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With the groundbreaking of the first of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus buildings, Alexandria took a step into a new future on Tuesday.

Governor Ralph Northam joined top brass from Virginia Tech, Boeing, master architect JBG Smith and hundreds of visitors at the groundbreaking for a state-of-the-art 300,000 square-foot building. He said that, when completed, the academic buildings will be places “where academia, government and industry connect working to solve problems through technology.”

Virginia Tech plans on opening the first of three academic buildings in 2024, and the school anticipates teaching computer science research and development programs to 750 master’s degree students when the project is completed in ten years.

Mayor Justin Wilson thanked City Manager Mark Jinks and his staff, as well as the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, which was integral in bringing Amazon’s HQ2 project to the region.

We are so excited that so much of the plans that we have shaped for really a quarter of a century are coming to fruition on this site,” Wilson said. “But, ultimately, it’s not about the buildings. The buildings will be amazing, and we’re really excited about that. It’s the people that will be in the buildings and the people who will leave those buildings, and we are so excited to see the embodiment of this vision come to reality in the buildings here in the city of Alexandria.”

Tara Laughlin is studying for her Master’s degree in computer science at the Innovation Campus, and is one of seven Boeing graduate scholars. Boeing also gave the campus a $50 million gift.

I want to make a difference in the field that I work in, but I honestly just didn’t know where to start,” Laughlin said. “The Innovation Campus answered everything that I’d wanted.”

Matt Kelly, the CEO of JBG Smith, the master developer of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, said that the future looks bright for Potomac Yard.

“When we began courting Amazon alongside the Commonwealth to make Northern Virginia home to HQ2, one of the main points of attraction that they had to the D.C. region was our strong base of tech talent,” he said. “Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus brings that right next door, and delivers on a future of diversifying our economy and broadening that talent base for many decades to come.”

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What a hot week in Alexandria. Here is the rundown.

Our top story this week was on the five men arrested after shots were fired in Old Town last month. There were quite a few crime incidents to report on, in fact, including a man who was arrested in the Landmark area after shooting his cat and a man arrested for selling marijuana and illegally possessing a gun.

Weather-wise, temperatures were in the high 90s this week, as the city once again offered cooling centers for residents needing shelter from the elements.

On Friday, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge visited The Spire affordable housing complex in the West End. Fudge briefly met Mayor Justin Wilson and Congressman Don Beyer (D-8th) for a tour of the facility, as she later touted the Biden Administration’s Built Back Better agenda.

Have you been getting mite bites? You’re not alone. According to our weekly poll, a vast majority of the 600+ respondents reported getting bitten.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Five arrested after shots fired in Old Town North
  2. Alexandria updates COVID-19 guidance as cases increase
  3. Alexandria Police say drug debt was behind West End murder
  4. Child neglect suspect arrested after evading Alexandria police for six months
  5. Alexandria opens up on details for new guaranteed basic income program
  6. Amy DuVall quit her career as an environmental lawyer in D.C. to bake Italian cookies in Alexandria
  7. Former ACPS administrator Tammy Ignacio says experience matters in School Board bid
  8. Poll: Have you gotten the infamous mite bite in Alexandria?
  9. Development on West End lot could signal the start of Mark Center overhaul
  10. Parker-Gray development asks for more density and less parking
  11. ACPS is not requiring staff to get vaccinated before school starts systemwide August 24

Have a safe weekend!

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IDA Potomac Yard headquarters, courtesy IDA

The lunch hour around Potomac Yard restaurants could get a little busier this fall.

Two years after the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) first broke ground on its Potomac Yard headquarters, the national security nonprofit announced plans to move into the headquarters by the end of the year.

The IDA is one of the large office tenants that signaled the first-wave of growth for the new Potomac Yard, with projects like the Virginia Tech campus still working through the development process this fall.

“The new facility, located at 730 East Glebe Road, encompasses 370,000 square feet and will include a conference center with 300-seat auditorium with several breakout rooms,” the nonprofit said in a press release. “The building has considerably more dedicated space for classified work and improved design for evolving security requirements. IDA’s new home is in a great location in the City of Alexandria’s high-tech corridor and close to the future Potomac Yard Metro stop.”

IDA and its new neighbors, though, will have to wait a little longer for that future Metro stop. The opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station, originally scheduled for April next year, has been pushed back to next September due to an error in the contract language.

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What an absorbing week in Alexandria.

Just as the ball gets rolling with reopening and loosened restrictions, the pandemic rears its ugly head. With coronavirus transmission levels climbing, Alexandria is once again recommending that residents go back to wearing face masks indoors.

Our weekly poll found that 37% of respondents (337 votes) don’t plan to wear masks indoors again unless required, 32% (291 votes) never stopped wearing masks and plan to continue, and 30% (275 votes) stopped wearing masks indoors and plan to start again.

In the meantime, Three Dog Night, Tanya Tucker, and more are scheduled to play at the Birchmere next month, and the Little Theatre of Alexandria has gone back to in-person performances with its latest farce, Neil Simon’s Rumors. The city’s annual sidewalk sale is also on track to be largest ever, with participation from more than 70 local boutiques on the pedestrian-only blocks between 700 and 1100 King Street.

