It is apparent that the Alexandria city planners do not consider aggregate density in conjunction with proposed developments. Since Alexandria is the densest city in Virginia (10,266 residents per square mile), you would think that the size and scope of every new development would be assessed as to the cumulative impact on this density. However, this does not appear to be the case, since another massive development on the waterfront is being proposed, specifically on the Strand.
The Planning Commission will be considering a plan for 18 new residential units and ground floor retail (including two new restaurants) at 205 and 211 Strand, which is the vacant parking lot space between Chadwicks restaurant and the Indigo hotel on the Strand.
First of all, there really isn’t a dying need for more restaurants here, since there are almost 200 restaurants in the Old and Historic District alone. Where is the requirement for more eating establishments coming from?
Next, this particular area of the Strand is already saturated with cars during peak dining times where previous nearby developments were able to reduce parking requirements. In addition, the current 50 parking spaces in the city’s lot on the Strand and those available on the street are occupied most of the time by patrons of the Indigo, Chadwicks, and from the overflow from the Old Dominion Boat Club’s parking lot.
The original proposal for this development did not include any restaurants, however the city forced them on the developer. Hopefully, this development will not be approved by the City Council with these two new restaurants included.
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet