Like trains pulling into a station, regional transportation leaders converged in Alexandria today to cut the ribbon at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s new technology hub, the Metro Integrated Command and Communications Center (MICC).
The new 14-story MICC, located at 2401 Mill Road in the city’s Carlyle neighborhood, will hold up to 1,400 Metro staffers, and is home to the system’s data center, cybersecurity operations, bus and rail video teams, communications, and administrative support.
Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke said the new facility is a game-changer.
“The MICC is a world-class control center that brings our rail, bus, security, and maintenance operations together in one place for the first time and our customer communications teams,” Clarke said. “Instead of managing service from separate control centers, we can coordinate together in real-time, working as a unified team to provide customers with clear, consistent messaging.”
Mayor Justin Wilson said important regional work will be done in the building.
“Metro is a key partner throughout the region, and we are proud they will call Alexandria home,” said Wilson. “The hundreds of employees who will be here will find the Eisenhower Corridor is a great area where they can work, live, and play.”
The MICC is Metro’s final piece of its Office Consolidation Plan, replacing the aging Jackson Graham Building in Washington, D.C.
Metro Board Chair Paul Smedberg, a former Alexandria City Council member, said the move will save Metro millions over the next two decades.
“Metro’s new Alexandria office with the MICC is the last major step in a broader office consolidation strategy that will save the transit authority $120 million over the next 20 years,” Smedberg said. “The Board recognized the importance of implementing this strategy, the goals of which were not only to create a long-term revenue stream, but also to improve employee safety, productivity, and satisfaction.”
Future cost-savings will be crucial, as the region has to help bail the transit system out of a $750 million budget deficit by next summer.
A representative of the ax-throwing bar said the location is currently open, but is planning a grand opening celebration this Friday and Saturday.
Bad Axe is a chain of bars that started in 2014 and has locations in D.C. and Fairfax.
“Our axe throwing coaches will teach you how to throw an axe while helping you improve your axe throwing technique and make you into an axe throwing pro in no time,” the website said. “We offer fun & unique axe throwing games as well as individual and team-based tournaments for an unforgettable experience.”
Prices typically vary for ax throwing from $27 for walk-ins to $45 per person for a booked, private event, but the venue also offers package bundles for larger groups. Currently, the bar is offering $20 per person for walk-ins and $30 per person for group events.
“Located in Alexandria, Virginia, this premier axe throwing venue boasts 14 throwing targets and a full bar,” the website said, “making it the perfect spot to host birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, corporate events, and any special occasion.”
Alexandria Living Magazine noted that the new location is a conversion of the old Tune and Lube garage.
Image via Bad Axe Throwing/Facebook
Leave your stress behind, because a new luxury spa is holding its grand opening in Old Town next month.
MAI Glo Spa will formally open to the public on August 1 at 803 Franklin Street. The spa is located in the southwest quadrant of the city, directly across the street from the 7-Eleven at 800 Franklin Street.
The spa is owned by Amy Moore, a master esthetician and cosmetology instructor, who has been working at Soleil Salon and Spa (50 S. Pickett Street) in the West End for the last 15 years.
MAI Glo Spa will offer waxing services, lash enhancements, body treatments, facial rejuvenation treatments and nail treatments.
“I consistently focus on expanding my knowledge of the latest technological advancements through extensive training and certification including in microdermabrasion, dermaplane, variety peels, micro needling, IPL treatments, and more,” Moore wrote on her website.
Map via Google Maps
Need an eyelash extension? A new studio just opened up in Alexandria’s West End that will keep your lashes lush for weeks on end.
“I always say super heroes don’t always wear capes,” Nickens told ALXnow. “We wear lashes, too.”
Customers pay between $112 and $140 for membership for two eyelash extension refills every month. It takes about two hours to attach the extensions to individual lashes with a strong adhesive. The lashes stay on for about two weeks. Starting next month, the studio will also offer lash and brow tinting, brow eliminations and brow waxing.
Nickens has eight employees and 12 lash rooms, and says that she has room to grow in the space.
“I wake up every morning feeling beautiful and confident,” Nickens said. “The business part is good. I have a good group of young ladies who work with me, who started with me from the beginning.”
