Newsletter

The Alexandria City Council unanimously approved plans for the first phase of the massive North Potomac Yard redevelopment on Saturday.

Those plans include three academic buildings with significant open space dedicated to computer science research and development programs for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, open space and a mix of six residential and office buildings.

“This is a very significant set of decisions for the city, and is really going to shape, not just a portion of our city, but really the entirety of our city for a long period of time to come,” said Mayor Justin Wilson.

Saturday’s approval was necessary for Virginia Tech to meet its timeline of being operational at Potomac Yard by fall 2024.

The first phase of the $1 billion campus will see construction of three academic buildings dedicated to computer science research and development programs at Alexandria’s border with Arlington. The permanent campus will take up four acres and will accommodate 750 computer science master’s degree students per year and more than 100 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

“We made a commitment, the city made a commitment to do what he can do to get that campus and academic building open by the fall of 2024,” said land use attorney Cathy Puskar, who represents landowner JBG Smith. “And despite a pandemic and other interruptions, everybody has held to that schedule. So, it really has been a Herculean effort, and we’re really excited to be here today.”

The master plan amendment includes increasing building heights near the proposed Potomac Yard Metro station. Buildings in Block 15 would increase in height from 85 feet to 90 feet, and from 90 feet to 115 feet on Block 18.

Council is expected to approve the design of a pump station in the northern section of the property this winter. The property reserved for the pump station will be a temporary home for outdoor parking lots until the underground lots for the buildings under construction are ready.

Images via City of Alexandria

2 Comment

Not everyone has the time or financial resources to commit to a full master’s degree program. Some may already have a master’s and are just looking for a narrow update on a current skillset. For these reasons, Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology program now offers IT professionals the option to earn a graduate certificate in 10 specialized IT subject areas.

“IT leaders can find a certificate that speaks exactly to their professional needs without having to commit several years to pursuing a master’s degree,” says Barbara Hoopes, Associate Professor of Business Information Technology at Virginia Tech. In fact, students can earn a certificate in as little as 12 months as a part-time student.

Whether looking to simply enhance existing skills or prepare for a major career transition, students can expect to reap these rewards:

Enhanced Marketability — Both experienced and aspiring IT professionals can enhance their expertise through thoughtfully designed certificates that allow students to develop skills in areas where a current dearth of talent is driving competitive salaries and prime opportunities for career advancement.

Explore High-Demand Areas — Earning a certificate offers a relatively quick opportunity to explore a high-demand content area, like Cybersecurity, Business Data Analytics, or Health Information Technology, to boost marketability and stay abreast of IT trends. Employers can also use a certificate “to contribute to the skill sets and the knowledge base of employees without having to release them to earn a degree as a full-time student,” says Hoopes.

Greater Convenience — Exclusively online, a VT-MIT master’s degree or graduate certificate satisfies an increasing demand among IT workers for greater flexibility. Students can easily switch between full or part-time status and shift their course loads to match their personal and professional demands. An online VT-MIT degree or graduate certificate offers students the skills they need while at the same time balancing today’s personal, professional and academic demands.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology and graduate certificate options at vtmit.vt.edu.

Alexandria was dominated by violent crime events this week.

The second murder of 2020 occurred on Sept. 30, and ALXnow identified the victim as 57-year-old John Harding Pope. Mayor Justin Wilson and members of the City Council offered their condolences and said that justice will be served.

Our poll asking residents if they feel safe in Alexandria received more than 500 votes, and 60% feel somewhat safe, 29% feel very safe and 12% feel not safe at all.

Old Town regulars will also be sad to learn that Miegs Hodge, a 1982 graduate of T.C. Williams High School, died in a car crash on N. Washington Street on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Not on this week’s list is Friday’s breaking news story that Jesse Bjerke, a former nurse at Inova Alexandria Hospital, was sentenced to 65 years in prison for raping two lifeguards at gunpoint.

