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Police say a man was robbed in Alexandria on Duke Street last night (Tuesday) just east of Ewald Park.

“The victim, male, reported that while walking in the 4300 block of Duke Street, an unknown, male suspect approached them from behind, and took property from their person at gunpoint,” said Lt. Courtney Ballantine, a spokesperson for the police department.

Ballantine said the incident occurred around 11 p.m. and there is no suspect information available.

“We always encourage folks that want to help to call the non-emergency phone number and ask to speak to an officer with any information,” Ballantine said.

The police non-emergency number is (703) 746-4444.

Image via Google Maps

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Construction has started in Fairfax County at the new home of Beyer Automotive Group’s Land Rover Alexandria.

After more than 20 years at 2712 Duke Street, the dealership plans to move into its new home on a 5.9-acre lot at 5636 S. Van Dorn Street in 2022.

Land Rover Alexandria is co-owned by 8th District Congressman Don Beyer, who is a partner in the Falls Church-based group that owns eight dealerships throughout the region.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the plan in April.

John Altman, Beyer Automotive Group’s chief operating officer, told WTOP that the company outgrew its Alexandria location and that it’s new location will be the largest Jaguar Land Rover dealership in the Mid-Atlantic.

The two-story, 50,000-square-foot building will include up to 28 service bays and an expanded vehicle showroom, according to Fairfax County. It will also be able to hold up to 326 parking spaces and be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. About 60 employees are expected to work at the site at any one time.

Chesapeake Contracting won the contract to build the dealership at the site, which is near the Van Dorn Metro station. It is currently “undeveloped and is wooded with upland forest and open field, and features steep grades rising from South Van Dorn Street,” according to a Fairfax County staff report.

Map via Google Maps

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Updated 2:50 p.m. — Police said the suspects have been apprehended. An earlier version of this article listed an incorrect address.

For those curious about a police helicopter is sweeping over the 2300 block of Duke Street around 1:30 p.m., police say the helicopter is assisting in the search for suspects who fled a vehicle that was flagged as stolen.

Lt. Courtney Ballantine, a spokesperson for the Alexandria Police Department, said the nature of the area meant a helicopter was called in to assist with the search.

Ballantine said that no suspect descriptions are available and there is no reason to believe the suspects are armed and dangerous.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Historic Old Town Home Uprooted and Relocated — “If you were driving down Washington Street Wednesday, you may have noticed a historic brick townhouse being moved on beams and dollies.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Duke Street’s Transit Focused Redesign Starts — “In early 2021, city staff will begin collecting community input for the future of the Duke Street Corridor from Landmark Mall to the King Street Metro Station.” [Alexandria Times]

Best Places for Christmas Lights Around Alexandria — “An increasing number of cars are driving around with Christmas trees on top and slowly but surely, homeowners are decking their homes with lights and holiday displays. Here are a few places to see the region’s best holiday displays.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Local Salvation Army Handles Decreased Giving but Increased Demand — “At the same time, the organization is seeing an increase in demand. Already serving more than 23 million Americans each year, the Salvation Army expects to help an additional 6.5 million people this holiday season.” [Alexandria Gazette]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Voted 80% for Joe Biden — “The vote total in Alexandria, as of Wednesday morning, was 65,201 or 80.4 percent for Biden, the former Vice President; 14,251 voted for Trump.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Reaches Complete Count in 2020 U.S. Census — ” The Bureau’s Crystal City Area Census Office, which includes all of Alexandria, was the only such office in the Washington, D.C. metro region to count 100% of households by the time data collection ended on October 15. Because almost 74% of Alexandria households completed the census questionnaire by mail or online, census workers had to visit fewer households in person.” [City of Alexandria]

Here’s Updated COVID-19 Guidance from Alexandria — “Everyone has a role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Take immediate action by wearing a mask, reducing unnecessary travel, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others and staying home when sick. Below are specific guidance and resources based on setting or need.” [City of Alexandria]

