Monday, April 21, 2014

Coming Soon: Del Ray Towers

View of what the completed building will look like
It's official: the Calvert has new name.

It was way back in June of 2009 that we heard that new owners of the Calvert on Mount Vernon Avenue were contemplating renovations that would entail a complete overhaul of the aging property.

Approved in September of 2010, owner UDR has re-christened the development Del Ray Towers and listed the property on its website as "Coming Soon".  UDR's partner in the project, Rosenthal Properties has similarly listed the commercial spaces that are available for lease.

UDR has almost finished refaced the existing tower and had replaced the front parking lot and retaining wall with a mid-rise (4 story), street-fronting apartment building. The project is designed to maintain (and even expand) the rental housing opportunities in the area while bringing added vibrancy to the Avenue business districts.
Before: the old Calvert building.

The new construction will incorporate the existing ground-floor retail but move it adjacent to Mt Vernon Avenue. Some of the retail space will surround a central art or water feature in an open air plaza at the intersection of the T-shaped building as shown in the first graphic in this post. Most of the parking will be placed underground with some above-ground parking on the north side of the property, just as it was before.
The old south parking lot will ultimately be replaced with green space adjoining Warwick Village and Goat Hill Park.
In its listing, UDR describes the new Del Ray Towers:
Del Ray Tower’s studio, one and two bedroom apartment homes offer state-of-the-art kitchens with select units featuring concrete floors and spectacular city views.

Amenity spaces include a rooftop pool and jogging track, a penthouse fitness center and yoga studio, a game room, media room, private dining room, clubroom with demonstration kitchen and a business center with a conference room.
Pets are welcome and an on-site dog park will offer plenty of space for exercise. A four-level, 500 space parking garage and storage units will be available for our residents.

Over 11,000 square feet of retail space may include a boutique grocery, dry cleaners, café or a bistro.
Builder, Donohoe Construction has posted an interesting time-lapse slideshow of the projects construction progress (click here):

Move-ins are expected to commence in the late Spring.

Related articles from The Arlandrian:

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Metrobus Service for the 10's Starts Sunday

Starting this Sunday, March 30th, Metrobus service will be restructured on the Hunting Point-Pentagon Line (Routes 10A,10B &10E) as well as some other nearby routes, such as the McLean-Crystal City Line (Routes 23A & 23C) to provide more direct service, enhance connections and provide additional service on the most heavily used portions of the lines.
The changes come following a set of public meetings and an online survey set up last year to gain public input for improvements to service on a variety of bus routes, and most important to Arlandria: the 10A, B & E MetroBus lines.

Begun last May, Metro was looking to identify the strategic needs and review the capacity, productivity, reliability, and quality of the Route 10A, 10B & 10E lines with and eye toward proposing recommendations and changes that will improve service. The factors that Metro is interested to improve included: reliability, frequency, crowding, travel time, bus stop amenities, and customer communications.

What these changes mean for you:
Route 10A will become non-rush only with rush hour service carried by new extended route:  
During the a.m. peak period northbound (from Hunting Point) and the p.m. peak period southbound (to Hunting Point), Route 10R will replace 10A service. Route 10R will provide a direct connection between Crystal City and Rosslyn bypassing the Pentagon. Existing 10A passengers traveling to the Pentagon may take a Route 10E bus or transfer to Metrorail at Braddock Road Station.

These changes do not impact off-peak, weekend, a.m. peak period southbound (from the Pentagon) or
p.m. peak period northbound (to the Pentagon) 10A service.

NEW Routes 10R and 10S will join 10E service during rush hours: 
Service will operate weekday peak periods between Rosslyn, Crystal City and Alexandria. Routes 10R and 10S will bypass the Pentagon, saving passengers approximately 10 minutes of travel time between Crystal City and Rosslyn. Route 10A and 10E buses will continue to serve Pentagon Station.

Route 10R will operate northbound from Hunting Point to Rosslyn via Crystal City during the morning peak period and southbound from Rosslyn to Hunting Point via Crystal City during the afternoon peak period. 
Route 10S will operate southbound from Rosslyn to Braddock Road Station during the morning peak period and northbound from Braddock Road Station to Rosslyn during the afternoon peak period. 
Route 10E service will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon stations only. Passengers traveling between Crystal City and Rosslyn may board a Route 10R bus or transfer to Metrorail at the
Pentagon. The weekday peak period schedule will be adjusted to provide a 15 minute time between buses.

Route 9E Riders will be replaced by new 10S route: 
Route 10S service will replace all 9E service. Route 10S buses will not serve Pentagon Station. Route 9E riders traveling to the Pentagon may transfer to a Route 9A bus on Eads Street, or transfer to a Route 10E bus or Metrorail at Braddock Road Station.

For new schedules and for more information about Metrobus service evaluation and corridor studies, visit

Recent Related Posts:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Parking Clarification Slated for March Traffic & Parking Board Hearing.

On the agenda for the March 24th hearing of Alexandria's Traffic & Parking Board is the consideration of a request to install a “No Parking Here to Corner” sign along the east side of Elbert Avenue 45 feet before the intersection with Four Mile Road.

City Staff is recommending the installation of the parking restriction which comes at the request of the Alexandria Police based on complaints from residents who have recently been confronted with a blind intersection with the recent rise of cars parked at the location due to a lack of clarity.

