Alexandria, VA

The Alexandria Fire Department is investigating a fire that affected the electrical systems in a high rise apartment building in the 200 block of South Whiting Street in the West End.

Fire officials responded to reports of smoke coming from the basement of the 10-story building, and the fire was extinguished within minutes. No one was injured, according to Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman Raytevia Evans.

“The building is on fire watch until the power is restored,” Evans told ALXnow. “No one has been displaced from their homes.”

The building is located near Stevenson Avenue and South Van Dorn Street and is near a number of other apartment buildings and businesses.

Map via Google Maps

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Sami Bourma doesn’t know what he’s going to do. At 2 p.m. today, the unemployed father of two children and resident at Southern Towers had an eviction hearing at the Alexandria Courthouse.

Two hours prior to that, Bourma and a number of his friends and neighbors stood outside the courthouse in Old Town and, for the second time this month, protested in asking Governor Ralph Northam to cancel evictions.

“I had three jobs before the pandemic, organizing for my local Union 23, as a cook and as an Uber driver,” Bourma told ALXnow. “How can I pay the rent if I don’t have an income? I don’t know what I’m going to do. That’s why I’m protesting today.”

Last week, the city also approved additional funds to help poor residents pay their rent while unemployment in the city remains high.

On Tuesday (July 14), Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring stated that lower courts can grant continuances on evictions, and that there are a number of state and federal protections in place so that people can stay in their home during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has taken a very real toll on Virginia’s economy and tens of thousands of Virginians, many of whom are hourly workers, have found themselves without a source of income during these difficult times,” Herring said. “We are still in the middle of a state of emergency and a public health crisis and it’s so important for Virginians to be able to stay in their homes to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe.”

Northam’s request to extend the moratorium to later this month was denied by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Jonathan Krall with Grassroots Alexandria was at the protest, and said that the continuances should be granted.

“You shouldn’t be putting people out on the street,” Krall said. “That doesn’t help the economy and doesn’t help the tenants or the landlords. People are starting to get evicted, and this is a major problem.”

Evelin Urrutia, the executive director of Tenants & Workers United, said that the Latino population in the city is hurting.

“We’ve been suffering with a housing problem, and the pandemic just made it worse and we are seeing it happen,” Urrutia said. “We have many families who are behind two or three months on the rent, and they won’t be able to catch up.”

For Bourma, the issue has become one of survival. After speaking with ALXnow, he walked back over to the two dozen protestors and took the megaphone to lead a chant.

“No money, no rent!” he shouted into the megaphone.

Staff photos by James Cullum

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Morning Notes

Del Ray First Thursday Porch Party Today — “The Del Ray Business Association presents First Thursday Porch Party: Red, White, and Blue from 6 p.m. to dusk on Thursday, July 2. In the spirit of Del Ray’s summer street festivals, the event features a wide range of activities that promote community while maintaining social distancing standards.” [Facebook]

Major Residential Development Breaks Ground — “About 300 residences and a large parking garage are replacing an old office building in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]

DASH Bus Mobile Tracker Launches — “The new mobile-friendly DASH Tracker is finally here with new features and improved information to make finding your next bus a snap! Where will you go with the new DASH Tracker?” [Facebook]

Al’s Steak House Won’t Have Indoor Seating — “As we enter Phase 3 Al’s will continue not to have indoor seating available. Our space is too small to accommodate customers dining in and customers picking up their orders.The social distancing would be non existent. We do offer two tables for outdoor seating. Al’s will continue to accept call in orders and Delivery.” [Facebook]

Rebuilding Together Alexandria Slowly Getting Back on Track — “Our team was looking for a socially-distant project to get us out of the office and back into the community. We mulched the grounds of local nonprofit, Friends of Guest House. Check out the before and after!” [Facebook]

Mason & Greens Grand Opening Moved Online — “When news about the coronavirus began to spread, the Marinos knew they would have to cancel their big grand opening event.” [Alexandria Living]

Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden Open House Saturday — “Explore the history in your own backyard with free, self-guided tours of the Lee-Fendall House on July 4th! Face masks are required and we will be limiting the number of visitors allowed in the museum at one time to allow for social distancing.” [Facebook]

New Job: Host or Hostess — “Looking for an energetic individual to control the flow of the dining rooms, and be the first happy face guests see when entering Village Brauhaus.” [Facebook]
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The owners of an Old Town apartment complex want to demolish four 1970s-era rental properties and redevelop them into two multifamily apartment buildings with 474 new apartments.

The Board of Architectural Review will discuss the matter on July 15 before moving their recommendation to the City Council.

