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Mount Vernon Trail-adjacent office could become cyclist-themed outdoor venue

Outdoor event space at 99 Canal Center Plaza (image via City of Alexandria)

An event space just off the Mount Vernon Trail at Canal Center is looking to undergo a small expansion to make the Old Town North location a little more exciting.

Chalkboard Canal Center LLC, is proposing to add two temporary trailers to the event as well as a permit for live music to create a venue called The Bike Club.

The venue is on a 1.57-acre lot featuring 350 feet of frontage along the Mount Vernon Trail. The staff report notes that the City Council approved a zoning amendment to convert some of the office space to residential and retail use. The report says the build-out for those conversions hasn’t happened yet.

According to the application:

The applicant proposes to use two 8 by 20-foot trailers for cooking and beverage preparation within a small surface parking area adjacent to the plaza of the 99 Canal Center property. The outdoor dining area, to be known as The Bike Club, would include 60 seats and serve food and beverages, including alcohol. It would operate seven days a week and feature community events, live music, and activities such as trivia nights. Although some music may be classified as background music, the music offerings would be amplified at low levels by small public announcement equipment accommodating local singers, jazz, bands and acoustic musicians.

The location would operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight.

The staff report recommended approval, saying the new location could be a nice spot for cyclists, runners and pedestrians along the trail to stop. The report also said the closest residential properties are 130 feet from the venue, meaning noise impacts are likely to be minimal.

According to the report:

Staff recommends approval of the applicant’s request for temporary trailers and live entertainment at 99 Canal Center Plaza. The temporary trailers, used for food and beverage preparation, and live entertainment provide a start-up business opportunity while enlivening the outdoor plaza which is largely unused by the community and Canal Center office workers. Located just 45 feet from the Mount Vernon Trail, it would also provide a convenient food and drink stop for bicyclists, runners and pedestrians using the trail.

The project is heading to the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 22.

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