Alexandria’s balmy winter has made a few of its parking lots prime locations for car meetups.
Car enthusiasts, car owners, their friends and children hung out for nearly four hours on Thursday night in the parking lot at 251 W. Glebe Road — near the intersection with Mount Vernon Avenue.
From 7-11 p.m., more than 100 cars were parked in the lot, which is home to El Cuscatleco Restaurant, a Dollar Plus store and a Sherwin-Williams Paint Store.
Last night’s meetup was the second consecutive Thursday meetup in the parking lot. Attendees played loud music on speakers, and there was a strong smell of marijuana in the air, as well as a few open containers of alcohol.
Most of the drivers were from out of town, with crews including the Brothers Car Club, Stay Humble Car Club and Real Street 47 Crew.
The groups pop up not just in Alexandria, but throughout northern Virginia and in Maryland.
“The cops don’t mess with us,” said Omar M., who lives in Maryland and attends the meetups with friends every Thursday. “We’re peaceful.”
The groups will have to find a new lot to call home, though, once construction begins on a massive affordable housing complex at the W. Glebe Road location.
Alexandria Police did not comment on the meetups, but police cruisers surveil the events and occasionally drive through to move cars blocking access. There was also a meetup this month in the Target parking lot (3101 Richmond Highway) in Potomac Yard.
Many of the meetups are listed on the Instagram page DMV_meetups.
One of the biggest meets of the year will take place next Saturday, March 4. The DMV Mega Meet 2023 will be held at Custom T’s Motor Sports Park in Colonial Beach, Virginia, and the event promises to include drag racing, a burnout pit, food and music.
Flier via Instagram
A 34-year-old man tried to buy a $500 Apple gift card with a stolen credit card at the Best Buy in Potomac Yard last month, just minutes after another thief used the same stolen card for a $500 card purchase.
The man, who has no fixed address, was arrested at the store at 3401 Richmond Highway by an Alexandria Police Officer working an off-duty security detail, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.
A retail supervisor alerted the APD officer that approximately five minutes before the incident, another suspect used the same credit card to buy a $500 gift card. The other suspect was not arrested.
“When questioned, (the thief) admitted to your affiant that he was in possession of credit cards that were not his,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.
The man was arrested and booked in the Alexandria jail and released for time served on December 9, after being found guilty for disorderly conduct, credit card fraud and receiving a stolen credit card. He was also sentenced to a year of probation for the credit card fraud and disorderly conduct.
WMATA says the new goal is to open the Potomac Yard Metro station in May 2023, more than a full year after the station was originally scheduled to open.
The announcement comes after a delay this fall set the station’s opening for a nebulous “2023” date. While the station has been plagued by delays, there are promising signs of belated progress — including trains traveling through the station.
“While delayed longer than expected, it is exciting to start the countdown to opening Potomac Yard Station for our customers,” said Metro Board Chairman (and former Alexandria City Council member) Paul Smedberg in a release from WMATA. “By adding this infill station to the Blue and Yellow lines, we are anchoring Potomac Yard as a hub for employment, education, housing, and recreation.”
The release said tie-in work connecting the station to the rest of the Metro system was concluded early in November.
“Metro continues working collaboratively with the City of Alexandria and the contractor to complete station construction,” the release said. “In addition, Metro and its safety partners will complete critical safety reviews and provide staff training prior to opening for passenger service.”
The station is the centerpiece of a new cluster of development at Potomac Yard, including the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.
“We are excited to have an opening in sight for Potomac Yard Station,” Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke said in the release. “Our team, the City of Alexandria, and contractors are working hard to complete the station and we look forward to providing new transit service to this rapidly developing area.”
For the first time, we have a date for the opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station.
This has been a long-time coming, with far more delay than we would like, but it is exciting that Metrorail will be arriving in Potomac Yard in the Spring!https://t.co/rASAOMAV4L
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) December 13, 2022
Image via WMATA/Twitter
The City of Alexandria will select nine locals via lottery for a chance to buy one of the handful of affordable condos built near the new Potomac Yard Metro station.
The units are committed affordable units — part of a trade for extra density from new development — in the Dylan Condominiums development at 701 and 737 Swann Avenue.
The new development is just a few blocks from the new Metro station, scheduled to open sometime next year after being derailed by delays.
“Dylan is a new residential condominium development in Potomac Yard proximate to the new Potomac Yard Metro Station and Metroway bus rapid transit, retail, parks, and other neighborhood amenities,” the city said in a release. “In total, nine condominium units will be available to income-eligible, first-time homebuyers at this new community, which is located at 701 and 737 Swann Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia.”