The building owners are asking for a permit to demolish the properties at 431 S. Columbus Street, 900 Wolfe Street and 450 S. Patrick Street, and for the approval of a concept plan.

According to the city’s real estate records, the property includes three garden style apartments and one mid-rise apartment building built between 1976 and 1977. They are not historic in nature and the applicant is proposing that the property maintain affordable units to help the city meet its affordable housing stock, in addition to having the property rezoned to residential multifamily.

Images via City of Alexandria

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The Alexandria Housing Development Corporation is opening the waitlist on affordable rental units at The Bloom apartments at 930 N. Henry Street.

There are 87 units open to the public, and all are reserved for households making the following percentage of area median income:

“All interested applicants must submit their pre-leasing waitlist application between 9:00 AM on July 13th and 11:59 PM on July 19th,” Bloom said on its website. “The waitlist will then be randomly sorted.”

An additional 10 units are reserved for Carpenter’s Shelter’s New Heights redevelopment. The apartment building will be available for tenants this October, according to Bloom.

Alexandria is currently experiencing an affordable housing crisis, and the city has pledged to produce or develop 2,000 affordable housing units by 2025. The city has also agreed to produce an additional 1,950 units by 2030 in order to meet its regional housing goal set by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which aims for the region to produce 320,000 affordable housing units.

Our partners at the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation have a big announcement: they will be opening the…

Posted by Office of Housing, City of Alexandria, VA on Thursday, June 25, 2020

Image via City of Alexandria

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Morning Notes

New Residential Building Promises Daycare and Retail in Braddock Area — “Right now, that property is primarily garage and warehouse space for a variety of auto and other businesses.” [Alexandria Living]

Van Dorn, Eisenhower Metro Stations Reopening June 28 — “Several stations and stops were closed in March, in an effort to conserve cleaning supplies during the early stages of the pandemic.” [Zebra]

Residential Proposal Made for Old Town North Building — “The project, at 801 N. Fairfax St., goes before the City of Alexandria Planning Commission this Thursday and may go before the City Council on July 7.” [Alexandria Living]

Nectar Coffee & Wine Bistro Closes For Good — “Susan and I have made the extremely difficult decision to close Nectar permanently. We have loved our business, awesome staff, customers and neighbors and are truly grateful for your business over the past 3 years. See you in the neighborhood!” [Facebook]

The Water Taxi is Back — “On June 22 the Potomac Water Taxi resumed service between Alexandria, National Harbor, and the District. Dining cruises resume on Saturday, June 27. To ensure the safety of all on board, a number of procedures are in place. The safety measures include requiring face coverings for all guests (ages 3 and up), physical distancing, touchless entry boarding and ticketing, and reduced capacity onboard.” [Zebra]

TEDxOronocoBayPark Cancels All 2020 Events — “We are excited to be bringing the TED content to the community virtually through the TED Circles program – save the date July 20 7 p.m.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Symphony Premiers Virtual Concert — “Welcome to Alexandria Symphony’s Garden Sounds! Enjoy music from ASO musicians and appearances from special guests Paula Poundstone, Alan Gilbert and more!” [Youtube]

New Job: Bartender — “Be a part the Silver Diner Family! We are hiring full-time Bartenders for all shifts for our Grand Opening in Alexandria! Full-time Bartenders at our established locations can make $400-$700 in tips per week!” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

High School Student Assaulted Walking Home — “The assault occurred near the intersection of Russell Road and Rosecrest Avenue in the Del Ray/Rosemont neighborhood. The victim was a member of the T.C. Williams High School baseball team.” [Alex Times]

Officers Complain of Toxic Work Culture at Alexandria Police Department — “There are employees, including some who resigned after allegedly being subjected to retribution, who blame Chief Michael L. Brown for establishing an environment without discipline or accountability, where misconduct is swept under the rug. They say that under Chief Brown’s leadership, problems have gotten worse, which has fueled retirements and resignations from the department.” [Alex Times]

Vigil for Victims of Police Brutality Tonight in Arlandria — “Let’s join in solidarity with our Black community. Please bring a candle, poster, or other tribute to honor the lives lost at the hands of police. We will gather in the parking lot behind TWU’s building at 3801 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. For everyone’s safety, please wear a face covering.” [Facebook]

fibrespace Gives May 31 Profits to ‘Innocence Project’ — ‘Thanks to your shopping, we sent almost a thousand dollars today to this incredible organization who is working to exonerate the innocent and reform our broken criminal justice system.” [Facebook]

George Mason Elementary Donates Books to Community Lodgings — “The principal, Mr. O., was so generous to collect the books and spread them around the lawn at Fifer so that families could select books while maintaining a safe distance from one another.” [Facebook]

