Carlyle Community Survey is open until July 15 — “Do you live, work or occupy a building in Carlyle? Then make sure to take the 2021 Carlyle Commuter survey! Your feedback helps improve our Transportation Management Program, and how we as a community get to and from Carlyle. Survey closes on 7/15. ” [Twitter]
Old Town blood drive on July 26 — “On July 26, Inova Blood Donor Services will be hosting an Old Town Blood Drive at Market Square, 301 King St. As a thank you, donors will receive an exclusive Olympic themed t-shirt. The need for blood is constant and blood banks are anticipating an increase in the need for blood due to the resumption of elective surgeries.” [City of Alexandria]
Recognition of burial grounds at Fort Ward Park to be discussed — “Those attending the July 31 meeting should meet city staff in the parking lot behind Fort Ward Museum. Attendees will walk to the four major burial sites.” [Patch]
Today’s weather — “Partial cloudiness early, with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. High 92F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%… Clear to partly cloudy. Low 72F. Winds WSW 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. Enthusiasm, flexibility and excellent communication skills are needed to be successful in this position.” [Indeed]
The Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a massive high-rise apartment building project near the Eisenhower Metro Station in Carlyle, and none of the 1,414 units will be dedicated to affordable housing.
Instead, the applicant Carlyle Plaza, LLC, will contribute $6.1 million to the city’s Housing Trust Fund.
Jonathan P. Rak, an attorney for the applicant, told Council that the city will get more bang for its buck by spending the $6.1 million on “wood construction, which is a less expensive type of construction to actually produce more high-quality affordable units within the city, than if we were to just take that money and apply it to these high-rise concrete construction units.”
Alexandria is currently experiencing an affordable housing crisis, and lost 90% of its affordable housing stock between 2000 and 2017. Consequently, the city has pledged to produce or develop thousands of units to meet 2030 regional housing goal set by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. With land scarce, controversy erupted last year when City Council asked the School Board to consider colocating affordable housing on public school grounds in future development plans.
City Councilman Mo Seifeldein was the only member of Council to criticize the 1.4 million-square-foot Carlyle Plaza II project, which will ultimately add four new 30-story and 28-story apartment buildings, including 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail, above-grade parking, five acres of open space and public art.
“Contributing money alone, while helpful, it also creates those inequities and an intended separation of certain segments of our populations, and also denies them the opportunity to be in this area,” said Seifeldein before voting for the project. “We hope that in the future this applicant or other applicants look at what we’re doing here today and really try to work with us, because this is a monumental project that could have been greater, but an opportunity has been lost.”
Via City of Alexandria
A stretch of the Carlyle neighborhood that’s been mostly empty fields could see its mixed-use development transformation approved over the next month.
The sweeping redevelopment of the east end of Eisenhower Avenue is headed to the Planning Commission next Thursday (June 24) before going to the City Council on Tuesday, July 6.
The plan is to construct four residential tower buildings with around 1,414 units and up to 15,000 square feet of retail. The site will also have a four or five story parking garage and 5 acres of open space.
A permit was originally approved for the project in 2012 as a primarily office-complex, but in 2014 concerns about finding a sizable enough office tenant led to the project being redesigned as residential and retail. The office space was halved and that, along with a potential hotel-use, are being considered as potential uses.
Courtesy City of Alexandria
A man was struck by a vehicle in the 2100 block of Jamieson Avenue this afternoon and taken to the hospital, though his injuries are not considered life-threatening.
“We had a male pedestrian struck on Jamieson,” said Alexandria Police Department senior communication officer Amanda Paga. “[He] was taken to the hospital due to his age, but he had non-life-threatening injuries.”
The incident occurred in the Carlyle neighobrhood a block away from the Federal Courthouse and The Westin hotel.
Initial reports indicated that the man was conscious, but bleeding from the head when first responders arrived on scene.
Paga said the driver of the vehicle stayed on-scene after the incident.
Via Google Maps
The building blocks for what will become a sweeping mixed-use development replacing Landmark Mall are almost in place. A small discussion about street ownership could also have big implications for the future of the site’s identity.
