Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Today Marks 69th Anniversary of Annexation of the West End — “Happy Annexation Day, West end! Today, December 3rd in 1951, the city of Alexandria received the land west of Quaker Lane, doubling the size of the city!” [John Chapman/Facebook]

Alexandria Libraries Go Back to Curbside Only — “Effective this Monday, Dec. 7, the library will offer curbside-only and virtual services until further notice. Although library buildings will be closed, library staff will offer telephone support and virtual reference during curbside hours.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Affordable Housing Breaks Ground Today — “The project is a partnership between Wesley Housing and Fairlington Presbyterian Church to redevelop the underutilized church parking lot into an 81-unit multifamily development. A groundbreaking is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 9, though because of coronavirus the ceremony will be kept to limited attendance.” [ALXnow]

Alexandria Restarts Search for Municipal Broadband — “On Monday, the Alexandria city officials reissued an Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the construction of a Municipal Fiber Network. This is step one of a project that will connect city offices via high-speed fiber.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Vehicle Safety Inspection Enforcement Resumes — “On Tuesday, the City of Alexandria announced enforcement of Virginia vehicle safety inspections has resumed. That enforcement had been suspended since August.” [Patch]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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The City of Alexandria has announced that the Capital Bikeshare will be headed to the West End ahead of schedule starting early next year.

Bicycle use has increased regionally, to the point where it was difficult at times to get a bicycle in Alexandria. With hopes for a rebound in ridership in the coming spring, Alexandria said seven previously deployed stations still in good condition will be purchased and located in the West End. The purchase will accelerate the expansion of the program by several years, the city said.

“The interim stations, which are anticipated to be installed in January and February, will be replaced with new equipment once grant funding becomes available,” the city said in a press release. “City staff is finalizing locations for stations and coordinating an installation schedule.”

The city said locations will primarily be chosen based on sites identified in the Transportation Master Plan. Sites are scattered throughout the West End, partially concentrated in the high-density areas like near the Van Dorn Street Metro station. It’s unclear how potential plans to close the Van Dorn and Eisenhower stations could affect that implementation.

The press release noted that sites will be determined after discussions with nearby property owners and the Bikeshare operator.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Police say there was another “shots fired” call in the city’s West End last night; the latest in a series of shootings in Alexandria this year.

The shots came from the 200 block of Century Drive, near Landmark Mall. Police say they found no victims or damage at the scene, but found spent shell casings.

There have been injuries in other shootings around town, though it’s unclear how many, if any, of the shootings are related.

So far, there have been 46 confirmed cases of shots fired in Alexandria, an increase over last year’s 37 cases.

Image via Google Maps

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Alexandria Lighting & Supply, a feature of the Braddock neighborhood for the last 50 years, could be making the move to the West End of Alexandria if approved at a Planning Commission meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) and a City Council meeting after that.

After moving away from its current location at 701 N. Henry St, the store is planning to open in a new building called Avanti 550 at 550 South Pickett Street.

Applicant Avanti Holdings described the lot as a triangular-shaped vacant lot measuring 32,987 square feet. The store would be next to the Cameron Park industrial complex and near the Van Dorn Station shopping center.

The new building would be triangular shaped to fit the lot and would contain both a retail showroom and storage for lighting equipment.

“A portion of the building would be used as a retail showroom and the remaining portion would consist of warehouse/storage primarily for the lighting business,” a staff report said. “The proposed new building would be modern in design and urban in form and include underground parking. The underground parking would be accessed from a new private street along the southern property line.”

The staff report on the proposed new development recommended approval.

The current location in Braddock is eventually slated to be replaced with a new 94-unit residential development with potential to add retail on the ground floor a little further down the road.

Images via City of Alexandria

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Sometimes buying an existing business is easier than starting from scratch.

We looked through Alexandria listings on BizBuySell and found a bunch of businesses for sale. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted the last several months due to the pandemic.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names of the businesses and their locations are generally left out of the listings, but there are some exceptions.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively run the business.

