What a hot week in Alexandria.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, the week started with a power outage at a 17-story apartment building in Landmark area. The outage lasted five days and residents had to find accommodations until the building reopened Friday afternoon.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria experienced a slight uptick, and the health department says unvaccinated residents account for a majority of new cases. There have been 39 new cases reported so far this month in the city, and 13 cases were reported on July 9. That was the biggest single-day jump since May 20, when 18 new cases were reported.

In school news, this week we spoke with Alexandria High School Principal Peter Balas, who said that his staff are ready to fully reopen for full-time in-person instruction when the 2021-2022 school year starts on August 24.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Here’s the plan for Alexandria’s birthday celebration this weekend
  2. City Council approves massive high-rise project without affordable housing near Eisenhower Metro station
  3. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  4. Del. Mark Levine raises eyebrows with letter that passes buck on constituent service
  5. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  6. Alexandria City High School is ready to reopen at full capacity next month, principal says
  7. School Board Member Jacinta Greene faces reelection, wants race relations taught in ACPS
  8. Tropical Storm Elsa’s dregs tear through southern Alexandria
  9. Poll: Do you agree with reallocation of school resource officer funding?
  10. West End high-rise apartment building evacuated after power outage
  11. The Alexandria Police, Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department all want raises

Have a safe weekend!

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Developments in Beauregard, via City of Alexandria

With the city hoping Landmark development and the West End Transitway will help turn the Van Dorn corridor into a new commercial hub, developers near the Mark Center are hoping to cash in.

According to Maya Contreras, principal planner for Alexandria, plans are in the works to add new density to a stormwater pond near the Hilton (5000 Seminary Road) and to a site originally planned to be an office space, but will likely become something else.

“The request is for amendments to [Coordinated Development District] (CDD)#4 that would add density to both the Hilton site (5000 Seminary Road) and [Institute for Defense Analyses] (IDA) site (4880 Mark Center Drive) and add additional uses to the CDD, as the ownership of 4880 Mark Center Drive is interested in uses at their site not currently permitted,” Contreras said. “The applicant also requests a Master Plan Amendment (MPA) in connection with the project and a subdivision to allow creation of a new parcel to be carved out of the Hilton site.”

Contreras said in a meeting of the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee that Hilton is looking to develop the pond into a pad site — a parcel of land suitable for development — though Hilton is planning to sell the location rather than develop it for a hotel use.

Similarly, Contreras said the IDA site next door to the new Alexandria Health Department building could be developed as something other than office space.

“A pad site is a site where a building can be constructed,” Contreras said. “Right now IDA pad site is a legal lot: there could be a building built there. Right now on the Hilton site is where their stormwater pond is. There was no anticipation of a building going there, a lot has to be created for something to go there.”

As part of the new development, Contreras said the city hopes to make the Winkler Botanical Preserve more accessible to the public. The park featuring nature trails and a waterfall is tucked away and somewhat inaccessible at the moment.

The new development comes at the city is working through plans to establish some form of bus-rapid transit as the West End Transitway. The Transitway likely won’t have dedicated lanes throughout the corridor, but Contreras said the city is looking into priority signaling and other options to help increase reliability.

But some on the committee shared concerns that the planned consolidation of bus stops in Alexandria may have hurt the very area the city is trying to make more transit accessible.

“DASH has decreased its service at Seminary and Beauregard,” said Fatimah Mateen, a member of the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee. “There used to be the AT-9, but  that’s been discontinued. And I’ve heard Metrobus is not going to bring back the 16-L. We have a lot of housing coming into that particular area but we’re losing [bus] service, and I think that’s going to be a big problem.”

Contreras said that some of the stops have been consolidated, but city planners are working with the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services to keep them appraised of how much residential is expected to develop in the area down the road.

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After an underground electrical malfunction caused an early morning power outage on Monday, July 12, the management of the 17-story Key Towers Apartments says the building is likely to reopen at the earliest on Friday, July 17.

Until then, residents in the 140-unit Landmark area building have to find alternate accommodations, and its owner is advising residents to keep their receipts.

“Right now we’re testing the transformers in every individual unit,” said Gina Ramos, general manager for the property. “We let residents in and out of their apartment four-at-a-time on Monday and Tuesday until 10 p.m. We’re telling everyone to keep their receipts.”

The 1960s-era building is empty, Alexandria Fire Department Senior Public Information Officer Raytevia Evans told ALXnow.

