RiverRenew Tunnel Project Map, courtesy AlexRenew

Massive infrastructure project RiverRenew has laid out a rough timeline for the ambitious three-pronged work throughout Old Town later this year.

The project is part of compliance with a 2017 Virginia law that requires Alexandria to overhaul the city’s combined sewer system, which has been dumping 130 million gallons of raw sewage into the Potomac River every year. The city is required to complete the overhaul by July 1, 2025.

In an email to ALXnow, RiverRenew Outreach Program Manager Sheeva Noshirvan outlined the schedule of the project moving forward.

Work at the AlexRenew site started the earliest, in May this year, and will be the last part of the project to finish — in July 2025.

The first community work for the RiverRenew project will be in October, when work starts on Royal Street for Outfall 2.

The full schedule is:

  • Royal Street (Outfall 2) — starting October 2021, ending June 2024
  • Pendleton Street (Outfall 1) — starting November 2021, ending October 2024
  • Hooffs Run Interceptor (Outfalls 3 and 4) — starting December 2021, ending May 2023
  • AlexRenew — started May 2021, ending July 2025.

RiverRenew is planning to host a series of virtual community listening sessions, where project staff meet with locals to discuss issues surrounding construction. The next meeting will be held Thursday, July 15, at 6 p.m., to discuss construction of a facility on Pendleton Street near Oronoco Bay Park.  A meeting the next Thursday, July 22, will discuss a similar facility on Royal Street near Jones Point Park.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Black History Museum director speaks on anniversary of George Floyd’s murder — “Yes, there have been changes – Diversity and inclusion training are being taught in universities and the American workplace, some racists are being held accountable, corporations have promised new more transparent hiring procedures that would add African Americans to leadership positions, TV shows and advertisers have hired people of color in record numbers and The Oscars are not quite so #OscarsSoWhite anymore. All of this is meaningful, but it must be more than a quick fix. Everyone needs an ally, but being a true ally goes deeper than the protests. To be a real ally, you need to be there for the hard work, the messy work, and the unpleasant conversations about race and racism. You need to turn the mirror inward and make the personal changes that will help make your community a better place.” [Zebra]

Local chef appearing on FOX baking competition tonight — “Erinn Roth still can’t believe she was chosen to compete on FOX’s new baking competition show. ‘Crime Scene Kitchen’ premieres this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET… The contestants are allowed to explore a kitchen that was recently used to bake a specific treat. They must use their baking skills and the clues left behind to determine what was baked and then they have two hours to recreate what they think it was. At the end of each episode, after two rounds, a team is eliminated.” [Alexandria Living]

Roy Rogers to reopen year and a half after Belle View Shopping Center fire — “The Roy Rogers in the Belle View Shopping Center will celebrate its long-awaited grand re-opening on June 1, the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce announced. Located at 1506 Belle View Blvd., the restaurant closed in October 2019 following a devastating multi-alarm fire that spread along the roofline of the shopping center. An investigation by the Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s office determined that fire began in a walk-in cooler at Yido Ramen and Sushi, which had opened just days before. [Alexandria Living]

Old Hat Bar opening delayed in Old Town by staffing challenges — “Residents eager to see Old Hat Bar open its doors in Old Town Alexandria will have to wait a little longer. The gastropub was set to open Friday, May 21 at 112 N. Saint Asaph Street, the former location of King Street Blues. But like other businesses in the food service industry, Old Hat Bar faces staffing challenges.” [Patch]

City to Host Town Hall on Anti-Asian Violence — The City of Alexandria invites the public to attend a virtual Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Town Hall, “Contextualizing Anti-Asian Violence in the Age of COVID,” on Thursday, May 27, at 7 p.m. The virtual panel discussion focuses on the wave of racial incidents and attacks directed toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel features Elisabeth Chan, Sue Jean Cho, John Min, and Alexander Purrugganan,  faculty members of Northern Virginia Community College. Their presentation will be followed by an interactive question and answer session. The presentation is free, but attendees must register.” [City of Alexandria]

PHOTOS: Alexandria Fire Department train on the Potomac River — “Yesterday, some of our first responders participated in swift water boat operator training. #traineveryday #stayready” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy in the morning followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. Gusty winds and small hail are possible. High 93F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening. Partly cloudy skies overnight. Low 68F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Crew at AMC Theatres — “AMC amazing. That’s the promise we deliver to nearly 35,000 associates, 240 million guests domestically, and 350 million guests worldwide each year. AMC has propelled industry innovation since 1920, and we continue to innovate by delivering premium sight and sound, new and improved food and beverage options, and diverse content in our state-of-the-art theatres.” [Indeed]

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(Updated 4:40 p.m.) Alexandrians could see their wastewater bill go up an average $50 per year with a new rate adjustment aimed at funding the extensive RiverRenew program.