Here are some that are currently listed in Alexandria:

  1. Clyde’s at Mark Center — “Transwestern’s Southeast Investment Services Group and Ten-X are pleased to exclusively present 1700 N. Beauregard Street, a 14,980 square foot restaurant fully occupied by Clyde’s at Mark Center, located inside the Beltway in Alexandria, Virginia. 1700 Beauregard Street is walkable to Mark Center (8,000 employees) and is proximate to I-395 (0.6 mi), offering convenient and quick access to all the major employment centers, numerous single and multifamily housing options and popular lifestyle amenities in Alexandria and the DC metro area at large. Property tours are available by appointment.”
  2. Coffee Cafe in Alexandria — “Coffee cafe in heavy traffic shopping center of Alexandria VA. This coffee shop was established in 2019 and has tons of potential. All the furniture, fixtures and equipment are in perfect condition. Can be converted to fit most menus. The current owner has decided to get out of the food/drink industry and go back to his full time profession. We are now looking for a new owner to take this turn key establishment to the next level. Priced for quick sale.”
  3. New Laundromats for Sale — “Two New Laundromats for Sale in Manassas, VA + Alexandria VA. One is recently renovated other is completely new. Brand new laundromat in a great location! 21st century laundromat with card system, customized folding tables, modern design, with high-powered energy efficient machines. Location is about 4000 SF located near many current and upcoming apartment complexes. Long-term 10 tear lease with 5 year option.”
  4. Profitable Dry-Cleaners for Sale in Northern Virginia — “This dry cleaner is well known in the area for high quality and customer service. This family-owned business has been serving the community for over 30 years at the current location. The retail space has recently been remodeled by the landlord. The business is located in a busy area with heavy foot traffic. The equipment as well as the store itself has been meticulously maintained. The seller is very motivated to sell the business and will accept reasonable offers.”
  5. Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
  6. Coin Laundry/Laundromats — “No Exception, Non-Disclosure must be signed in person meeting, No emailing signing. We can meet at anywhere in Fairfax county to sign NDA with appointment.”
  7. Pet Grooming Business — “Well-established pet grooming business for sale!”
  8. Sandwich Shop/Deli — “Substantial net positive cash flow after 31 years in business. Excellent old town location. Extended Lease. Business currently operates 6 days per week for breakfast and lunch until 6 so opportunity to extend hours and days under current SUP. No alcohol but license possible. Delivery and growing catering business add to profits. Accountant attested books. Must have a friendly personality to be successful. Employees likely to stay. NDA required for confidentiality.”
  9. Restaurant & Bar Approved for Hookah MRB VA 943 — “With a capacity of 370, this 2 level establishment is perfect for private events, birthdays or work outings. The first floor is separated into two rooms with a dining area, bar and dance floor with stage/DJ booth while the 2nd room has a large bar, DJ booth and dance floor. The top floor is used for the current owners office, as well as storage, bathrooms and employee lounge. The large kitchen has been kept in pristine condition and is ready to take on any menu or food you desire. Large 18 foot hood system, 2 ice machines and humongous walk in freezers/fridge. All kitchen equipment is high end and very well maintained. This restaurant fits most menus and concepts. The current owner is ready to retire and is ready for a new owner to take this establishment to the next level.”
  10. Mexican Restaurant & Bar Can Convert MRB VA 876 — “This Profitable Mexican Restaurant for Sale has been open and operating profitably for eight years. The location is on a high traffic road and surrounded by residential. This is a turnkey situation on a restaurant that has been grossing in excess of $840,000 annually with profits to an absentee owner of $80,000 annually. Nice full service bar. Outdoor Seating!! Great opportunity for a new on hand owner/operator to take this business to the next level. MUST SEE.”

See more Alexandria listings here.

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Several people were threatened at gunpoint twice by the same group of armed robbers in the West End in late September.

New details in a police affidavit show that several men who had been threatened by a group of robbers had tried to take a circuitous route home to avoid showing where they lived, only to run into the robbers again with a repeated demand for cash.