Resident Adie Ballantyne has lived at Key Towers for two years, and is staying with friends in a nearby apartment building.

“I’m going to demand a reduction in my rent next month,” she said. “I feel bad for my neighbors who got put out. Luckily I have friends who live close by.”

Dominion Energy determined that a privately owned underground transmission line went down. The outage occurred during a heat wave, and the city opened the Patrick Henry Recreation Center for residents.

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An electrical malfunction has prompted the required evacuation of a 17-story apartment building in the West End.

The power went out at Key Towers at 6060 Tower Court shortly before 5 a.m., and the city’s DASH bus service is helping transport evacuated residents to a cooling center at Patrick Henry Recreation Center, which is just over two miles away. There are 140 units in the 1960s-era building and Monday’s temperature is expected to reach the mid-90s.

“Evacuation is required and is being ordered by the Fire Marshal’s Office,” AFD Senior Public Information Officer Raytevia Evans told ALXnow. “Dominion Energy is on-scene now, and they have been for a while along with us. The building has been evacuated because the power had to be cut in order to make those repairs on what they’ve discovered.”

Dominion determined that a privately owned underground transmission line went down, Evans said.

“The property managers have their private contractors on scene as well,” Evans said, adding that that the city’s Office of Emergency Management is working with the property manager to inform residents that the building will be without power for “a while”.

Courtesy Google Maps

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It was a quick week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

With summer in full swing, three Alexandria athletes have made it on the U.S. Olympic Team — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley.

In other sporting news, Old Town businesses beat Del Ray in a controversial softball game Wednesday, adding fuel to the fire of an intense rivalry.

It’s been super hot out lately, and the City urged caution and reminded residents to take advantage of special cooling centers.

On the COVID front, the city’s DASH bus service announced that one of its drivers passed away from complications from the virus.

Meanwhile, Mayor Justin Wilson believes that the city has met its 80% vaccination threshold, while Virginia Department of Health data says about 65% of residents over the age of 16 are partially vaccinated. The Alexandria Health Department, which just launched a COVID-19 test and vaccine pilot at T.C. Williams High School, says the data does not take into account city residents vaccinated in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

It’s also July 4 weekend, and in this week’s poll we asked whether readers plan on traveling, with 67% of respondents voting to stay home, 27% opting to travel by car and just 6% traveling by air.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Researchers call out shoddy craftsmanship in buried 18th century Alexandria ship
  2. Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
  3. Landmark Mall plan approved as Planning Commission demands better environmental considerations
  4. Alexandria leaders acknowledge serious security issues with elimination of school resource officer funding
  5. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  6. Alexandria eyes bus rapid transit and bike lanes for Duke Street
  7. Parker-Gray tiny lot home moves forward with some unique challenges
  8. Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
  9. City talks strategy on making Chirilagua/Arlandria neighborhood Amazon-proof
  10. UPDATE: Man taken into custody as West End apartment barricade situation ends peacefully
  11. BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy

Have a safe weekend!

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An adult woman suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot in the 400 block of S. Reynolds Street in the West End on Monday night.

Alexandria Police tweeted that the incident occurred at around 11 p.m., and that there is no known threat in the area.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of S. Reynolds Street and Edsall Road, which is near S. Van Dorn Street.

Police released no other details, and will not answer any of ALXnow’s questions on the incident.

Courtesy Google Maps

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A 32-year-old Alexandria man fled to his native county of El Salvador last month, after allegedly raping his 12-year-old stepdaughter in the Landmark area.

The girl gave birth to a boy on June 10.

Her mother told police that the last time she spoke with her husband was on May 8, when he called and said that he was going fishing. The stepfather never returned, and his wife later received a text from his brother showing her husband with his sister in El Salvador, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The girl told police that her stepfather raped her three times — twice in their apartment in the 200 block of S. Reynolds Street in the Landmark area and once at their previous apartment in Manassas. She said that he threatened to kill her mother if she told her about the incidents, and forced her to say that she got pregnant by another student, according to police.

Alexandria Police later found that the suspect deactivated his Facebook account, and that he flew on an early morning Avianca Airlines flight to El Salvador.

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This fall, a little space just off Little River Turnpike will become the latest spot for small regional chain Taco Bamba. For the restaurant owner, the restaurant will also be a full-circle return to where his culinary career got started.

The Landmark neighborhood will be the seventh Taco Bamba, Chef Victor Albisu said in a press release. The Taco Bamba will open at 6259 Little River Turnpike. The restaurant will feature and indoor/outdoor bar and a seasonal patio area.

