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Amazon is planning to install one of its Amazon Fresh grocery stores at the former Shoppers supermarket at Potomac Yard, according to documents obtained by the Washington Business Journal.

The 50,000-square foot space is the sixth potential location for Amazon Fresh throughout the region, and Total Wine has also reportedly made moves to open next door at the former Pier 1 Imports, which closed more than a year ago.

The Amazon Fresh pick-up and delivery service will be located next to the $1 billion Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and about a mile-and-a-half away from Amazon’s HQ2 development in Crystal City.

Potomac Yard is managed by JBG Smith Properties and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which are both overseeing a massive mixed-use development of the area.

Amazon itself did not file the documents with the city, according to WBJ. Instead, Canadian architect NORR made the filing for “Mendel,” which is reportedly an Amazon code word.

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated 5:30 p.m.) Most of Alexandria’s City Council candidates met in person for the first time in Arlandria on Thursday night, and affordable housing, school resource officers and access to health care led the bilingual discussion to a mostly Spanish-speaking audience.

The forum was hosted outside by Tenants and Workers United and Grassroots Alexandria.

“The pandemic really showed us that we need to work to ensure that if we want low income people of color to continue being a part of our community, we have to work on that,” Evelin Urrutia, the executive director of Tenants & Workers United, told ALXnow. “We have lost a lot of affordable housing units in the past two decades. They need to change a lot of policies and they have to start investing more money in affordable housing, something that was not done in previous years.”

Councilman Canek Aguirre, the first elected Latino to Council in Alexandria, said he’s worked to get more health care resources to the immigrant population in Arlandria.

“I will say the health department, we did add four community health workers,” Aguirre said. “Three speak Spanish, one speaks Amharic. This is all on purpose. I have been working with health population managers, the last three of them, talking about how we do outreach and where we need people, making sure we meet them where they are.”

Councilman John Taylor Chapman said that Chapman said that the city needs to give more resources to Neighborhood Health, which provides health care services to low-income residents without insurance.

“The Alexandria Health Department needs to become a better partner with the folks that are doing the work in the community,” Chapman said. “Because it’s really about you and your health.”

Candidate Bill Campbell agreed, and said that many of the city’s woes can be solved with more diversity.

“”To me, this is easy,” Campbell said. “Neighborhood Health, I’m sure, has more nurses and doctors and look like you and me. And so we got to make sure that we increase our diversity everywhere — in our health department, on Council, everywhere in this city the more voices that we can get, and the places where things are needed, the better this city is going to be. That’s the key to it, is adding diversity everywhere.”

Candidate Alyia Gaskins said that the city needs to expand health care access by expanding the operations of the mobile health van, as well as increase resources for health care pop-ups in low income areas.

“I think that expanding health care services begins with expanding access,” Gaskins said.

There are seven candidates of color and five women running for Council — out of the 15 candidates running, including an independent and a Republican candidate. That means that there is a chance, depending on the outcome of the November election, that the newly elected City Council could have a majority of Black members — a first in history.

“As a black man in America, I’m probably the most endangered human species out here, right?” Campbell said. “I raised three kids through the Alexandria school system, two boys of color. I also helped start the Family and Community Engagement Center in ACPS. All of my work will be focused around equity, and trying to eliminate systems that we know have been racist and have institutionalized biases in them. And that’s what I want to continue doing for Alexandria.”

Candidate Kevin Harris said that his work creating a safety committee for the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority community set him apart.

“The chief of police has already highlighted that this is an effective measure that he wants to duplicate across the city,” Harris said. “We shouldn’t have to wait once we get on Council to start doing those things you want to be able to get started.”

Candidate Patrick Moran is against the elimination of school resource officers from ACPS, and candidate Bill Rossello said the issue needs more public discussion.

“We need public safety professionals in our schools to protect our kids,” Moran said. “I’m a straight white male. I’ve experienced privilege my entire life. Throughout that I’ve fought to serve, to give and to work hard for my community. Otherwise, I don’t know what it means and feels like to be intimidated in school from police officers because I feel as though I’m being discriminated against. I appreciate the efforts that have been made to counteract that, and I appreciate the funding that has gone into our mental health services and wellness services.”

Candidate James Lewis said that the city should have more diversity in its police department.

“I think it starts with ensuring that the current law enforcement practices in the city don’t over-criminalize or over-police communities of color,” Lewis said. “We’ve taken some good steps in that direction and need to continue to do them. But really, the way you solve the problem on term is making opportunities for people in communities of color to become law enforcement.”

Aguirre said the elimination of SROs was a first step.

“How do you want officers to interact with our community?” Aguirre said. “We need to continue working on that a lot. There’s going to be more conversations to be had as we move forward.”

Candidate Meronne E. Teklu said that police need to stay out of schools.

“How we implement that is the real question,” Teklu said. “Working with community organizers will be critical. Folks like Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor have not seen justice. We need to ensure common sense gun safety and data transparency.”