Vegan PLNT Burger Restaurant Opens Inside Whole Foods — “Co-founder and chief culinary director for PLNT Burger, Spike Mendelsohn (of ‘Top Chef’ fame) was in town recently to open the hip new vegan burger joint inside the Whole Foods store at 1700 Duke Street and on opening day gave away 100 free burgers to the first people in line.” [Zebra]

Waterskiing Santa Going Virtual This Year — “The show was originally scheduled to run on Christmas Eve this year but organizers announced that they decided to cancel the live event for safety reasons. Instead, a recording will be available for viewing on Dec. 20 so families can “stay home, get some hot chocolate and popcorn and cozy up while watching the Waterskiing Santa,” organizers said on the event’s Facebook page.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. High 69F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Partly to mostly cloudy (at night). Low 48F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Scholarship Program Assistant — “The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, a national nonprofit in Alexandria, Virginia, seeks a Scholarship Program Assistant to become part of the Scholarship Program team. The Scholarship Program Assistant works closely with the Assistant Director, Scholarship Programs to support the needs of the department and the \Foundation and its various stakeholders. S/he is responsible for supporting the Department in an overall administrative capacity and to provide support in the day-to-day functions of the Department and team.” [Indeed]

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The Alexandria Police Department is investigating more shots fired at night in the city.

There were two more reports of shots fired over the weekend. The first incident occurred on Friday night in the 1100 block of Queen Street in Old Town. Multiple shots were fired and buildings were struck, but no one was injured. No arrest was made.

The second incident occurred on Sunday night in the West End in a residential neighborhood in the 4300 block of Duke Street. No one was injured in this incident. Again, no arrest was made.

Alexandria Police are expected to provide an update this week on Part I crime a well as the recent spat of evening shootings.

There were numerous incidents of shots fired last week, and there were many similar incidents in Old Town over the summer.

Maps via Google Maps

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Big changes are being planned for an 8.2-acre property directly across the street from Landmark Mall.

While only in the conceptual phase, the Landmark Overlook development would transform the corner of South Walker Street and Stephenson Avenue into a mixed use property with hotels or office buildings, two-level stacked condominium units, apartments and retail.

The Eisenhower West-Landmark Van Dorn Implementation Advisory Group was briefed on the plan last week by property owner Hekemian & Co.

“We’re excited about it,” Hekemian’s attorney Ken Wire told the advisory group in a Zoom meeting. “We think the commercial high visibility, the multifamily rental and the stacked condos are a good variety that continues to provide that texture in our community that we all value.”

The property is currently home to the Alley Cat Restaurant and Sports Bar, Dunya Banquet Hall & Restaurant (there since 1989), a four-story office building and a Big Lots store.

The northern edge of the property would be home to two hotels or office buildings depending on demand. The stacked condos in the western portion of the property would have up to 88 two-level units.

“It’s a wonderful site, and we’re obviously looking forward to a redevelopment proposal for it,” Chris Bell, a senior vice president with Hekemian, told the advisory group. “We’re also looking forward to see what happens to the Landmark Mall. We think it’s a real great driver for this site.”

In April, mall owner The Howard Hughes Corporation sent a message to Alexandria Living Magazine that it has no update on its redevelopment.

Images via City of Alexandria 

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A 30-year-old Alexandria man has been arrested on two counts of public indecency and is being held without bond in the city jail.

Harry Ross, who is a convicted sex offender, was arrested at around 4 p.m. on August 22 for allegedly exposing himself and masturbating in public in the area of Quaker Hill Court, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

The incident occurred in a residential neighborhood, which is near Bishop Ireton High School and the Alexandria Commons shopping center.