The site is significant for Albisu, who grew up in nearby Annandale and worked in his mother’s market in the Landmark neighborhood.

“”I haven’t been this excited about opening a Taco Bamba since we debuted our first location eight years ago this month,” Albisu said. “I worked at my mother’s Latin market in Landmark while growing up in nearby Annandale where I graduated from high school. I got an early education in global cuisine between my mom’s store and the area’s delicious Italian, West African, Korean, and Middle Eastern restaurants. And I have fond memories of spots like Generous George’s, Starvin Marvin, and H I Ribsters. It’s a community that is close to my heart and I can’t wait for Taco Bamba to be a part of it.”

The restaurant will feature the usual mix of tacos and tostadas, but the Landmark location will have an exclusive empanada on its menu. Albisu said the restaurant will also have specific types of tacos for the Landmark location that honor other nearby local restaurants and some old favorites that have since closed.

The Taco Bamba bar will have cocktails with a focus on agave drinks.

Albisu said he hopes the restaurant will draw from other surrounding neighborhoods, like Bailey’s Crossroads, Lake Barcroft, Cameron Station and other parts of Alexandria when it opens sometime this fall.

Courtesy Google Maps

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Are you ready to go into business?

The latest listings on BizBuySell show businesses for sale in and around Alexandria. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names and locations are generally left out, but there are exceptions.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively run the business.

Here are some that are currently listed:

  1. Hair salon for sale — “Established over 32 years, 17 with current owner. Located in a major brand grocery anchored shopping center. Good demographics. Exclusive right in the shopping center for hair and nail operations but focus on hair services right now. Staff and seller will stay if new owner desires. Currently 5-day operation but can expand to 6 or 7 to increase revenue. Excellent opportunity for both owner operators and/or investors.”
  2. 30 Year Old Deli — “Clean and well run Deli in office park with schools and healthcare facilities as neighbors. The business has been operated absentee for several years and has produced a profit of $45,000+ for the owners. A owner operator can expect to earn $90,000+.”
  3. Beautiful Modern Laundromat for Sale — “Beautiful modern laundromat in a great location! 21st century laundromat with card system, customized folding tables, modern design, with high-powered energy efficient machines. Location is about 4000 SF located near many current and upcoming apartment complexes. Long-term 10 tear lease with 5 year option. This place is fully card operated and can be easily managed from home with one visit a week.”
  4. Beautiful Hair & Nail Spa for Sale/Price Reduced — “Great opportunity!!! Serious Inquiries only. Beautiful and well established Hair & Nail Spa for Sale in a very busy shopping center. Seller is retiring after many successful years in the business. Beautiful & Very efficiently designed. 6 years old Spa. Established, loyal customers. Reasonable rent & excellent location. 10 Hair stations, 5 Dryers, 3 Shampoo stations, 8 Manicure Tables, 8 Pedicure chairs, 3 Waxing rooms, 2 Facial Rooms, 1 Body scrub. There is plenty of room to expand. Room to grow by improving social media and other marketing and adding massage service.”
  5. Long-standing Italian Restaurant — “Lending available and you can be approved in just two business days on this his beautifully built-out location with sales of $404,000 and Beer/Wine license in place. Walk in the door of this Italian Restaurant for Sale and you are transported into the Old World atmosphere that gives the guests the feeling of being able to get away, even if it’s just for one meal.”
  6. Fast casual dine in & carry out MRB VA 1017 — “Fast casual dine in & carry out Mexican restaurant in a high traffic shopping center. This restaurant needs an updated menu with a hands on owner to manage daily business and take this location to the next level. The current Mexican menu can be changed to fit most concepts. Great layout for almost any type of fast food restaurant. All furniture, fixtures and equipment are in great working order.”
  7. Profitable Sandwich Shop in Prime Location MRB VA 1013 — “This profitable turn key deli located in a prime location of Alexandria VA is for sale to any qualified buyer. Surrounded by retail and residential on a main road with heavy walking traffic. This restaurant has a very strong following and highly rated on google reviews. The restaurant was completely renovated in 2016 with all brand new furniture, fixtures & high end equipment. The current owner averages a $50,000 cash flow plus salary while working limited hours. Do to family circumstances, the owner needs to sell. We are now looking for a new owner/operator to bring this business to the next level.”
  8. Specialty pizza in high-volume high-income area — “A neighborhood success centered around its high-quality stone oven with an array of alternative Mediterranean main courses, sandwiches and desserts, . The owner has created several of these locations in Northern Virginia and is ready to spin this one off to stand on its own while he focuses on bringing others to maturity.”
  9. Award-winning pastry shop, cafe and catering — “Business is booming as life returns to normal! Mother’s Day 2021 was a record breaking sales day for this Pastry Shop and Cafe. In March 2020, the owners received 3 written purchase letters of intent but did not sell as Covid took hold, and the entire Country shut down. However Covid had not prevailed, and this 32-year old neighborhood old pastry shop and cafe is standing tall with rapidly rebounding sales. Because of its fiercely loyal customer base and with increasing economic optimism, the owners are confident that 2021 sales will easily exceed 2020 which was up 4% over 2019 through mid-March of their respective years.”
  10. Well-established deli for sale — “Located in a great neighborhood, among many loyal customers. Serving over 40 years. Turnkey operation. Doing quite well during the pandemic. Plenty of room to improve. Currently has no marketing and delivery service. Not serving beer and wine. Seller will train new owner for a reasonable time period.”
  11. Coin Laundry/Laundromats — “No Exception, Non-Disclosure must be signed in person meeting, No emailing signing. We can meet at anywhere in Fairfax county to sign NDA with appointment.”
  12. Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
  13. Mexican Restaurant in High Traffic Shopping Center – Can Convert! — “Great opportunity to take over an established restaurant in a high traffic shopping center. There is unlimited upside potential with this nicely equipped kitchen and fully built out space. A new owner could keep it as the current Mexican/Latino restaurant format or convert it to a new concept. The restaurant has excellent online reviews and is very popular with locals in Lorton, Fort Belvior, Springfield, and Newington area. This opportunity is priced to sell and it won’t last long”
  14. Auto Garage in Landmark Area — “OWNER FINANCING!! Auto repair sales only. 3 technicians. VA Safety/Emissions Inspection. Located in the I-395/Landmark Corridor. Business value at $325K and Real Estate value at $1,850,000.00.”
  15.  Taco Place For Sale — “Great location in Alexandria, very favorite Mexican restaurant, nice location, open kitchen with low rent 4800 nnn, 6 days operation.”
  16. Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar for Sale — “Established Business for Sale. Owner is looking to retire from business. All equipment is owned and in good condition, except the dishwasher is leased. Asking price is negotiable, send your offers!”
  17. Two Optometry Practices — “Two established Optical/Optometry stores for sale. Both locations have street frontage visibility, are located in upscale parts of town, and have high sales and cash flow.”

