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The relatively diminutive five-story brick buildings at 2111 and 2121 Eisenhower Avenue are eclipsed by the taller buildings to either side, but that could change with redevelopment plans headed to the City Council this week.

At their meeting on Saturday, May 14, the City Council is set to review plans (Item 12) to replace the building with two towers connected by a six-level garage. Plans indicate that there will be 802 units of multi-family housing in the building, with 44 set aside as affordable housing.

The new development will also build a new roadway connection Mill Road and Elizabeth Lane.

Much of the ground floor is reserved for amenity space, though one space is noted as being set aside for a dog wash.

The staff report also includes a note that the development will come with contributions to Capital Bikeshare ($60,000), the City’s Housing Trust Fund ($1,499,186) and the Eisenhower East Implementation Fund (Approx. $5.46 per square foot). The project was endorsed by the Planning Commission in a 6-0 vote.

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Eisenhower Metro station, image via Google Maps

With a large swath of new development coming to the east end of Eisenhower Avenue, the City of Alexandria is looking at ways to make the pedestrian crossing to the nearby Eisenhower Metro station a little easier.

“The City of Alexandria is seeking input on the pedestrian experience of crossing Eisenhower Avenue adjacent to the Eisenhower Avenue Metrorail Station,” the city said in a release. “This project was identified as a high priority improvement in the Eisenhower East Small Area Plan adopted by the Alexandria City Council on March 14, 2020. Improving the crossing is vital for pedestrian safety and accessibility of the Metrorail Station, as well as overall connectivity between the station and other areas of Eisenhower East.”

The Eisenhower Metro station has historically been one of the least used stations in the network even before the network was hit with Covid and reports of widespread mismanagement. Additionally, the Yellow Line will be cut off from D.C. until at least spring 2023. The station could see a boost in ridership from new nearby residential development.

“This area has experienced an increase in the number of pedestrians due to high-density residential developments north of the station, plus staff and visitors of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, National Science Foundation (NSF), and WMATA’s Virginia facility,” the city said on the project website. “Pedestrian traffic will continue to increase as the mixed-use additions to Hoffman Town Center and other planned developments are completed. Improving the crossing is vital for pedestrian safety and accessibility of the Metrorail Station, and overall connectivity between the station and other areas of Eisenhower East.”

Proposals in the Eisenhower East Small Area Plan updateapproved in 2020 — include a potential park beneath the Eisenhower Metro station.

“The City has launched an online survey to provide the public with an opportunity to provide feedback on their experience when crossing to and from the Metro station,” the city said. “The data collected will be used by project staff when developing the initial concepts for crossing improvements. The survey results and design concepts will then be shared at a community outreach meeting in summer 2022.”

Image via Google Maps

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2121 Eisenhower proposal, image via SK+I Architecture

The reshaping of Eisenhower is continuing with a new proposal to convert the office buildings at 2111 and 2121 Eisenhower Avenue into a new residential development called 2121 Eisenhower Avenue.

MidAtlantic Realty Partners LLC is scheduled to apply for a development special use permit and other permits at the May 3 Planning Commisison meeting.

The first phase of the development will replace the eastern building with a 367-unit tower, with phase two replacing the western building with a 435 unit building. The development will also include 44 total affordable housing units.

The development will also come with a parking garage built in phase one with a capacity for 775 vehicles and an undetermined number of bicycles.

“In summary, the proposed development will replace two aging office buildings with an urban, 802-unit, high-rise residential building near the Eisenhower Avenue Metrorail station that activates the street and further implements the vision set forth in the [Eisenhower East Small Area Plan],” MidAtlantic Realty Partners said in the application.

The project made the rounds in the design review boards last year. The project received unanimous approval at the Sept. 16 Design Review Board meeting, though Alexandria Living Magazine reported that at the time that Carlyle/Eisenhower East Design Review Board members at a meeting in June said the design was “too busy.”

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Location of the Foundry Apartments (via Google Maps)

Alexandria police officers responding to a domestic situation at a high-rise apartment building Monday night were confronted by a wanted man who allegedly attempted to run over officers as he made good his escape.

Police responded around 7 p.m. to the Foundry Apartments at 2470 Manderville Lane, a couple of blocks from the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station, after a woman called police and said she was concerned about her ex-boyfriend, who reportedly had a knife and broke her phone.