Police determined Ross was the same suspect who committed the same very act in the area on the previous day, according to police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

However, Ross was not charged with an incident that occurred last week near the Giant in the Alexandria Commons Shopping Center. A 15-year-old girl was allegedly approached by the suspect to help her with her bicycle, and he touched her hand, she later told her parents. The girl fled the area and her parents contacted police, but they decided not to press charges.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Longtime Bishop Ireton Teacher Dies — “It is with sadness but also with great faith in our Lord that we share that Mr. Ron Umbeck, a beloved faculty member at Bishop Ireton for more than 50 years, passed away earlier this evening. He is now at peace in Heaven and we are sure that he met St. Peter with a math book, a crossword puzzle, an It’s Academic prep sheet and a Bishop Ireton pin. He loved this school, but more importantly, he loved his students and his Bishop Ireton family.” [Facebook]

Mayor Talks About Coronavirus on PBS — “My thanks to ⁦@AlexandriaVAGov⁩ Mayor ⁦@justindotnet⁩ for spending time with us to talk #Virginia re-opening, concerns about virus spread, and how he’s balancing the two. Our report, produced by ⁦@courtneyknorris, on ⁦@NewsHour⁩ tonight…” [Twitter]

NVTA Provides $195 Million to Duke Street, Richmond Highway Projects — “Two major roadway projects in the Alexandria region received funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. The Duke Street Transitway received $75 million, which completes its funding request.” [Alexandria Living]

Fairlington United Methodist Church Warns of Scammers — “Scammers are out in full this summer. Please either a) ignore emails like this or b) report it to your email provider. This is not Janine’s email address, nor does she sign her emails Rev Janine Howard (nor does she break all sorts of grammar rules…) [Facebook]

Photographer Helps Unemployed Residents With Headshots — “Alexandria photographer Sam Fatima wants to do his part to help turn things around. He has partnered with Headshot Booker and Brookfield Properties for a new initiative aimed at helping the unemployed have a fresh start.” [Zebra]

Virtual Pub Craw Starts Wednesday — “In 2020 the 7th Annual Port City Old Town Pub Crawl is going virtual! Throughout July join Port City and our friends in Old Town as we celebrate good food and beer all month long.” [Facebook]

DASH Installing Digital Displays — “We’re busy installing new digital displays that show bus arrival info and alerts. We’ve installed more than 30 so far.” [Facebook]

New Job: Server — “Chadwicks Restaurant is currently looking to fill FULL- and PART-TIME server positions. Must be honest, hardworking, and capable of working well with others. Experience not a priority.” [Indeed]

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As Alexandria starts to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the city’s long term planning priorities are shifting to meet needs exposed by the health crisis.

In a presentation to the Planning Commission last week, city staff said some projects that were in the planning stage will be pushed back, including:

The Duke Street plan involves improvements to affordable housing, infrastructure and more along the Duke Street corridor. While the broader planning efforts had been scheduled to start this spring, staff said in a presentation that the planning effort will move to FY 2022. Some research currently underway on the proposed Duke Street Transitway will continue in the meantime.

“It’s especially important given this location and the transportation issues that are in this area that we go ahead and let Transportation and Environmental Services begin and get going on their work related to the transitway,” staff said at the meeting. “They have environmental concept work underway.”

Mount Vernon Avenue Plans, meanwhile, referred to conjoined planning efforts to make improvements to things like pedestrian infrastructure and housing affordability in Arlandria and Del Ray. Staff said at the Planning Commission that the interwoven Del Ray and Arlandria plans will be disentangled and improvements to Arlandria — which was particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 — will be prioritized.

“We are proposing to make a change to what we had originally planned with Mount Vernon Avenue plan,” staff said. “We’re recommending a focus just on Arlandria/Chirilagua with housing affordability in Arlandria first as a priority topic. Recommending continuing on late this year with housing recommendations and continuing on with housing topics.”

This summer and fall, the city will review housing affordability priorities, strategies and recommendations for Arlandria and continue with other aspects of plan development in the spring.

Staff said after the Arlandria/Chirilagua portion of the plan is put together, planning efforts will move on to Del Ray next fall.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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