The Alexandria shop is located the former home of PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, (now at 1322 Prince Street). This the first of two franchises that Nickens has opened, and she’s currently shopping around for another location in D.C. and southern Maryland.
“We’re not shopping too aggressively now because we’re getting the Alexandria location up and running,” Nickens said. “We’ll hopefully be opening another studio within the next year.”
Nickens is also the director of operations for a political polling strategy company in D.C. She was drawn to eyelash extensions two years ago after her two daughters gave them as a gift for her 25th wedding anniversary.
“My daughters thought to dress me up with lashes,” she said. “I loved the way it made me feel. Afterwards, when we were looking at a number of franchises, I always came back to the lashes, mainly because of my daughters.”
Amazing Lash was founded in 2010, and is part of WellBiz Brands Inc., a franchise portfolio company operating Amazing Lash Studio, Fitness Together, and Elements Massage. There are more than 250 Amazing Lash franchises around the country, including locations in Ashburn, Woodbridge, Burke, Manassas, Forest and Gainesville.
The store is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. A grand opening will be held on Monday, May 1, at noon.
After relocating from the Braddock neighborhood, Alexandria Lighting + Design is hosting a grand opening in the West End today.
The opening is the debut of the shop’s new showroom and coffee shop at 444 S. Picket Street.
The ribbon cutting for the new showroom is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
“Having served customers and design professionals for over 60 years, Alexandria Lighting + Design is excited to introduce ourselves to the next generation of Virginians and to usher in a new era for our existing clientele,” the shop owners said in a release. “The expanded fixture showroom will have display ceiling fans, chandeliers, wall lights and multi-systems, exterior and landscape lighting, table and floor laps, furniture and home accents.”
The release said the showroom fill feature displays from various styles, from contemporary/modern to nautical and rustic.
The new location will also have its own cafe with macarons and caviar on the menu.
“The new showroom will also be home to Electric Cafe,” the release said. “A cafe inside Alexandria Lighting serves as the perfect meeting place for architects, interior designers, builders, contractors and their clients to meet while having a European-style cafe experience, complete with Compass coffee & espresso, baguette sandwiches, macarons, beer, wine champagne and caviar.”
The City of Alexandria has announced that the long-awaited Freedom House Museum (1315 Duke Street) is scheduled to reopen near the end of this month.
The museum is scheduled to fully reopen on Friday, May 27, with a grand opening event scheduled for Monday, June 20, which is Juneteenth. The opening comes a little over a year after the museum was originally scheduled to reopening.
The new museum is an overhaul of an earlier exhibit at the building, which was once part of the Franklin and Armfield complex dedicated to trafficking Black men, women and children between 1828 and 1861, the city said in a release. Part of the museum’s overhaul is a greater focus on the lives of the victims of slavery rather than a focus on the lives and actions of the slavers.
“The museum will be open to the public Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays and Mondays from 1 to 5 p.m.” the city said in a release. “Admission is $5 per adult, $3 per child ages 5-12, and free for City of Alexandria residents. Due to high demand and limited capacity, it is highly recommended that guests reserve tickets in advance online.”
The museum includes stories from Black Americans who were impacted by the slave trade operating in Alexandria.
The museum originally closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic and, at the end of the month, the City of Alexandria purchased the building from the Urban League of Northern Virginia.
“Throughout the pandemic, work continued to protect and interpret the building including the completion of the Historic Structures Report, research, and the creation of three new exhibits,” the release said. “The Freedom House Museum site is integral to the understanding of Black history in Alexandria and the United States, and is part of Alexandria’s large collection of historic sites, tours, markers and more that depict stories of the Colonial era, through the Civil War and Civil Rights eras, to today.”
Yellow Jacket (301 Cameron Street) had a soft opening in November while it briefly shared space with Todd’s women’s boutique The Hive, which she opened in 2016. The Hive has since moved down the street to its new location at 315 Cameron Street. Todd also owns The Shoe Hive, which she opened in 2003.
