A man parked in the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center parking lot was charged with possession of a Scheduled I or II substance after a complaint was raised that he was selling drugs.
On August 30, Alexandria Police were called to investigate a “suspicious” event and possible drug dealing at the West End hotel located at 5000 Seminary Road. They found a man sitting in the driver’s seat of a van in the parking lot “holding a cellular phone and counting what appeared to be a large sum of U.S. currency,” according to a search warrant affidavit.
The suspect was lethargic, and officers asked him to step out of his van.
The officers saw a plastic bag sticking out of the man’s pocket, and they asked him what was in the bag.
“My medicine,” the suspect reportedly said, and then said, “Powdered cough medicine.”
According to the affidavit, “(The suspect) then pulled the bag from his pocket revealing a bag of white powdery substance and two tin foil wrappings with contained white rock-like substance.”
The suspect was arrested for possession or intent to distribute a schedule I or II controlled substance. He was taken to Inova Alexandria Hospital and admitted to police that the 6.5 grams they seized was crack cocaine, according to the affidavit. The substance later tested positive as a controlled substance.
Big changes are being planned for an 8.2-acre property directly across the street from Landmark Mall.
While only in the conceptual phase, the Landmark Overlook development would transform the corner of South Walker Street and Stephenson Avenue into a mixed use property with hotels or office buildings, two-level stacked condominium units, apartments and retail.
The Eisenhower West-Landmark Van Dorn Implementation Advisory Group was briefed on the plan last week by property owner Hekemian & Co.
“We’re excited about it,” Hekemian’s attorney Ken Wire told the advisory group in a Zoom meeting. “We think the commercial high visibility, the multifamily rental and the stacked condos are a good variety that continues to provide that texture in our community that we all value.”
The northern edge of the property would be home to two hotels or office buildings depending on demand. The stacked condos in the western portion of the property would have up to 88 two-level units.
“It’s a wonderful site, and we’re obviously looking forward to a redevelopment proposal for it,” Chris Bell, a senior vice president with Hekemian, told the advisory group. “We’re also looking forward to see what happens to the Landmark Mall. We think it’s a real great driver for this site.”
In April, mall owner The Howard Hughes Corporation sent a message to Alexandria Living Magazine that it has no update on its redevelopment.
Images via City of Alexandria
What a week it’s been in Alexandria.
The pandemic seemed inescapable this week, and much of our coverage was related to dealing with the coronavirus.
Five more fatalities related to the virus were reported by the Virginia Department of Health, and the death toll now stands at 67. There are now or have been 3,671 cases in the city since the first case was reported in March.
The week also began with our coverage of City Council’s passage of a face mask ordinance requiring residents to wear masks in public places. While there is no fine for noncompliance, the new law takes effect on October 1.
There was some heartwarming news. City residents helped a Del Ray business owner raise more than $10,000 after her house burned down on September 12.
We also covered the Little Theatre of Alexandria’s newest COVID-friendly in-person show. Additionally, Alexandria restauranteur Bill Blackburn participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial this week, and Alexandria resident Ann Samuels safely celebrated her 100th birthday.
The Alexandria City School Board also accepted a name change proposal for Matthew Maury Elementary School. Now with the virtual school year in full swing, we also published a poll on how folks think school is going so far and saw mixed results.
Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.
- ‘Lipstick On A Pig’: BAR Rejects Heritage Old Town Proposal
- Just Listed in Alexandria
- ThePoopBrothers: ‘Fearless’ Del Ray Kids Created New Business Over Summer Break
- UPDATED: Flooding Reported in Parts of City After Heavy Rain
- Man Struck by Bullet While Driving in West End
- Alexandria Hospital Nurse Wins First-Ever Nightingale Award
- Juvenile Arrested After Shots Fired in Arlandria
- City Council Passes Mask Ordinance, and There’s No Fine for Noncompliance
- New Alexandria Boxing Club Works Out Every Sunday at Jones Point Park
- Monte Durham’s New Hair Salon is Opening Saturday in Old Town
- Alexandrian Ann Samuels Turns 100 Years Old
Have a safe weekend!