To qualify, buyers must live or work in Alexandria. In a telling indicator of local home prices, the city’s website said the qualifying income is “a gross annual household income up to 100% of the area median income.” In Alexandria, that’s $99,700 for one person.
According to the city’s website, the sale pries and monthly condo fees for the affordable units are:
- One bedroom and one bath at $175,000, with a monthly condo fee of $406
- Two bedroom and one bath at $225,000, with a monthly condo fee of $510
- Two bedroom and two baths at $225,000, with a monthly condo fee of $630
- Two bedroom plus den and two baths at $275,000, with a monthly condo fee of $630
“The City will accept applications for the units starting November 15 through December 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.,” the release said.
Image via Dylan Condominiums/Facebook
(Updated at 11:55 a.m. on Nov. 4) Citing cost increases, developer JBG Smith is putting the brakes on building two seven-story residential apartment buildings around the corner from the Potomac Yard Metro Station.
Construction of an 85-foot-tall apartment building in block 15 and a 90-foot-tall apartment building in block 19 are being put on hold, Matt Kelly, CEO of JBG Smith, told investors this week. Kelly reportedly said that a surge in construction costs inhibit development.
JBG Smith is the master master developer for Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus, and last year signed a deal with to design, construct, manage and own two million square feet of mix-used property at Potomac Yard.
At the time, JBG Smith said that construction could start within the next year,
“The plans call for two multifamily buildings totaling approximately 419,000 square feet that have been placed in JBG SMITH’s Near-Term Development Pipeline and could start construction within the next 12 months,” JBG Smith said.
The hold on more than 400,000 square feet of residential development was first reported by the Washington Business Journal.
The 180,000-square-foot property on block 15 is a block away from the unfinished Metro station. Plans approved by the city call for a 212-unit building with an underground parking garage and 15,000 square feet of ground-level retail.
The 286,000-square-foot property on block 19 is planned as a 262-unit apartment building with an underground parking garage and 23,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
Virginia Tech plans on opening its four-acre Innovation Campus by fall 2024, and the delayed Potomac Yard Metro station is expected to open sometime next year.
It’s been a busy week of meetings in Alexandria.
First, parents met with Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) leadership in a forum addressing safety in schools, a major talking point in schools after the murder of a student this summer and issues involving violent “crews” in ACPS.
In an Agenda Alexandria meeting, City Manager James Parajon said adding density to the city is vital to meeting affordable housing needs, though some in the audience expressed concerns that added density could harm the “historic nature” of Alexandria.
Lastly, the Chamber ALX held its Best in Business awards last night. Land use attorney Cathy Puskar was named the 2022 Business Leader of the Year and restaurant Chadwicks (203 Strand Street) was named Overall Business of the Year.
- New Duke Street development replacing car dealership with affordable housing
- Tenant arrested for allegedly pointing handgun at landlord in West End apartment
- City Manager: Trading height for affordable housing means ‘unlikely’ impact on historic districts
- Alexandria mayor to present multi-year plan to rename streets named after Confederate soldiers
- Potomac Yard Metro station hits major milestone after earlier plans derailed by delays
- Alexandria lowers speed limits on major West End streets
- Falafel Inc. opening on Halloween on King Street in Old Town
- Nine more COVID deaths in Alexandria within the last month
- Public comment period closing on three Duke Street Transitway options
- Alexandria City Council hires auditor to review allegations of police misconduct
After a series of delays, there’s finally a positive milestone for the Potomac Yard Metro station.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) tweeted this morning that the first test train has gone through the station.
“Major milestone in our efforts to complete the work for the new station,” WMATA said in the tweet. “Testing is on schedule [and] we appreciate everyone’s patience as our teams work to get the station completed.”
The opening, originally scheduled for this past spring and then to this fall, was pushed back last month to sometime in 2023 with no more specific date.
The delay also prolonged the period of time when Alexandria will be cut off from the rest of the Metro system to early next month.
Image via WMATA/Twitter
Except for the shots fired in the Braddock neighborhood, it’s been a relatively quiet week in Alexandria.
The water was still settling on Monday after the big drop on Friday: the Potomac Yard Metro station was going to be delayed until sometime in 2023 and the shutdown affecting Alexandria would be continued into November.
Beyond that, the top stories this week were a revisit of some of the old hits: Landmark Mall development, on-street dining, speed cameras and flooding.
