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Alexandria Hyundai has been taking up space on three blocks of Mount Vernon Avenue for 21 years, and owner Kevin Reilly is submitting a plan to be able to stay on the Avenue for at least 20 more.

Hyundai wants upgrades at their dealerships, Reilly says, and that means he has to build a service drive-thru lane and service reception areas.

“What I’m asking for is to continue on the avenue essentially, that’s what it comes down to,” Reilly said at a recent Del Ray Business Association meeting.

The issue is that Reilly’s dealership runs against the city’s Mount Vernon Avenue Business Area Plan, which calls for a more walkable community with more mixed use retail and housing.

“(Automobile dealership) 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 plan includes:

  • A 770 square foot canopy to a 1,730 square foot service reception addition
  • A 1,500 square foot service reception area to their showroom lot in the 1800 block of Mount Vernon Avenue
  • The addition of four New Electrify America electric vehicle spaces with fast chargers for public access

Reilly, who is a former Del Ray Business Association president, says that the four New Electrify America electric vehicle chargers are a gift to the community.

“It takes 30 minutes or so to charge your vehicle,” Reilly said. “What do you do with 30 minutes? You’re walking up and down the Avenue and availing yourself of all the wonderful businesses here.”

Alexandria Hyundai’s plan goes before the Planning Commission on June 7 and City Council on June 18. If approved, Reilly anticipates six-to-eight months for construction.

Via Google Maps

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Bonaventure has released its second concept design for its mixed use shopping center proposal for 2525 Mount Vernon Avenue in the middle of Del Ray.

Bonaventure made a few big changes, including reducing the size of the proposed mixed use building from 88,500 square feet to 72,000 square feet. The number of esidential units has also been lowered from 79 to 73, and the building setbacks have been increased along Mount Vernon, Stewart and E. Mount Ida Avenues.

Cathy Puskar, Bonaventure’s land use attorney, said that the developer received lots of feedback from the city and community on their first conceptual design.

“We continue to do our work to try and work with you as residents of Delray to address concerns and issues and hopefully get to a point where we have a project that everyone can be proud of,” Puskar told members of the Del Ray Citizens Association in a presentation Monday night (May 16).

Bonaventure is also giving the community a parking lot, so to speak. The developer owns the 144-space parking lot across from Pat Miller Square on Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue, and 73 spaces will be available for public use. The lot currently allows for 33 shared retail parking spaces.

“We are proposing to provide our residential parking on the lower floor of the of the parking structure,” Puskar said. “We would have 73 parking spaces that would be available for shared retail use so the public would be able to use those spaces.”

Bonaventure bought the home to the former Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services for $22.5 million in 2019, along with the neighboring properties at 2401, 2403 and 2411-2419 Mount Vernon Avenue.

Notable changes:

  • The number of residential units has gone from 79 to 73
  • Residential square footage went from 75,970 square feet to 63,200 square feet
  • Increased building setback along Mount Vernon Avenue from nine feet to 12.1 feet
  • Increased building setback along E. Mount Ida Avenue from seven-and-a-half feet to 10.7 feet
  • Increased building setback along Stewart Avenue from nine feet to 10 feet
  • Residential balconies have been removed

As for stormwater concerns, Puskar said that the new plan relocates a storm sewer pipe from the sidewalk into the street, and that the pipe will be increased from 15 inches to 18 inches.

“We received a number of comments about being concerned about stormwater and stormwater runoff and stormwater treatment,” Puskar said. “Since we have to relocate the pipe anyway, we’re working with staff to upgrade that pipe to help as they continue to do infrastructure improvements to address stormwater concerns in the area.”

Bonaventure is not including affordable housing units in the project, and will instead contribute to the city’s Housing Trust Fund.

The company wants their plan to go to the City for review in November, to be followed by a final site plan and building permit process, and upward of a year-and-a-half for construction. Barring unforeseen circumstances, development could start in the fourth quarter of 2023 and be finished in approximately 20 months.

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Get your stretchy pants ready, because the Well Ray festival is around the corner.

It’s the first year back after a two-year Covid hiatus, and organizers say that the free event on June 11 will go on rain or shine, with a central portion of Mount Vernon Avenue closed off for dozens of health vendors who will have live boxing, pilates and yoga demonstrations.

