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D.C.-based real estate investment firm Willow Creek Partners has bought a West End 189-unit apartment complex.

Willow Creek Partners bought the property from Baltimore-based Continental Realty Corporation, the latter of which bought it for $23 million in 2011. The apartment complex was built in 1963, and includes one-, two- and three-bedroom designs and seven separate floor plans.

“Our team executed a great, value-add strategy at Ripley,” JM Schapiro, CEO of Continental Realty Corporation, said in a statement. “We repositioned the asset into a high-quality, yet affordable housing option within a growing submarket. Our team elevated many of property’s physical elements and improved the resident experience with modern property management tools and a customer-first approach. 101 North Ripley serves as another great example of CRC’s team adding value for both the resident and the investor.”

CRC renovated the property several years after buying it, and installed new windows and sliding patio doors, hallways and laundry rooms, and converted an outdoor pool into a 45-space residential parking lot.

Willow Creek owns 11 other apartment complexes spread across North Carolina, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia.

Via Google Maps

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712 W Braddock Road (image via Google Maps)

There are homes you can actually afford, and then there are homes that are just fun to look at. Our list of the most expensive recently-sold homes in Alexandria, below, is definitely the latter for all but the most well-heeled.

Image via Google Maps

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102 Quay Street, image via Google Maps

There are homes you can actually afford, and then there are homes that are just fun to look at. Our list of the most expensive recently-sold homes in Alexandria, below, is definitely the latter for all but the most well-heeled.

Image via Google Maps

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Abandoned railway at GenOn power plant (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

Alexandria’s annual budget process wrapped up this week with a $839.2 million fiscal year 2023 budget approval and special tax relief for car owners.

Meanwhile, an uptick in opioid overdoses among children has Alexandria City Public Schools considering adding Narcan to schools and city officials issuing warnings about counterfeit Percocet.

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  1. The “Chew Grape” house in Old Town is on the market for $1.1 million
  2. Public tour of Alexandria’s abandoned power plant planned for next week
  3. Gang robs man of wallet at night in Arlandria
  4. DNA links Alexandria felon to gun stolen nearly eight months ago
  5. Tax relief for Alexandria car owners approved
  6. Police: West End abduction and robbery was over $100
  7. Here’s how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Alexandria
  8. Waterfront flood mitigation plan returns with slashed budget
  9. Superintendent scolds majority of School Board over School Law Enforcement Advisory Group proposal
  10. Alexandria ranks third in national dog-friendly city ranking
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There are a number of ghost signs on buildings all over Old Town, and a home to one of them just went on the market for $1.1 milion.

That’s a far cry from the $414,000 that 601 S. St. Asaph Street was sold for in 2014 — and the $11,093 it sold for in 1962.

The value of the property doubled after a comprehensive renovation project in 2015. While peeling away paint on the exterior of the building, a large and faded painted advertisement was discovered. The town home was built in 1842, and was a grocery store during the early 20th century.

The sign reads “W.L. WILSON GROCER/COAL WOOD/CHEW/GRAPE.”

“The building was initially built as a residence in the historically African-American neighborhood of the Hill, but changed uses over time,” the Alexandria Archaeology Museum said on Facebook. “W.L. Wilson is likely William L. Wilson who is listed in the 1904 City Directory as operating a grocery store here with his brother Wadsworth. Grape Chew was a type of chewing tobacco manufactured by the R.A. Patterson Tobacco Company of Richmond.”

The two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home went on the market on April 28, and is owned by former Washington Nationals broadcaster and MLB player F.P. Santangelo.

Via Facebook

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It’s about to get a little more expensive to live in Alexandria. The City Council on Saturday (April 23) will set the real estate tax rate and likely increase the stormwater utility fee for residents by 5%.

In real terms, that means residents could expect to pay between $445 and $477 per year more in real estate taxes, as City Manager Jim Parajon’s proposed budget maintains the current tax rate at $1.11 per $100 of assessed value.

The $1.11 rate, approved by Council for fiscal year 2022, was a 2 cent reduction from the real estate tax rate of $1.13 in FY 2021.

In February, City Council approved a real estate tax ceiling of $1.115, a .45% increase, which gives them wiggle room in the budget process. Council could raise the tax to that rate to fund a project or initiative, but the increase is not accounted for in Parajon’s budget.