- Developer opens up about next steps for Landmark Mall redevelopment
- Alexandria woman caught with gun at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport checkpoint
- No injuries or arrest after shots fired in Braddock area
- Alexandria looking to loosen up a little for on-street dining
- Alexandria’s first speed cameras headed to City Council review this month
- BREAKING: Potomac Yard Metro station opening pushed back to 2023
- New change to Alexandria manholes could help combat some stormwater flooding
- For fifth straight year, Alexandria makes Best Small City list by Condé Nast Traveler
- New e-bikes launch in Alexandria with $5 coupon
- Poll: Were you surprised by the Potomac Yard Metro station delay?
Last Friday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that the Potomac Yard Metro station would not be opening this fall, as they’d been insisting it would for months.
The new opening date is set as sometime in 2023. The announcement also came with an update that the shutdown cutting Alexandria off from the rest of the Metro station would be extended into November.
The delay is the latest in a long series of screw-ups connected to the Potomac Yard project, from a delay earlier this year to Metro and city officials concealing information about the station losing a southern entrance back in 2018.
Beyond Potomac Yard, the announcement came on the heels of a new report casting serious doubts about the safety on the rail line after the Metro system reportedly failed to fully address the issues that caused a train derailment last year.
(Updated 2:15 p.m.) The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that the Potomac Yard Metro station’s opening will be delayed yet again.
WMATA said in a statement that the Metro shutdown impacting all of Alexandria will be extended into November and the station, set to open this fall, will not open until sometime in 2023.
Just as WMATA had been vague about when in the fall the station would open, there’s no timeline for when in 2023 the station will open. Given that the station was originally set to open in April 2022, it’s possible the station’s opening could be delayed a full year past the original opening date.
“Regretfully, Metro announces that the new Potomac Yard Station will not open this calendar year,” WMATA said in a release. “The delay in completing construction of the station is due to the contractor’s failure to meet the project delivery schedule. Metro will continue to work with the contractor to produce an achievable schedule and will provide an update by the end of this year.”
WMATA said as site work got underway at Potomac Yard, crews discovered issues with underlying soil that affected the structural stability of the ground beneath the tracks. A remediation plan was developed and implemented, but WMATA said that reinforcing the ground below the tracks “required removing any work already completed, excavating additional soil beneath 1400 feet of track, and installing new subgrade materials to provide the required stability.”
According to Executive Vice President of Capital Delivery Andy Off:
We are frustrated with these developments on the Potomac Yard Station project. The team has been working around the clock to push the project delivery team to perform in accordance with the schedule. Recently, it has become clear that the published schedule will not be met, unfortunately delaying the opening of this important station. On behalf of our customers and the City of Alexandria, we apologize for this inconvenience. We will continue to work as quickly as possible to deliver a high-quality station, and we are doing everything within our power to move the project forward in a safe and responsible way.
Currently, Alexandria is cut-off from the rest of the Metro system. That was supposed to end on Saturday, Oct. 22, but WMATA said that ending has been pushed back to Nov. 5. WMATA officials previously said that once work had started on the station, it would be virtually impossible to reconnect Alexandria to the rest of the Metro system until the station was ready to open.
“Metro is extending the closure of six stations south of Reagan National Airport due to unexpected site conditions and remediation efforts for the future Potomac Yard Station,” WMATA said in a release. “The announcement today comes three weeks before stations were scheduled to reopen to give our customers time to plan their trips accordingly.”
WMATA said free shuttle bus service will continue to be available through the extended shutdown.
“As always, Metro will continue to work collaboratively with the City of Alexandria and the contractor to resolve these scheduling issues and continue our commitment of transparency to the local community,” the release said.
Mayor Justin Wilson called the delays “unacceptable” and said the project needs more direct oversight by WMATA:
The numerous delays to the Potomac Yard construction project are unacceptable. This critically important project requires more intentional oversight by WMATA. Our residents and businesses deserve better from our partners.
This latest setback must be met with urgency and significant actions by WMATA and its contractor to recover from the time and money lost. The City of Alexandria has provided specific operational actions to WMATA that we believe will more effectively manage the contractor’s efforts to complete this project in an expedited and efficient manner.
The City is also demanding that the financial impacts of the numerous delays be assessed and adjusted by WMATA to the benefit of our community. We will continue working with our partners to ensure transit riders have accessible alternatives during this continued shutdown.
We cannot continue to repeat these failures.