“It’s great for the community’s physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health,” said Lola Capps of Chrysalis Chiropractic, who is co-chairing the event with Del Ray Business Association President Lauren Fisher. “It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be big, with lots of fun stuff that’s not just for adults, it’s for kids as well.”

The event includes nearly 40 vendors, and is sponsored by the Jen Walker Team.

“We’re very glad to be bringing this event back after two years,” said Fisher, who owns Del Ray Psych and Wellness. “Our goal is to connect people to things that they might not even be thinking about, like introducing them to new modalities or fitness classes, because there are many different things that can help our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing.”

The event includes:

  • A rock wall
  • Acupuncture
  • Pilates
  • Dance
  • Yoga
  • A zen zone
  • Boxing
  • Dog fitness area
  • Hula hooping
  • Human and canine massages
  • Physical therapy consultations
  • Chiropractic assessments
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Blood pressure screenings
  • Meditation
  • Wellness coaching

Via Facebook

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It wasn’t a washout, but the Alexandria Old Town Springtime Art Festival was a little less busy than expected due to the rain.

On Saturday and Sunday (May 14 and 15) the festival featured dozens of artists at the John Carlyle Square outside of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (600 Dulany Street).

The next art festivals are the 20th Annual Alexandria Old Town Art Festival on September 17 and 18, followed by Art On The Avenue on October 1 in Del Ray.

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Covid levels continue to rise in Alexandria.

As of Monday (May 16), the number of cases climbed to 32,928, an increase of 691 cases since this time last week.

The seven-day average of cases is 98.7, up from 78.6 last week, and the seven-day positivity rate for Covid tests is 14.7%, up from 12.4%. Deaths from the virus remain at 188.

May is tracking to be the second worst month of the year for infections, with 1,323 cases reported.

January saw the most-ever cases with 12,822 reported, followed by a steep drop to 1,227 cases in February. There were only 593 cases reported in March, and during that month City Council loosened its mask and distancing requirements after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved the City’s community level from High to Low. The CDC downgraded the city’s community level to Medium in April, which saw 1,488 new cases reported.

The Alexandria Health Department’s last Covid update was published on May 5.

VDH reported the following new cases this month in Alexandria:

  • 63 new cases on May 16
  • 106 new cases on May 15
  • 112 new cases on May 14
  • 119 new cases on May 13
  • 133 new cases on May 12
  • 85 new cases on May 11
  • 73 new cases on May 10
  • 61 new cases on May 9
  • 62 new cases on May 8
  • 113 new cases on May 7
  • 79 new cases on May 6
  • 82 new cases on May 5
  • 106 new cases on May 4
  • 47 new cases on May 3
  • 46 new cases on May 2
  • 36 new cases on May 1

Vaccine stats

  • There are 22,871 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 77% of residents (118,898 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 85% (131,009 people) of residents got at least one dose
  • 63,309 residents got booster shots

In Alexandria City Public Schools, there have been 941 cases reported since Dec. 1. Of those, 803 are children and 157 are staff, but the numbers on the school system’s dashboard don’t add up.

The city remains in a state of emergency until June 30.

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A Washington, D.C. man goes to court on Monday (May 16) for allegedly breaking down a door and pointing a gun at a woman’s head in her West End apartment.

The incident occurred on December 8, 2021, in a second floor apartment in the 100 block of S. Reynolds Street. The victim told police that she began to get a weird vibe after hanging out all day with the 26-year-old suspect, who she described as being a lifelong friend, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The couple left her apartment to get food at a nearby Popeyes restaurant, and, after returning home, the victim told police that she didn’t want him to come in after her, and put the suspect’s food and phone outside her apartment door. She also locked the door.

The victim said the suspect became enraged when he arrived at the apartment to find the door locked.

The suspect then allegedly broke down the door and entered the apartment, pointed a handgun at the victim’s neck and asked why she locked the door.

“She also advised me that he threatened to kill her,” police said in a search warrant affidavit. “When (the victim) put her hands up in a surrendering motion, (the suspect) turned around and swiped the food off the table. He then exited the apartment.”

Police found the door severely damaged and food scattered across the floor. The victim then phoned the suspect and put the call on speakerphone.

