Old Town Alexandria

Local Entrepreneurs Bring Back King Street’s Flowers

By | Alexandria, King St., News, Old Town Alexandria, Press, VA | No Comments

Original article by Alexandria Living, Beth Lawton, September 25, 2020

The flower baskets on King Street may have remained empty this year until Teddy Kim and Andy Reid stepped up.


King Street almost didn’t have flowers hanging from its iconic light posts this year.

As the realities of the coronavirus pandemic pushed City of Alexandria officials to tighten its budget, it appeared that the King Street flowers could be on the chopping block.

The petunias, lantana, dragon wing begonias and blue scaevola adorning King Streets lamps are all thanks to the efforts of T.C. Williams grads and local entrepreneurs Teddy Kim and Andy Reid, with backing from Alexandria Lighting and Avanti Holdings.

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Andy Reid, top, and Teddy Kim, made sure the flowers on the light posts on King Street in Old Town were in place this year when budget cuts threatened the program.

“We thought it was something we should do because it adds a lot to the city and shows the community pride that makes Alexandria so special,” Kim said this week.

It was early April when Kim and Reid found out the flowers were at risk in necessary pandemic budget cuts.

Working with Alexandria’s parks department and city staff, Kim and Reid used schematics from the previous years and worked with wholesalers to find plant materials, including the basket base, soil and flowers. The two made multiple trips to Maryland to bring back materials from places like Garden Artisans in Annapolis and Six Flags.

After purchasing a trailer and watering tank, Kim and Reid worked for about a week straight to fill the 240 flower baskets that run the length of King Street in Old Town — Kim would usually hold the ladder and Reid would go up and do the planting, covering three to five blocks each day.

“We literally brought life back to the street as we installed,” Reid said. As they planted, store owners and residents walking on King Street thanked them.

Growing up in Alexandria, both Kim and Reid said their parents instilled the value of giving back to the community. Reid’s parents were both public school teachers and both loved to garden, and Reid is now setting up a new landscaping company, Reid Outdoors, LLC.

“With that there’s a lot of pride — Titan pride, Alexandria pride — and I think the flowers and taking care of your community is also a show of pride in the community,” Reid said.

All summer, the two have been watering plants between midnight and 3 a.m. multiple times per week. With on-street outdoor dining late into the nights and early deliveries for King Street stores starting around 5 a.m., the midnight to 3 a.m. time slot was the only safe time for them to water the plants, replace flowers that didn’t thrive and do other maintenance.

Kim and Reid are not being paid for this, and neither Alexandria Lighting nor Avanti Holdings Group, where Kim is a principle, are receiving any payments. The project, including materials, labor and overhead, is valued at more than $60,000.

Reid chose hardy flowers that were disease resistant, drought resistant and native — all chosen for longevity. The flowers are expected to last through at least October.

“As we start to have frost or cold air at night, the things that don’t do well, we’ll start taking them out,” Kim said.

At a time when many residents and business owners were feeling some despondency about the pandemic, “we wanted to show hope, we wanted to show strength, we wanted to show pride,” Kim said.


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City council approves new Avanti Holdings project

By | Alexandria, Commercial Real Estate, Condos, News, Old Town Alexandria, Press, Real Estate Development, VA | No Comments

Original article by Alexandria Times, Margo Wagner, July 16, 2020

City council approves new Avanti Holdings project

The new building will be between 40 and 50 feet tall with 94 units and ground-floor retail. (Courtesy photo)

Alexandria City Council voted to amend the Braddock Road Metro Station Neighborhood Plan and rezone to allow for the construction of a five-story, mixed-use building at its July 7 public hearing.

The site is on the corner of North Henry and Wythe streets, and the building will consist of 94 residential units, including seven affordable housing units. It will also include underground parking and ground-floor retail. Currently, the space is a surface parking lot and a warehouse for Alexandria Lighting Supply. Both planning commission and city staff recommended approval of the project.

