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West End apartment complex looks to replace parking with barking

Park + Ford layout, via City of Alexandria

A former office building turned residential complex in the West End is headed back to the City Council on Saturday, Sept. 18, for some new amenities — like replacing a surface parking lot with a dog park.

The Park + Ford apartment buildings at 4401 Ford Avenue opened earlier this year but developer Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group is already back to the city looking to add to the project. The developer is proposing to replace a pair of parking spaces across the street from the building with a new amenity space and a dog park — both private, unfortunately for West End locals looking for an alternative to the Shirlington Dog Park.

The staff report said the plan is to convert 19 surface parking spaces to a 6,300 square foot dog park and 21 parking spaces into a 6,600 square foot resident amenity space, which could have seating and playground equipment but might also be flexible enough to host food trucks. The report noted that dog parks are becoming an increasingly popular feature of Alexandria development.

“Since dog ownership is common at multi-family buildings, dog parks are an increasingly common amenity,” staff said. “For example, the nearby Array and Nexus at West Alex have a shared dog park. Public dog parks are an alternative to each building setting aside their own space, but the nearest public dog park is an over 38-minute walk away and not close enough to the project site for regular use. As a result, Staff believes that this amenity will benefit residents of this site and will help to reduce impacts on City-owned dog parks.”

In terms of public benefits, the project will add new 50-foot sidewalk on the street and install a new bus shelter outside the building.

Staff are recommending approval of the parking lot conversion.

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