“One of the victims, who spoke the best English… stated that he and four of his friends were [on] Sheffield Court,” the affidavit said. “They were walking back to their apartment… when five black males approached them, one of them on a scooter.”

The victim said that three of the men who approached them had firearms in their waistbands and one of the suspects said the victims each had to give $20.

“[The victim] and his friends told the suspects that they didn’t have any money and pulled out their wallets to show them that they were empty,” the victim said. “The victims convinced the group of suspects to let them leave and the victims started to walk down Sheffield Court towards Sanger Avenue so they didn’t lead the suspects back to their apartment. Once the victims got to Sanger, the same group of suspects approached them again.”

This time, the men pulled their guns out of their waistbands and, again, demanded $20 from the group.

The second robbery was interrupted by the sound of sirens, and the suspects fled down the street.

One person, 19-year old Vince Mason Jr., was arrested at the scene while others fled into the nearby forest. Police couldn’t locate the other suspects, though the next day a pistol was found there. Another one of Mason’s associates matched a description from witnesses and is currently being investigated.

Image via Google Maps

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What a week full of news in Alexandria.

With city offices closed due to Veterans Day on Wednesday, there were still a number of big stories.

For the second week in a row, our top story was on a fraudulent mailer that was sent out to a number of residents before election day. In the story, households with Joe Biden signs posted in front yards were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile.

On Monday, we reported the third murder in the city this year. Yousef Tarek Omar, a 23-year-old Texas man, was shot to death in the West End on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 7. Police have released few details of the incident, except the victim’s name, the general time of the incident and that it occurred in the 4800 block of W. Braddock Road.

City Councilwoman Del Pepper announced on Tuesday that she will not seek reelection. Pepper has been on the Alexandria City Council since 1985.

“There’s really not much to say,” Pepper told ALXnow. “There’s a time for everything, and I just felt this was my time. I have enjoyed every minute that I’ve served on the City Council.”

We also covered the city’s recovery plan for parts of the city devastated by the pandemic, and it lists a number of programs and strategies for impacted residents and businesses.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria surpassed 4,500 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The number of fatalities is still 76, and Latino residents have the highest number of infections.

Additionally, our weekly poll got a lot of attention this week. This week we asked about Thanksgiving plans, and 60% of respondents said they were eating at home with their household, 30% are planning a small gathering with at least one guest, and 10% are planning a large gathering of family/friends.

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. BREAKING: 23-Year-Old Shot to Death in City’s Third Murder of the Year
  3. ‘Clyde’s at Mark Center’ and Other Businesses for Sale in Alexandria
  4. Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
  5. The Waypoint at Fairlington to Break Ground Next Month
  6. Councilwoman Del Pepper Announces She’s Not Running for Reelection
  7. City Council to Consider Publishing Names of Delinquent Real Estate Taxpayers
  8. Upcoming Signage Plan Could Subtly Shape New Potomac Yard Skyline
  9. One Person Injured in West End Carjacking
  10. Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
  11. Alexandria Surpasses 4,500 Cases of COVID-19, Counts Now Rising at Summer Pace

Have a safe weekend!

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After 35 years, Councilwoman Redella “Del” Pepper has announced that this will be her last year on the City Council.

Pepper said in an email to friends and supporters that she would not run for reelection, Alexandria Living Magazine first reported.

“There’s really not much to say,” Pepper told ALXnow. “There’s a time for everything, and I just felt this was my time. I have enjoyed every minute that I’ve served on the City Council.”

Pepper has represented the West End of Alexandria since 1985 and has over the last decade been a leading force behind the effort to redevelop Landmark Mall.

The City Council election is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021, after a citywide primary on June 8.

“It’s been quite a run,” Pepper said. “I love it and I’m going to work hard for the rest of the year.”

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After a year of waiting to open, Double Apple Lounge at 5101 Seminary Road is adapting to the pandemic.