The project’s applicant is Avanti Holdings Group, a local developer led by native Alexandrian Teddy Kim. The group owns several commercial properties in Alexandria’s Parker-Gray district and has been involved in several redevelopment projects designed to reinvigorate the area.

At the hearing, several speakers, including six neighbors, signed up for the public testimony period to express their concerns about the project.

Isabelle Zorro, who has lived next to the site since 1994, expressed concern about the noise and the height of the building.

Ronald Carter, another neighbor, said surrounding property owners were not adequately informed about the project. He also expressed concern about building a five-story building in a historic neighborhood.

“I am shocked, disappointed and concerned that no consideration was made to the aesthetics of our historic neighborhood,” Carter said.

The attorney for the applicant, Cathy Puskar, assured city council that her client notified the neighbors within the the required time and has been working with neighborhood groups. She also said that Kim is committed to keeping the community’s interests at heart.

Neighbor Jariel Rendell was supportive of the project but said the building did not include enough affordable housing.

“This is not an appropriate, sufficient affordable housing allocation given the times that we are in with the unprecedented unemployment,” Rendell said.

Councilor Mo Seifeldein agreed that affordable housing is a concern of his but ended up voting to amend the plan and allow the building.

Other concerns posed by the neighbors included traffic, privacy and construction vibrations damaging the foundations of historic houses.

Puskar answered the concerns by stating that the building is consistent with the Braddock Road Metro Station Neighborhood Plan and the building is in compliance with the city’s requirements for affordable housing.

“While I appreciate the neighbors saying they are not opposed to the development, requests to change the height and density of this building would render the project unviable,” Puskar said.

Additionally, Avanti Holdings plans to donate money to the Housing Trust Fund, the Braddock Community Amenities Fund, the Braddock Open Space Fund and the City’s Capital Bike Share Fund to address concerns about community benefit. Puskar also said that adjacent property owners can receive a pre-construction assessment of their home in case there is damage to the home cased by the vibrations from construction.

 After a lively discussion, city council voted unanimously to approve the measure.

“I really appreciate the input that was provided. I think it informed the final product and we really appreciate the thoughtful engagement that happened on this,” Mayor Justin Wilson said.


New Residential, Retail and Daycare Coming to Braddock Neighborhood

By | Alexandria, Commercial Real Estate, Condos, Old Town Alexandria, Press, Real Estate Development, VA | No Comments

Original article by Alexandria Living Magazine, June 22, 2020

A 7-story building will be replacing garages and warehouses at 1200 and 1230 N. Henry St.


Garages and warehouse space now occupy the land at 1200-1230 N. Henry St.

A new daycare, retail and residential building will be going up on the north end of Old Town in the Braddock neighborhood.

City Council on Saturday approved a plan for a 7-story building that will include a daycare and playground, residential housing and retail at 1200 and 1230 N. Henry St. Saturday.

Right now, that property is primarily garage and warehouse space for a variety of auto and other businesses.

City staff, in their report to the City Council, said the property is “underused” and the site should become an “important gateway site into the Braddock neighborhood with a high-quality building.”

The new building will feature 11 dedicated affordable units as well as more than 100 other residences, a publicly accessible ground-level park/plaza and underground utilities. There will be two levels of below-grade parking.

In addition, according to the City staff report, “A signature gateway feature at the northern corner of the building marks the entrance to the plan area with a tower element. The base of the tower contains diagonal columns that form an abstraction of the letters “AV” to represent Alexandria, Virginia, welcoming those headed southbound on Route 1 to the Braddock neighborhood. These columns face onto a publicly accessible park/plaza. The northern tip of the park/plaza is a potential location for public art, drawing pedestrians into the space and offering respite to those heading south from Slater’s Lane and Route 1 to the nearby Braddock Metro.”

The location of the new development will be at the intersection of North Henry and Fayette streets.

The property is now owned by CNA Financial Corp. and a number of individuals and entities that together formed North Henry Partnership, LLC.

See renderings of the new proposed development below.





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