The public hearing is at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.

Additionally, Parajon is proposing an increase to the stormwater utility fee, which would mean residents would pay $294, a $14 increase. Last year, the fee was boosted 100%, from $140 to $280, as Alexandria continues to remediate serious flooding issues.

The budget will be adopted on May 4.

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Last month, the top two most expensive homes sold in March were at Robinson Landing (7 Pioneer Mill Way), a waterfront development in Old Town.

In Alexandria, the median list price is $610,000 and the median sales price is $545,000, with a slight decline in the median sales price, according to real estate website Homesnap.

Here’s a look at the most expensive homes sold in March:

  • 5 Pioneer Mill Way
    3 bed/2.5 bath condo
    Sold: $4.5 million
  • 22 Bakers Walk
    2 bed/2 bath condo
    Sold: $2.6 million
  • 117 Prince Street
    6 bed/5.5 bath
    Sold: $2.4 million
  • 1215 Duke Street
    3 bed/2.5 bath
    Sold: $2.2 million
  • 201 Montgomery Street
    3 bed/3.5 bath
    Sold: $2 million

In the market? Check out Just Listed properties in Alexandria.

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5075 Polk Avenue, photo via Google Maps

Last month in Alexandria’s real estate market, home prices crept up while the overall number of home sales dipped.

There were 170 home sales throughout February, with an average price increase of 6.6% compared to January, according to real estate website Homesnap.

Here’s a look at the most expensive homes sold in February:

In the market? Check out Just Listed properties in Alexandria.

Image via Google Maps

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Alexandria’s land records date back to the 18th century, and the city’s Clerk of the Circuit Court just secured more than $43,000 in grant funding to conserve those records and digitize them for public enjoyment.

This is the second year that the clerk’s office has been awarded the grant, which is made possible through the Circuit Court Records Preservation program from the Virginia Court Clerks Association and the Library of Virginia. Approximately $4.7 million was awarded to clerks offices throughout Virginia this year.

This year’s funding will pay for the restoration of eight volumes of the city’s oldest and most valuable records covering 1785 through 1798. Those records include deeds to real property, marriages and wills.

“Alexandria’s history is one of its most precious assets and I am committed to securing resources to preserve, protect and make widely available these windows into our past,” Alexandria Clerk Greg Parks said.

Last year, the city was awarded about $15,400 toward the effort, which went toward the restoration and digitization of four historic volumes.

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(Updated at 1:45 p.m. on Jan. 5) The new owner of 628 King Street is shopping the property around, and wants it to remain two retail spaces.

Douglas Development now owns three of the four buildings at the intersection of King and Washington Streets. The D.C.-based commercial real estate firm owns the adjacent properties at 700 (Lululemon) and 701 King Street (the now-closed Le Pain Quotidien), as well as 610 King Street (Anthropologie), 614 King Street (H&M) and 615 King Street (the former Walgreens) and 700 King Street.

Douglas Development bought the property on Dec. 10, and representatives of the firm say there has been some interest from prospective tenants, although nothing definite. The building was previously owned by the family of Wellington Goddin, and was appraised for $6.2 million last January.

GAP Inc. has leased the three-level, 20,000 square-foot building at 628 King Street since 1986, where it has long been home to a Banana Republic and Gap Outlet store, which will permanently close on Jan. 24. Staff at both stores said Gap Outlet was underperforming at the space, with most business coming in on weekends.

Commercial real estate firm KLNB’s represented Douglas Development in the purchase of the building, and is managing its next steps.

The owners plan on splitting the property into two units, keeping the uses as retail and renting them out as soon as possible.

The firm says their 652 retail transactions this year is a 39% increase over 2020 and 15% over 2019, but that property values have stayed relatively flat over the last two years.

“Brick and mortar retail also remains extremely relevant regardless of what folks may say about it being dead, as evidenced by KLNB’s transaction volume,” KLNB President and Chief Operating Officer Marc Menick told ALXnow. “All this being said, transactions are well up over 2019 levels, but value is basically flat.  More deals, less value.”

The property, which has 158 square feet of frontage on King and S. Washington Streets, was originally developed as a 600-seat theatre in 1854, was converted to a Union hospital during the Civil War, changed hands through the decades and even burned down.

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