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291 S Van Dorn Street, formerly Little Gym, via Google Maps

A new Ethiopian restaurant is coming to Van Dorn Plaza sometime next year.

Asmare Kebede is planning to open Roha Ethiopian Restaurant at 291 S Van Dorn Street, formerly The Little Gym.

Kebede said he is still in the permit process for the restaurant and estimates it could take up to five or six months. When the restaurant does open, though, Kebede said it will have injera and other traditional Ethiopian dishes, along with wine — if he secures the permit.

Photo via Google Maps

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No injuries were reported after numerous gunshots were reported to Alexandria Police early Thursday night.

Police reported a heavy presence in the 700 block of N. Van Dorn Street at 5:39 p.m.

The incident occurred in a residential area near Holmes Run and Interstate 395.

No reports of arrests were made, and police have not responded to ALXnow’s questions.

Via Google Maps

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A 15-year-old Alexandria male was charged with felonious assault after allegedly stabbing a man twice in the parking lot in the Landmark area of the West End.

The incident occurred Monday, October 11, at around 10 p.m. in the parking lot of 101 S. Whiting Street.

Security footage from a nearby gas station showed the suspect walking toward the apartment complex minutes before the incident, police said in a search warrant affidavit. Surveillance footage from the apartment complex then captured the suspect allegedly walking from car to car and pulling on door handles.

“The first few handles he pulled, the doors did not open and (it) appeared the vehicles were locked,” police said in the affidavit. “Once the subject found an unlocked door, he immediately entered the vehicle and sat in the drivers seat… Approximately 10-15 seconds later, the victim walked up to his vehicle and attempted to open the door.”

The affidavit continued, “At this time, I observed the suspect leap from the vehicle and start a physical altercation with the victim. During this time the victim was attempting to restrain the suspect and hold him until help arrived. Once the suspect was controlled, I observed him strike the victim two times in the shoulder and torso area.”

The victim’s lung was punctured, and one of his arms was stabbed.

“The victim received serious but non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the encounter,” Alexandria Police Captain Chris Wemple III told ALXnow. “Alexandria Police detectives were able to later identify the suspect as a 15-year-old juvenile and charge him with felonious assault.”

On October 16, the suspect’s father listed him as a runaway. He later returned home — nearly two miles away from the scene of the incident — and was interviewed by police on October 28.

Via Google Maps

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(Updated at 11:55 a.m.) A two-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 24) shut down traffic on N. Van Dorn Street from Taney Avenue to Holmes Run Parkway earlier today.

The incident was reported to the public via Twitter at 10:55 a.m., the Alexandria Fire Department and police are at the scene. Police and medics were dispatched to the scene, according to scanner traffic.

Both drivers suffered injuries, and one of them is in critical condition, according to AFD. Both drivers have been transferred to Inova Alexandria Hospital.

The Police Department’s crash reconstruction unit was at the scene, but Van Dorn Street reopened around noon.

Via Twitter

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S. Van Dorn Street bridge (photo via Google Maps)

The city’s hopes to extend the Route 1 Metroway a few blocks north have been dashed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), and now city staff is looking at other transportation projects (page 50) around town that could use state funding.

At a Transportation Commission meeting, city staff is proposing two alternative projects for NVTA funding: improvements to the Van Dorn Street bridge and replacement of a Holmes Run Trail bridge.

Currently, the South Van Dorn Street bridge near the Van Dorn Metro station is a four-lane crossing that connects the Van Dorn neighborhood with Landmark just to the north. But with significant redevelopment and a new bus rapid transit route planned for the area, the city is looking at making the bridge more transit and pedestrian-friendly.

This project will design South Van Dorn Street and the Van Dorn bridges between Metro Road and McConnell Avenue to accommodate dedicated transit lanes for the future West End Transitway as well as improve non-motorized facilities along the bridges for better connections between new developments and the Van Dorn Metrorail station… The existing Van Dorn Street bridge currently includes a narrow sidewalk along the east side and no bicycle facilities.

The city said NVTA funding would cover the design phase of the project.

The second project the city hopes to fund is a replacement of a fair-weather crossing on the Holmes Run Trail just behind William Ramsay Elementary School (5700 Sanger Avenue).

“This project will replace an existing fair-weather crossing for the Holmes Run Trail with a prefabricated pedestrian and bicycle bridge,” the report said. “The fair-weather crossing is located approximately 400 feet north of the intersection of Beauregard Street and North Morgan Street in Dora Kelley Park.”

Like with the Van Dorn Street bridge replacement, the city is looking for design funding. If secured, staff said construction could begin as soon as FY 2026.

Photo via Google Maps

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While only in the conceptual phase, the Landmark Overlook development be a mixed use property with hotels or office buildings, two-level stacked condominium units, apartments and retail. (Image via City of Alexandria)

A new sprawling West End development near Landmark Mall is headed to the Planning Commission, but with a bigger emphasis on housing than before.

