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New parks, 400-foot-tall commercial and residential buildings and more.

The Hoffman family and its associates have a comprehensive idea for the future of the 79-acre site next door to the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood.

The collection of vacant properties are located in and around the Hoffman Town Center, home to the National Science Foundation, a popular movie theater, a Wegmans grocery store, as well as a number of large apartment buildings.

Hoffman, its affiliates and Arlington-based Paradigm Companies will present their coordinated development district (CDD) conceptualization design plan to the Planning Commission at City Hall (301 King Street) on June 4.

Hoffman and Paradigm are proposing the eventual development of multiple apartment buildings up to 400-feet tall, commercial buildings up to 300-feet tall, as well as space for a new school, a new city park, walking trails, a dog park, and tennis and basketball courts.

The 20-page document is a framework for future development, where property boundaries for individual blocks are outlined, and so are building heights, streetscape designs and expected uses, such as open space areas.

As far as a timeline, the developers said in their application that phased development “can occur at any order and is subject to change,” and that uses for the underdeveloped blocks could include vehicle parking, material storage, city agency training, a farmer’s market, festival space, a beer garden and “other similar uses approved by the city.”

Paradigm own the 24-story Parc Meridian at Eisenhower Station apartment building (750 Port Street), the dual-tower Carlyle Place apartment building (2251 Eisenhower Avenue) and well as the unfinished 26-story Meridian 2250 apartment building project (2250 Dock Lane). Hoffman owns seven blocks within the property.

The site has contaminated soil. According to Hoffman and Paradigm:

To the best of our knowledge contaminated soil may be on site… Based on environmental investigations, Block 2 contains arsenic and has high total chromium levels. Block 3 contains arsenic, petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents. Additional investigations will be completed with each DSUP (development special use permit) when a block moves forward with redevelopment.

(via City of Alexandria)
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Meal at Nando’s Peri-Peri (image courtesy Nando’s Peri-Peri)

Seven months after it was originally supposed to reopen, South African fast food chain Nando’s Peri-Peri could finally be opening next week in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood.

In a press release, the restaurant announced the Hoffman Town Center location at 2462 Mandeville Lane will open on Monday, March 27. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant will have dining for 72 customers. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Nando’s Peri-Peri opened on King Street in 2010 but closed one year ago after the lease expired. The restaurant was scheduled to open last August but was delayed.

The new Carlyle location will also kick off a “Community Day” a month after it launches. On Saturday, April 22, all proceeds (sans tax and alcohol sales) will be donated to Alexandria City High School’s Parent Teacher Student Association.

According to the release:

Nando’s PERi-PERi, the beloved South African restaurant brand recognized around the world for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, hatches in Alexandria on Monday March 27th. The restaurant, in the Carlyle Crossing neighborhood near the Wegmans and the AMC movie theater, represents Nando’s long-awaited return to Alexandria.

Nando’s operated for years on King Street in Old Town. The new restaurant, at 2462 Mandeville Lane in The Foundry, features stunning industrial designs that mix exposed concrete and columns with contemporary African patterns, original African artwork, furniture, and light fixtures.

“We can’t wait to bring our mouth-watering chicken back to Alexandria,” said John Fisher, CEO of Nando’s PERi-PERi. “PERi-PERi – or African Bird’s Eye Chilli – is the heart and soul of the Nando’s experience. We marinate our chicken in PERi-PERi for at least 24-hours, so the flavor goes right through to the bone. Then we grill it over an open flame and baste it with PERi-PERi sauce to the customer’s preferred spice level. That’s what makes our chicken so addictive.”

The company’s journey from the tip of Africa to the edge of Alexandria–an adventure which began 35 years ago with a single location in Johannesburg–now spans 24 nations from Australia to Zimbabwe. Landing stateside in 2008 with its inaugural US restaurant in Washington, DC, the brand has since expanded to nearly 50 sites in DC, Virginia, Maryland, Chicago, and soon in Texas.

Nando’s new Alexandria location opens in a prime site in the Hoffman Town Center. The restaurant features original, contemporary South African art and furniture. The 3,000-square-foot Nando’s will offer dine-in seating for 72 customers, a spacious outdoor patio, and convenient take-out service and parking. Hours are 10:30am to 10pm from Sunday to Thursday, and 10:30am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

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The sequel to one of the highest-grossing films of all time is coming early to Alexandria.

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman’s Manumission Tour Company and Griffin Vision Media have once again teamed with other local businesses for a private screening of Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at AMC Hoffman Center 22 (206 Hoffman Street).

The film will be shown on five screens on Thursday, Nov. 10, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $34.99 for general admission and $49.99 for VIP admission. The movie otherwise opens to the general public on Friday, Nov. 11.

The event includes a “Best-Dressed Wakandan” contest, as well as a red carpet experience with cosplayers. General admission moviegoers will get a large popcorn and drink, in addition to a swag bag and open seating. VIPS will get reserved seats and invitation to an after party.

In 2018, Chapman and his partners held a similar event for Black Panther at the Regal Potomac Yard movie theater. The event sold out, and was attended by more than 700 people, prompting Chapman to later host viewing parties for the films Green Book and Harriet.

“Honestly, back in 2018, I just wanted to have a bunch of people watch the first time we were gonna have an African American superhero in the Marvel Universe,” Chapman said. “It was great. I think we want to have that same atmosphere, and there are a lot of people and groups out there that definitely want to do that.”

The event is sponsored by National Capital Bank of Washington, fibre space, the Debra Deneise Smith Foundation, The Rub and Hen Quarter, Black upStart, kweliTV, SpottedMP, Beverly Tatum, Realtor, Virginia Black Lifestyle Magazine and Dyvine BBQ.

“I am excited to once again take Alexandria back to Wakanda,” said Elijah Walter Griffin, Sr., of Griffin Vision Media. “We had such a great time gathering together in celebrating black culture and I can’t wait to do it again. Due to the death of Chadwick Bozeman, we wanted this to be more than just a movie premiere. We wanted to use this as an opportunity to bring more awareness to prevention of colon cancer, which is something very personal to me because my mother died from this very disease back in 2017.”

The event has also partnered with DC-based national non-profit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance to raise awareness about the disease that took the life of Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played Black Panther, in 2020.

Via Google Maps

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Several people were injured Saturday evening (September 3) after a man allegedly threatened to harm someone, leading to a stampede out of the AMC Hoffman Center 22 movie theater (206 Hoffman Street).

The incident occurred at around 6 p.m. and the suspect was gone by the time officers got to the scene. No arrests have been made, and all of the injuries were from people running out of the theater, police said.

“The threat was made at a theater, people ran out, but no other occurrences happened,” Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett told ALXnow.

No weapons were used, and the incident remains under investigation.

Anyone with information in connection to this incident can call the APD non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

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&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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