See more Alexandria listings here.

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It was a busy week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

Governor Ralph Northam and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Alexandria this week. Northam stopped by Pacers Running in Old Town, and afterward met with Cardona, Mayor Justin Wilson, National Education Association of the United States President Becky Pringle and Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School. Cardona was at the school as part of his “Help is Here” school reopening tour.

On Monday, demolition started at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, and Alexandria City Public Schools says that the completion date is still on schedule for the new school to reopen the school in Jan. 2023. In the meantime, MacArthur students will continue to use the old Patrick Henry Elementary School as swing space.

There was big news for Alexandria nonprofits this week, as the Spring2ACTion fundraiser raised $2.5 million and broke last year’s online giving record.

There were also 682 votes in this week’s poll on outdoor dining and takeout. We asked whether the city should keep its expanded restaurant offerings after in a post-COVID environment. An overwhelming majority of 84% of votes cast (576 votes) want businesses to enjoy the same level of latitude; 13% (89 votes) said some modifications should be made and just 2% (17 votes) want businesses to go back to pre-pandemic operations.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Update: Four arrested, suspect’s mother among wounded in West End shootout
  2. NOW: Alexandria preparing new face mask ordinance as CDC says fully vaccinated folks don’t need them
  3. Alexandria celebrates Earth Day virtually
  4. COVID-19 Update: City says anyone who registered by April 10 for COVID-19 vaccine should have an appointment
  5. Police: Falling death of man in Landmark does not appear to be suspicious
  6. Del Ray restaurant The Garden to bloom into new outdoor area
  7. Parents and students protest for expanded in-person instruction outside ACPS Central Office
  8. JUST IN: ‘Open ACPS!’ group to rally in front of Central Office on Monday
  9. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  10. EXCLUSIVE: Here’s what the inside of the Halal slaughterhouse looks like on Colvin Street
  11. School Resource Officers at ACPS on chopping block as Police chief proposes alternative program

Have a safe weekend!

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