From the staff report:
The Alexandria Police Department has received complaints of a safety concern along Elbert Avenue at the Four Mile Road and Elbert Avenue intersection. Currently vehicles are allowed to park in parallel parking spaces on the west side of Elbert Avenue. Vehicles can park on the east side of Elbert Avenue perpendicular to the road in a parking lot. Please see figure 4b. The parking lot ends approximately 45 feet from the intersection of Elbert Avenue and Four Mile Road where there is a stop sign for vehicles traveling northbound on Elbert Avenue. There is currently no parking restriction on this stretch of Elbert Avenue from the end of the parking lot to the intersection. 
Elbert Avenue is 28 feet wide, and should a car be parked on both the east and west side, it can be extremely difficult for both to pass. Parking is currently allowed on both sides along the rest of Elbert Avenue, but vehicles will use open parking spaces or areas in front of driveways to make room for a vehicle traveling in the other direction to pass. This maneuver is not possible when vehicles are parked on both sides of Elbert Avenue near the intersection, as there is no room for a vehicle turning onto Elbert Avenue while another vehicle is waiting at the stop sign. A situation like this causes a safety concern for vehicles and pedestrians at this intersection.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Four Mile Run Park Plan Public Hearing TONIGHT!

Draft Four Mile Run Park Plan
In the summer of 2012, the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) began a multi-year process with the public to develop a Citywide Parks Improvement Plan. The goal of this initiative was to study and understand the existing conditions and future needs for Alexandria’s parks that are over 15-acres, municipally owned, and have multiple uses. Along with Four Mile Run Park, these parks include: Ben Brenman and Armistead L. Boothe Parks, Chinquapin Park, Joseph Hensley Park, the Holmes Run Park System, and Simpson Stadium Park.

The culmination of that work over the past 18 months was realesed last month as the Draft Plan and being presented for public comment tonight.

From the draft plan:
Four Mile Run Park (51.56 acres) has all the major components of an urban oasis: ballfields, soccer fields, multi-purpose courts, public plaza, and, its swamp forest and self-sustaining freshwater tidal marsh. The Park is located in a very diverse and active community in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood. Local residents play lively soccer matches on the multi-purpose courts while bird watchers quietly observe the diverse habitat. The heavily used bike trail connects to regional destinations and, therefore, cyclists and other visitors travel through the Park. Yet, the Park does not have the facilities or landscape to support and sustain its desired uses and upkeep.

Park Staff met with community stake-holders and sought input a number of different ways including community open houses and on-line and written surveys. This is what they heard:
Park Users almost equally walk (30.8%) as much as drive (29.7%), while 39.6% bike. When looking at this information in combination with the question “What do you do in the Park,” it is apparent that survey participants are using the Park’s trails (30% use the park for biking and 14% for walking), implying that the trail through the Park is one of the major Park resources. Other activities of significance include the visits to the Farmer’s Market and general relaxation.
When asked, “What do you like about the Park,” participants overwhelmingly identified the trail, reinforcing the Parks importance as a route for walkers and cyclists. Other replies, including “nature,” “location,” “openness and green space,” recognize the Park’s natural setting along the Four Mile Run Stream, a scarce resource in an urban setting.
The details can be found in the plan (starting on page 51); here's a list of main elements:

To move forward with finalizing the Citywide Parks Improvement Plan, the Alexandria Park and Recreation Commission will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, February 20 at 7 pm in the Council Workroom, City Hall, 301 King St. at 7 pm. The draft plans are available for viewing at the Citywide Park Planning website.

Individuals who are unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments on the proposed plan to the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, Attention: William Chesley, Deputy Director, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, VA 22314;; or fax to 703.684.6826 by 5 p.m. Friday, February 28, 2014.

For additional information on the Park Planning Process, contact Dana Wedeles, Park Planner, at 703.746.5491

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Taco Place is no more.

The ambitious plan that got a green light 4 years ago for a restaurant at 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue are permanently being shelved according to an update to City Council by the City's Department of Planning & Zoning.

As presented by Concept.0 Eco-Designs, LLC architect Mabel Tweddle in 2009, the original focus was on a mix of sustainability and quality design.

So on another rather snowy week four years ago when The Arlandrian brought you this news in February 2010:
Chicken Rotisserie Restaurant Get Green Light
City Council enthusiastically (and unanimously) endorsed the proposed Chicken Rotisserie Restaurant slated for 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue. Says one Council member, "This is a step up from green."
Those plans were altered slightly a few years later when The Arlandrian brought you this update last January:
New Restaurant Approved (Again) 
The original plans that were approved almost 3 years ago just didn't work out. But the Cabero's are back for another shot at a restaurant in the now vacant, shuttered building at 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue.
In 2010, there were a lot of discussions about a totally new green building on the lot. The costs turned out to be just too high. A slightly altered menu is also planned for the scaled down renovation. Not just chicken anymore.
But now there's word that these plans too have been abandoned. As part of the 2013 Status of Implementation Report that was presented to City Council on January 14th, City Staff mentioned this:
The Taco Place, 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue The Special Use Permit was approved in December 2012 by Planning Commission to renovatethe existing building and operate a taco shop. The project was slated to begin construction in spring 2014 but the applicant no longer plans to proceed.