Alexandria, VA

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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Alexandria Police say that the recent death of an adult male in the Landmark Area on Sunday morning (April 25) does not appear to be suspicious in nature.

Police found an adult male dead after “an apparent fall” in the 300 block of Yoakum Parkway at around 6 a.m., according to an APD tweet. The area where the incident occurred is full of apartment buildings between Edsall Road and Stevenson Avenue.

“It did not appear to be suspicious in nature,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “It remains an active investigation. The ME (medical examiner) will determine the cause and manner of death.”

The man’s age and identity were not released.

Map via Google Maps

A 52-year-old Alexandria man faces up to 10 years in prison after allegedly driving while intoxicated and pinning a man who was packing his car with groceries in a West End parking lot.

On April 12, Catalin Filipeanu was indicted by the Grand Jury for the City of Alexandria for maiming a person by driving while intoxicated and possession of Xanax.

The 59-year-old victim lost both of his legs.

The incident occurred on Jan. 5, 2021 in the parking lot of the Safeway at 299 S. Van Dorn Street in the Van Dorn Plaza shopping center. Filipeanu stayed at the scene and waited for police.

“Maiming-DWI is a felony offense punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in the penitentiary and a fine of not more than $100,000,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter’s office said in a statement. “Xanax is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000.”

There were also two incidents last year of pedestrians in Alexandria who lost limbs after being struck by cars.

No trial date has been set.

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

President Joe Biden visited the Neighborhood Health COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary on Tuesday, just before announcing that the date for adults to get access to the vaccine has been moved to April 19.

The Alexandria School Board, on Thursday night, voted to change the name of T.C. Williams High School to Alexandria City High School.

The School Board also voted unanimously to reduce the distancing requirement in ACPS schools from six feet to three feet, all the while community support is growing to expand in-person instruction to more than the current two days a week. Summer school is currently planned to begin in July and will be four days a week, and ACPS is planning on reopening to five days a week at the beginning of the next school year.

Our top story was on the T.C. Williams Titans junior varsity football team walking off the field after an incident with the Robinson Rams on Monday night. Robinson Rams players allegedly spit at and made a racial slur against T.C. players. The incident has prompted Fairfax County Public Schools to announce a “stand-down” meeting for all athletic teams and coaches to discuss “appropriate behaviors required to play sports in FCPS.”

Additionally, six Alexandria Police officers were placed on administrative duties after a chase suspect died while in custody. Police responded to a call for shots fired in the 800 block of North Patrick Street, and multiple buildings and vehicles were struck. The driver of the vehicle crashed on Interstate 295, and then jumped over an overpass barrier and fell more than 20 feet and was tased by police, arrested and later died.

Important Stories

Top Stories

  1. JUST IN: T.C. Williams JV football team walks off field after alleged racial slur, spitting incident
  2. BREAKING: Shots fired in Old Town leads to chase that ends in D.C.
  3. JUST IN: President Biden set to visit Alexandria vaccination site Tuesday
  4. National Park Service announces George Washington Parkway to go on a diet
  5. Neighborhood Health vaccinating thousands at sites in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County
  6. JUST IN: Woman arrested after fight on King Street Metro station platform
  7. UPDATE: $8,500 reported stolen in terrifying West End robbery
  8. JUST IN: President Biden visits COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary
  9. COVID-19 update: Alexandria moves into vaccination phase 1C
  10. JUST IN: Six Alexandria Police officers put on administrative duties after chase suspect dies
  11. Fairfax County man arrested for three burglaries, released three days later

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via T.C. Williams Football Boosters/Facebook

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As plans for the redevelopment of Landmark Mall start to come together, the project’s architects turn their eyes to other successful developments in the region for inspiration.

Don Hoover, a landscape architect and urban designer with design firm Oculus, described the planned layout of the site at the Eisenhower West/Van Dorn Implementation Advisory Group meeting last night. The plan is to have a central “green spine” of open space running through the heart of the site and connecting to Holmes Run.

While tourism in Alexandria today is largely focused around eastern neighborhoods like Old Town and Del Ray, part of the goal of the Landmark redevelopment is to build an attractive space that will bring people in from throughout the region.

“It’s going to take a lot to make [this] a destination,” Hoover admitted, “and there are a lot of ingredients that go into that.”

Hoover specifically cited The Wharf, a mixed-use development in D.C. that opened in 2017, as an example of what they’re hoping to accomplish with the active retail space.

“The Wharf is something I consider as a good example of how to choreograph how you walk someone through the space,” Hoover said.

Hoover said the intention is to have a retail core at the center of the space, gradually tapering out toward the hospital and towards a hillside park on the east.

“We intend the retail core to be highly activated, then more passive as you go towards Inova and diminish to the east towards the open space,” Hoover said. “We’re building up the center to be an active space.”

Jack Browand, division chief of Parks and Cultural Activities, said each parcel of the development will have 25% open space accessible to the public. Beyond just parks, Browand said those open spaces could have temporary active uses, like pop-up events and food trucks.