Virtual Concert Saturday Benefiting Senior Services of Alexandria — “100 percent of your contributions to the Löwball virtual tip jar for our June 6th webcast will go to support SSA Meals on Wheels program.” [Facebook]

Wesley Housing Closes on Affordable Housing Near Huntington Metro — “Located at 2317 Huntington Avenue, The Arden will be a seven-story building at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive.” [Zebra]

New Job: Brand and Public Relations Specialist — “The Specialist, Brand and Public Relations is a core member of the SHRM Brand and Communication team with responsibilities to support national TV commercials, brand activations, PR campaigns and earned media to amplify SHRM’s thought leadership and reputation.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Developer Gets Financing to Build Apartments in West End — “Monday Properties announced Tuesday it secured a $66.8M construction loan from EagleBank and broke ground on the development at 2000 North Beauregard St. The project is planned to include 300 units in six to seven stories of wood-frame construction atop a two-level concrete podium. The apartments will be wrapped around an internal, 420-space parking garage.” [Bisnow]

Inova to Build Hospital, Considers Alexandria Campus Modernization — “The health system is also looking at options for ways to modernize the current Inova Alexandria Hospital — and noted that ‘all options, from renovating in place to relocation, are under evaluation. Additional information will be made available as this project develops.'” [Alexandria Living]

Beyer Calls Trump’s Vanity ‘Nauseating’ — “The day the United States hit 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic Trump shares a messages calling himself ‘the greatest President in our history.’ His vanity is nauseating. He doesn’t care about you, your family, your health, or your safety. He only cares about himself.” [Twitter]

Local Lawyer and Musician Dies — “John Spaulding, 94, a traffic-law trial lawyer who also was a choir leader, musician and regular weekend pianist in the 1980s at the Fish Market Restaurant in Alexandria, Va., died April 5 at his home in Arlington, Va. The cause was congestive heart failure, said his wife, Polly Plumb deButts.” [Washington Post]

Student Collects 500+ Books for Middle Schoolers — “During the past few weeks, tenth grader Erin Machado and her mom have collected more than 500 middle school books from friends and neighbors, sanitized each one, and delivered them to Francis C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria.” [Facebook]

‘The Garden’ in Del Ray is Not Reopening Outside — “We will take this time to continue to train staff with updated health department regulations as well as make the necessary updates to our business to ensure your safety upon reopening. We do have plans to incorporate take out from The Garden in the next couple of weeks. There will be new menu items, cocktails, growlers, and can beer to go. Please continue to follow us on social media and check out our website for further updates.” [Facebook]

New Job: Event and Promotions Assistant — “This firm identifies and develops new streams of revenue for clients through on-site promotions, innovative marketing strategies and advertising campaigns with a personal touch. This is an entry-level position with fully paid training and the opportunity for growth into an executive management role after completion of training program.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Southern Towers Residents Prepared to Strike Over Rent — “Their goal is 1,000 signatures from the 2,300 total units. They want management to cancel rent until one month after the pandemic ends, address safety and cleaning concerns, and create a sliding scale for future rent payments based on income.” [WAMU]

Less Than Half of Alexandrians Will Get Full Stimulus Checks — “SmartAsset estimates that full stimulus check would go to just 49.57% of households in the City of Alexandria, and 65.92% would get some level of stimulus check. The full check of $1,200 would be sent to individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of up to $75,000 and a reduced benefit would be sent to individuals earning up to $99,000, at which point it phases out completely.” [Alexandria Living]

Market 2 Market Del Ray Caters Food Gifted to Alexandria Hospital — “We had the wonderful opportunity to partner with Cafe Pizzaiolo and Market 2 Market Del Ray and our friends Trinchero Family Estates and to provide dinner for the teams working around the clock at Inova Alexandria Hospital this afternoon!” [Facebook]

The Chamber’s Virtual Professional Women’s Network Mixer is Tonight — “We can all agree that these are unprecedented times we are experiencing now, and connections are now more important than ever so please make plans to join us on Thursday, April 9th for a slightly different version of our wildly popular Professional Women’s Network Coffee & Connections.” [Chamber of Commerce]

Del Ray Farmers’ Market Canceled This Weekend — “There is no market at 4 Mile Run this weekend, but Tom (and our other vendors) will be at the #delrayfarmersmarket on Saturday so you can pick up your pre-orders!” [Facebook]

Virtual Mindfulness Workshop Tonight — “Stress is an inevitable part of life. Join Dr. Eng for an 8-week course where you will learn about the stress response in your body, stress management techniques, coping strategies, and mindfulness-based relaxation training.” [Facebook]

