Alexandria, VA

Need a quick sweat in the office sauna before an upcoming meeting? How about an ice bath? For folks tired of working from home, a new coworking office just opened in Old Town with amenities focused on wellness.

Real estate developer Christopher Campagna was ready to open The Loop at 215 N. Payne Street back in March, but then the pandemic struck and it pushed back his plans. He was all set for a virtual opening when George Floyd was killed and the city experienced a period of social unrest, and so he pushed the opening to late summer.

“Leasing office space? That business is broken,” Campagna told ALXnow. “This COVID reset has given fuel to the fire to the idea that people can work away from their standard office, and what we offer is a safe solution that will unleash the potential in your employees.”

Campagna opened his first coworking space, 1010 Loft (now renamed to The Loop), at 1010 North Fairfax Street in 2016, and later cofounded the ALX Community space at Founder’s Hall.

He hired 25N to manage the new property, and its CEO Mara Hauser and her team have prepared COVID reentry plans for employers who want to get their employees out of the house.

“Our site and community manager patrol around the space with a bottle of sanitizing spray,” he said. “Every time somebody gets up a communal space they go over and spray. It’s tricky. We’ve got a gym that takes a lot of sanitization, and we’re limiting the number of people that can be in there at any one time together. We’ve cut back on the number of personal trainers, too.”

The Loop also offers student and family packages starting at $25 per day and going up to $199 for a monthy pass, which gains members access to the kitchen with free coffee and tea, flexible working spaces, the gym, showers and lockers.

“I want people to be in a place where they can’t wait to get to work in the morning,” Campagna said.

In case you missed it, The Loop is also hosting the launch of Black Is Beautiful beer on August 28.

Feeling like the summer's just slipping away? Don't waste anymore time working inside. Come enjoy our outside workpsace,…

Posted by The Loop – Alexandria on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Courtesy photos

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There will soon be a new beer in town.

On August 28, to commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech on the National Mall in 1963, a group of local entrepreneurs will unveil Rocket Frog’s newest socially conscious creation — “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL” beer.

The 9% alcohol imperial stout includes vanilla from Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats and coffee from Swings Coffee Roasters, and will be unveiled at The Loop coworking space (215 N. Payne Street) in Old Town from 12-6 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go to Black Lives Matter.

Tickets cost $15, which gets you a can of BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL beer, two hours to hang out at the event, and a souvenir glass. Food trucks will also be parked at the venue, and there will be a DJ.

Brandon Byrd, owner of Goodies, came up with the idea.

“Let’s just boil it down to the basics of what Dr. King was trying to inspire in everyone,” Byrd said. “Now in this uncomfortable time, there needs to be some inspiration, there needs to be some hope to establish positive energy.”

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman was on-hand at The Loop to discuss the event.

“As I heard the name, I was like, ‘Okay, this is going to be interesting,'” Chapman said. “You don’t always see organizations being so socially conscious. I think that’s really what I appreciate.”

David Hartogs, the owner of Rocket Frog, said that he’s made 350 souvenir glasses for the event. He also said that $12 of the $15 admission will go straight to BLM and that he is looking for a distributor to sell the beer in Alexandria.

“There’s nothing better than sitting down with different people and having beer and just talking about life, so that’s kind of where we come at with with our philosophy about who we are as a company,” Hartogs said.

Christopher Campagna recently opened The Loop, and this will be his first event.

“We’ve got a big, brand new warehouse space, and a big parking lot, so we can have a gathering and observe social distancing,” Campagna said.

Courtesy image

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Morning Notes

City Releases Annual Homeless Data — “The 2020 Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count revealed 207 persons experiencing homelessness (i.e., unsheltered and in temporary shelter made available by homeless services providers) in the City of Alexandria.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandria Police Release 2019 Traffic Stop Data — “The vast majority of traffic stops — 80 percent — occur on weekdays, with Tuesday and Wednesday being the most common days.” [Alexandria Living]

Carpenter’s Shelter Gets Hydrated — “Did you know today (Tuesday) is National Hydration Day? Thanks to Trezur C of Tres Outreach for donating twenty five cases of water to keep our residents nice and cool during these hot summer days!” [Facebook]

Fire Department Conducting Virtual Station Tours — “So instead of in person tours and visits, we thought we would provide a couple of virtual station tours for the community, especially those who are frequent visitors at their neighborhood stations and couldn’t drop by during the past few months. First up, Fire Station 206, located at 4609 Seminary Road…our tech rescue station.” [Facebook]

ALX Community Hosting COVID Coping Workshop June 25 — “Hosted by Elena Jimenez, founder of Execute Your Destiny, this series offers a rare opportunity to navigate the current social and racial climate in search of new perspectives and solutions.” [Eventbrite]

New Job: Part-Time Dance Teacher — “Looking for experienced dance and acro teachers. Openings on weekdays and Saturday. Primarily classes for children aged 3 and older.” [Indeed]

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If you’ve gotten used to working from home with your kids during the pandemic, a new daycare and coworking facility coming to Old Town could let you work alongside your kids.

Two Birds is a coworking office in D.C. with a focus on also offering child care. The company offers the usual coworking amenities, like coffee bars, dedicated desks, and conference rooms, but also comes with amenities aimed at early childcare.

The company has filed a special use permit to open a new location near the King Street Metro station at 1721 King Street.

“Because our childcare is licensed and available 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., you’re free to choose half-day or full-day scheduling,” the company said on its website. “You can leave to go to meetings or run errands any time you like, with total freedom — and without the need to check in on your little ones unless you’re jonesing for some playtime.”