A candle that fell on a bed has left nine residents and three animals displaced from a West End apartment building.
The Alexandria Fire Department was called on Tuesday night to an apartment building in the 4700 block of West Braddock Road at 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 15), and quickly extinguished a fire in a second floor bedroom.
“The unit where the fire originated was condemned due to fire and water damage, and residents were able to find alternative accommodations,” AFD reported in a news release. “An adjacent unit was also condemned due to water and overhaul damage, and the Red Cross assisted the residents in finding alternative accommodations.”
The fire caused an estimated $75,000 in damage, according to AFD.
A West End apartment fire on Tuesday night displaced 9 residents and 3 pets. Upon arrival, crews discovered fire in a bedroom of an apartment on the second level of the building. https://t.co/mLrp05aBa6
— Alexandria Fire-EMS (@AlexandriaVAFD) September 17, 2020
A 33-year-old man was struck by a bullet as he was driving in the 4600 block of W. Braddock Road early on Sunday evening.
The shooting occurred at around 5 p.m., and the victim was shot by a suspect in a vehicle driving in the same direction, according to police.
“The driver and victim was struck by a bullet and was transferred to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow.
The incident occurred not far from a shooting incident that occurred on August 17. It is near Interstate 395, the Southern Towers apartment complex and a number of businesses.
The incident occurred about a mile-and-a-half from a residential community where the city’s first murder was committed at the end of July.
NOTIFICATION :: The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a felonious assault call for service in the area of West Braddock Road and Van Dorn Street. Expect police activity in the area.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) September 13, 2020
Today’s the First Day of School for ACPS — “Let’s focus on getting connected this week! Make sure you have access to technology and have completed your back-to-school forms.” [ACPS]
West End Development Could Add Hundreds of Affordable Housing Units — “Wesley Housing is requesting a pre-development loan of $400,000 to start the development process on ParcView II, a new affordable rental project on Holmes Run Parkway in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]
Child Abuse Reports Go Down 40% — “Typically, Alexandria Child Protective Services receives more case reports in the spring than any other time of the year. However, this spring reports were down 40 percent from the average in recent years.” [Alexandria Living]
Gong Meditation Today in Del Ray — “Join us each Tuesday from 6-7pm, September 1 through October 20. Relax and support your body, mind and spirit through sound, yoga and meditation. Take a break from today’s hectic and stressful environment and see how you can benefit from sound therapy.” [Facebook]
Volunteers Needed for Food Distribution This Thursday — “Help serve meals and groceries this Thursday, September 10 at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. A project from the Washington Street UMC, ALIVE!, ARHA, and Charles Houston Recreation Center – this event generally serves more than 150 families!” [Facebook]
Alexandria Drive-In Shows ‘Back To The Future’ — “Remembering you have one of the sold out spots for Back to the Future this Saturday … ” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “During the day, mainly sunny. High 88F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. At night, partly to mostly cloudy. Low 69F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Keyholder at FatFace — “Our Alexandria store is looking for a passionate supervisor to lead the team and establish the brand in the local area.” [Indeed]
The Alexandria Fire Department is investigating a fire that affected the electrical systems in a high rise apartment building in the 200 block of South Whiting Street in the West End.
Fire officials responded to reports of smoke coming from the basement of the 10-story building, and the fire was extinguished within minutes. No one was injured, according to Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman Raytevia Evans.
“The building is on fire watch until the power is restored,” Evans told ALXnow. “No one has been displaced from their homes.”
The building is located near Stevenson Avenue and South Van Dorn Street and is near a number of other apartment buildings and businesses.
NOTIFICATION :: The 200-300 blocks of South Whiting Street are closed due to a structure fire. Please avoid the area and watch for police direction. Expect police and fire personnel in the area. @AlexandriaVAFD
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) September 4, 2020
Alexandria Police are investigating another violent carjacking yesterday in the West End of city, this time in the 3400 block of Berkeley Street near Northern Virginia Community College.