The adjustment has been in the works for a while but was delayed last year in light of the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy. The rate would be in place for two years to finance AlexRenew’s state-mandated efforts to overhaul the city’s sewer system.

“The rate adjustment proposal includes a 6.9 percent increase on July 1, 2021, and 6.5 percent increase on July 1, 2022,” AlexRenew said in a press release. “An average residential customer may see a difference of about $4 per month for each of these increases, or an average increase of about $50 per year. The rate adjustment is critical to funding the ongoing construction of the RiverRenew program, scheduled for completion in late 2025.”

The press release noted that the RiverRenew program is estimated to cost $615 million — a substantial increase over the $370 to $555 million price range cited in 2019.

“Wastewater infrastructure is essential to keeping our community healthy,” said Karen Pallansch, AlexRenew General Manager, in the press release. “Our shared investment helps ensure the waterways that connect us are improved and preserved for future generations.”

A public hearing is on the rate adjustment is scheduled Saturday, May 22, at 9:30 a.m.

Photo via Alexandria Renew Enterprises/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Alexandria sixth most diverse midsize city in U.S. — “To determine the places in the U.S. with the most mixed demographics, WalletHub compared the profiles of more than 500 of the largest cities across five major diversity categories: socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household and religious. Alexandria ranks 18th overall but 6th among midsize cities.” [Alexandria Living]

Inova hosting virtual meeting on rezoning proposal — “Inova Health System will hold a third virtual community information meeting on May 3, from 6 – 7 p.m. to discuss the proposed master plan amendment and rezoning of the Inova Alexandria Hospital property at 4320 and 4250 Seminary Road. In order to facilitate the relocation of the hospital from its current location on Seminary Road to Landmark Mall, Inova will request to rezone the existing hospital site to allow for single family, duplex, and townhome residential uses.” [City of Alexandria]

City hosting meeting on redevelopment of Potomac River Generating Station property — “On Thursday, April 29 at 6 p.m., the City will host the second in a series of virtual community meetings regarding the transformation of the Potomac River Generating Site (PRGS) in the Old Town North. The meeting will focus on reviewing the 2017 Old Town North Small Area Plan (OTN SAP), which includes a framework for redevelopment on the site. Staff will also provide an update on implementation efforts since the Plan’s adoption.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine (during the day). High near 75F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph… Clear skies with a few passing clouds (in the evening). Low 56F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Commercial and residential painter — “Tech Painting Company is seeking full-time painters. We offer competitive pay plus benefits. Though having painting experience is a plus, it is not required. We are looking for people who work hard, have a positive attitude, and are eager to learn. You must also be a team player, follow direction well, and be reliable.” [Indeed]

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The Water Taxi and other cruises are returning to the Alexandria waterfront on Friday (March 19), just in time for a trip down the Potomac to check out the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom.

Hornblower Cruises and Events just announced that it will resume its cruising operations along the Potomac River from Old Town to The Wharf in D.C., Georgetown and National Harbor. Sailing on the vessels was shut down during the pandemic.

On March 27, the company will bring back brunch ($80), lunch and dinner cruises ($135) with wine, beer and cocktails. It emphasized that operations have been adapted for “heightened cleanliness and to maintain social distance, which includes the wearing of face coverings on board.”

“Come aboard Hornblower’s luxurious yachts and enjoy specially curated cocktails and cuisines, all while taking in iconic D.C. landmarks from a whole new perspective on the Potomac River,” Hornblower said in a release. “And with expansive decks both inside and out, there is plentiful fresh air and more than enough room on board for everyone to stay safely apart.”

The cruise line will have these safety measures:

  • Mandatory daily crew member health screening, and wearing of appropriate PPE
  • Revised boarding and ticketing procedures to allow for social distancing
  • Requiring guests to wear face masks while cruising, except while eating and drinking
  • Reducing the number of guests on board, and adapting all seating and table spacing to allow for a minimum 6-foot distance between guests
  • Implementing enhanced sanitation and disinfection procedures, with hand sanitizing stations available throughout
  • Anyone who self-reports any of the noted COVID-19 symptoms or has completed international travel in the previous 14 days, will not be able to join the cruise.

