Alexandria, VA

Modera Tempo, an apartment and retail building at 5760 Dow Avenue, has had a notorious parking shortage for years. But a change approved at a Planning Commission meeting last week has opened up unused residential parking to customers.

Modera Tempo is a popular hangout on the Landmark/Van Dorn Corridor, but it is common to see cars circling like vultures in front of the Starbucks trying to snag one of the handful of parking spots outside/

In a report on the request to change the parking, staff noted that a lack of accessible parking was cited as a factor in the closure of several businesses, namely Portner Brewhouse which closed in 2018.

“This parking dilemma has had a true impact on small businesses located in this development,” said Commissioner Mindy Lyle. “To think it’s been open three or four years to get to this point: we’ve seen three businesses go out of business, and a lot of that is due to parking.”

According to the report:

Following this departure, [Modera Tempo’s owners] hired Walker Consultants to conduct a parking study and it was determined that the building was over-parked for residential use. The study found approximately 100 unused parking spaces at any given time within garage, even during maximum leasing capacity. In contrast, the Study found that the commercial parking did not meet current market demands. As a remedy, it was recommended that a portion of the residential spaces within the garage be reallocated for commercial retail use.

The change will add 44 commercial parking spots to the shopping center.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the change in a 7-0 vote. The item spurred discussion of trying to make these sorts of administrative changes easier for businesses to obtain.

“I hope we can get to a point where this type of change in parking is not only administrative but fast,” said Lyle. “If we’re going to say we’re a business-friendly environment, we need to become business-friendly.”

Photo via Google Maps

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