On affordable housing, Aguirre said that he supported raising the city’s meals tax to 5% to pay for the effort, and Chapman said that the city hasn’t pressed developers hard enough to contribute more. Gaskins said the city needs to expand tools, such as the right of first refusal, and .

“We haven’t pressed that button enough [with developers], haven’t pressed that issue enough,” Chapman said. “And that’s what we need to do.”

The Democratic primary for City Council is June 8.

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What a week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

The Alexandria City Council on Wednesday approved its Fiscal Year 2022 $770.7 million budget on Wednesday, and it includes a 2 cent real estate tax reduction. It’s the first time that’s happened in 15 years, and the budget also fully funds Alexandria City Public Schools’ request and includes a 1% raise for city and state employees.

But perhaps the biggest news of the week came with City Councilman Mo Seifeldein’s proposal to eliminate School Resource Officer funding from the budget. The effort was supported along by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilman Canek Aguirre and Councilman John Taylor Chapman, who voted along with the group after failing to save the program in a last-minute effort.

Crime stories dominated many headlines, and Police Chief Michael Brown spoke with us this week about his department’s efforts to reduce destructive elements throughout the city. More from that interview will be published next week.

In this week’s poll, we asked about the importance of political endorsements for local candidates. Out of 222 responses, 48% (107 votes) don’t consider endorsements while voting; 39% (86 votes) said endorsements influence their decision; and 14% (29 votes) feel that endorsements hold a lot of sway.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Parking issues plague Potomac Yard, city looks to create residential parking district
  2. Knife pulled on woman who chases would-be thieves in Old Town
  3. D.C. man arrested after 130 mph chase leads to crash on Interstate 495
  4. Police: Armed robberies occur minutes apart in Del Ray and Arlandria
  5. Two injured in hit-and-run in Old Town, driver leaves car and flees on foot
  6. Too noisy? City Council is considering revising Alexandria’s noise ordinance
  7. Alexandria City Council to end School Resource Officer program at Alexandria City Public Schools
  8. Alexandria man arrested for firing gun at 7-Eleven door near Braddock Road Metro station
  9. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  10. JUST IN: Power outages across Alexandria as strong winds hit the city
  11. What’s next for GenOn and the rest of Old Town North?

Have a safe weekend!

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JBG Smith, the master master developer for Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus, just signed a deal to design, construct, manage and own 2 million square feet of mix-used property at Potomac Yard.

“Institutional investors advised by (project financial manager) J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives contributed a land site that is entitled for approximately 1.3 million square feet of development it controls at Potomac Yard Landbay F (North Potomac Yard), while JBG SMITH contributed adjacent land with more than 700,000 square feet of development capacity at Potomac Yard, Landbay G (the Town Center),” JBG Smith said in a release.

JBG Smith has a 50% ownership stake in the joint venture, and will act as leasing agent for future residential and commercial properties at the site. The move increases the company’s ownership development rights by more than 285,000 square feet.

“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 remaining 1.6 million square feet of mixed-use development across Landbays F and G is expected to be developed over time and, consequently, are included in the Future Development Pipeline.”

“We are thrilled that this joint venture will further the community’s collective long-term vision of National Landing as a thriving, transit-oriented, mixed-use destination and world-class innovation district,” said Ed Chaglassian, executive vice president and head of acquisitions at JBG SMITH. “This transaction will help ensure that the surrounding neighborhoods can grow in lockstep with Virginia Tech in ways that will complement and enhance its Innovation Campus.”

Virginia Tech plans on opening its four-acre Innovation Campus by fall 2024. Additionally, the Potomac Yard Metro station is expected to open by spring 2022. It is also located a mile south of National Landing, the future home of Amazon’s HQ2 project at National Landing, which is slated for a 2028 completion.

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Dave Dolton moved to Potomac Yard last month, and with his new garage full of unpacked boxes has been parking on the street. One of his neighbors wasn’t too happy about his extended street parking, and left a strongly worded note on his windshield.

“Please don’t park and take up space on a street where you don’t live,” the note says. “Alexandria has parking rules — and your vehicle has been reported. Thank you.”

Dolton said that the note is hilarious.

“No idea which neighbor left the note,” Dolton wrote to ALXnow. “We moved here in early March, and I still can’t fit my car into our garage, due to all the boxes. We live in Potomac Yard, and while there are no posted signs, there is a rumor of not leaving your car here (if you don’t live here) for longer than 72 hours.”

In fact, it turns out that Potomac Yard is not in a residential permit parking district, and only general parking rules apply, such as no commercial vehicles can park in a residential area, no parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant and the city’s 72-hour rule. There are few parking signs throughout Potomac Yard along and around Main Line Boulevard, which neighborhood residents say leads to rampant fraudulent parkers.