The Landmark Mall development is intended to replace the existing vacant mall with a new Inova hospital complex and extensive mixed use development. At the meeting, representatives of the developers said the project will have a mix of residential uses.

The plan is to have affordable housing built above a fire station, similar to the layout of the mixed residential-fire station in Potomac Yard.

Michael Cross, assistant fire chief, said the design in Potomac Yard does not put residences directly over the apparatus bay. Housing is built over the office and residential spaces of the fire station, helping to mitigate the impact of sirens on residents. Cross said there has only been one noise complaint at the site and it was related to non-emergency vehicles at the site.

In addition to affordable housing, the area is planned to have market rate apartment units, senior housing, and townhomes and condos for sale.

Construction of the hospital is projected to start in 2023, beginning to come online in 2025. The residential and retail corridor would come later, representatives at the meeting said, with the project is scheduled to be built in a series of phases and the earliest projection for completion sometime in 2032.

Image via City of Alexandria

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Republican leader McCarthy Should Resign Over Capitol Siege Comments — “The reason McCarthy is trying to take back what he said about Trump’s obvious guilt — and now, absurdly, blaming ‘everybody’ — is McCarthy himself spread conspiracy theories and lies about the election, then led his caucus into an attack on our democracy. McCarthy should resign.” [Twitter]

Antonio Damiani of Tony’s Auto Service Passes Away — “Tony passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at Winchester Medical Center on Thursday evening, January 14, 2021 from complications of cancer he had battled for two years.” [Zebra]

Adult Mentors Needed — “Mentor one child, change two lives! The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership seeks adult mentors for children in need. Mentoring decreases risk factors associated with emotional well-being and success in school and life.” [Twitter]

City Seeks Public Comment on Wilkes Street Park Redesign — “The City of Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) is seeking public comment for the proposed design of Wilkes Street Park. The proposed redesign of the 0.7-acre park was presented at the Park and Recreation Commission on Thursday, January 21, 2021. The community is encouraged to review the proposed park design and provide input via email until Wednesday, February 17, 2021.” [City of Alexandria]

Filipino Fast-Food Chain Jollibee to Open in Landmark-Area Shopping Center — “Wildly popular Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee has inked a deal to take over a shuttered Boston Market space at Plaza at Landmark, its second restaurant slated for the region that we know of.” [Washington Business Journal]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy with rain developing later in the day. High 42F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rain. Low around 35F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: LARGE FORMAT SIGNS – Digital Print Operator — “We are actively seeking experienced Print Operator for our large format digital print department. Ideal candidate to possess solid background in digital print production and signage along with a positive attitude, great organizational skills and strong hands on skill set.” [Indeed]

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For some, buying an existing business can be easier than starting from scratch.

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. 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.”
  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+. Running absentee requires excess help to ensure the Deli is no short handed. Online rating are all above 4 stars. Well known for delicious sandwiches and subs.”
  3. Alexandria’s Premier Salon and Spa — “Hair salon and spa, established in 2011, with huge clientele and fantastic reviews. State of the art equipment. Bright, inviting atmosphere, with contemporary decor. Surrounded by highly-frequented restaurants and shops in a well populated residential neighborhood. High-street visibility, easy access, high pedestrian and vehicle traffic, with ample parking.”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.”
  6. Established Asian Fusion Restaurant in Old Town — “Super Busy main street at Old Town Alexandria. Has been in operation for 18 years, established royal customers. Has huge potential to increase the volume if adding catering business. Business gross sales didn’t get impact by Covid.”
  7. NOVA Kitchen/Bath Remodel Contractor — “RVA Business Brokers is pleased to offer this Northern Virginia Kitchen & Bathroom Remodel Super Store to the Market.”
  8. 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.”
  9. Pet Grooming Business — “Well-established pet grooming business for sale!”
  10. 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.”
  11. Well Known Deli in Alexandria Part of Fairfax County — “This money making Deli been there 23 years and very well known in town. most busy deli shop around Fairfax Country, Alexandria VA Great location deli and sandwich shop. after 23 years, seller wants to retire. Don’t miss out on this Deli shop.”
  12. Mexican Restaurant & Bar Can Convert MRB VA 876 — “This Profitable Mexican Restaurant for Sale has been open and operating profitably for eight years. The location is on a high traffic road and surrounded by residential. This is a turnkey situation on a restaurant that has been grossing in excess of $840,000 annually with profits to an absentee owner of $80,000 annually. Nice full service bar. Outdoor Seating!! Great opportunity for a new on hand owner/operator to take this business to the next level. MUST SEE.”
  13. Taco Place For Sale — “Great location in Alexandria, very favorite Mexican restaurant, nice location, open kitchen with low rent 4800 nnn, 6 days operation.”
  14. 5 Days Deli in Alexandria Asking $175,000 — “WELL ESTABLISHED 5 DAY DELI SANDWICH SHOP FOR SALE IN ALEXANDRIA VA. RENT $4,500 ( INCLUDE UTILITY, TAX ). FULLY EQUIPPED KITCHEN. GREATER CASH FLOW BUSINESS;
    ADD YOUR OWN CONCEPT. ADD DELIVERY, ONLINE ORDERING.”
  15. Restaurant Bar — “Exceptional opportunity to purchase this turn key restaurant in popular Mt Vernon area of Alexandria. Continue to operate as is or easily change to any concept. 80 seats in plus 25 out. Absentee owner looking for offers; long term lease – 19 years. $11,000 monthly. $1,100,000 yearly sales – asking $225,000.”
  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. Specialty Gift & Souvenir Boutique in the Heart of Old Town Alexandria — “Unique opportunity to own a specialty gift and souvenir shop in the heart of the Old Town Alexandria. The boutique is located in a high traffic part of Old Town and has been a destination shopping destination to both locals and tourists for decades.”
  18. 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.”
  19. Longstanding Italian Restaurant for Sale — “Purchase this Long-Standing Italian Restaurant for Sale in Alexandria and be ready to go from day one! Tons of loyal customers already in place at this turn-key opportunity. 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.”