Once inside, officers reported that the man had taken off down the stairwell. Moments later, he hopped into a newer model Honda Pilot in which he used in an attempt to run over an officer who had arrived to assist, according to initial reports.

EMS personnel took the officer to the hospital, though the officer’s injuries were said to be non-life-threatening, according to APD.

Police are looking for the suspect and the black Honda Pilot with Maryland tags he was driving. It may have front-end damage and damage to the passenger-side door from trying to run over the officer.

According to one radio report, the man has an extensive rap sheet including several open warrants.

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Rendering of Reese, an apartment building in the Carlyle Crossing development, courtesy Stonebridge

Wegmans, the commercial centerpieces of the Carlyle Crossing development at 2495 Mandeville Lane, is starting a hiring spree as it inching closer toward a spring 2022 opening.

The 1.7 million-square-foot Carlyle Crossing development will be a mix of residential units and commercial space, with ground-floor restaurants along with Wegmans grocery store. The Wegmans is the first grocery store for the developing area near the Eisenhower Metro station.

Construction on the project started in 2019 and is scheduled to fully open next spring.

Wegmans is hiring for all positions in the new location, from line cook to managers and team leaders.

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The sprawling Carlyle Crossing development that aims to completely transform Eisenhower East is inching closer to completion as the first of the apartment buildings starts pre-leasing.

The first of the properties to start pre-leasing at the property is Reese, a 161-residence tower at 2495 Mandeville Lane. The building will have a 3-acre, 60-foot-high elevated terrace park that connects to another residential building, Dylan. Reese opened for pre-leasing earlier this month, with residents starting move-in later this fall. A third apartment building, Easton, will open this winter and the Dylan is scheduled to open early next year.

Together, the three towers will have approximately 700 units.

Construction on Carlyle Crossing started in mid-2019 and is currently scheduled to be fully open by spring 2022. The development is part of a broader range of significant redevelopments underway near the east end of Eisenhower Avenue.

The overall Carlyle Crossing development from real estate development company Stonebridge is planned to have 1.7 million square feet of mixed-use development, with 210,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Perhaps most anticipated among the announced retail is Wegmans, which is scheduled to open in 2022.

The property is just north of the Eisenhower Metro station and next to the National Science Foundation.

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With relocation of affordable housing off the table for Minnie Howard, a committee of city and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) leaders met Monday to look to other projects to see where co-location could be implemented.

The city has several major relocation needs over the next few years, including a need to relocate four fire stations to fit changing population figures. At the Joint City-ACPS Facilities Master Plan community meeting, however, the focus was on affordable housing and school locations.

One of the locations being considered was the Community Shelter and Substance Abuse Center at 2355 Mill Road near the Hoffman Town Center.

Kayla Anthony, a representative from consultant Brailsford & Dunlavey Inc., said that the location was built 30 years ago and still serves a community need, but is in need of some refitting.

“Our first idea for a test fit focused on the affordable housing crisis,” Anthony said. “Housing is identified as an urgent need in assessment and aligned with opportunities in this site.”

One potential plan would see housing and the shelter co-located on the same site, and Anthony credited Carpenter Shelter’s new facility as an inspiration for the test fit.

Another test fit for the site would involve relocating the community shelter somewhere else and using the spot for mixed-use development including housing and commercial space.

“This takes our idea a bit further,” said Anthony. “One of the things we learned is because it can accommodate up to 200 feet of building height… and the shelter could be relocated to a surplus site, we wanted to see how we could maximize the site. If we relocated the shelter to a site in the future, that site could accommodate up to 300,000 square feet of multi-family and commercial units.

The proposal could include up to 160 residential units on the site.

“There’s more that can be done with the site if the shelter is relocated to another place,” Anthony said.

A map of the proposed mixed-use development at the site included both residential and commercial uses at the site.

Anthony emphasized that the test fits for the site is not approved by the city or even fully fleshed out plans, but are options the city could consider down the road.

Photo via Google Maps

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Though barely more than five minutes on a in a nearly six hour meeting, on Saturday the City Council finally did away with one of Alexandria’s more bizarre street names.

Toward the end of the meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to replace Swamp Fox Road with Hoffman Street, celebrating local developer Hubert Hoffman Jr., founder of the The Hoffman Company that developed much of the nearby area and for whom much of Eisenhower East is named.

The question of whether Swamp Fox Road was named for Revolutionary War guerrilla and slave owner Francis Marion attracted some discussion during the renaming process, but Councilwoman Del Pepper said the name was a legacy of the area’s boggy origins.

