work with the city on the initiative and urged them to continue to “work very closely with the city” on 5G going forward.

“In Alexandria, we have an opinion on everything right down to the last curb and last curb cut,” she added. “In your case, it will be every pole that gets removed.”

Image via Christoph Scholz/Flickr

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Descendants of the men who led the 1939 Alexandria library sit-in plan to meet tonight for a panel discussion examining how the event impacted their families.

At the Beatley Central Library (5005 Duke Street) at 6:30 p.m., relatives of protestors William “Buddy” Evans and Morris Murray are scheduled to discuss the event and some of the lingering impacts, followed by a question and answer session.

In 1939, five young black men entered the library separately and asked to register for a library card. When each was refused, they picked up a book, took a seat, and began to read. Library staff called the police, who arrested the men for disorderly conduct.

Samuel Tucker, a local lawyer who had helped plan the protest, contacted a photographer who documented the event. Tucker had the men released but used the case as part of a legal push for integration.

Charges were officially dropped this past Friday, after it came to light that the case was never adjudicated so the men had never been declared innocent or guilty. Copies of the judge’s order are planned to be presented by Mayor Justin Wilson to descendants tonight.

The case ultimately resulted in the construction of the Robert H. Robinson Library — today the Alexandria Black History Museum — though Tucker continued to fight for equal access to the library.

Photo via City of Alexandria

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While geofencing for scooters generally means blocking them from scooting through an area, new geofencing measures in Alexandria are aimed at keeping scooters parking in certain places.

New scooter regulations have blocked scooters from parking in a multi-block stretch east of N. Union Street, between Oronoco Street and Prince Street. The result has been an 80 percent decrease in scooter parking on the waterfront, staff told the Waterfront Commission at its meeting last week.

When users try to end their ride in the restricted area, a message will appear on their phone telling them to move the scooter elsewhere.

Before geofencing, staff said there were approximately 1,500 scooters parked on the waterfront every month. In September, that fell to around 250.

The city also tried to incentivize legal scooter parking by adding two parking corrals to the area, which have had roughly 400 scooters parked there per month.

This hasn’t stopped scooters from riding through the areas, despite signs encouraging visitors not to do so, but there has been a 50-65 percent decline in scooters riding through the waterfront, staff said.

Geofencing isn’t a fix-all solution. Staff noted that the geofencing can only cover large areas, with accuracy up to only about 20-30 feet. Despite the decline, neglected scooters littering the waterfront are still a common sight.

“It’s bad behavior and it’s going to continue,” said Mark Michael Ludlow, a member of the Waterfront Commission.

The scooter corrals have also become something of a victim of their own success. Staff noted that corrals have frequently been overflowing and scooters have been left on nearby sidewalks.

Staff is currently collecting feedback from the city’s boards and commissions, with Phase II of the scooter program going to City Council for approval next month, for implementation in January.

Map via City of Alexandria

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After a year in operation, Pendleton Carryout Co. continues to grow with the introduction of breakfast options, app-based delivery services, and more.

On Friday, the food incubator at 807 Pendleton Street in the Braddock neighborhood debuted its brunch menu, serving scratch-made biscuits from Freed’s Biscuit Company. Only available on weekends until noon, customers can order biscuit breakfast sandwiches stuffed with everything from bacon, egg, and cheese to plant-based Beyond Meat patties.

“We figured as the weather gets colder, customers are going to want something a little more warming, a little more hearty,” said co-founder Ed McIntosh. “And who doesn’t love brunch?”

In addition to the biscuits, Herndon-based 100 Bowls of Soup is also new to the eatery. Select soups include curry lentil, Thai sweet potato, and carrot coriander.

“On Friday, we had about three dozen containers of 100 Bowls in our carryout fridge,” McIntosh said. “Now, [on Sunday morning], we’re down to about eight.”

Pendleton Carryout Co. opened last October as the area’s first “restaurant incubator,” featuring a mishmash of cuisines from area chefs, all crafted from the same kitchen and available for takeout. (Limited seating is available at a single countertop).

Established rotating brands include Laoban Dumplings, Killa Cakes, and Sliced Pizza and Burgers.

McIntosh said its residential location gets plenty of foot traffic from both its low-key neighbors and people walking from the Braddock Road Metro into Old Town.

And if customers don’t want to make the trek in person, Pendleton Carryout Co. recently joined app-based delivery services like GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.

“It’s been an incredible year,” McIntosh said. “I don’t see us slowing down anytime soon.”

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Taqueria Senora Lola ain’t the only new taqueria game coming to town.

In the West End, Taqueria Picoso (1472 N. Beauregard Street) is eyeing a December opening at The Shops at Mark Center, according to employees working on the building. The spot was formerly a Thai restaurant, according to Alexandria Living.

The taco-centric eatery comes from local restaurant vet Tom Voskuil, formerly of Chef Geoff’s, Tallula/Eatbar and Green Pig Bistro.

