(Updated 10:25 p.m. on 11/22/22) The roadways in Old Town North are set to get an upgrade, thanks to the massive GenOn Power Plant redevelopment.
The 18-acre power plant site has no internal transportation infrastructure, and on Wednesday night (Nov. 8) Hilco Redevelopment Partners revealed its concept designs for the street network.
Over the next decade, the development will convert the power plant site into a new mixed-use neighborhood with residential units on the upper floors, and commercial and artistic spaces on the ground floors.
“The site has no internal infrastructure today, so we’ll be investing a substantial amount to create new roads, sidewalks, bicycle accommodations, and the public walk route, as well as utilities,” said Michelle Chang, HRP’s vice president of mixed-use development, in a virtual meeting on Wednesday. “All of these will promote walkability, provide new bus stops and decrease reliance on personal vehicles. Additionally, HRP will make offsite improvements along Slater’s lane and intersections with the George Washington Memorial Parkway to improve vehicular bicycle and pedestrian connections. All told, we estimate these will (cost) $177 million.”
Plans call for a complex network of public and private streets, all of which will be publicly accessible. The roadway is designed to minimize cut-through traffic with a main public road, or spine street, going straight through the property.
HRP’s development special use permit concept submission will have to undergo a community review process next year before going to the city for final approval.
More than 14 acres of the site is devoted to open space, and the property even incorporates Dutch design with the inclusion of a woonerf, a “people-focused” street facing the waterfront that will allow for easy closure for events.
Demolition for the site is slated to begin next year on the 18-acre site in Old Town North, and construction is expected to take between 18 and 31 months. In fact, the entire development may take 10 years to complete.
HRP is also proposing these roadway changes:
Bashford Lane at the George Washington Memorial Parkway
- Pedestrian crossings need improvement
- Traffic signals currently prioritize north-south traffic, which will have to be balanced for east-west movements for all modes of transportation
Slaters Lane at the George Washington Memorial Parkway
- Balance signal operations for east-west traffic
- Improve pedestrian crossings
- Extend bike facilities through the intersection with GWMP and connect to the Mount Vernon Trail
The time for farewells is almost up, as the demolition of Landmark Mall starts early next month.
It will take about a week for contractors to relocate the Landmark Mall Transit Center to the northeastern portion of the massive property, followed by site fencing the final week in April and demolition at the beginning of the month — although no exact date has been released on exactly what day walls will start coming down.
“I would hope to see the site fencing go in and around the site by the end of this month, with demo(lition) starting the very beginning of next month,” Jay Kelly, Foulger-Pratt’s vice president of development, said in a community meeting Wednesday night. “We are pushing every day to try and make it go quicker.”
The massive West End Alexandria project will result in more than four million square feet of new development, including the expansion of Inova Alexandria Hospital. The buildings on the property will be demolished over the course of six months — going from east-to-west, including the flyover ramp on N. Van Dorn Street. Only the 550-space parking garage will remain as-is.
Most of the debris will be hauled away along Interstate 395 on trucks with tarps that have been hosed down to reduce air contamination.
The Landmark Mall Transit Center will be closed for about a week starting tomorrow (Tuesday) for construction as the facility serving DASH and Metrobus is relocated ahead of the mall’s demolition this spring.
DASH sent out a notice that the transit center would close Tuesday, March 29, for about one week, meaning DASH Line 30, 32 and 35 buses will not stop at Landmark Mall. It wasn’t yet known whether the transit center will reopen at the relocated spot in front of the former Macy’s, or if that relocation would happen at a later date.
Landmark Mall will be demolished ahead of Inova’s construction of a new hospital campus. Inova recently filed concept plans with the city, showing the campus will include a new Level 2 trauma hospital, a cancer center and a specialty care center.