“This was called Swamp Fox and the reason was because it was truly a swamp,” Pepper said. “The only people who believed in it was Dayton Cook and Hoffman, because if all you have there is a swamp you have to dream big. It’s a most appropriate naming because Hoffman had a lot, if not everything to do with the development of that area, East Eisenhower.”

The City Council unanimously agreed to the change, though some lamented the loss of the strange name on a prominent road through the Hoffman Town Center.

“I just wanted to say Swamp Fox has always brought a smile to my face but I have no opposition to this,” said City Councilman Canek Aguirre. “It’s good to recognize Mr. Hoffman, but hopefully we can bring Swamp Fox back somewhere in the area.”

“We’re going to have to find another Swamp Fox somewhere,” Mayor Justin Wilson agreed.

Map via Google Maps

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Right at the heart of the Hoffman Center, near the National Science Foundation and the AMC theater, is a street that bears the unglamorous name Swamp Fox Road. Now, the real estate company is in the final stages of having the name changed to honor the Hoffman Company founder Hubert N. Hoffman, Jr.

The proposal to rename Swamp Fox Road to Hoffman Street is scheduled to go to the Planning Commission on Jan. 5, then to the City Council on Jan. 23.

The Hoffman Company claimed in the application that the new street would honor a man who spent his life working to develop and improve Eisenhower East.

Mr. Hubert N. Hoffman, Jr. (“Hoffman Jr.”), a life-long- Alexandria supporter, dedicated to his family business and put his resources into transforming Eisenhower East into the vibrant mixed-use area that now surrounds the Eisenhower Metro Station and Eisenhower Valley. In 1958, Hoffman Jr. purchased nearly 80 acres of land in the Eisenhower Valley (See Figure 3). At that time, this area of the City was largely unimproved and overlooked by the rest of Alexandria. This would soon change as Alexandria continued to grow in the latter half of the 20th century.

The federal government acquired a portion of Hoffman’s land in the early 1960’s for the new Capital Beltway. In 1966, the Hoffman Company was founded by Hoffman Jr. to implement his vision for the Eisenhower Valley. Soon after in 1966, the Holiday Inn was constructed and opened for guests. In 1968, the Hoffman Company built Hoffman Building 1 and, in 1971, the company built Hoffman Building 2. The construction of these two commercial buildings and subsequent lease to the federal government was a major [economic] development success for the City of Alexandria. The Department of Defense was the original tenant of both buildings.

There is little remaining evidence to what “Swamp Fox” originally commemorated. Pre-development, the area was largely marshlands flowing down to nearby Hunting Creek — one theory of the street’s name. Another is that it celebrates Francis Marion, a leader in the Revolutionary War nicknamed Swamp Fox (and largely fictionalized for the 2000 film The Patriot).

According to the staff report:

Aside from this explanation, the origin is unknown although the Office of Historic Alexandria finds that it could be a reference to Francis Marion, a South Carolinian Revolutionary War officer nicknamed the “Swamp Fox”. As noted in an article from the Smithsonian Magazine, “Francis Marion was a man of his times: he owned slaves, and he fought in a brutal campaign against the Cherokee Indians.”

The report noted that the Naming Commission was unanimously in favor of changing the name.

Map via Google Maps

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Over 13 years since it was originally proposed, a plan to turn the quiet southeastern corner of the Eisenhower corridor into a pair of mixed-use towers is coming back with some new proposed uses.

A project called 765 John Carlyle proposes turning the empty grass lot near what is still Eisenhower Circle — for now — into “two mixed-use towers conjoined by the common podium” according to an application by Carlyle Plaza, LLC.

While the original plan was for both towers to be office buildings, the new application says the southern tower will have 15 levels of senior living. The number of units, and price range, aren’t listed in the application. The northern tower will remain an office building in the new plans.

“The project will also include ground-floor retail to activate the adjacent streets,” the developer said. “The towers are conjoined at the base by an above-grade parking structure that ascends approximately four stories above the ground floor retail and lobby space.”

The new building is part of a broader plan to turn Eisenhower Avenue into a hub of commercial and residential activity, with a particular focus on the eastern end of that corridor to take full advantage of the nearby Patent and Trademark Office and relatively new National Science Foundation building.

The project is scheduled for review at the Carlyle/Eisenhower East Design Review Board on Monday, June 22.

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