After several years of roller-coaster hopes and disappointments, Alexandria's most obvious commercial real-estate wound may finally be beginning to show signs of healing.
This past week more than 50 brokers from throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area toured what has come to be known as the Three Corners. They are the long-vacant properties at the intersection of Union and King streets.
Under the joint sponsorship of the city and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership Inc., (AEDP) an open house was held to extol the merits of the former Fish Market annex, Seaport Inn and Alamo Restaurant. The purpose was to entice a potential buyer or buyers to acquire and revitalize one or all of the properties to their former glory days.
"There was a lot of interest. We had representatives from city government, owners of the properties or their representatives, and a wide variety of brokers," said AEDP executive director Paula Riley. "Hopefully, The Alamo will be reopening in the near future."
That property, at 100 King St., is now under contract to Peter Mallios, Newmark and Co., Washington, D.C., according to Riley. It has been owned by a partnership known as the Corn Exchange.
Mallios, a real-estate broker, confirmed that the building is now under contract with a potential settlement in early November. "I'm expecting it to be a pan-Asian restaurant. We are hoping to open in the spring," he said.
Following settlement, Mallios will be submitting plans to the Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning before the end of the year. "It will remain a 160-seat restaurant functioning on two levels, the same as before," he said.
"But we do plan extensive renovations internally, although the outside will not change," Mallios explained. "The primary kitchen will remain on the second floor, with an auxiliary kitchen on the first floor, as it was. The bar of the second floor will be closed."
DURING THE "open corners" presentation, Councilman David Speck and Eileen Fogarty, director, Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning, addressed the assembled brokers. Speck emphasized, "Council is committed to having this space occupied. We will do everything possible to support this project."
His assessment of the event was that "it was very positive in that the brokerage community realized how important these properties are to the community. I believe if we can get one corner occupied, it will be the catalyst to move the whole situation along."
Speck pointed out, "There is the perception that there is a long process in getting things done in Alexandria. We want to make sure potential buyers of these properties know we are going to help them in whatever way possible."
That sentiment was echoed by the Department of Planning and Zoning. "A City Hall team is ready and willing to sit down and work with any potential buyer," said Barbara Ross, the department's deputy director.
In addition to the former Alamo Restaurant, the other properties’ owners and locations are 101 King St., owned by Riggs National Bank of Virginia and Lindsey Trust, and 6 King St., owned by Starwood Properties.