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Morning Notes

More Than 20K Vaccines Distributed in Alexandria — “The latest update from the City on COVID-19: 20,726 doses administered to Alexandrians; 4,666 Alexandrians fully vaccinated (2.9%); Positive tests up 19 to 10,056 in the City (259 in last week); 7-day Positivity Rate steady at 6.4%; 1 new hospitalization.” [Twitter]

Beyer Elected Chair of House Committee of Space and Aeronautics — “Really exciting news: my colleagues have elected me chair of @HouseScience‘s Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee! I am ready and eager to boldly go forward with an ambitious space policy agenda in the 117th Congress.” [Twitter]

Workforce Development Center Offers Free Courses — “If you have been recently laid off or you’re looking to change careers, upgrade your skills through SkillUp Alexandria & Arlington, which offers free, unlimited access to more than 5,000 online training courses in English and Spanish.” [Twitter]

Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Profiled on FOX 5 — “Thanks to @KevinMcCarthyTV for featuring the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery on @fox5dc’s #BlackHistoryMonth field trip!” [Twitter]

City of Alexandria Academy Now Accepting Applications — “The City of Alexandria is now inviting residents to apply for its Academy programs. These programs are designed to teach how city government and its agencies work. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, sessions for Spring 2021 will be held virtually.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy with a mixture of winter precipitation (during the day). Some icing possible. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 100%. Snow and ice accumulating 3 to 5 inches.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Staging Assistant — “We are seeking individuals to assist our current team on a part-time basis ( to full time ) with home staging installations throughout the DC metropolitan area. This fun opportunity includes working with the Lead Stager on site to determine optimal furniture layout, problem solve awkward spaces, art installation and accessorizing.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Congress Needs to Pass COVID-19 Relief Bill — “Last week was the 44th week in a row in which more Americans filed new unemployment claims than in any week on record prior to 2020. Damage from delaying relief still hitting American families, which shows how important it is for Congress to move quickly on the next relief bill.” [Twitter]

Mayor Says Alexandria Needs More COVID-19 Vaccines — “My friend @JeffreyCMcKay is absolutely right. NoVa jurisdictions have been planning for administration of vaccinations for months. We have the staffing, volunteers, processes and community partnerships in place to vaccinate our population. We just need more vaccine doses.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Fire Department Protected Potomac During Inauguration — “#DCsBravest also played a key role in helping to protect the waterways during the inauguration. Our Fireboats worked in conjunction with @DCPoliceDept Harbor Division, @USCG @AlexandriaVAFD and other maritime assets.” [Twitter]

Democrat Kirk McPike Announces Run for City Council — “As our city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need leaders who are ready for the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. My experience on commissions that deal with housing affordability and the city budget, along with my work in legislative offices, have prepared me to serve on the City Council in these trying times.” [kirkmcpike.com]

ALX-OPOLY Game Available for Pre-Order — “You can now order ALX-OPOLY in any quantity! Explore one of our nation’s most fascinating cities from the comfort of your living room. No matter which space you land on, you’ll see how this city has charmed residents and visitors from around the world.” [ChamberALX]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny along with a few clouds (during the day). High 51F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low 27F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Dog Daycare Pack Leader — “We are looking for responsible individuals that love dogs but are also capable of working with a group of dogs in a dog daycare setting. YOU MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE EITHER IN A DOG DAYCARE OR VET. OWNING A DOG IS NOT THAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE. We are looking for an individual that is committed to dogs and their care. You need to be attentive – be able to follow a set of daily activities with the dogs, and be able to be on your feet for the majority of your work day.” [Indeed]

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The old Robinson Terminal North, once the abrupt northern end to the Old Town waterfront, is no more.

Demolition was mostly wrapped up this weekend after a quick tear-down, and the plan is to make the location part of the broader effort to reform Old Town’s sewer system called the RiverRenew program.

“Behind me is the Robinson Terminal North warehouse,” said Kelvin Coles, deputy design manager for the RiverRenew program, in a video. “Many residents and visitors will recognize this large steel building as the dividing landmark between Oronoco Bay park and Founders Park.”

The property a coal storage facility, along with other industrial uses, and ultimately a Washington Post shipping hub before it was decommissioned in 2013.

The property is adjacent to outfall 1, one of four sewer outfalls in Old Town that is the subject of the combined sewer system overhaul. On average, there are around 30 overflow events at outfall 1 alone. The plan is to build a diversion facility to direct the outflow into a tunnel.