The hookah lounge opened a little less than two months ago and took its Indian food menu out of its inside operations. Instead the food is prepared outside in a trailer, leaving customer with the option to eat outside or inside.

Patrons can smoke hookah in the outside patio area.

“There was no existing operation or activities at the property address for approximately a year,” according to a special use permit application filed with the city on September 21. “Originally, the idea was to pursue a restaurant but due to financial struggles during the pandemic – that has now changed. The business will not be making food – instead it will serve as a lounge.”

The lounge is located near the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center.

Photo via Double Apple Lounge/Facebook

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It was a historic week in Alexandria.

Alexandrians overwhelmingly helped reelect U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Don Beyer, and 80% of voters chose Democrat former Vice President Joe Biden for president over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.

Out top story this week was election-related. It turns out that before election day several Alexandria households with Joe Biden signs were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile. The Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee advised that anyone who receives such notes should call the police. The police, in turn, are sending along the information to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Additionally, 91 people participated in our weekly poll. This week we asked about election night plans, and 65% of respondents said they were staying home to watch the results, 24% had no eleciton night plans, 10% planned to protest that evening, and 1% were going to an election night event.

School News

Alexandria City Public Schools were back in action this week — sort of. While the ACPS opened in-person classes on Thursday, fewer than 10 students made it to class. There were about 60 students eligible to go back to school, since only kids with kindergarten through second graders with disabilities were allowed to attend Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School.

It was the first in-person public schooling in Alexandria since the pandemic shut down schools in March. ACPS plans to expand opening for all citywide special education students by December. Meanwhile, however, hundreds of parents want the school system to open and have started the #OpenACPS messaging campaign.

Also in school news, a two-year-long court battle was settled with the city and 15 Alexandria homeowners were settled regarding the addition of stadium lights to Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams High School.

The Week in Crime

The week started with news that there were two shootings in Alexandria over the weekend.

The was also the story of a 17-year-old on the run since last month after allegedly stealing a car in the West End. The juvenile, who later admitted stealing the car, was seen by the victim — a federal law enforcement officer — driving past his house, and the victim got into another of his cars and followed the suspect. The victim got the juvenile out of his car and held him at the scene until police arrived, and the juvenile left the area after being charged.

We also covered the story of the ‘Beltway Bank Bandit’. Freddie Lee McRae, 34, of Washington D.C., pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm during a series of bank and shoe store robberies in and around Alexandria in 2018 and 2019. He will be sentenced on February 23, 2021, and faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison.

Health and Business

As of Friday there were 76 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Alexandria, and the case count stands at 4,444, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Latino residents continue to lead the case count.

We also reported that longtime Del Ray staple, Al’s Steak House, is for sale since the owner passed away.

This week also saw fewer continued and initial unemployment claims in Alexandria.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
  3. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  4. Braddock West Project Headed to Planning Commission Later This Year
  5. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  6. Soft Opening for New Chicken Joint in North Old Town Today
  7. Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
  8. Juvenile Allegedly Steals Car and is Tracked Down by Victim in the West End
  9. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  10. The Alexandria Drive-In Just Kicked Off an Encore Series on Halloween
  11. Did You Know: The Tall Ship Providence Encountered a Ghost Ship in 1777

Have a safe weekend!

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In the market to buy a business? Sometimes it can be easier than starting from scratch.

We took a look through Alexandria listings of the website BizBuySell and found a number of businesses for sale. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted the last several months due to the pandemic.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names of the businesses and their locations are generally left out of the listing.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively manage the business.

Here are some that are currently listed in Alexandria:

  1. Clyde’s at Mark Center — “Transwestern’s Southeast Investment Services Group and Ten-X are pleased to exclusively present 1700 N. Beauregard Street, a 14,980 square foot restaurant fully occupied by Clyde’s at Mark Center, located inside the Beltway in Alexandria, Virginia. 1700 Beauregard Street is walkable to Mark Center (8,000 employees) and is proximate to I-395 (0.6 mi), offering convenient and quick access to all the major employment centers, numerous single and multifamily housing options and popular lifestyle amenities in Alexandria and the DC metro area at large. Property tours are available by appointment.”
  2. Coffee Cafe — “Coffee cafe in heavy traffic shopping center of Alexandria VA. This coffee shop was established in 2019 and has tons of potential. All the furniture, fixtures and equipment are in perfect condition. Can be converted to fit most menus. The current owner has decided to get out of the food/drink industry and go back to his full time profession. We are now looking for a new owner to take this turn key establishment to the next level. Priced for quick sale.”
  3. Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
  4. Beautiful Hair & Nail Spa for Sale/ Price Reduced — “Great opportunity!!! Serious Inquiries only. Beautiful and well established Hair & Nail Spa for Sale in a very busy shopping center. Seller is retiring after many successful years in the business. Beautiful & Very efficiently designed. 6 years old Spa. Established, loyal customers. Reasonable rent & excellent location. 10 Hair stations, 5 Dryers, 3 Shampoo stations, 8 Manicure Tables, 8 Pedicure chairs, 3 Waxing rooms, 2 Facial Rooms, 1 Body scrub. There is plenty of room to expand. Room to grow by improving social media and other marketing and adding massage service.”
  5. Profitable Sandwich Shop & Deli — “Established in 1955, this well known deli located in a prime location of Alexandria VA is for sale to any qualified buyer. Surrounded by retail and residential on a main road with heavy walking traffic. This restaurant has a very strong following and highly rated on google reviews. The restaurant was completely renovated in 2016 with all brand new furniture, fixtures & high end equipment. The current owner averages a $50,000 cash flow while working limited hours. Do to family circumstances, the owner needs to sell. We are now looking for a new owner/operator to bring this business to the next level.”
  6. Restaurant & Bar Approved for Hookah — “With a capacity of 370, this 2 level establishment is perfect for private events, birthdays or work outings. The first floor is separated into two rooms with a dining area, bar and dance floor with stage/DJ booth while the 2nd room has a large bar, DJ booth and dance floor. The top floor is used for the current owners office, as well as storage, bathrooms and employee lounge.”
  7. 5 Days Open Deli in Office Complex — “Italian gourmet deli sandwich shop running 5 days (7AM ~9PM). Nestled in a well known office and residential complex.”
  8. Established & Well-Known Hair Salon in Old Town Alexandria — “Great opportunity to own a well-known hair salon that has been established for over 30 years in Old Town Alexandria. The business is ideally located on a prominent thoroughfare with excellent street visibility. The salon owners have done an excellent job building a successful salon with reliable revenue and cash flow over the years. There is a stable client base, but there is also plenty of room to grow and expand the business.”
  9. Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar for Sale — “Established Business for Sale. Owner is looking to retire from business. All equipment is owned and in good condition, except the dishwasher is leased. Asking price is negotiable, send your offers!”
  10. Specialty Gift & Souvenir Boutique in the Heart of Old Town Alexandria — “Unique opportunity to own a specialty gift and souvenir shop in the heart of the Old Town Alexandria. The boutique is located in a high traffic part of Old Town and has been a destination shopping destination to both locals and tourists for decades.”

See more Alexandria listings here.

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One person was injured in an afternoon car crash at the intersection of Seminary Road and N. Beauregard Street on Thursday afternoon. After the crash, at least two suspects from one of the cars fled the scene by commandeering another car.

The incidents occurred at around 12:15 p.m., and police helicopters were unsuccessful in finding the suspects. The victim of the hit-and-run suffered minor injuries, and the stolen vehicle was later recovered about a mile away along Sanger Avenue.

No arrests have been made and no suspect descriptions are available.

Police are also investigating the first vehicle that the suspects abandoned and said that the investigation is ongoing.

In August, 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.

“There has certainly been a big uptick,” Wilson said on Thursday night. “We have worked with the police department to increase visibility and try to bring those who are responsible for these crimes to justice.”

Map via Google Maps

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