(Updated at 1:45 p.m. on Jan. 5) The new owner of 628 King Street is shopping the property around, and wants it to remain two retail spaces.
Douglas Development now owns three of the four buildings at the intersection of King and Washington Streets. The D.C.-based commercial real estate firm owns the adjacent properties at 700 (Lululemon) and 701 King Street (the now-closed Le Pain Quotidien), as well as 610 King Street (Anthropologie), 614 King Street (H&M) and 615 King Street (the former Walgreens) and 700 King Street.
Douglas Development bought the property on Dec. 10, and representatives of the firm say there has been some interest from prospective tenants, although nothing definite. The building was previously owned by the family of Wellington Goddin, and was appraised for $6.2 million last January.
GAP Inc. has leased the three-level, 20,000 square-foot building at 628 King Street since 1986, where it has long been home to a Banana Republic and Gap Outlet store, which will permanently close on Jan. 24. Staff at both stores said Gap Outlet was underperforming at the space, with most business coming in on weekends.
Commercial real estate firm KLNB’s represented Douglas Development in the purchase of the building, and is managing its next steps.
The owners plan on splitting the property into two units, keeping the uses as retail and renting them out as soon as possible.
The firm says their 652 retail transactions this year is a 39% increase over 2020 and 15% over 2019, but that property values have stayed relatively flat over the last two years.
“Brick and mortar retail also remains extremely relevant regardless of what folks may say about it being dead, as evidenced by KLNB’s transaction volume,” KLNB President and Chief Operating Officer Marc Menick told ALXnow. “All this being said, transactions are well up over 2019 levels, but value is basically flat. More deals, less value.”
The property, which has 158 square feet of frontage on King and S. Washington Streets, was originally developed as a 600-seat theatre in 1854, was converted to a Union hospital during the Civil War, changed hands through the decades and even burned down.
The Sushi Bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue is closing for good tonight (Dec. 7), and will soon reopen as a Christmas-themed pop-up bar, owner Bill Blackburn informed ALXnow.
“Joy On The Avenue – A Christmas Pop-up Bar” will open in its place sometime next week, Blackburn said.
The Sushi Bar opened in 2013 — next door to sister restaurants Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow Del Ray, which are all owned by the Homegrown Restaurant Group.
“It’s long been our intention to close it by the end of the year and to change it into something new,” Blackburn said. “We decided to accelerate that plan. Tonight will be the last night of The Sushi Bar. “
The bar will have light appetizers, and will serve holiday wine, beer and cocktails.
“We’re going to do that until the 31st instead, and then close it and remodel to a new concept,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn anticipates unveiling a new concept soon and then reopening at the end of February 2022.
After decades at the corner of King and Washington Streets in Old Town, national retailers Banana Republic and Gap Outlet are closing their doors forever on January 24, 2021.
All merchandise is currently marked between 20% and 40% at Banana Republic (628 King Street), and up to 70% off at Gap Outlet (622 King Street).
Both stores belong to The Gap, Inc., and staff at both locations said that Gap Outlet was underperforming, with most business coming in on weekends.
Banana Republic and Gap Outlet have long been anchors near the “Middle King” intersection in Old Town. The block has seen a number of businesses close down in recent years, including La Tasca in May 2020, Wallgreens last year, and Java Grill last summer. Burke and Herbert Bank at 621 King Street is also closed.
The original building at 628 and 622 King Street was constructed as a 600-seat theatre in 1854. During the Civil War, the building was named Washington Hall General Hospital, and contained 100 beds for Union soldiers. The building would become a laundromat and insurance firm before burning down.
“The two lots were then combined and a new structure on the site was built for retail purposes, a Lerner’s store which prospered well into the mid-twentieth century when downtown Alexandria was the center of shopping in Northern Virginia,”according to the Office of Historic Alexandria.
After seven years in Del Ray, Ascend Cycle (2417 Mount Vernon Avenue) is permanently closing by the end of the month.
