Alexandria, VA

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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The Old Dominion Boat Club (ODBC) will present the Alexandria Planning Commission in November (Nov. 5) with a plan to build a floating wharf and pier outside its clubhouse at 0 Prince Street.

“The floating pier will provide facilities for transient boat mooring for larger boats due to the water depth along its expanse and for rowing crew shells and chase boats either for planned events/regattas or emergency needs,” according to an application for the special use permit.

The application continues, “The ODBC also proposes to add a floating wharf over the shallow water in its riparian rights to allow and support current and new uses that include small boat mooring and launch and retrieval of crew shells and kayaks to support increased recreational use of the Potomac River.”

The total square footage for the project is 2,688 square feet, and the club noted in its application that it will remove the floating structures if the city needs the space for flood mitigation infrastructure improvements.

“The proposed new floating wharf at the site would encourage increased recreation use of the site and support ODBC water dependent uses,” notes the application.

The city issued a certificate of occupancy for the ODBC Clubhouse at 0 Prince Street in 2017. The club was previously located at the foot of King Street. That property was exchanged with the city for a number of nearby lots downriver in order to build a public walkway and make flood mitigation improvements.

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Hundreds of boaters supporting President Trump sailed up the Potomac River on Sunday (September 6), as they took to the waves as part of the “Trumptilla” boating parades around the country.

The event saw both protestors and supporters along the waterfront as the boats sailed under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and up to the Memorial Bridge.

“For me at the end of the day it’s about freedom versus socialism,” said Matthew Truong, a former Republican Congressional candidate for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, who organized a small rally for the boaters at Jones Point Park. “What I see right now, it’s eerily similar to what happened in Vietnam before the fall of Saigon when the communists took over. All the violence, chaos, protests, a lot of crazy things — what that does is effect the minds of people.”

Virginia Delegate Mark Levine (D-45) was among the protestors who chanted, “Trump lies! People die!”

“Folks who think that Joe Biden is a socialist need to stop watching Fox News,” Levine said. “We need to take our country back. We have a president in the thrall of a Russian dictator, and doing everything he can to serve himself, and 200,000 unnecessarily dead Americans from coronavirus is not a price I’m willing to pay for anything. Every other country on the planet has handled this better than we have.”

A Nice view of the Boat Rally for Trump and Asian Pacific Americans rally support Trump on Sunday 6th September at Jones Point Park Alexrandria Virginia.

Posted by Phillips Nguyen on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Photos via courtesy Eli Wilson Photography

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Ever wonder what it feels like to sail around the Potomac River in a sloop of war? The Tall Ship Providence, which is a replica of the first naval warship commissioned by the Continental Congress in 1775, is open to the public for tours and cruises.

Tall Ship officially opened to the public over the July 4 weekend, and it was a fitting opening date for the 110-foot, 12 gun sloop of war. The replica, which was unveiled in time for the 1976 Bicentennial, is almost exactly like the original Providence, with the exception of an engine, electricity and some air conditioning in the Captain’s quarters.

Once on the ship, visitors will meet commanding officer Captain John Paul Jones (actor Jeremy Lawrence, who never breaks character), who will provide them with a tour of the ship and talk about how cramped life could be on such a small vessel with more than 70 other sailors. The sleeping arrangements, for instance, are uncomfortably close, as the galley was completely filled with hammocks.

“Indeed, that is a lot of men for a ship this size,” Jones said in a Scottish brogue. “But we must carry that many men so we can carry prize crews. Whenever we take a ship, we have to send sailors over to sail her into the nearest friendly port.”

The original Providence was destroyed to keep it from falling into the hands of the British in 1779, but throughout its tenure broke through a British naval blockade at Newport, captured 16 enemy ships and disrupted the fishing industry in Nova Scotia, which was a British food source.

The ship, which is sailed by a professional crew of five, has graced the Alexandria waterfront since arriving last summer. It took a little under a year to get U.S. Coast Guard and other inspections finished to ensure that the vessel was shipshape and ready to receive visitors.

Two hour-and-a-half-long cruises are currently available on Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and then from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The latter cruise includes beer and wine and light snacks.

“If all those sell out, we will then open up on Sunday and Thursday for cruises,” Clair Sassin, executive director of the Tall Ship Providence Foundation, told ALXnow. “In terms of charters, we’re open any day for a charter.”

The Tall Ship Providence Foundation also operates a visitor center and gift shop at One Cameron Street — underneath the Chart House Restaurant. The ship is ALX Promise certified, and the crew disinfects it after each voyage.

History lovers also can tune in every Tuesday with #TallShipTuesdays, which include stories from Jones and historical interpreters.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Alexandria might not be celebrating the city and the country’s birthday with fireworks this year, but there are sill a number of ways to have fun on the fourth of July.

“Even with physical distancing, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a festive Fourth of July in Alexandria,” notes Visit Alexandria, the city’s tourism bureau. “Order special holiday meals like tri-colored tacos and ice cream delivery boxes from Alexandria’s restaurants. Celebrate with deals and happenings, from scavenger hunts to Fourth of July attire for pups, via independent boutiques and attractions.”

Here are some events around Alexandria on Saturday:

As previously reported, the city’s July 11 birthday celebration has been moved online to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

https://www.facebook.com/PorkBarrelBBQDelRay/photos/a.655496147823639/3263319887041239/?type=3&theater

Staff photo by James Cullum

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