“It happens all the time,” said a Potomac Yard resident. “They come park here and they take an Uber and go to Reagan National Airport for a trip and leave their car parked here and nothing happens. Sometimes they will just park and take an Uber to the Metro. Imagine how it’s going to look at this new Potomac Yard Metro station they’re building.”

Alexandria does not enforce parking on private streets, according to the city. Accordingly, many of the streets on the garage side of homes are private streets owned by the Potomac Yard Homeowners Association.

“Transportation & Environmental Services staff are working with the Potomac Yard HOA to consider creating a residential permit parking district,” Alexandria Senior Communications Officer Andrea Jones Blackford told ALXnow. “This will be a public process that involves petitioning the residents and going to the Traffic and Parking Board and City Council for approval if there is neighborhood support.”

Blackford said that there are no current plans to install new signs and that the City does not install parking signs on private property.

Photo via Dave Dolton/Twitter

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Alexandria Police have identified a 39-year-old suspect who was arrested in North Carolina after allegedly crashing his car into the Verizon store near Potomac Yard on March 22.

Chip Rodney Daniels, of Tyler, Texas, was arrested on unrelated charges the following day in North Carolina.

“He is now awaiting extradition to Alexandria to face charges including hit and run, destruction of property, reckless driving, misdemeanor assault and battery and other charges,” Alexandria Police Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga said in a news release.

Daniels is also suspected of driving his car into the lobby of The Drake apartment complex in Washington, D.C.

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It was quite a week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on a man who allegedly crashed his car headfirst into the Verizon store near Potomac Yard. The suspect was later arrested in North Carolina.

The week was full of big news. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg announced her candidacy against Mayor Justin Wilson for the June 8 Democratic primary, and ALXnow has learned that the Del Ray Business Association is planning a debate.

One of our favorite stories this week was on Tobi, the Alexandria dog without front legs who needed a new $2,350 wheelchair. Within a day of posting the story, Tobi’s GoFundMe goal was reached. The fundraiser has since raised $3,590, and Tobi’s owner says the excess funds will be donated to help another disabled pet get a wheelchair.

As of noon Friday, our unscientific poll on mayoral candidates had 1,111 votes, but only 537 views. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg trailed by a large percentage for the first several hours, but she later received a surge of votes that led to her getting 589 votes, or 53%, to Wilson’s 432 votes, or 39%. Republican candidate Annetta Catchings, who also announced her mayoral candidacy this week, got 90 votes, or 8%.

Other important stories:

ALXnow’s top stories:

  1. BREAKING: Man rams car into Verizon Store near Potomac Yard
  2. Waterfront Commission tries to avert ‘Disneyland-like’ development in Old Town
  3. Flight attendant Annetta Catchings running for Alexandria mayor as a Republican
  4. Chadwicks going double-decker on outdoor dining at upcoming BAR meeting
  5. BREAKING: Former Mayor Silberberg rematch as she enters democratic primary for mayor
  6. City Councilman Seifeldein quits meeting after argument with mayor
  7. Three men tied up and robbed in West End
  8. GoFundMe launched to get wheelchair for Tobi, an Alexandria dog with no front legs
  9. Just Sold in Alexandria: March 23, 2021
  10. Republican J.D. Maddox announces run for 45th District seat
  11. Al’s Steak House to endure under new management

Have a safe weekend!

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A suspect has been arrested after allegedly crashing his car headfirst into the Verizon store near Potomac Yard on March 22.

Police did not identify the suspect, but said in a tweet that he was arrested in North Carolina. Police also did not say what he was charged with or when he was arrested.

“We’ll provide further updates and details when we have them,” Alexandria Police Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow in an email.

A video was recently released of a suspect walking in to the store, walking out and then driving in headfirst, narrowly missing an employee before driving away.

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(Updated 3:15 p.m.) Police and fire department are at 2920 Richmond Highway after a driver apparently crashed his vehicle into the building then left the scene.

There are no injuries reported yet, according to Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman Raytevia Evans.

According to Evans:

Call went out around 2:30pm for a vehicle into a building in the 2900 block of Richmond Highway. No injuries reported at this time. Driver apparently hit the building and left the scene.

Staff at the Verizon store said the man became belligerent over a service issue and left before hitting the building with his vehicle.

A witness said the driver was a white man driving a black sedan.

“It sounded like a bomb,” one witness said. “Boom. Then I saw him drive around the corner [northbound on Route 1].”

Code enforcement and the building inspector are at the scene after officials responded to a report of a building collapse, according to scanner traffic.

James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story. Image via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police are investigating a robbery that occurred at the Tobacco and Vape King store at 408 E. Glebe Road was robbed on Saturday night.

Police said a suspect walked into the shop on Saturday night and demanded money. The suspect, who fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash, did not present a weapon or imply that he had a weapon, according to police.

The incident occurred Richmond Highway and across the street from Potomac Yard.

No suspect description was available.

Map via Google Maps

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