Old Town Books Hosting Virtual Writing Classes and Literacy Series — Kicking off on Friday, April 10, Old Town Books will launch writing classes and a virtual literacy series featuring accomplished authors. The pay-what-you-can programs include participation by authors Jenny Offill, Jessica Lahey and New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon. [Old Town Books]

Safeway Updates Social Distancing Rules — “Stores will limit occupancy levels to one person per 150 square feet during normal business hours and one person per 300 square feet during special hours reserved for seniors and other vulnerable customers. Each store will utilize one front entrance/exit to ensure enforcement and a store associate will be assigned to the doors to manage traffic.’ [WUSA9]

Center For Alexandria’s Children Recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month — “Raise awareness and show your support for Child Abuse Prevention Month while enjoying family time together. Download and print the board and play #PinwheelBingo with us! Continue to check back on our social media platforms throughout April for more family-friendly activities to do at home. Together we are stronger! Let’s all do our parts to protect the children in our communities. [Facebook]

The Dog Park in Old Town is Open — “Easter is coming…so don’t furget your doggy! We carry a full line of Easter toys, treats and wearables. We will be featuring a new item everyday for you to enjoy. We are open everyday M-S 10-6 and Sunday 11-5. We offer curbside pickup and contactless home delivery too!” [Facebook]

Fat Face Opening This Summer in Old Town — “It all began in 1988 with two guys enjoying life on the slopes in the French Alps and desperately trying to avoid working for a living. With money running out, they hatched a plan: print some sweatshirts and t-shirts, sell them at night, and ski during the day. With that simple formula, the FatFace brand was born with the name even being inspired by their favourite black mountain run in Val d’Isère, La Face.” [Alexandria Living]

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Alexandria City Public Schools have added three “grab and go” breakfast and lunch distribution locations for children over the age of two.

Food distribution at all the ACPS locations has also been limited to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic that has shuttered the school system for the remainder of the academic year.

“We’re trying to really not have families out every day and staff out every day,” ACPS Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. told the City Council/School Board Subcommittee in an online meeting on Tuesday. “Last week we had these meals available every day. We are really trying to adhere to the guidelines of social gathering.”

The new locations are:

ACPS is also offering meals at these locations between 8 a.m. and noon:

https://twitter.com/ACPSk12/status/1242855319342067715

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The Foundry (2470 Mandeville Lane) isn’t open yet, but the new luxury complex in Hoffman Town Center has started leasing apartments.

According to a press release, apartments include studios as well as one, two and three-bedrooms. Studios start at around $1,900 per month and go up to three-bedroom units at $4,360. Rent specials are currently being offered, the press release said.

The building will include a heated rooftop pool, a sports bar, a pet spa and more. A new food hall is also planned for the building.

Staff at The Foundry said move-ins are scheduled to start March 1. Tours of the building are available, staff said, but visitors will have to wear a hardhat for now.

The Foundry is part of a wave of new residential development planned as part of a push to turn the Eisenhower corridor into more of a residential and commercial district.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Dog Featured in Puppy Bowl — “The Puppy Bowl features dogs from shelters and rescue groups like Alexandria-based dog rescue Operation Paws for Homes. The rescue group is holding a watch party Sunday, Feb. 2 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Wag & Brew, 614 S Pickett Street, Alexandria.” [Patch]

Crash Snarls Rush Hour Traffic — Just before 5:30 p.m. last night a crash, reportedly involving a car and a motorcycle, shut down portions of Sanger Avenue and Beauregard Street, snarling rush hour traffic. [Twitter]

Apartment Building Purchase Complete — “The purchase of an Alexandria apartment building that will provide affordable housing units is complete, the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation announced Thursday. Avana Apartments, a 326-unit apartment complex at 3001 Park Center Drive in the West End, will have some units available at lower costs for households that meet income requirements. It will be renamed Parkstone Alexandria.” [Patch]

Waterfront is Highlight for Local Visitors — “Another standout in the data was attraction to the waterfront. In a portion of the survey where respondents were shown photos of scenes around Alexandria – which included shops along King Street, cobblestone roads and historic sites like Mount Vernon – the photos that performed the best were those with water. ‘Our historic character is really important but showing a place that’s on the water is very inspirational to people as a place that they want to visit,’ Vito Fiore, director of marketing and research for Visit Alexandria.” [Alexandria Times]

No Anniversary Beer for Port City — “Each year for our anniversary we craft a unique style of beer. Sadly, after monitoring the brewing process we have decided COLOSSAL IX does not represent our dedication to great quality beer, and we will not be releasing an anniversary beer in 2020.” [Twitter]

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