Two Birds offers programs for children from infants to pre-k, with full-time and part-time options. Full-time care is $2,365 per month and part-time is $1,300. A dedicated desk is $400 per month and a shared desk is $250.

In the application, the company said the office is designed with people using both the childcare facility and the coworking space, but said both uses would also be available to the public without needing to utilize the other.

Two Birds would utilize 28 adjacent parking spaces, with three more designated for pick-up and drop-off.

“The proposed uses are compatible with the existing commercial development surrounding the property, will meet the increasing demand for childcare in the city, and will provide parents with an opportunity to co-locate their office and childcare needs,” Two Birds said.

The application is docketed for review at the June 2 Planning Commission meeting.

Photo 1 via Google Maps, photo 2 via City of Alexandria

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Morning Notes

New Coworking Space Opening This Spring — “A new co-working space is opening in a historic property that once housed a grocery delivery company… The Loop, a unique, dog-friendly co-working space that will help Alexandria residents ‘Work Better, Be Better, Do Better’ will open in April. The Loop is under construction on North Payne Street in the former Chec Soda & Refrigeration Co. complex.” [Alexandria Living]

Presidents Day Closures in Alexandria — “All City of Alexandria government offices will be closed on Monday, February 17, in observance of George Washington Day.” [City of Alexandria]

AWLA Delivering Pets on V-Day — “Forget roses and chocolates, or even flowers. The new gift is Fido or Felix. This Valentine’s Day, there will be volunteers from the Animal Welfare League in Alexandria delivering rescue pets to their forever homes from noon to 7 p.m.” [Zebra]

Vietnam Vet Speaking at GW Parade Event — “Capt. Eugene ‘Red’ McDaniel (ret.), a Vietnam veteran considered one of the most brutalized prisoners of war during six years of captivity, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association Breakfast Feb. 17 at the Alexandria Westin Hotel.” [Gazette Packet]

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(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) Construction is complete at the second ALX Community coworking office in Old Town, and there is room for new tenants who need an office away from home.

The 25,000 square-foot, two-level office at 201 N. Union Street is the only dog-friendly coworking space in town. It recently opened after signing a 15-year lease for the space.

ALX Community co-owner and Chief Operating Officer Kelly Grant said that people need smaller, more flexible places to work, especially in light of large developments in and around the port city, including Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus at Potomac Yard and the expansion of the waterfront.

When asked possible future expansion plans, Grant said the company will stick with its two locations for the time being.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to provide them a place where they can grow with us,” Grant said. “We have enough right now to be able to serve this community. We don’t have plans immediately to go anywhere else but Alexandria. It’s our hometown. All my partners live here. It’s what we love and we’re hyper-local.”

The second floor at ALX Community opened first, in October, and the ground floor was unveiled at the beginning of the year.

The company launched last spring with the ALX Community location at Founders Hall (106 N. Lee Street), which has since been completely rented out by Compass Realty. Grant describes the new N. Union Street location as mid-century modern-meets-industrial. The building is the former home to administrative offices for the Torpedo Factory Art Center from the days when it made the Mark 14 submarine torpedo in World War II.

On most workdays, Grant arrives early in the morning and leaves well after 5 p.m.

“I don’t think about the minutes or hours I’m spending here,” Grant told ALXnow. “I think about how lucky I am to be able to meet and work with such great people.”

The coworking office currently accommodates more than 100 small businesses and 250 members — including ALXnow, which has a similar name but no relation to ALX Community. It offers flex offices, conference rooms named after notable city locations like Jones Point, phone booths and free coffee and tea and kitchen facilities. The office also hosts monthly meet-ups and discussions on professional development, health and wellness, and “community activation.”

ALX Community will hold a private grand opening event the evening of Thursday, Feb. 6.

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ALX Community, a coworking space not associated with widely-beloved local news site ALXnow, is planning to launch its new waterfront office tomorrow (Thursday).

The 25,000 square-foot space is set to open tomorrow, with all hands on deck currently applying the final touches to the office. The office is expected to be at capacity when it opens.

The new location sits just north of the Torpedo Factory on the second floor of 201 N. Union Street. The space includes private offices, dedicated desks and flexible seating.

The company has been hosting a countdown its Facebook page with a chance to win a $100 gift card to Alexandria Restaurant Partners, which owns several restaurants in Alexandria.

ALX Community launched with its first coworking space at 106 N. Lee Street in April 2018. A third coworking space, along with a new food hall, is planned to open in the Carlyle neighborhood next year.

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An old brick building at 215 N. Payne Street is in the middle of conversion into a new “flexible workspace” called The Loop.

Developer Braddock Commercial, whose website indicates that their sole project seems to be this new coworking space, said clients will be able to pick out their own furnishings and furniture for the offices at The Loop.

The website says the company offers private offices and open desks as needed, with access to a kitchen, meeting rooms, video conference, a gym and more. A Facebook post noted that the office will also have a dedicated podcast room.

Offices in the project are expected to run from $3,500-$4,000 per month, with 9-18 month memberships.

No clients are currently listed on the site, but local health program Alexandria Wellness said they will have an “open gym” at the location.

A Board of Architectural Review case from 2012 noted that the building was constructed in the late 19th century or early 20th century. A storm in 2010 damaged the stucco and vinyl siding on the building but exposed the brick facade that’s there today.

Rendering via Braddock Commercial

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