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria turns 75 — “Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and several City Council members were among the attendees milling about, chatting with friends, reviewing the dozens of items up for auction, and touring the facility as well as the AWLA’s new surgical and event vehicle, Waggin’ Wheels.” [Zebra]
Former Steak & Ale building demolished — “Long-time residents of Alexandria may remember the old Steak and Ale restaurant at the intersection of Kenmore Avenue and Seminary Road. The 6,800 square foot Tudor-style building has been abandoned for more than a decade, since the restaurant chain declared bankruptcy.” [Alexandria Living]
Summer Sidewalk Sale dates announced — “Visit Alexandria has announced the return of Alexandria’s 12th Annual Sidewalk Sale Aug. 14-15, 2021. During this weekend-long event, shoppers can find deeply discounted summer merchandise at dozens of boutiques around Old Town and Del Ray.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s weather — “Plentiful sunshine (during the day). Hot. High 97F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph… Partly cloudy (in the evening). A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 74F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Craft beer bartender — “Now hiring experienced bartenders and Servers at Hops N Shine! We are looking for bartenders with a strong passion for the craft beer industry and a commitment to providing an outstanding guest experiences at our location.” [Indeed]
Demolition complete at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School — “It’s official, the Douglas MacArthur Elementary School of old is now fully demolished, and we are on our way to a new building, opening January 2023! Watch the construction on the project website from Skanska: https://bit.ly/3bXgncs” [Facebook]
ACPS in early stages of developing safety plan without school resource officers — “Alexandria is not alone in re-evaluating its relationship between police and schools, but it is the only Northern Virginia jurisdiction to remove SROs from schools so far.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria Police Department reopens headquarters for public services — “Starting Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the lobby doors at Alexandria Police Department Headquarters are open for public access to services in the Property Section and Information Services Section (Records), as well as Public Fingerprinting services. At this time, everyone entering the building must wear a mask and check in with security staff at the front desk. The Information Services Section window will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday, the window is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mail-in requests are still available as an alternative. Public Fingerprinting is now available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.” [City of Alexandria]
Council candidate Kevin Harris signs pledge — On May 29, City Council candidate Kevin Harris signed the Alexandria Constituents’ Bill of Rights, joining former Mayor Allison Silberberg and Council candidates James Lewis, Bill Rossello, Florence King, Darryl Nirenberg, and Mark Leo Shiffer. [ALXnow]
Roy Rogers reopens at Belle View Shopping Center — “Located at 1506 Belle View Blvd., the restaurant closed in October 2019 following a devastating multi-alarm fire that spread along the roofline of the shopping center. An investigation by the Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s office determined that fire began in a walk-in cooler at Yido Ramen and Sushi, which had opened just days before.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s weather — “Cloudy skies (during the day). High 82F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph… Scattered showers and thunderstorms (in the evening). Low 66F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Seasonal marina dock assistant — “The Seasonal Marina Dock Assistant works on the City’s Historic Waterfront at the City Marina. The City Marina provides for recreational and commercial boating operations while receiving more than 2,000,000 visitors annually. The Marina Dock Assistant performs journey-level tasks of more than ordinary difficulty and must be able to perform heavy physical labor safely and efficiently. This position works under the immediate supervision of a lead worker who lays out the details of each specific assignment and constantly checks the work in process and upon completion; or performs routine tasks independently after initial instruction. This position performs duties under the general supervision of the Dock Master and Assistant Dock Master. A candidate selected for this temporary part time position would be expected to work varying hours per week base on the business need, not to exceed 1500 hours per calendar year.” [Indeed]
It’s Memorial Day weekend in Alexandria, and it’s also a short work week for ALXnow.
Yes, we’re taking a quick breather by taking off most of tomorrow (Friday, May 28).
Not to worry. We’re still covering tonight’s mayoral debate between Mayor Justin Wilson and former Mayor Allison Silberberg at 7 p.m. This will be the fourth and final candidate conversation hosted by the Seminary Ridge Civic Association, and our story will be published on Friday morning.
Our top post this week is about Hilco Redevelopment Partners, which is planning to host guided tours of the Potomac River Generating Station (PRGS) site in Old Town North. The tours will be held on June 4 and 5, and the property is being planned for a mixed-use development.
On a sad note, former Virginia Senator John Warner passed away this week at his home in Old Town. He was 94, and is being recognized around the country as a conservative icon from a bygone age of political cordiality. Also, on Sunday, former Alexandria Delegate Richard R.G. Hobson died.