Turning toward the Olympics, Alexandria boxer Troy Isley won his first contest earlier this week, but lost his second match in a close split decision on Thursday night. Next week, Alexandria City High School will host a watch party for alumnus star sprinter Noah Lyles, who is the favorite to win the gold medal in the 200 meter race.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria car dealership receptionist busted for alleged credit card fraud
  2. One year of lane closures in Potomac Yard starts today
  3. Man arrested after armed carjacking in West End
  4. BREAKING: Potomac Yard Metro opening pushed back to September 2022
  5. New Potomac Yard luxury condo community sells 30% of properties before construction starts
  6. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  7. Local Democrat challenges Rep. Don Beyer in 8th District Primary
  8. Cigar and vape shop to open on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray
  9. EXCLUSIVE: Halal slaughterhouse opens, gives away free chickens for first two days in business
  10. Without School Resource Officers, Superintendent wants more private security inside and police patrolling outside
  11. Poll: Do you plan on wearing a mask indoors again?

Have a safe weekend!

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(Updated 7:50 a.m.) Northbound lanes on Route 1 were closed earlier today after a vehicle crashed into a Jersey barrier at the Potomac Avenue and Route 1 intersection.

Police said the driver was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries. The incident had earlier been reported by police as having been a crash into a building.

Via Google Maps

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The Potomac Yard Metro station opening has been pushed back from spring to September next year .

After months of insisting that production was on schedule, WMATA announced today that the Potomac Yard Metro station’s opening will be pushed back five months.

“Metro engineers determined that the original design of the Automatic Train Control (ATC) systems, which was based upon specifications written by WMATA, did not meet all of the important safety requirements to ensure the safe operation of trains,” WMATA said in a statement. “The ATC system prevents trains from getting too close to one another and ensures trains always maintain a safe distance. The need to redesign the ATC system is the result of project management decisions for which WMATA is accountable.”

WMATA said it is working with the contractor to reduce delays in the project schedule, and that construction at the station will continue on the earlier timeline, but that track-related construction work will be delayed by the ATC design issue.

“The station, originally expected to open in April 2022, is now anticipated to open in or around Fall 2022 in order to complete the design and implementation of this safety critical system,” WMATA said. “Metro will work with its contractor to seek ways to prioritize completion of the ATC elements of this project.”

Mayor Justin Wilson called the delay resulting from an error in contract language “inexcusable”.

“Due to a contract language decision related to Automatic Train Control specifications, Metro and its contractor have indicated to the City that a delay in the station opening until the Fall will likely occur,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in a press release. “While we appreciate Metro’s acceptance of accountability and recent diligence in addressing this issue, the contract language mistake is inexcusable.”

Wilson continued, “With the large investment of $370 million being made by the City and other governmental and private partners to fund the station construction, internal systems should have caught the error. The City intends to have its own expert construction consultant review the schedule to determine if there is a way to safely open this station earlier than September of 2022.”

The revised timeline does account, in part, for why an earlier announcement of reduced travel lanes on Potomac Avenue until September 2022.

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(Updated 10:20 a.m.) Starting today, much of Potomac Avenue where it runs through the Potomac Yard neighborhood will be cut down from four lanes to two for over a year as construction continues on the Potomac Yard Metro Station.

The closures will run from E. Glebe Road, near the National Industries for the Blind, up to the city border with Arlington County.

“The reduction in travel lanes will assist and allow for a safe separation for the public from the active construction activities that will be within the roadway as associated with the North Potomac Yards Project,” the city said in a press release.

The lanes closures are scheduled to run from today to Sept. 2, 2022, several months after the station itself is scheduled to open.

The release notes that construction will begin in the northbound travel lanes, then construction activities will be relocated to the southbound travel lanes. Throughout construction, bus stops will remain open and accessible, and the closures will not affect the Potomac Yard Trail.

Via Google Maps

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What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.

This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.

The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
  2. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  3. Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
  4. Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
  5. No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
  6. DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
  7. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  8. After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
  9. New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
  10. Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
  11. Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs

Have a safe weekend!

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A new luxury condominium community in Potomac Yard has reportedly sold 30% of its properties — without any of its 138 units yet built.

The FORTIS Companies of Washington, D.C. owns the Dylan property, and is selling one-to-three bedroom condos for between $600,000 and $1.2 million. The condos have been designed by Lessard Design International of Vienna and Akseizer Design Group in Alexandria, and will be built next year. In the meantime, interested buyers can see a fully-sized model at their sales gallery at 2316 Richmond Highway.

Over the next several years, Potomac Yard will completely transform into a bustling commercial district home to a new Metro station, the massive Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, and a revamped shopping center — all next door to Amazon’s HQ2 development in Crystal City.

The new Dylan development will be located adjacent to Potomac Yard Park.

“As we anticipated, the excitement around Amazon’s HQ2 and Virginia Tech is generating strong interest in Dylan,” said FORTIS Vice President Matt Bunch. “Dylan’s convenient, walkable location is a big draw. It is just a five-minute walk to the new Potomac Yard Metro Station opening early next year, which will connect residents to Regan National Airport just one stop away. Residents also will have walkable access to a variety of new shops, restaurants, employment centers, and recreational options within Potomac Yard and on Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus.”

Bunch continued, “We recognize that many residents will appreciate the option of working from home, so we ensured that 80 percent of Dylan’s plans include generously sized dens or home offices. Dylan also will feature an onsite business center for those residents who want to meet clients, take calls privately, or just get some work done outside of their homes.”

Courtesy The FORTIS Companies 

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Photos have been released on the latest construction update for the Potomac Yard Metro station, which the contractor says is 55% complete.

City Council will receive an update on the next Tuesday, May 25. The update will include efforts to mitigate wetlands impacts.

The station is scheduled to open in spring 2022.

Photos via City of Alexandria

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