There was some positive news. A new gym will be opening in the West End later this month, a local chef won on the ‘Chopped’ reality show, and the city’s unemployment rate continues to trend downward.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria:

  1. Homeowner Shot in Targeted Del Ray Home Invasion
  2. UPDATED: Driver Seriously Injured in Old Town Crash
  3. Police Investigate Violent Early Morning Crimes in Alexandria
  4. West End Shootout Wounds Two and Hits Buildings and Cars
  5. Alexandria Wants to Make Affordable Housing Contributions Mandatory for Developers
  6. Man Dies After Crash on N. Washington Street in Old Town
  7. Avanti Holdings to Build New West End Home for ‘Alexandria Lighting Supply’ Store
  8. Man Shot on Quantrell Avenue in City’s Second Murder of 2020
  9. Poll: How Safe Do You Feel in Alexandria?
  10. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  11. Virginia Tech Pump Station Approval Paves Way for 4.5 Extra Acres at Potomac Yard Park

Have a safe weekend!

2 Comments

In an uncertain economy, professionals may find that returning to school for an MBA can be a productive way to sharpen skills and add credentials while working to launch the next stage of their careers.

Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program, based in the university’s Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, has attracted many new students this fall for several reasons, said MBA programs director Dana Hansson. These include its stellar reputation and top 20 national ranking; dedicated faculty, many with industry experience; extensive alumni network; and great value.

Those who majored in science, engineering and other nonbusiness disciplines as undergraduates — such as Ryan Feber, a 2003 Virginia Tech graduate in computer science, and Bryan Gassenmeyer, who earned a degree in industrial and systems engineering at Virginia Tech in 2006 — have found that not only is a prior business education not needed to enroll or excel in an MBA program, but that technical backgrounds can be a basis for diversifying or rounding out knowledge and skills for managing or leading change in today’s data economy.

Others like Cody Neder, a 2014 finance alumnus, and Alexis Monahan, a 2006 graduate in communications and psychology, have lauded the program for the business and management knowledge and skills they’ve gained and the rich contributions to their learning from faculty and classmates with diverse professional backgrounds.

And, because life circumstances can change, a program that offers flexibility and affordability — students can shift between full-time and part-time status and apply for paid graduate assistantships — are two more pluses.

Maryann Romero’s experience reflects both these benefits. A stay-at-home mom at the time with an undergraduate degree in communications and rhetorical studies from Syracuse University, Romero finished up in two-and-a-half years and credits the program for opening the door to a new career as a client insights analyst at a media analytics company.

Lastly, Virginia Tech’s caring and supportive community of faculty and staff left a lasting impression on Nicholle Clinton, who received a marketing degree in 2007 and currently expects to complete her MBA in December 2020. Clinton coped with a series of serious family illnesses and losses during her senior year as well as early in her MBA studies. She is grateful for the compassion and assistance she received during both periods from the teaching faculty and program staff.

Learn more about how Virginia Tech can support your career goals at mba.vt.edu.

The Alexandria City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a proposal adding Virginia Tech’s initials to the Potomac Yard Metro Station.

Council approved the name to be the Potomac Yard – VT station. Now the name change goes before the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for final approval.

Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus is promised to bring a massive redevelopment to the area. Earlier this month, Council deferred the name change after expressing concerns that the site would not meet Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority naming guidelines.

The Metro station is planned to open by spring 2022 and the Innovation Campus is scheduled to open in the fall of 2024. The campus will accommodate 750 computer science master’s degree students per year and more than 100 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

Councilman John Taylor Chapman met with Virginia Tech on the matter.

“This is going to be a partnership, one that’s going to last as long as the station,” Chapman said at the meeting.