The incident occurred at around 6 p.m. in a residential area across the street from the Alexandria Gateway shopping complex. The unknown suspect approached the victim with a gun and took their car. No one was injured in the incident.
The carjacking is the latest in an uptick in vehicle thefts that have occurred in the city this year.
Last month, Mayor Justin Wilson asked the public to help prevent a rising trend in vehicle-related thefts. As of August 11, there were 179 vehicle thefts, which is an increase of 34 over last year. There have also been 379 thefts from vehicles, which is an increase in 69 events over 2019.
NOTIFICATION :: The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a carjacking in the 3400 block of Berkeley Street. There were no injuries. Expect police activity in the area.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) September 3, 2020
Map via Google Maps
Twenty New Coronavirus Cases in Alexandria — “The latest update from the City on COVID-19: Positive tests up 20 to 3,415 in the City; 7-day Positivity Rate down to 4.4%; 2 new hospitalizations. Still safer at home, wash hands, wear masks and support our essential workers.” [Twitter]
Beyer Says White House Blocking Stimulus Negotiations — “Across the country, millions of workers are facing paycheck uncertainty inflicted on them by the Trump Administration to trick people into thinking the White House is providing help so that they can continue blocking stimulus negotiations. We need answers on this ASAP.” [Twitter]
Fire Department Wins American Heart Association Award — “For the 7th year in a row, the Alexandria Fire Department has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Pluse Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.” [Twitter]
Spirit Halloween Pop-Up Store Opening in West End — “The company typically occupies vacant storefronts leading up to Halloween season, and this year it will be at the former Pier 1 Imports store at the Foxchase shopping center, 4609 Duke Street in Alexandria.” [Patch]
Doyle’s Outpost Reopening Next Month — “Today, Doyle’s Outpost announces its reopening scheduled for October 1, 2020. With a new General Manager, Adriano Tarantola, and a renewed commitment to COVID-19 safety protocols and physically distanced social entertainment, Doyle’s Outpost offers onsite activities for adults and families, including a featured Laser Tag arena, a variety of interactive technology, a restaurant and full bar, and late-night hours.” [Zebra]
Workforce Development Center Offering Job Counseling — “Are you recently unemployed or want to change your career and don’t know where to start? We are now offering free one-on-one Job Search Coaching to help Alexandrians who have experienced job loss during the pandemic.” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “Partly cloudy in the morning followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe. High 91F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.Scattered thunderstorms during the evening, then becoming clear overnight. Low 72F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Outreach and Screening Navigator — “The Outreach and Screening Patient Navigator (OSPN) will need to have experience in the health system working with the Latino community with chronic diseases.” [Indeed]
With vehicle thefts on the rise, Alexandria Police are investigating a violent carjacking in the West End that injured two men and led to a car chase and crash in Fairfax County.
The incident occurred on July 25 around 5 p.m. Two men parked their cars at their homes in the 300 block of South Whiting Street. The two cars, a black 2014 Toyota Camry and a black 2012 Chevrolet Impala were parked at S. Whiting Street (facing Stevenson Avenue) and their owners were unloading them. The engines were left running with the keys inside and were unlocked, according to police.
Two men in face masks then approached them. One of the men pointed a gun at one of the victims and asked that they give him money, according to a search warrant affidavit.
The second suspect also had a gun and asked for money from the other victim “several times before striking him in the face with the grip and magazine well of the gun” before taking his cell phone, according to police.
The suspects then drove away in both cars.
The Camry was recovered the next day after a chase with Virginia State Police in Clifton that ended with it crashing and two male suspects fleeing the scene on foot. The female driver was taken into custody and later interviewed at the hospital by police.
According to the affidavit, the driver told police that she drove because she was nervous letting her two companions get behind the wheel. She also said that the trio were driving to the beach. The investigating officer then asked her about the gun and she “stated she wanted an attorney and the interview was terminated.”
