If most Alexandrians were like me, they may be as surprised and pleased as I have been to find both the city’s mayor and its entire Planning and Zoning staff to be some of the most cooperative, helpful, and understanding individuals I could have encountered in launching a challenging new business venture.
In recent years I took over the management of our family’s office and residential buildings. After going through the necessary research, it became apparent that a new, shared-medical-office concept was the appropriate model to use in developing one floor of the Bradlee Medical Office Building. My regional builder, Eagle One Contracting Inc., and my local business partner, Christopher Hanna, both bringing extensive Northern Virginia experience, warned me that the required timetable for completion might be overly-ambitious and unrealistic. In fact, in any other jurisdiction, it would be near impossible.
Well, they didn’t know Mayor Allison Silberberg. I had met her a few months earlier and found her to be small-business friendly. On learning of our new concept, she immediately arranged an in-person meeting with city Planning and Zoning executives. They were encouraging and focused on their goal of helping local businesses cut through the regulatory weeds.
Indeed, as the development phase progressed, it was apparent that city inspectors and associated officials were prompt, helpful, and cooperative, bringing the project to completion right on schedule. My well-experienced business partner observed that he had never experienced a more effective build-out process.
At the recent open house for Alexandria Shared Medical Offices, we were honored that Mayor Silberberg was present to celebrate with us. Alexandria can be as proud as we are grateful for its effective and productive mayor and Planning and Zoning Department.