Photo via City of Alexandria

6 Comments

Morning Notes

Virginia Tech Announces Advisory Board for Innovation Campus — “The board consists of company leaders along with several tech pioneers. Members include Sanju Bansal, founder and CEO of Hunch Analytics; Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of Boeing; Ted Colbert, executive vice president of Boeing; Joe DeSimone, professor at Stanford University and executive chairman and co-founder of Carbon; Lynne Doughtie, former chairman and CEO of KPMG; Regina Dugan, CEO of Wellcome Leap; Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm; Russ Ramsey, board chair of Greater Washington Partnership; Kathy Warden, CEO, of Northrop Grumman Corporation; Glenn Youngkin, co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group.” [Patch]

Beyer: Trump and Republicans Should Feel Same Urgency With COVID-19 as Ginsburg Replacement — “Imagine if Donald Trump and Senate Republicans felt this urgency about responding to a pandemic that has now killed over 200,000 Americans. 4 months ago the House passed a bill to help American families and boost the economy. Mitch McConnell said he didn’t feel any ‘urgency.'” [Twitter]

Volunteers Honored in Virtual Ceremony — “On Saturday, August 29, New Hope Housing (NHH) – an Alexandria nonprofit that helps homeless families and individuals – recognized a group of volunteers at its Annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.” [Zebra]

Little Theatre of Alexandria Auditioning for ‘A Christmas Carol’ — “LTA’s A Christmas Carol for 2020 will be the most unique ever. It will feature live, virtual, and animated elements. We are looking for a family who can portray Mr. Cratchit, Mrs. Cratchit, and Tiny Tim. Tiny Tim will also portray Turkey Boy and Boy Scrooge. These three characters will participate in Zoom rehearsals in October and three rehearsals at LTA in early November, with a taping date of Saturday, November 15.” [Facebook]

Tall Ship Providence Gets Repaired — “Our Providence team has had a very busy weekend! While in the boat yard, they have sanded the hull to prepare it for a new coat of paint and performed other routine maintenance in preparation for the scheduled Coast Guard inspection.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 72F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Clear skies (at night). Low 54F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Global Trade Group Command Media Manager — “Manage of Global Trade Group (GTG) Command Media throughout the lifecycle of drafting to final posting in the corporate electronic library. Reviews draft policies and procedures submitted by corporate trade segments/functions and non-trade functions to ensure alignment with corporate GTG trade-related command media. Recommends changes to ensure alignment with GTG trade policies and procedures. Maintains GTG
records relating to trade policies and procedures, tracks status of all command media submitted to GTG by the Policy Review Board (PRB) and ensures suspense deadlines are met.” [Indeed]

2 Comments

The Alexandria Board of Architectural Review will consider a permit to demolish/capsulate the Regal Potomac Yard movie theater, which closed in March due to the pandemic and never reopened.

The one-story theater first opened in 1998, and “is an example of a typical multi-screen movie theater built during the late 1990’s throughout the region,” according to a city staff report.

In its place will go a pump station that is part of Virginia Tech’s massive Innovation Campus development, and will handle sanitary sewer flows for Virginia Tech’s Sewer to Wastewater Energy Exchange system.

As previously reported, this and next month, the BAR and the Planning Commission will receive half a dozen plans for the 1.9 million square-foot mixed use North Potomac Yard development.

The area was a rail yard from 1906 until 1989, and the staff report stipulates that all eventual construction “will stop on the site if any buried structural remains (wall foundations, wells, privies, cisterns, etc.) or concentrations of artifacts are discovered during development,” and that a city archaeologist will need to record the finds.

The plan will go to City Council this fall for approval.

8 Comments

This and next month, the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review and the Planning Commission will receive half a dozen plans for the 1.9 million square-foot mixed use North Potomac Yard development.

“This application… represents the culmination of an extensive planning process for North Potomac Yard,” according to a master plan amendment filed with the Planning Commission to increase building heights near the proposed Potomac Yard Metro Station. Buildings in Block 15 would increase in height from 85 feet to 90 feet, and increase from 90 feet to 115 feet on Block 18 — both of which are near the developing Potomac Yard Metro Station.

The massive development includes construction of three academic buildings dedicated to computer science research and development programs for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which the city is considering as an “integrated whole” instead of multiple standalone projects.

The plans will need to be approved for the development to meet its timeline. The Virginia Tech campus is currently planned to be operational by fall 2024, and will accommodate 750 computer science master’s degree students per year and more than 100 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

Tomorrow, the BAR will consider a Certificate of Appropriateness for a pump station to handle sanitary sewer flows with Virginia Tech’s Sewer to Wastewater Energy Exchange (SWEE) system. The system will be transferred to the management of AlexRenew Enterprises once constructed is completed.