Landmark Overlook is a proposed development at 5901 Stevenson Avenue across from Landmark Mall, where significant redevelopment is being planned in upcoming years.

Overall, applicant West End Development Associates LLC is asking that the maximum amount of residential space more than double, from 300,000 square feet to 888,100 square feet.

The applicant is proposing a mix of:

  • 88 condominium units
  • 6,931 square feet of retail
  • Two multifamily buildings with 177 and 191 units each

The new development will require a handful of special permits and planning amendments to allow for the area to have more residential development than had originally been planned, though with slightly less retail. The application noted that the developer is hoping to make 6,931 square feet of retail against the 10,000 of retail space originally planned.

The new proposal also asks that the city eliminate the office space requirements. Currently, the development is required to supply 500,000 square feet in office space.

“This catalyst redevelopment will be the first significant redevelopment of the Landmark Van Dorn SAP which will continue to spur development in the area along with the impending redevelopment of the Mall across Duke Street,” the applicant said.

The project is scheduled to go to the Planning Commission on Dec. 7.

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The 100 block of South Whiting Street, via Google Maps

Police are searching the Landmark area near the 100 block of S. Whiting Street after a stabbing occurred in the area tonight.

On social media, police said the stabbing occurred around 10:45 p.m. and the adult male victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

A helicopter has also been called in and is assisting the investigation.

Anyone with more information about the stabbing is asked to call 703 746 4444.

Via Google Maps

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(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) A 33-year-old Alexandria man is in custody after a Maryland man was killed at the BJ’s Wholesale Club in the Landmark area of the West End on Saturday night.

The incident occurred at around 7:45 p.m. Rakibul Fakir was charged with second-degree murder after allegedly stabbing 29-year-old Abiy Zemene to death.

Police said that the suspect and the victim knew each other.

“The adult male suspect remained at the scene until police arrived and was taken into custody without incident,” police said in a news release. “Officers and responding EMS attempted life-saving efforts, however the male was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The BJ’s Wholesale Club is next door to the Van Dorn Plaza shopping mall and near the intersection with Duke Street.

This is the first murder of 2021. There were three murders last year.

Anyone with information on the incident can call Detective C. Escobar at 703-746-6819. Callers may remain anonymous.

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A 30-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond after allegedly committing sexual battery on a woman  and following other women in the Landmark area on Thursday night.

Police responded to the 300 block of S. Reynolds Street at around 5:45 p.m. to investigate a report of a disorderly person, according to a release.

“While gathering information, APD learned that the adult male suspect had committed sexual battery on a female victim and was following other women in the area,” police reported. “At the time of his arrest, he appeared to be under the influence.”

Tonio Richardson was arrested and charged with sexual battery, simple assault, and public intoxication. He was also positively identified by the victim, police said.

Via Google Maps

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What a week in Alexandria.

Public uproar over Sunday’s flooding spilled out throughout this week, which continued to be threatened by near-daily flash flood advisories from the National Weather Service.

Our top story was on Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who criticized City Manager Mark Jinks on the city’s stormwater infrastructure. Mayor Justin Wilson says that multiple projects are underway and take time, and that the city is now looking into whether spot improvements and any other projects can be accelerated.

The group DrainALX has also gained popularity, as it continues to catalog stormwater issues and complaints. One Del Ray resident even told us that she’s turned to therapy after repeatedly spending thousands on a continually ruined basement.

Our weekly poll also found 55% of respondents (193 people) have experienced flood damage to their homes, 14% (74 people) have experienced other sorts of property damage and 31% (159 votes) have never had any property damaged by a storm in the city.

This weekend’s forecast is partly cloudy with a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon, followed by a 40% chance of thunderstorms Sunday night.

School issues

The week before school starts, the School Board unanimously approved Thursday night the requirement that ACPS staffers get the coronavirus vaccine.

“We do have authority to require testing and require vaccinations,” Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said at the board meeting. “However, there have been no cases where someone has contested that requirement. That has not occurred as of yet, and I’m sure it’s going to begin soon…”

In the meantime, Alexandria is also prepping COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. As Alexandria looks to accelerate stormwater projects, Sheriff gives city manager a D-
  2. The Four Mile Run Bridge in Arlandria will not fully reopen until fall 2025
  3. Institute for Defense Analyses announces Potomac Yard move-in later this year
  4. Woman behind DrainALX campaign shares frustrations and hopes from locals after Sunday flood
  5. HUD Secretary Fudge visits Alexandria, says affordable housing is a Biden Administration priority
  6. New census shows Alexandria not majority-white
  7. Alexandria School Board to discuss mandatory vaccinations for staffers this week
  8. After rampant flooding over weekend, another Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Alexandria
  9. Poll: Have you gotten the infamous mite bite in Alexandria?
  10. Alexandria Fire Department struggling with staffing shortage and forced overtime
  11. Stuck in quandary, Del Ray flooding victim seeks therapy

Have a safe weekend!

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