Construction on the new project is expected to begin in spring 2021 and continue through winter 2024. The facility will be mainly below ground once complete.

Above ground, the plan is to extend Pendleton Street into a promenade. The program is planned to feature benches and potential space for programming.

Pendleton Street Extension image via RiverRenew

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(Updated 2 p.m.) The sweeping RiverRenew project being helmed by Alexandria Renew Enterprises has some new forward momentum with a contract awarded yesterday (Tuesday).

The AlexRenew Board of Directors met yesterday to award a contract to build the RiverRenew Tunnel System to Traylor-Shea Joint Venture, a team specializing in tunnel projects that recently completed the 4.5-mile-long, 23-foot-wide Blue Plains Tunnel in D.C.

The project is part of compliance with a 2017 Virginia law that requires Alexandria to overhaul the city’s combined sewer system, which has been dumping 130 million gallons of raw sewage into the Potomac River every year. The city is required to complete the overhaul by July 1, 2025.

AlexRenew has been working on implementing the program since 2018.

Earlier this year, AlexRenew said COVID was unlikely to adversely affect the timeline of the project, but cut back on a planned utility rate increase.

Photo via Alexandria Renew Enterprises/Facebook

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It’s a tough time for many, but there are also opportunities.

We took a look through Alexandria listings of the website BizBuySell and found a number of businesses for sale. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted the last several months due to the pandemic.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names of the businesses and their locations are generally left out of the listing.

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

Here are some that are currently listed in Alexandria:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.”
  3. Restaurant & Bar Approved for Hookah MRB VA 943 — “HOOKAH CAN BE ADDED. APPROVED BY LANDLORD. Profitable restaurant, bar & lounge for sale in Alexandria. Hookah will drastically increase sales and profits. Currently patrons can enjoy live bands, dancing, DJs and karaoke nightly. With a capacity of 370, this 2 level establishment is perfect for private events, birthdays or work outings. The first floor is separated into two rooms with a dining area, bar and dance floor with stage/DJ booth while the 2nd room has a large bar, DJ booth and dance floor. The top floor is used for the current owners office, as well as storage, bathrooms and employee lounge.”
  4. Unique Restaurant for Sale in VA — “Unique Restaurant- 9,970 SF. Price Reduction. This business must be visited to be appreciated. It offers 9,970 sf with 2 full dining rooms (70 seats in each dining room) and 3 bars (100 bar seats in total). It is one of the few locations in the area that can accommodate multiple, large, separate dining events (private parties, fundraisers, etc. There is a huge kitchen with new compressors on all refrigeration, 3 walk-ins and a large basement for storage. They are currently open 6 days. This year sales are averaging 48-51K/wk with consistent growth ($2.7 mil. in gross sales projected for this year) with a net profit of approx. $265,000.00.”
  5. Sandwich Shop/Deli Alexandria Va — “I have a client who is ready to retire and has a sandwich shop/deli ready to sell. NO BROKERS. Substantial net positive cash flow after 31 years in business. Excellent old town location. Extended Lease. Business currently operates 6 days per week for breakfast and lunch until 6 so opportunity to extend hours and days under current SUP. No alcohol but license possible. Delivery and growing catering business add to profits. Accountant attested books. Must have a friendly personality to be successful. Employees likely to stay. NDA required for confidentiality. Great opportunity for hard working entrepreneur.”
  6. Mexican Restaurant and Bar — “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. “
  7. 5 Days Open Deli in Office Complex — “Italian gourmet deli sandwich shop running 5 days (7AM ~9PM). Nestled in a well known office and residential complex.”
  8.  Established & Well-Known Hair Salon in Old Town Alexandria — “Great opportunity to own a well-known hair salon that has been established for over 30 years in Old Town Alexandria. The business is ideally located on a prominent thoroughfare with excellent street visibility. The salon owners have done an excellent job building a successful salon with reliable revenue and cash flow over the years. There is a stable client base, but there is also plenty of room to grow and expand the business.”
  9. 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!”
  10. 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.”
  11. Upscale Sushi & Grill Restaurant — “This restaurant has been established over 25 years and has served residents and corporate customers with high esteem. The demand of the proprietary hibachi dishes cooked at table grills in a large space with Potomac views has been consistent. Lots of fun in dining and watching the cooks toss the pieces of steak and shrimps. Solid market command.”

See more Alexandria listings here.

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