And local businesses are adapting to this Friday’s easing of COVID restrictions throughout Virginia. In Alexandria, the Health Department is launching the new ALX Promise Gold accreditation program for businesses to complete in the days ahead.
- City Council candidate Sarah Bagley wants to be a voice for Alexandria women
- City Council candidate Kirk McPike says he wants to bridge divisions with community conversations
- City Council candidates talk Seminary Road Diet, transparency and ward representation (Part 3)
- Homegrown Restaurant Group gives employees raise to $15 an hour, will ease COVID restrictions at 6 restaurants
- Ownership of Landmark’s streets could make a big difference down the road
- Poll: Do you agree with adding a pool to the city’s high school expansion?
- Alexandria private school to temporarily move into Old Town church
- Alexandria makes a splash with aquatics reopening announcement
- New private academy in Old Town headed to Planning Commission
- Alexandria juveniles arrested for gun possession
- Developer offers tours of abandoned Alexandria power plant before demolition
- Amazon Fresh supermarket planned for former Shopper’s Food Warehouse in Potomac Yard
- Photos: More than half of the Potomac Yard Metro Station is complete
- School Board says swimming pool colocation a form of ‘reparations’ for Alexandria
- Go-go music star-turned Alexandria teacher ‘Sugar Bear’ in the spotlight after Oscars shoutout
- Here’s a list of restaurants and other businesses for sale in Alexandria
- Here’s a preview of what’s ahead for Alexandria’s post-pandemic economic development
- Catholic Charities hopes to turn vacant Carlyle restaurant into workforce training kitchen
- Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
- Former Alexandria Delegate Richard R.G. Hobson dies
- Alexandria Police investigating knife fight, prostitution and drugs at West End hotel
Have a safe weekend!
It was a busy week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.
Governor Ralph Northam and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Alexandria this week. Northam stopped by Pacers Running in Old Town, and afterward met with Cardona, Mayor Justin Wilson, National Education Association of the United States President Becky Pringle and Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School. Cardona was at the school as part of his “Help is Here” school reopening tour.
On Monday, demolition started at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, and Alexandria City Public Schools says that the completion date is still on schedule for the new school to reopen the school in Jan. 2023. In the meantime, MacArthur students will continue to use the old Patrick Henry Elementary School as swing space.
There was big news for Alexandria nonprofits this week, as the Spring2ACTion fundraiser raised $2.5 million and broke last year’s online giving record.
There were also 682 votes in this week’s poll on outdoor dining and takeout. We asked whether the city should keep its expanded restaurant offerings after in a post-COVID environment. An overwhelming majority of 84% of votes cast (576 votes) want businesses to enjoy the same level of latitude; 13% (89 votes) said some modifications should be made and just 2% (17 votes) want businesses to go back to pre-pandemic operations.
- Incumbent delegate and Alexandria vice mayor square off in unique 45th District race
- Bryan Porter running unopposed for third term as Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney
- Police investigate string of commercial burglaries in the West End
- NEW: Alexandria shifts to open scheduling for COVID-19 vaccine
- Scholarship Fund of Alexandria raises $450K in annual gala
- Man robbed at gunpoint in West End
- NEW: Alexandria Courthouse reopening to public on May 3
- New rooftop restaurant could be coming to the waterfront
- Alexandria man arrested for firing gun at 7-Eleven door near Braddock Road Metro station
- D.C. man arrested after 130 mph chase leads to crash on Interstate 495
- Parking issues plague Potomac Yard, city looks to create residential parking district
- Update: Four arrested, suspect’s mother among wounded in West End shootout
- NOW: Alexandria preparing new face mask ordinance as CDC says fully vaccinated folks don’t need them
- Alexandria celebrates Earth Day virtually
- COVID-19 Update: City says anyone who registered by April 10 for COVID-19 vaccine should have an appointment
- Police: Falling death of man in Landmark does not appear to be suspicious
- Del Ray restaurant The Garden to bloom into new outdoor area
- Parents and students protest for expanded in-person instruction outside ACPS Central Office
- JUST IN: ‘Open ACPS!’ group to rally in front of Central Office on Monday
- Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
- EXCLUSIVE: Here’s what the inside of the Halal slaughterhouse looks like on Colvin Street
- School Resource Officers at ACPS on chopping block as Police chief proposes alternative program
Have a safe weekend!
