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New Hotel Coming To King Street

Posted on May 19,2017
Filed Under News , Community,

King Street Hotel (courtesy image)

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - The Alexandria City Council on Saturday unanimously approved a hotel and office complex near the King Street Metro station.

“I have often said that Harvard Street is truly one of Alexandria’s hidden gems so this project has been a very difficult decision for me,” said Mayor Allison Silberberg at Saturday’s City Council public hearing. “However, because the applicant has worked very hard with the community and has made changes to this project based on that public input, I am going to support this project. I am counting on the applicant to continue to work with the nearby neighbors to further accommodate them by arranging reasonable delivery schedules with vendors.”

Located at the corner of King and Harvard Streets, the new mixed use six-story building will contain a 124-room hotel, 10,440 square feet of office space and a 2500-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor. The new building will replace two office buildings and surface parking. The 24 offices contained in the two office buildings now on the site will be housed in the new building with the same tenants who will occupy the same amount of space they now lease. The hotel will have underground valet parking and the offices will have surface parking spaces. Hotel employees will be required to park in nearby garages or use public transportation to get to work. The restaurant will have 80 indoor seats and 15 outdoor seats and is, according to the applicant and the staff report, primarily intended for the convenience of hotel guests and is not necessarily seen as a destination restaurant.

As part of the approval process, Council agreed to eliminate five parking spaces on the east side of Harvard Street and four spaces on King Street to accommodate valet parking. Council also approved the applicant’s request to make Harvard Street a two-way street for traffic from King Street to the alley that runs behind the proposed new hotel to accommodate delivery trucks. These changes will require the removal of grown trees, which will be replaced by new trees.

“Harvard Street is a small one-way street with trees and small townhouses,” said one resident. “This large building with its traffic and delivery trucks will significantly impact our quality of life. There are already three hotels in the immediate vicinity; we don’t need another one.”

The proposed new hotel is located across the street from the Hampton and the Kempton Lorian hotels. It is also just blocks from the Hilton Hotel. Alexandria currently has a 73-percent hotel occupancy rate, which raised some concern among Council members.

“I am really impressed with the architecture of this project,” said Councilman Paul Smedberg. “I believe the applicant has made a real effort to mitigate the impact on Harvard Street.”

Councilwoman Del Pepper agreed. “I like anything brick and Councilman Paul Smedberg likes anything with glass so you have done a good job,” she said.

City staff recommended that the hotel be permitted to accept deliveries from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., which are standard hours in the area. Silberberg asked that deliveries begin later in the morning but the applicant would not commit to that request.

“Many of these vendors make deliveries to several businesses in the area and do so in an order that allows them to complete their deliveries before rush hour in the area begins in earnest,” said Vice Mayor Justin Wilson. “I believe that we prefer this to having them make some deliveries early, leave the area to make others and then return later in the morning.”

In the end, the applicant agreed to end deliveries at 9:00 p.m. and work with vendors to accept deliveries somewhat later in the morning. The applicant also agreed to continue to work with Harvard Street neighbors and City staff on architectural refinements. The building is not in the Old and Historic District nor in the Parker-Gray Historic District. It is not subject to review by either Board of Architectural Review.

Council asked about the Naval Reserve Association, one of the buildings currently on the site. Planning staff assured Council that the building had undergone such significant modifications over the years that it is not considered historic.

Source Alexandria News

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