A woman was robbed of her wallet in the 100 block of King Street in Old Town early Sunday morning (Dec. 4), according to Alexandria Police.
The incident was reported at around 4:45 a.m. near the waterfront, hours after thousands of people attended the annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the Potomac River.
The woman was not injured and no weapon was used in the incident, although police provided no information on the suspect.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the APD non-emergency number, 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.
A magical apothecary tour will materialize in Old Town next week, just in time for the holidays.
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105-107 S. Fairfax Street) is hosting the annual event on Friday, Dec. 16, and fans of J.K. Rowling’s books can learn about her inspirations in the muggle field of botanical science. Visitors will learn about fumigating pastiles, sweet marjoram and cuttle fish bone, among others.
The tour explores the apothecary and “the historic muggle medicines that inspired the Herbology and Potions of Harry’s wizarding world,” according to the City.”
The event sells out quickly and is recommended for adults and kids eight years old and up. It will be held on Friday, Dec. 16, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15 per person, or $10 for Office of Historic Alexandria members.
Old Town could be getting a little more wired with a new policy change that would make it easier for private property owners to install electric vehicle charging stations.
The new proposal, scheduled for discussion at the Wednesday (Dec. 7) meeting of the Board of Architectural Review (BAR), would allow city staff to approve electric vehicle charging stations, which currently require a full BAR hearing.
“At the December 7, 2022, hearing staff will present a BAR administrative approval policy for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations,” the report said. “The proposed administrative approval policy would allow staff to administratively approve wall and ground-mounted EV charging stations on private properties in the Old and Historic District and Parker-Gray District.”
The stations would still be required to meet some established criteria. According to the report, stations must be minimally visible, located in the side or rear yard and can be no more than six feet tall. It would require all conduits for wall-mounted charging stations to be painted to match the wall.
Failure to meet these requirements would not result in denial, per the report. Instead, it would require BAR approval at a public hearing.
“In addition, using good judgment, staff may find that a proposed EV charging station project may need full Board review, in which case the application would be docketed,” the report said.
It was an unseasonably warm 60 degrees on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 3) in Old Town for the Campagna Center’s 51st Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.
The parade is one of the most popular events in the city, bringing thousands of participants, including Irish dancers, historic reenactors and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums. It is considered the highlight of a weekend full of events.
This year’s grand marshal was former City Council Member Del Pepper.
— Visit Alexandria VA (@AlexandriaVA) December 3, 2022
It’s the most wonderful day of the year! The Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/G9uT8chYPo
— Alyia Gaskins (@Alyia4ALX) December 4, 2022
The rain stopped JUST in time and we had an amazing parade! pic.twitter.com/FTbJOFebh0
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) December 3, 2022
The 51st Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is on the move! pic.twitter.com/0YUiqzP3NE
— Visit Alexandria VA (@AlexandriaVA) December 3, 2022
Updated at 5:45 p.m. Mia’s Italian Kitchen has a permanent home in Alexandria.
Douglas Development Corp. sold 100 King Street to Alexandria Restaurant Partners for $8.6 million on October 28, according to city records.
That’s more than twice what the three-story building at the corner of King and S. Union Streets is worth for tax purposes, as its value was last assessed at $3.6 million in January.
“The last three-to-four years we’ve been focused on opening restaurants in buildings we own,” Scott Shaw, ARP’s managing partner told ALXnow. “It’s a business strategy that provides stability and predictability for the restaurant.”
Shaw said that the $8.6 million building price was justified by the rent that they paid at the space.
Douglas Development Corp. bought it in 2009 for $2.5 million, and the assessed value of the property peaked at $4 million in 2020.
ARP leases locations at Vola’s Dockside Grill, Riverside Taco Company, Joe Theismann’s Restaurant, The Majestic. The company owns Ada’s on the River and Barca Pier and Wine Bar. The company also owns a Mia’s Italian Kitchen and Café Tu Tu Tango in Orlando, Florida.
Congratulations are in order for @Eat_Drink_ARP!
Alexandria Restaurant Partners celebrates its acquisition of 100 King St with the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and financing partners, Virginia Partners Bank. Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/F6KUHkhTJx
— Alexandria Chamber (@TheChamberALX) November 28, 2022
Got your kilt ready? Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk weekend is back.
Former City Councilwoman Del Pepper will take center stage as the grand Marshal of the 51st Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade. Record crowds are expected for the parade, which is free to the public and features dozens of Scottish clans, dancers, bagpipers and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.
While the parade is the main attraction, the weekend of events is capped off Friday night (Dec. 2) with the Campagna Center’s Taste of Scotland at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. It cost $200 for a single ticket and $375 for two tickets for the party, which includes “whiskey-tasting stations, hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine bars and a custom art exhibit,” according to the Campagna Center.
The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
The one-mile-long parade starts at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Wolfe and St. Asaph Streets, and travels north to Queen Street, then turns right (east toward the Potomac River) on Queen for three blocks, turns right on Fairfax Street, right on King Street and then concludes at the reviewing stand in front of City Hall (301 King Street).