“We are in the process of opening a very authentic taqueria!” Voskuil says on his LinkedIn page. “We have approvals for our vertical al pastor roaster. Importing corn from Oaxaca for our tortilla machine, which will produce 720 tortillas/hour. $3 tacos that taste like true tacos from CDMX.”

Taqueria Picoso obtained an ABC permit and Voskuil said the restaurant will serve margaritas and micheladas.

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(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) The annual Dance America Rapper Tournament (DART) will take over several pubs in Alexandria this Saturday, October 26, with the public invited to witness the fun.

From 1 p.m. until late into the evening, the sword dancing competition tour will kick off across three pubs in Old Town and end with a celebration at the Durant Arts Center (1605 Cameron Street).

Inspired by British competitions, DART is an organization that hosts an annual competition of American sword dancers.

No, they’re not rhyming verses while swinging swords — “rapper” is a type of old English sword dance dating back to 1715.

According to the event website, “the weekend aims to be a friendly gathering of sword teams, with the added bonus of the rapper competition.”

From approximately 1-3 p.m., different teams will rotate through at rapper competitions at the following pubs:

  • The Light Horse, 715 King Street
  • Columbia Firehouse, 109 South St. Asaph Street
  • Bilbo Baggins Restaurant and Green Dragon Pub, 208 Queen Street

At 3 p.m., all teams will reconvene at the Bilbo Baggins Restaurant for a communal dance.

Afterward, there will be an evening of feasting and celebration at the Durant Arts Center beginning at 6 p.m. At 8 p.m., there will be “Ceilidh Dancing” performances, along with live music from local musicians Frog Hammer and Caroline Barnes.

The Durant Arts Center event will have a $15 admission, along with a cash bar.

Photo via Sligo Creek Sword/Facebook 

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Morning Notes

‘Say Yes’ Star Opening Alexandria Salon — “The star of ‘Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta,’ Monte Durham, plans to open a hair salon in Old Town Alexandria, he announced this week. Durham, a resident of Alexandria, plans to call the salon ‘Monte.’ No word yet on an opening date.” [Alexandria Living]

APD Investigates Weekend Crashes — Alexandra police investigated a number of crashes over the weekend, including on the ramp to Telegraph Road from eastbound Duke Street, the intersection of North Beauregard Street and Seminary Road, the intersection of North Patrick Street and Madison Street, and the 500 block of North Columbus Street.

New Waterfront Cafe Under Construction — “Misha’s is moving forward on renovating the space for a second coffeehouse at 6 Prince St., near the waterfront, and that location is expected to have rooftop dining. A total renovation of the property is underway with the roof, floor and some walls being torn down.” [Alexandria Living]

Local Theater Staging Spooky Story — “The Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA) is staging ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ from Oct. 19 – Nov. 9, 2019. Director Maggie Mumford said she is an absolute nerd about all things Shirley Jackson (novelist), and the novel upon which this play is based is what started that fandom.” [Gazette Packet]

Overheard on the Alexandria Police Scanner — “Scanner: APD responding to S. Pickett Street for a report of a man walking down the road, dribbling a basketball while wearing nothing but a jock strap.” [Twitter]

Nearby: Fire at Belle View Shopping Center — “More than 20 businesses were damaged overnight Sunday into Monday by a four-alarm fire at a shopping center in Fairfax County, Virginia. The fire broke out about midnight in the Belle View Shopping Center, located south of Old Town Alexandria and the Capital Beltway.” [NBC 4, WTOP]

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(Updated at 4 p.m.) Old Town’s cobwebs are strung and Del Ray’s carved pumpkins are out, which means it’s Halloween time for Alexandria.

The city is playing host to an ample amount of spooky events this year, including family-friendly parades to a tour of mystery and murder.

The spooky Alexandria events include:

  • Rituals of the Occult on Saturday, October 19 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. offers exploration into “Ancient Druids and Wiccans to Modern Wedding Ceremonies” in the the Ivy Hill Cemetery Burial Vault (2823 King Street) from 7:30-8:30 p.m. exploring ” Ticket sell for $20 and can be ordered online via PayPal.
  • The Haunting of Hill House starting Wednesday, October 23 is a play to be performed at The Little Theater of Alexandria (600 Wolfe Street) based on the 1959 gothic novel by Shirley Jackson about three strangers invited into a haunted house (which also recently became a Netflix series). As of Friday the theater is selling tickets to multiple performances, including Wednesday, October 23, Thursday, October 24, and Friday, October 25. Tickets start at $21. 
  • HOWL-oween Canine Cruise, next Friday, October 25 from 6:30-8 p.m. boards at the Alexandria City Marina (105 North Union Street.) On this canine costume cruise, dogs ride for free, and humans can buy tickets online for $15.75 a piece.
  • Old Town Trick or Treat on Saturday, October 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. will welcome children to trick and treat at the shops and restaurants throughout Old Town. Those in need of costumes who can’t afford any can pick up free outfits from the city’s costume drive between 2-4 p.m that Saturday at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center (2701 Commonwealth Avenue.)
  • Halloween Pumpkin Hunt on Saturday, October 26 happens at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. and invites families to gather at the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden (614 Oronoco Street) to go on a scavenger hunt for treat-filled Halloween crafts, as well as make their own, visit a sticker station, listen to spooky stories, and participate in a costume parade. Tickets can be bought online and range from $5 for adults; $15 for children ages 1-18; and free for infants.
  • Halloween Rock Show at Port City on Saturday, October 26 from 6-10 p.m. at the Port City Brewing Company (3950 Wheeler Avenue) will host three local rock bands (Triadem, Surfin’ Satan and the Beach Demons, Rabid Flash MoB) for a free concert. Attendees are encouraged to wear a costume, and enter to win the best Halloween outfit.
  • Del Ray Halloween Parade on Sunday, October 27 from 2-4 p.m. will also throw a free parade, beginning on Mt. Vernon Avenue and continuing down to the fields at Mt. Vernon Recreation Center. Awards will be given the best costumes with best pet costume, best decorated home, and best decorated stroller, among other categories.
  • Halloween in Old Town on Sunday, October 27 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. will lead participants on a décor detour around Old Town before embarking on a “Ghost and Graveyard Tour” led in lantern light by an 18th century clad guide who will tell the city’s best ghost stories. The event is free but attendees are asked to RSVP on social media.
  • Special Halloween Ghost Tours on October 29, 30, and 31 go from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Alexandria Visitor’s Center (221 King Street.) Tickets can be ordered online and cost $15 for adults and $8 for children. Adults over the age of 65 or who have student or Military ID can buy discount tickets for $15.
  • Trick-or-Treating at Carlyle House on October 31 from 4-6 p.m. at the Carlyle House (121 N. Fairfax Street) offers one last chance to enjoy the holiday and welcomes children to trick or treat in the historic house.
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Del Ray Pizzeria (2218 Mount Vernon Avenue) is celebrating its nine-year anniversary with a pizza party this weekend.

The restaurant, which has previously hosted the Obamas and courted controversy with its “Grab Her By the Pizza” pie a couple years ago, is celebrating this Sunday (Oct. 20) from 2-8 p.m. in the lot behind the restaurant.

According to an employee at the store, the party will have face painting, pumpkin painting, cornhole and other games. They also plan on having a moon bounce that the employee assured ALXnow will fit adults.

The employee noted that in addition to soft drinks, the party will have craft beers available.

“We’ll have our cheese and pepperoni pizza, but also a few specialty favorites,” the employee said.

These specialties include Butcher’s Block — a pizza with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham and prosciutto — and Tropic Thunder — sausage, pepperoni, jalapenos, and pineapple.

Photo via Del Ray Pizza

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Just Listed in Alexandria

Just Listed highlights Alexandria City properties that came on the market within the past week. This feature is sponsored by the Jen Walker Team (Licensed in VA) of McEnearney Associates Realtors®. 

Welcome Back!

Jen Walker here with The Jen Walker Team, a real estate group based out of Alexandria, Virginia. I, along with my two rock-star team members, Sue Kovalsky and Micki MacNaughton, have more than 35 years of experience in real estate and sold over $115 million in 2018.

This week in real estate, we have seen a 9.9% overall increase of newly ratified contracts in the D.C. area with Loudon County taking the lead at 20.8%. Our median price point averaged $489,500. Even though the housing market is hot, it doesn’t mean you need to overpay for the home of your dreams. There are many ways to ensure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck when buying your first, second or even forever home.

Use the knowledge of your agent to get the most value of the purchase price. Your agent should be able to help you determine if you can get the price lowered or if you should seek a different route such as non-cash incentives to ensure your purchase is optimal for you. Options such as a home warranty, a closing-credit, conveying furniture, etc. are all viable dependent upon the circumstances. Know all of your options!

This week, we’re featuring a charming home located in Seminary Heights. Listed at $849,900, this cape-cod style home features 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. This house has it all — main level office with built-ins, a screened-in porch off of the living room, a fully finished lower level with a bedroom, full bath, & rec room, and a large, private yard.

We will be hosting an open house so you can check out the house yourself this Sunday, October 20, from 2-4 p.m.

2016 Scroggins Road, Alexandria 22302 — $849,900

The following properties offer a snapshot of what is new on the market. Click here for more Just Listed properties in Alexandria and call The Jen Walker Team to schedule a home tour at 703-675-1566 or email [email protected].

Happy House Hunting!

In our highly competitive Alexandria market, the Jen Walker Team has the insider knowledge to connect you with homes that are not even public yet. With more than 35 years of experience, the Jen Walker Team has the expertise to answer questions, calm fears, and streamline your transaction. Want to see other homes not featured in this article? Contact our team today!

Please note: While The Jen Walker Team provides this information for the community, they may not be the listing agents of these homes. Equal Housing Opportunity.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 #WeAreAlexandria

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