Inside the Camry, police found a Glock handgun and several wallets. One of them had an identification belonging to the victim of another carjacking that occurred approximately the week before in the city “with similar suspect descriptions,” notes the affidavit.
On July 30, there was also a violent carjacking in Old Town. A man was approached by three men who asked for a ride. When he refused, the man was beaten unconscious and woke up in the hospital.
Alexandria Police would not respond to questions regarding this incident. It is not clear if the Impala has been recovered.
Earlier this month, Mayor Justin Wilson appealed to the public for help in lowering a rising trend in vehicle-related thefts. As of August 11, there have been 179 vehicle thefts, which is an increase of 34 over last year. There have also been 379 thefts from vehicles, which is an increase in 69 events over 2019.
Map via Google Maps
Missing Man Found and Returned Home — “Mr. Walter ‘George’ Winstead has returned home safe and without incident.” [Facebook]
Beyer Says Trump Colluded With Russians — “The Trump campaign was offered Russian government assistance. The Trump campaign sought Russian government assistance. The Trump campaign received Russian government assistance. Trump campaign personnel coordinated efforts with Russian intelligence operatives and Wikileaks.” [Twitter]
Social Justice Walk Passing Through Alexandria on Thursday — “Join Pastor Juli and people of faith who began walking for racial justice from Charlottesville to DC last week when they arrive in Alexandria Thursday afternoon.” [Facebook]
E60 Fitness to Open Gym in Alexandria — “Alexandria’s West End residents are getting a new fitness option! E60 is opening in September.” [Alexandria Living]
GET AIR Trampoline Park Bounces Back Into Business — “The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to provide a safe and fun environment for families to get out of the house and enjoy time together.” [Zebra]
Escape Room Live Reopening in Old Town on August 28 — “Feel the rush of adventure! A safe, PRIVATE, immersive, and FUN experience. We are committed to the health and safety of our community, guests, and team members and will be going above and beyond to ensure everyone has a safe ESCAPE!” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “Partly cloudy in the morning followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. High around 90F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%. In the evening, mostly clear skies. Low 72F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Chief of Staff — “Islamic Relief USA is seeking a Chief of Staff to provide leadership support to the CEO by being a strategic partner focused on communications, policy development, management and oversite to enhance efficiency and create the capacity necessary for the CEO to focus on the most critical aspects of the CEO’s job. The Chief of Staff will serve as the primary point of contact for internal and external stakeholders on all matters pertaining to the CEO.” [Indeed]
An Alexandria climbing gym is surviving by its fingertips amid a slow recovery.
“We are talking about a year of survival,” said Sportrock spokesperson Sean Taft-Morales, “not a year of thriving.”
Sportrock is a climbing gym that boasts the tallest indoor rock climbing surface in the Mid-Atlantic. The gym has been located in the city since 1996 and has been part of a small enclave of western Eisenhower businesses that had been thriving before the pandemic.
The gym closed voluntarily before the governor’s order, with Taft-Morales saying the gym’s leadership felt it was unsafe to remain open. The gym was fortunate enough to not have to lay anyone off through the shutdown, but the slow recovery did lead to the first layoffs last month.
The gym’s survival this far has been owed largely to their community, Taft-Morales said.
“We’ve always been a very community focused gym, that’s one of the pillars of our model,” he said. “We’ve been here since the 90s, we’re not new, and it’s still locally owned and operated. Our connection with membership… that really came through for us. Not to the extent that we’re not feeling the financial effects, but had a number of members keep their memberships active through the pandemic and that helped.”
The gym reopened about a month and a half ago, but with heavy restrictions. The plan was, Taft-Morales said, to reopen more gradually over the summer, but those plans seem to have been overly optimistic as the city, and state, have remained at the same level of reopening.
“It’s a huge space,” Taft-Morales said. “According to regulations, we could have something like 350 people in the space. They’re just doing a percentage of your occupancy, which just seems totally nuts. We’re doing voluntary cap of 75 customers at a time.” Read More