“Bagpipers include the Kiltie Band of York and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums plus a bagpiping Santa closing the parade,” Visit Alexandria said. “A pipe band and color guard will be presented by St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, D.C., which is a charitable and social fraternity of Scottish descendants established in Alexandria in 1760, and a founding parade partner along with Campagna Center and the Old Presbyterian Meeting House.”
Not to be missed — at the conclusion of the parade, a number of pipe bands play in unison in front of the reviewing stand.
Santa at The Torpedo Factory
After the parade, the Torpedo Factory Art Center will host a holiday festival.
The event starts at 2 p.m., and art enthusiasts will have an hour-and-a-half before the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be sailed by a fire boat to the city’s pier — just outside the Torpedo Factory — at 3:30 p.m.
Holiday Boat Parade
Keep pocket warmers handy, because the festivities end with the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on Saturday night.
More than 50 boats will sail in this year’s parade, which is sponsored by Amazon.
“Enjoy dockside festivities in Waterfront Park including a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company, food, activities and more,” Visit Alexandria said. “Plus, check out a new family friendly event on the North Waterfront at Canal Center and Oronoco Bay Park featuring artist vendors, music, kids activities and more.”
In what’s become a trend in Alexandria, the owners of an office and retail building in Old Town are hoping to have the upstairs space converted to residential units.
The buildings in question are 1225 and 1229 King Street, the buildings containing American in Paris Boutique and the T-Mobile store on the street level in the middle of Old Town.
In a special use permit application, the building owners said the change to the building type would take advantage of ordinances codifying housing uses above retail space. The application said the residential use will be within the existing footprint of the building. Applicant King Street Apartments LLC said in the application it would convert the upstairs units into 12 condominium units.
Alexandria has become a capital for office-to-residential conversions, ranking fourth in the nation in conversions from office space to apartments or condominiums between 2020 and 2021. Office buildings throughout Old Town are in the process of being converted to residential spaces.
Still, City Manager Jim Parajon warned the City Council in a recent meeting not to be too hasty in abandoning office space, saying that the city could lose valuable office space in a rush to follow an economic trend. In nearby Vienna, the Town Council recently rejected a townhouse development replacing office space — partially on the basis of clinging to hopes that the office market will return.
“The conversion approach for outdated office makes a lot of sense, but I want to be careful that we don’t lose good office space to conversion,” Parajon said. “That’s really important, and that may mean we play out a cycle or two in the economy so we’re looking at a balance of commercial to residential.”
The conversion of 1225 and 1229 King Street is scheduled for review at the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Image via Google Maps
A juice trailer parked in North Old Town is headed to Planning Commission review next month after a zoning inspection triggered by a complaint found it was not in compliance with city ordinance.
Juice Box Old Town is a cold-pressed mobile juice bar set up at 500 North Union Street, near Founders Park. The Juice Box website describes it as a perfect site to catch locals and visitors walking along the river. What it was not, a staff report said, was in compliance with city zoning ordinance.
“On June 10, 2022, a zoning inspection of the subject site was conducted after the City received complaints of the operation of a commercial trailer,” the report said. “A Zoning Inspector confirmed that a trailer was being used as retail juice establishment at the subject site and the proprietor was informed of the need to bring the trailer into compliance through Special Use Permit approval. To bring the business into compliance with the City’s Zoning Ordinance, the applicant has submitted the current application for an after-the-fact SUP review.”
It is likely Juice Box will get that approval, though, with the staff report recommending approval and saying the trailer makes a welcome addition to the city’s efforts to make the waterfront more vibrant.
“Staff recommends approval of the applicant’s request for a temporary trailer. The temporary trailer would provide a desirable amenity in close proximity to the City’s active waterfront area and in a location where this relatively small business would not impact the surrounding commercial and residential neighborhood.”
The trailer turns the empty lot into a space for beverages; offering pressed juice, water and coffee at a walk-up window.
The report also said there’s no reason to believe the trailer would impact parking of traffic flow.
Juice Box is a seasonal business, and the report said the trailer will be permitted for up to two years beginning on April 1, 2023, when the business reopens. Additional years could be approved via an administrative special use permit.
The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 6.
An event next month will translate a lesson in local historic architecture into sweet treats and load-bearing cookies.
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum (134 N Royal Street) is hosting a gingerbread decorating event on Sunday, Dec. 18. The Office of Historic Alexandria said the confectionary class celebrates the creative concepts of close-by construction.
“Learn about local architecture as you decorate a flat “façade” (front) based on historic buildings around Gadsby’s Tavern Museum,” the city’s website said. “Ticket includes one flat gingerbread façade, all the supplies needed to decorate, and admission to the museum. Inspiring samples highlight architectural details you can recreate in candy and search for in the neighborhoods on your way home.”
The event works for both families or adult groups, with up to four people welcome per $25 ticket. Hot cider is also available for purchase during the event.
Old Town could be getting a new Indian restaurant next year, replacing a sushi restaurant in the heart of Old Town.
Bollywood Masala is an Indian restaurant currently based out of La Plata, Maryland. The restaurant features dishes like vindaloo and the eponymous masala along with other regionally-based meals like lamb gosht and various types of curry. The restaurant also features chai and coffee on the menu.
Staff at Bollywood Masala said the restaurant is currently working through the permitting process but the plan is to open in summer 2023.
Photo via Bollywood Masala/Facebook