The Eisenhower West Landmark Van Dorn Implementation Advisory Group met on Monday to put some of the finishing touches on some of the initial framework discussed over the last few months. One of the major points of discussion is over who will own the roads.
While The Wharf is cited as an inspiration behind some of the development concepts at the former Landmark Mall site, some at the advisory group meeting pointed to the city’s Carlyle neighborhood for inspiration.
“If it’s a private street, we would require public access easements so everyone has access, making sure it’s open and available to everyone,” said Jeff Farner, Deputy Director of Planning and Zoning for the City of Alexandria
Jonathan Rak, a partner at law firm McGuireWoods, said his leading preference would be for privately owned streets with public easements.
“All of these framework streets will have public access easements so that they function with the same types of access as any dedicated street,” Rak said. “As a comparison, all streets in Carlyle are privately owned but have public access easement and look, smell, and feel like any other public street.”
Rak said privately owned streets with public access easements can help give more flexibility with how the street is built and how it operates.
“In terms of why we’ve been asking for some private streets… one of the things we want to be able to do is enhance paving materials in those areas,” Rak said. “Having a private street gives us more flexibility in terms of paving materials. [If we] want to have the ability to close down some portions of those streets to make them into farmers markets, street festivals, those kinds of activating type uses, private street with public easement lets us do that.”
There are other questions and concerns moving forward that will need to be addressed down the road by the City Council and Planning Commission. Agnes Artemel said there are still lingering questions about sustainability and building heights — particularly minimum heights, as some developers have come back to the city saying they aren’t planning to go as high as some earlier estimates.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to review the early plans for Landmark Mall at the June 24 meeting, with those plans headed to the City Council on July 6.
Image via City of Alexandria
As part of the expansion of Catholic Charities USA’s (CCUSA) expansion into Carlyle, the non-profit is requesting permission to build a cafe and conference center on the ground floor of its 2050 Ballenger Avenue headquarters.
The expansion is part of an application headed to the Planning Commission on Tuesday, June 1. The space is owned by CCUSA and until recently was leased to a restaurant, but the non-profit said in its application that the restaurant closed in January.
“CCUSA proposes to repurpose the space formerly occupied by the restaurant and establish a conference center and cafe in its place,” CCUSA said. “The conference center will be occupied and managed by CCUSA, and will be utilized to host a variety of meetings and events including Board and membership meetings, trainings, and conferences.”
CCUSA said it will also rent out the conference center to third parties on a rental basis, which could help meet the heavy demand for conference space in the area.
“Over the years, CCUSA has received numerous inquiries regarding the availability of conference center space in its building,” the non-profit said. “Organizations that have expressed interest include other nonprofit organizations, community groups in Carlyle, and the Westin Hotel in instances where there has been overflow demand from its existing conference facility. The proposed ground floor conference center will help meet this demand.”
The cafe will offer sandwiches, desserts and beverages and operate as a workforce training program.
“The program will provide workforce training in the food and beverage and hospitality industries to underserved and vulnerable populations, such as the unemployed,” CCUSA said. “The space is well-suited for this use, given the existing kitchen facilities left in place by the former restaurant tenant.”
CCUSA said the commercial kitchen space could be used as an incubator for start-up food and beverage businesses for people from underprivileged communities.
Photo via Google Maps
The location would join the other &pizza location at 3525 Richmond Highway in Potomac Yard.
The D.C-based chain was founded in 2012, and includes 35 locations around the East Coast. The rectangular pizzas are made to order, and include gluten free and traditional dough.
The restaurant owner says the location will be able to accommodate five staffers per shift and 22 dine-in patrons during peak lunch and dinner periods. It would also be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the week.
The last day for public comments on the SUP is May 13.
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.)
Henock Seyoum Pastoor, a 27-year-old Alexandria man, was arrested by Metro Transit Police on Thursday and charged with threats to bomb or damage buildings or means of transportation.