See more Alexandria listings here.

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A 52-year-old Alexandria man has been charged with driving while intoxicated in a crash on Jan. 5 that put a 59-year-old man in critical condition.

“The victim was transported to an area hospital, where he lost both legs as a result of the crash,” Alexandria Police reported. “He remains in critical but stable condition.”

Catalin Filipeanu was charged with maiming of another resulting from driving while intoxicated for allegedly pinning the victim against another car. It occurred in the parking lot of the Safeway at 299 S. Van Dorn Street in the Van Dorn Plaza shopping center

Filipeanu stayed at the scene until police arrived. The incident remains under investigation by the Alexandria Police Department Crash Reconstruction Team. Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact investigator Jordan Young at 571-414-8975.

The last reported pedestrian fatality was in November in Old Town, and was preceded October when a 43-year-old man was killed after being struck by a vehicle in the 2500 block of N. Van Dorn Street. In February 2020, there were also incidents in the West End on Duke Street, near the King Street-Old Town Metro station and a fatality at the intersection of Duke Street and Cameron Station Blvd.

There were also two incidents in 2020 of pedestrians in Alexandria who lost limbs after being struck by cars.

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Two Fairfax County men were arrested last month and charged with drunkenness, resisting arrest and assault and battery after a fight at a West End bar.

On Dec. 11, police arrived at the Hashtag Restaurant & Lounge at 654 South Pickett Street and found the 23-year-old and 22-year-old men with swollen knuckles and welts on their faces. Both men were highly intoxicated and told police that they were assaulted while they fought by bar security staff and a bartender.

“The assaults occurred both inside and outside the establishment,” police said in a search warrant affidavit.

Police also said finding the security footage of the incident has been a challenge.

According to the affidavit, “Because the business owner has either refused to cooperate with the Police further in this investigation or is unable to provide the video evidence sought to identify perpetrators of the crime and provide an impartial view of the events, [the investigating officer] is compelled to locate this information in this fashion to prepare an addition(al) warrant for the video evidence, which will be delivered to the security company managing the camera system.”

The 23-year-old was arrested for being drunk in public and resisting arrest. The 22-year-old was arrested for being drunk in public and assault and battery for allegedly hitting the 22-year-old in front of police. Neither of the suspects have crimes of moral turpitude on their records, police reported, and they were both released the following day.

The establishment is in the Pickett Square shopping center, which is in an industrial area near the Landmark area and S. Van Dorn Street.

Map via Google Maps

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As the city prepares to head into 2021, staff and Transportation Commissioners have been putting together a New Year’s resolution of top transit priorities for the next two fiscal years.

In a report prepared for tomorrow’s Transportation Commission meeting, 20 planned transit projects were ranked by their priority to staff and commission members.

The top scoring item was the Landmark Transit Hub, a planned nexus of bus rapid transit, Dash and Metro bus traffic in the West End.

“[The goal is to] provide an urban transit hub within the neighborhood… to serve as a stop and transfer point for bus rapid transit, DASH, and Metro Bus service,” staff said in a description of the project. “Bus stops will be provided as on-street parallel spaces.”

The new transit hub was listed as costing over $5 million with a ten-year timeframe to start construction. A presentation from staff in 2018 said that Landmark Mall is the most-used non-Metro station transit location in Alexandria and is a critical transfer hub for various bus lines.

Part of the new hub would be a series of bus terminals to allow smooth transfer between bus routes, as well as access to the planned transitway in the area.

The next highest ranked priority was the expansion of bike trails in Alexandria based on earlier-identified needs.

“Bike and multi-use trail projects were prioritized for the 2016 update to the Ped/Bike Chapter of the Master Plan,” staff said. “This project compiles at least 7 of the 10 prioritized projects that call for the construction of 4.8 miles of new trails.”

Image via City of Alexandria

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