The day has finally come for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School.
On Monday, members of the community and Alexandria City Public Schools leadership watched as a demolition crew started tearing down the World War II-era building.
Lisa Porter lives across the street from MacArthur, and watched the demolition from her front yard with a group of neighbors. Porter’s two children went through MacArthur, and she has been involved with the school for 15 years.
“We are thrilled to finally see this happen,” Porter said. “We started hearing about this when my son was in kindergarten, and now he’s in college.”
School Board Chair Meagan Alderton said she would never forget making the “emotional” decision on MacArthur’s fate.
“Man, oh man, was it worth it,” Alderton said. “Because we are moving forward, we are excited. And I can’t wait to have this brand new building and have our teachers and our staff and our families be allowed to have what they deserve. It’ll be amazing when this place is a memory and we have new building up here.”
ACPS Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., said construction is on schedule to reopen the school in Jan. 2023. In the meantime, MacArthur students are using the old Patrick Henry Elementary School as swing space.
“I’m sorry that our students and our families were not able to be here because of the COVID restrictions,” Hutchings said. “But this was a wonderful occasion. It was a long time coming and we’re so excited for the next chapter of Douglas MacArthur.”
Design-wise, MacArthur’s three-level “Forest” plan was chosen last year. It is currently set back from Janneys Lane, putting classrooms at the rear of the building and providing a view of nearby Forest Park.
City Councilwoman Amy Jackson was also there. Last month, Jackson made an impassioned plea for movement on construction.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “The community engagement has been amazing. It’s going to be an exciting time for an exciting school.”
MacArthur Principal Penny Hairston said that the demolition was a long time coming.
“There is a rich legacy here, and this is very exciting,” Hairston said. “It’s a very emotional thing to see this happen.”
The one-story theater first opened in 1998, and “is an example of a typical multi-screen movie theater built during the late 1990’s throughout the region,” according to a city staff report.
In its place will go a pump station that is part of Virginia Tech’s massive Innovation Campus development, and will handle sanitary sewer flows for Virginia Tech’s Sewer to Wastewater Energy Exchange system.
As previously reported, this and next month, the BAR and the Planning Commission will receive half a dozen plans for the 1.9 million square-foot mixed use North Potomac Yard development.
The area was a rail yard from 1906 until 1989, and the staff report stipulates that all eventual construction “will stop on the site if any buried structural remains (wall foundations, wells, privies, cisterns, etc.) or concentrations of artifacts are discovered during development,” and that a city archaeologist will need to record the finds.
The plan will go to City Council this fall for approval.
Alexandria Man Killed in Southern Va. — “A man and a woman from the Washington area were found dead Saturday on a road in a quiet part of southern Virginia, and state police said the two were homicide victims. Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, Va., and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Md., were found at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday.” [Washington Post, WSET]
APD Crosswalk Enforcement in Del Ray — “APD’s Traffic Safety Officers successfully completed a crosswalk enforcement operation in the 400 block of E. Monroe Ave. today. This resulted in 23 citations being issued in 4 hours.” [Twitter]
Bus Barn Work Starts — “Demolition has officially started on the former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) ‘bus barn’ to make room for a large new residential development. That development of 286 apartments will include 12 affordable units.” [Alexandria Living]
Local Resident Stands Up to Cancer — “The man with the open heart and time for hundreds of community causes can now use a boost to help him with his passion for cancer research. He needs pledges. Starting at 4:26 p.m. on Monday, February 10, [Pat] Malone will ‘Stand Up to Cancer’ for 24-hours straight at Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar in Arlington.” [Zebra]
Naturalization Ceremony in Alexandria — “For nearly two decades, Vinod Krishnkumar had been waiting for this day to come. It was a day his father in India dreamed about but never got to experience for himself: On Jan. 31, Krishnkumar was among 170 individuals from around the world to take the Oath of Citizenship during the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.” [Gazette Packet]