Pastoor’s arrest was made after approximately 200 of his neighbors were evacuated from their homes in the 1700 block of Dogwood Drive. Hundreds of residents in the area were briefly evacuated.
“MTPD apprehended Pastoor at his home, where he made references to explosive devices on the property,” MTPD said in a release. “Nothing dangerous to the community was found.”
Alexandria Police assisted in the investigation.
There were also suspicious packages investigated today in the 400 block of Dulany Street near the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in Carlyle.
The area reopened just before 4 p.m. after being closed down for three hours.
The latter incident is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Additionally, a suspicious package in the 5500 block of North Morgan Street only contained salt and pepper shakers, according to police.
CORRECTION: APD is assisting the Alexandria Fire Department with a suspicious package investigation in the 400 block of Dulany Street. Expect police activity in the area.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) April 22, 2021
NEW DETAILS: On Wed, 4/21, APD assisted Metro Transit Police with a bomb threat investigation in the 1700 blk of Dogwood Dr, which started around 7:30pm. Residents within a one-block area were evacuated. Nothing harmful was found. One arrest made. Scene declared safe around 1am.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) April 22, 2021
— Metro Transit Police (@MetroTransitPD) April 22, 2021
What a week in Alexandria.
Our top story this week was on a plan to install hanging gardens in the Carlyle neighborhood.
Still, a lot of other stuff happened. While Alexandria City Public Schools opened their doors to hybrid learning, City Council made headway on a collective bargaining ordinance and rejected the Braddock West development.
Here are some other important stories this week:
- Patrick Moran addresses controversies, wants to look to future
- Water Taxi returning to Alexandria just in time for the Cherry Blossoms
- Man shot in Arlandria on Wednesday night
- Council to review Taylor Run and Strawberry Run stream restoration projects this spring
Here are this week’s top stories:
- The Caryle neighborhood could be getting its own Hanging Gardens
- Residential neighborhood with 139 townhomes approved for Victory Center site
- Police Chief updates Del Ray community on recent crime incidents
- City Council takes rare step and strips local business of special use permits
- City passes ordinance limiting large trucks from parking in business zones
- Just Sold in Alexandria: March 16, 2021
- Alexandria looking for feedback on proposed North Beauregard Street repaving
- Local vaccination efforts accelerated with new vaccine supply, city preps for phase 1c
- Waterfront Commission tries to avert ‘Disneyland-like’ development in Old Town
- Poll: Do you agree with the City Council’s rejection of the Braddock West project?
- Alexandria’s initial and continued unemployment claims just jumped by double percentage points
Have a safe weekend!
Image via City of Alexandria
The recreation of the Lighthouse of Alexandria might not be the city’s only ancient wonder soon.
The Carlyle neighborhood could be home to Alexandria’s own elevated park with what seems to be a Hanging Gardens of Babylon aesthetic.
Alexandria’s Park & Recreation Commission has docketed a public hearing at their Tuesday, March 18 meeting for the large park planned for the Carlyle neighborhood alongside a planned multi-family residential development. Community feedback on the proposal can be submitted via email until Wednesday, March 17, or at the public hearing.
Plans submitted to the city show the highest portion of the park at the western end, flowing on a 5% downward slope to a playground, amphitheater and an athletic field at the Alexandria Rewnew site.
A press release noted that the project will eliminate Eisenhower Circle, a proposal the City Council reluctantly agreed to move forward because at it became too expensive to cancel despite the negligible benefit.
According to a press release:
The Carlyle Plaza II / Carlyle Park Towers development approval includes four tower buildings with a four-to-five story, above-grade parking garage that will provide parking for all the buildings and is designed to accommodate a green roof which will be open to the public as open space. The rooftop open space will connect the development properties with the athletic field on the Alexandria Renew site (Limerick Field), creating more than 5 acres of integrated open space. The developer will also design and construct the parks created by the elimination of the Eisenhower Circle, referred to as North-Circle Park and South-Circle Park. The extensive rooftop public open space is connected to grade via a “transition zone” — a landscaped assemblage of overlooks, terraces and stairs that leads down to the South-Circle Park.