Owner Kat Zajac made the announcement this week on social media, and said that the effects of the pandemic proved too much for her business.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I write this announcement,” Zajac wrote. “The impact of the pandemic has continued to be very real across this year. While this decision may come as a shock to some of you, it has been something that I have been working to avoid for quite some time.”
Zajac thanked customers and staff, and said that the closure was not due to a lack of effort.
“From creating an outdoor studio, to online programs, to moving our location to save on rent, to being as frugal as possible, we made every effort imaginable to stay alive,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, our efforts have proven to not be enough – the time has come to let go. This decision comes with a whole host of emotions. Despite it all, I feel grateful to have been surrounded by an amazing community of people. So with that, I want to say thank you.”
It was election week in Alexandria, so congratulations and/or condolences.
Alexandria Democrats managed to hold onto all of the City Council seats. Mayor Justin Wilson won reelection and Elizabeth Bennett-Parker was elected to the 45th District House of Delegates seat. But any local Democrat euphoria was dampened by statewide losses that Wilson warned could reverse recent local wins on some issues.
Here were the most-read stories around ALXnow this week:
- Developer reopens abandoned Alexandria power plant for tours later this month
- Cut-through traffic protections along Duke Street could go into effect early next year
- Man arrested for DWI, smashing cars and leaving scene while parking in Old Town
- BREAKING: Alexandria School Board election results
- Georgetown tearoom relocating to Alexandria waterfront
- Retail, residential, and music venue could replace North Old Town office park
- City Council to step up fight against Comcast internet monopoly next week
- BREAKING: Bennett-Parker declares victory in 45th District seat in Virginia House of Delegates
- Alexandria man arrested for stealing packages outside homes in Old Town
- Silver Parrot Jewelry permanently closing at end of year in Old Town
After more than four decades at 113 King Street, Silver Parrot Jewelry is closing by the end of the year — or as soon as the shop sells out of its heavily discounted merchandise.
Store manager Megan Vail told ALXnow that the decision was made when the landlord doubled the rent. She says store owner Peter Dunn hasn’t been able to find a new location for years, and instead the business is looking to liquidate its existing stock.
“The landlord always negotiated in the past,but not this time,” Vail said. “We also rent the store next door and sublet it to the America! store, which left a while ago, and now we suspect that someone came in and made an offer for both spots.”
All jewelry at the Silver Parrot is marked 25% to 50% off. The shop carries silver jewelry from around the world, ranging in price from $20 for silver earrings to $3,200 for intricate necklaces inlaid with colorful stones.
“We’ve been very busy this week,” Vail said. “If it stays like this we may not last all through the holidays with the stock that we have.”
The Silver Parrot is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Nicecream, the shop that makes ice cream with liquid nitrogen, has permanently closed on King Street.
The Arlington-based company opened shop in Old Town at 726 King Street four years ago, and joins other recent Nicecream closures in D.C.’s Adam’s Morgan and Shaw neighborhoods. The Arlington location at 2831 Clarendon Boulevard remains open.
“Unfortunately, this Nicecream location is closed,” reads a note on the door. “Thank you for your continued support during this tough time for small businesses. We’ve loved getting to know you!”
Del Ray Italian restaurant to close — “Rosemarino D’Italia will close its doors after Wednesday, July 28 at its Alexandria location in Del Ray, after serving up Italian cuisine to its customers for the past eight years there, according to manager Edward Camacho.” [Alexandria Living]
Work starts on new Athleta store in Old Town — “Construction has started on the former La Tasca restaurant on King Street as the building owners make space for a store for Gap, Inc. athletic brand Athleta.” [Alexandria Living]
Harry Potter birthday tours this Saturday at Apothecary Museum — “In honor of Harry’s birthday, the Apothecary Museum is offering a special tour for families (and adults who missed their Hogwarts’ letter) that will explore the old Apothecary and the historic muggle medicines that inspired the Herbology and Potions of Harry’s wizarding world. Tours are every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Recommended for fans ages 8 and older.” [City of Alexandria]
Today’s weather — “A mix of clouds and sun in the morning followed by cloudy skies during the afternoon. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 91F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph… Some clouds early will give way to generally clear conditions overnight. Low 71F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Temporary enrichment and fitness instructor — “In pursuit of service excellence the Enrichment and Fitness Instructor provides youth, adult, and senior leisure classes at various recreation centers through the City of Alexandria. In this role, you will have the opportunity to ensure that the goals are met to provide a safe, fun, structured and engaging atmosphere for all our customers.” [Indeed]
It was a surprising week in Alexandria.