The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for October 6, and the plans will go to City Council this fall for approval.

Images via City of Alexandria

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Large Income Disparities in Alexandria — “White Alexandria is pulling in significantly more money than Hispanic workers and African Americans, according to numbers from the United States Census Bureau. A look at average income shows non-Hispanic whites make more than $85,000 a year. That’s more than three times the average income for Hispanic workers, $24,000, and more than twice the average income for black workers, $37,000.” [Gazette]

Water Taxi Returns to Old Town — “A face mask requirement and other safety measures are in place for the limited water taxi service.” [Patch]

Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden Hosting Juneteenth Trivia Night — “It’s long been on our calendar to celebrate Juneteenth – marking the legal end of slavery in the United States on June 19th, 1865 – with a trivia night that explores African American culture. We hope you’ll join us on Zoom this Friday night for this special evening! Tickets are FREE, but an optional donation will be split between us, Carlyle House Historic Park, and ALIVE. Pre-registration at our Eventbrite page is required.” [Facebook]

NVTA Recommends Full Funding for Duke Street Transitway — “The Duke Street Transitway was the City of Alexandria’s only request to the NVTA and the cost is estimated at $87 million. Alexandria received $12 million already, so this funding request is for the remaining $75 million.” [Alexandria Living]

North Potomac Yard Virtual Meeting at 7 p.m. — “The Virginia Tech Foundation and JBG SMITH is hosting virtual community meetings to provide information on the design of the proposed buildings and site-wide updates.” [City of Alexandria]

Casa Chirilagua Hosting Fundraiser Sunday — “Casa Chirilagua is a local community nonprofit serving the Central American Latinx community in City of Alexandria zip code 22305 – a hot spot for COVID-19. Because of the health and economic conditions, demand for Casa Chirilagua’s services has become enormous.” [Facebook]

‘Ascend Cycle’ Hosting Virtual Pride Ride — “A $15 minimum donation is requested for this event. 100% of proceeds will be donated. Sign up for the ride online and we’ll text you the Zoom code before class!” [Facebook]

YMCA Reopens in Del Ray — “Your local YMCA at 420 East Monroe Avenue is back in business. It opened for the first time in months this past Monday, June 15, along with the Arlington location. The Y is following a phased approach to reopening so you will see differences when you visit.” [Zebra]

New Job: Assistant Center Manager — “Mathnasium is a highly dynamic and fast-paced and is known for the great care we take with our students and employees alike… We’re looking for an Assistant Center Manager to assist at both our Alexandria City and Mount Vernon centers. The pay range we’re offering is $16-$18/hour depending on center performance.” [Indeed]

3 Comments

The City of Alexandria has agreed on a 15-year lease for a Mark Center office owned by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), the nonprofit announced today. The lease, which was signed on May 26, will go in effect when the city’s Department of Community and Human Services and Health Department moves into the property at 4850 Mark Center Drive in February 2023.

The city has an option to buy the property and are interested in exploring that option, city spokesman Craig Fifer told ALXnow.

IDA will move out of the property, which it has called home for nearly four decades, and into its new 370,000-square-foot headquarters at Potomac Yard in February 2022, according to a press release. The new facility will be blocks away from the new Potomac Yard Metro station and next door to the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

“This is a key milestone in our progress toward Potomac Yard occupancy and continued advancement of our work for our sponsors,” said IDA President and CEO Norton A. Schwartz in a statement. “Eight years ago, we committed to moving into a new building in Potomac Yard equipped with the latest technology and security requirements to better support our growing organization.”

IDA has the mission to “answer the most challenging U.S. security and science policy questions with objective analysis leveraging extraordinary scientific, technical, and analytic expertise,” according to its website.

The deal has been in the works since at least 2018. According to a city memo, it will cost approximately $1.9 million in annual building operating expenses and the city would need nearly $14 million in “upfront tenant fit-out costs.”

Courtesy photo

5 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list