Alexandria, VA

&pizza just filed a special use permit to operate at 207 Swamp Fox Road next to the Hoffman Town Center in Carlyle.

The location would join the other &pizza location at 3525 Richmond Highway in Potomac Yard.

The D.C-based chain was founded in 2012, and includes 35 locations around the East Coast. The rectangular pizzas are made to order, and include gluten free and traditional dough.

The restaurant owner says the location will be able to accommodate five staffers per shift and 22 dine-in patrons during peak lunch and dinner periods. It would also be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the week.

The last day for public comments on the SUP is May 13.

Photo via &Pizza/Facebook and Map via Google Maps

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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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After many daycares statewide closed during the pandemic, local parents might be relieved to hear a Nest Academy could open a large new daycare and preschool at the east end of Eisenhower Avenue.

According to an application filed with the City of Alexandria, Nest Academy is hoping to open a new 9418 square foot facility at 2476 Mandeville Lane on the northern side of the Hoffman Town Center. The facility will take care of children from six weeks to 12 years old.

The Nest Academy is a learning focused preschool and daycare that with locations in Del Ray and in Lorton.

A permit said the new facility could have up to 186 children at the facility at any given time and 35 employees.

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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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

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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.

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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.

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