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
The Alexandria Planning Commission will consider a proposal next month that would replace the name of Swamp Fox Road with Hoffman Drive in the Eisenhower Valley.
Hoffman Family LLC made the application in honor of the company’s founder, Hubert N. Hoffman, Jr., who bought and developed nearly 80 acres of land near the Eisenhower Metro Station. The real estate company has spent decades in what was once a neglected part of the city.
“The Hoffman Company also delivered the first mixed use project in the Eisenhower Valley with the development of the Hoffman Town Center which constructed the first meaningful retail presence along Eisenhower along with the movie theater and parking garage,” notes the application. “The Hoffman family land was so important to the family that Hoffman Jr. and his wife were interred in a mausoleum on the Holiday Inn property. The mausoleum was recently relocated to a cemetery three years ago when the property was sold.”
The Hoffman buildings — commercial properties built in the 1960s and 1970s — sit along Swamp Fox Road between Eisenhower Avenue and Mandeville Lane.
Photos via City of Alexandria / Map via Google Maps
Alexandria’s Jay and Arline Hoffman just donated $18,500 to wipe out school lunch debts for students at T.C. Williams High School and its Minnie Howard Campus.
“These kids can’t graduate unless these debts are paid,” Hoffman, the local developer behind Hoffman Town Center, told ALXnow. “Arline and I are blessed to be able to do it.”
T.C. Principal Peter Balas said that the school is thankful to the Hoffmans for their generosity.
“Studies repeatedly show the importance of nutrition on academic success,” said Balas, who received the check last week. “By donating to clear all negative balances on student lunch accounts for Titans in grades 9-12, they have helped to ensure all our students have access to high quality and nutritious food while in school.”
The couple, who own the Hoffman Company real estate firm, are frequent contributors to the school system. Last year, they donated $25,000 to provide William Ramsay Elementary School with enough funds to buy school uniforms for the entire student body. Incidentally, Arline Hoffman is a graduate of George Washington High School, before it merged with T.C. and was converted into a middle school.
“My family and I have been very blessed with the Hoffman Town Center, and blessed to be a part of Alexandria for the last 50 years,” Hoffman said, and urged more donors to come forward. “I think few people understand that you can contributing the school system directly.”
Hoffman said that he and his family will continue contributing to the school system.
“If something comes up you can count on our being there,” he said.
The Foundry, a new apartment complex under construction in Hoffman Town Center, is scheduled to open early next year.
“The Foundry is set to open by the end of February 2020,” a spokesperson for the project told ALXnow in an email.
The 16-story building is under construction at 2470 Mandeville Lane in the heart of the Carlyle neighborhood. The Foundry is two blocks away from the Eisenhower Metro stop and near the under-construction Wegmans.
Plans for the project include 520 apartment units, broken up between studio units, one-bedroom units, and two-bedroom units. When finished, amenities for the project will include a rooftop pool, a three-story fitness facility, a workshop, sports bar, and a pet spa.
A 12,000 square-foot food hall is also planned for the site. Planned options in the food hall include wood-fired pizza and vegan cuisine, according to Eater. The spokesperson said the February opening is just for the residential portion of the project, not the food hall.