Old Town

Old Town

WHAT’S IN A NAME? - Hunting Terrace lives! The garden apartment rentals called Hunting Terrace on South Washington Street at the southern-most tip of Old Town have been facing the wrecker's ball for the last three years. Now it appears Hunting Terrace has been given a new lease on life.

You may recall that the property in the 1200 block of Washington Street has been at the center of a big-time squabble involving builder-developer Giuiseppe Cecchi, city officials, civic groups and neighbors. Cecchi and his company planned to develop a mini-city at the southern gateway to Alexandria, anchored by two 15-story buildings at the rear of the Hunting Terrace property; a smaller tower nearer Washington Street and about 300-plus luxury condominiums scattered about the 12-acre site.

Opponents argued the proposal was out of line, citing the enormous bulk of the developer's plans. City planners agreed that Cecchi's company should scale back — way back. Cecchi even had a name for his development. Forget Hunting Terrace. How about Portofino, a more spiffy name? As opposition grew in the last year or so, Cecchi didn't back off. He even offered to change the name to Hunting Creek Plaza instead of Portofino — spiffier yet.

Nothing much has happened recently. Weeds gave way to more weeds and the Hunting Creek fishermen found a nice parking place in the largely vacant Hunting Terrace parking lot. But this all changed in late June when signs suddenly sprouted on the vacant property saying "Now Leasing." Lo and behold, the garden apartments were remaining rental garden apartments effective immediately. Luxury condos were apparently out. Rentals of one and two bedroom units went on the market at rates of $1,035 to $1,494 a month — more for apartments with water views and/or private entrances.

The name "Hunting Terrace" had been on these units for years. Then Cecchi suggested they be called Portofino. Then Hunting Creek Plaza. And, finally (you guessed it) full-circle back to Hunting Terrace.

Postscript: Cecchi has wanted to buy the high-rise community of Hunting Point just across the street, now owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation. VDOT bought Hunting Point as part of the Wilson Bridge project and intends to sell it in the next year or so. It will be interesting to see if Cecchi moves to buy Hunting Point and what he intends to do with it. Stay tuned.

GUTTERSNIPES - The Old Town Civic Association first called attention to the new crime wave hitting Old Town. Let's listen to the OTCA bulletin: "Recently there has been a spate of fairly brazen thefts of copper gutters and down spouts from homes in Old Town, some in broad daylight, by persons who appear to be working as contractors. We know of such thefts from houses on the 400 block of S. Union and at least one such theft in the 500 block of Duke Street. If you have copper gutter-down spouts, or know that your neighbors do, please be aware of the problem and let your neighbors know. If the neighbors see anything suspicious ... they should call the police forthwith .…"

Or maybe you should call the coppers, in this case.

<1b>— Bob Feldkamp