“Since we opened The Hive for women’s clothing five years ago, we’ve had a steady stream of clients ask us to open a men’s store and with everyone ready to refresh their closets after the pandemic, we decided to take the plunge,” Todd said. “”Our philosophy is that you should look good, feel confident, and be comfortable and we’ve
chosen clothing and accessory lines that agree with that.”
The “elevated casual” shop will host a grand opening on Thursday (April 21) with Atlanta-based clothing designer Sid Mashburn, who will take measurements for custom-made shirts. The party will be held from 5 to 8 p.m, and Mashburn will also return to the shop from 9 a.m. to noon the next day to take appointments.
Most shirts and slacks cost upward of $100, and Yellow Jacket carries clothing from designers include Johnnie-O, Vince, Ball & Buck, Onward Reserve, Rag & Bone, James Pearse, Mizzen and Maine, and jeans by Paige and AG Denim.
Another week down in Alexandria.
In terms of stories, this one was a little more optimistically defined by new openings. Wegmans announced its Carlyle location is opening in May, bringing an end to the area’s notorious food desert (the closest grocery stores are the Whole Foods and Giant on Duke Street). New smaller-scale shops are looking to move in as well, like a new wine and coffee shop coming to Old Town.
- Police investigating another eyeglass frame heist, this time in Old Town
- Alexandria and neighboring jurisdictions now experiencing ‘Low’ transmission rate, says CDC
- Proposed development to replace early 20th century King Street buildings
- New wine bar and coffee shop coming to Old Town
- Wegmans to open in Carlyle neighborhood on May 11
- AHDC gets help from Amazon to secure Arlandria apartment building for affordable housing
- Most expensive homes sold in February
- Juvenile apprehended for robbery with fake handgun in Braddock area
- Alexandria School Board drops mask requirement for students
- Beeliner Diner opens in Bradlee Shopping Center
Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon is planning a grand opening celebration on Monday, Feb. 28, with a week of deals lined up for different menu items.
The restaurant opened last month in the Bradlee Shopping Center (3690 King Street), which is referred to somewhat bafflingly in a press release as “the heart of Old Town Alexandria.”
Deals on offer that week are:
- Monday, Feb. 28: $1 drumsticks (up to five drumsticks)
- Tuesday, March 1: $1 Mac and Kimcheese or Korean street corn
- Wednesday, March 2: $1 wings or boneless wings (up to 10)
- Thursday, March 3: $1 seasoned fries
The chain started in Busan, South Korea in 2002 and now has 385 locations worldwide and 115 in the United States.
“People in Virginia love Bonchon, and that can be proven through the immense amount of support the restaurants get across the state,” owner Joanne Xie said in the release. “I know we’ll quickly become a meal-time destination to anyone who comes by King Street to enjoy the centuries-old architecture, historic attractions and incredible community of businesses.”
The Bradlee Shopping Center is, again, a bit of a hike from Old Town, but the nearby Fort Ward Park might count as a historic attraction.
Photo via Bonchon Alexandria/Facebook
(Updated 1/12) The Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) is officially opening its new Potomac Yard headquarters (730 East Glebe Road) later this month, marking one of the first new office arrivals brought by the promise of the nearby Metro station.
The IDA opening would have been around the same timeframe as the Potomac Yard Metro station’s originally scheduled opening just a block or two away, but that’s been pushed back to sometime this fall. The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25.
“IDA is excited to be part of Alexandria’s high-tech corridor in Potomac Yard,” a press release from the company said. We moved our headquarters and Systems and Analyses Center from the City’s Mark Center area to a newly-constructed, state-of-the-art facility into the vibrant Potomac Yard community that has the technology, space and amenities that will better serve the needs of our staff and sponsors.”
The IDA is non-profit corporation that administers national defense-focused federally funded research and development centers.
The new headquarters contains an auditorium that seats 300, breakout conference rooms and other meeting facilities.
“The move to Potomac Yard was a major investment in the future of IDA,” said IDA President Norty Schwartz in the press release. “The new facility provides modern infrastructure, including Metrorail accessibility, substantially more classified workspace and meeting space, and places us in an accelerating Northern Virginia innovation ecosystem with Virginia Tech and Amazon, among others.”