“She began arguing with him on speakerphone and I could hear him state that she should not have placed his Popeyes and cell phone on the ground outside her apartment,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

Police then called the same number, but the suspect allegedly told them he was not the man they were looking for and hung up the phone. Police then texted the number asking for a call-back to get the suspect’s side of the story.

Police then received a call from the suspect.

“The male called me back and stated he was not (the suspect), did not know anyone in Alexandria, was not in Alexandria, and did not wish to speak with me further without his lawyer on the phone,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect was arrested more than three months later, on March 14, 2022, and charged with brandishing a firearm, burglary, and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

The suspect is being held without bond in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. He goes goes before a grand jury on Monday, May 16, after which a trial date will be set.

Via Google Maps

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No one was injured after a car smashed through a front window of Great Harvest Bread (1711 Centre Plaza) in Fairlington Centre on Tuesday night (May 10).

The incident occurred at around 7 p.m., which is after the bakery is closed. An employee was working in a back room when a driver parked in front of the business put the car in drive instead of reverse and crashed into the building. No one was injured and the driver stayed at the scene.

“It was a new driver with their parent and they stayed at the scene,” shop owner Brad Hurst told ALXnow. “The repairs are going to take quite a while. I’ve gotten estimates from anywhere between a month to six months.”

It won’t be until next Tuesday (May 17) that the shop will have its bakery back up and running. In the meantime, Hurst and his family have been selling bread and cookies outside the shop, which they have owned for the last seven years.

“The community has been great,” Hurst said. “We’ve had a lot of customers come by express their support and to say they’re sorry. We’re just super thankful for the community and customers we have.”

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The AWLA’s Spring Fling adoption event is on Saturday, May 14. (Via AWLA)

Looking for a companion? On Saturday (May 14), the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is opening its doors for its annual Spring Fling adoption event.

The adoption event allows folks to name their own adoption fee for the AWLA’s adoptable cats, dogs and small animals in their care.

Among those animals is Liberty, a two-year-old male, black medium-haired cat.

“Liberty doesn’t know just how handsome he is, with his striking black fur and gorgeous green eyes, and we don’t think we’re going to tell him,” Gina Hardter of the AWLA told ALXnow. “It would spoil his sweet and humble nature.”

The adoption event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the AWLA, which is located at 4101 Eisenhower Avenue.

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A woman was injured and an Alexandria man faces multiple charges after an violent domestic dispute in Old Town, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

APD was alerted of people fighting in an apartment in the 1400 block of Princess Street in Old Town at around 3:30 on May 3 (Monday). A 33-year-old female victim suffered a non-life threatening injury after being struck and was transported to the hospital, APD told ALXnow.

The 30-year-old suspect was arrested shortly after midnight on May 3 (Tuesday) and released that same day.

The suspect was charged with malicious wounding, domestic assault and battery, destruction of property worth less than $1,000, resisting arrest and intentionally damaging a phone line to prevent the summoning of law enforcement.

The malicious wounding charge is a felony, which carries the minimum penalty of five years in prison. The remaining charges are misdemeanors, each punishable by up to a year in jail and $2,500 fine.

The suspect goes to court on May 13.

The Alexandria Sexual Assault Center and Domestic Violence Program is available 24/7 to listen and help at 703-746-4911.

“If you are a neighbor and know that an abusive incident is occurring, call the police immediately,” the city said. “Calling the police is simply the most effective way to protect the victim and children from immediate harm.”

Via Google Maps

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The Alexandria City Council, on Tuesday night, unanimously approved Visit Alexandria’s grant application request to secure nearly $1 million in federal tourism recovery aid.

Virginia Tourism Corporation received $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds last October, and $990,000 has been set aside for marketing to improve the city’s hospitality sector.

The funds will be spent over the course of the next two fiscal years (FY 2023 and FY 2024), since the city’s ARPA allocation to Visit Alexandria will dry up when the current fiscal year wraps up at the end of June.

The pandemic hit the city’s tourism industry hard, and it’s estimated that a full recovery for hotels and business travel is several years away.

“This will provide critical support to our small business sector and will help support increases to the City’s consumption tax revenues (lodging, meals and sales) by way of tourism marketing,” City staff reported to Council.

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