Our top story by far was on the venomous rattlesnake found in Old Town on Sunday. The timber snake, which also goes by the name American Viper, was discovered in the 400 block of Gibbon Street — a few blocks from the waterfront. It didn’t bite anyone, and was apprehended by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Animal Services team and later moved to a wildlife facility in Northern Virginia.
This Saturday, June 19, is also Juneteenth, and the new federal holiday recognizes the end of slavery in the U.S. The City recognized Juneteenth on Friday, and most government offices and facilities were closed. This weekend, the Alexandria Black History Museum is partnering with Washington Revels Jubilee Voices — a group that preserves local Black traditions through a cappella music, dramatic performances and dance — for a virtual Juneteenth Celebration.
Meanwhile, in-person dramatic and musical performances are being planned for July. The Little Theatre of Alexandria is expanding capacity with their new lineup of shows, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will resume in-person performing in a reduced program at the City’s birthday celebration on the waterfront on July 10.
In other good news, a pair of T.C. Williams High School Titans raised more than $4,800 to attend the Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon on July 1.
In this week’s poll, we asked readers how they think the millions of first allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds should be spent, as City Council will conduct a public hearing on how to spend it on Saturday. After a rash of flooding incidents last year, a majority of the respondents want the funds prioritized for waterway maintenance.
This Sunday is also Father’s Day, and a number of Alexandria businesses are offering unique specials.
- ACPS Superintendent Hutchings wins contract renewal with enthusiastic support from School Board
- No cut-through traffic relief in new Duke Street plan, but it could be addressed this fall
- Volunteer Alexandria contends with pandemic aftershock, needs help now more than ever
- Towering east Eisenhower development headed to Planning Commission next week
- UPDATE: Man found in West End after Alexandria Police issue Critical Missing Person Alert
- Local construction worker gets a second chance at professional baseball
- New flood mitigation committee sizes up deluge of city stormwater problems
- Alexandria Black History Museum secures grant to bring city’s civil rights history online
- Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Carlyle and taken to hospital
- Grocery delivery chain Foxtrot coming to Old Town
- Alexandria’s COVID-19 cases barely trickling in, 10 new cases reported last week
- JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
- Captain Sean Casey wins Democratic primary and is running unopposed for Sheriff in November
- Woman assaulted by mob and pepper-sprayed in Old Town North
- Man dies of apparent overdose at coworking office in Old Town
- T.C. Williams High School’s final graduating class walks the stage
- Alexandria Fire Department rescues woman from stalled car, Flash Flood Watch in effect
- City launches Duke Street transit overhaul process
- For Taco Bamba owner, newly announced Landmark location is a homecoming
- Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
- Here’s what to do when you find dead birds amid recent epidemic
- Java Grill closed until further notice in Old Town
Have a safe weekend!
The pandemic has taken another Alexandria business. Java Grill at 611 King Street in Old Town has closed until further notice, according to a sign posted on its door.
Perhaps its greatest moment was on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The place was packed with members of Congress, reporters and Democratic supporters for an election night viewing party.
The business closed up less than a month later on March 30. Their final social media post said that the action was temporary.
Java Grill opened in early 2019 in the former Bread & Chocolate, which had been at the location for decades. The street is beginning to look lonely, as neighboring storefronts La Tasca and Walgreens are also vacant.