Alexandria Hyundai’s plans to modernize its Del Ray dealership (1707 Mt Vernon Avenue) — long considered in conflict with city leaders’ vision for the neighborhood — are headed to the Planning Commission later this year.
Alexandria Hyundai, LLC is requesting an amendment to their Special Use Permit to add a 1,730 square foot addition to the building and a new 770 square foot canopy for covered drop-off and pick-up.
“These additions are associated with overall upgrades required to modernize the existing building and come into compliance with manufacturer requirements,” the application said. “The total proposed improvements amount to less than a 1/3 of the existing building’s square-footage and less than 3,000 square feet total, and therefore do not trigger a major Development Site Plan approval.”
The application says the proposed changes are part of keeping the dealership up to date with changes in the industry and bringing more electric vehicle infrastructure to the location.
“The proposed changes to the Property are a result of the evolving nature of the way dealerships operate and as such, are necessary for the Applicant’s continued operation of the Hyundai dealership,” the application said. “There is an ongoing paradigm shift within the automobile industry which affects how dealerships operate and how their use is perceived. A great deal of this paradigm shift comes from the electrification of automotive fleets.”
The application said the upgrades are necessary to incorporate sales and service changes to an electric vehicle-centric environment.
In a nod to the city’s goal for a pedestrian-focused Del Ray, the application said the upgrades will also modernize the building’s exterior and create a more pedestrian-friendly space.
“Further, the improvements to the Property will modernize the existing structure by increasing the amount of glass storefront and updating the exterior building materials,” the application said. “The modernized building designs will create more visual interest and pedestrian activation along Mount Vernon Avenue.”
The dealerships have long been considered out of alignment with the city’s vision for commerce along Mount Vernon Avenue. The 2005 Mount Vernon Avenue Business Area Plan specifically calls out Alexandria Hyundai as inconsistent with the area’s zoning:
Two automobile dealerships, Alexandria Hyundai and Audi of Alexandria, currently operate in the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Mt. Vernon Avenue. These uses are inconsistent with the Potomac West Small Area Plan and with the existing zoning that does not allow automobile oriented uses such as automobile dealerships. Although it is unlikely that either dealership property will redevelop in the foreseeable future, mixed-use buildings, with ground floor retail and residences or offices above would be compatible with adjacent residences and would complement the Historic Core and the nearby retail area at Mt. Vernon and Monroe Avenues.
The application is scheduled for review at the Oct. 6 Planning Commission meeting.
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