October 4, 2017

Working Hard: New Business Ventures in Alexandria

The City of Alexandria is home to a large number of unique retailers, many of which are independently owned. They benefit from the energy and walkability of Alexandria’s two main streets—one in historic Old Town Alexandria and the other in the creative Del Ray neighborhood. Each of these areas offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow and thrive, test new product or food concepts and even dabble in the experiential world.

In the past few years, Alexandria welcomed newer experiential businesses, including boutique gyms and fitness studios. The city’s craft-beer scene is growing, too, thanks to Port City Brewing Company’s expansion and the return of Alexandria’s own Portner family, who are producing a style of beer once consumed by our forefathers in the 18th century, in a new pub on the West End. Longtime Alexandrian restaurateurs have begun testing newer concepts, meanwhile, relative newcomers are expanding throughout the Alexandria market.

During the next several years, Alexandria will see even more exciting changes to its retail landscape, with development projects and portfolio acquisitions delivering new opportunities in our communities. Noteworthy portfolio acquisitions bring a newcomer to the Alexandria market—Charlotte, N.C.-based Asana. The company acquired a portfolio of 20 assets in historic Alexandria and is investing in the physical infrastructure of the city’s historic buildings to ensure their viability for another 100 years. At Bisnow’s 2017 Alexandria State of the Market, Asana’s Robin Hilliard spoke to their plan to curate new experiences that fit into the fabric of the 280+ independent, regional restaurants and retailers in the neighborhood: “We can come in and bring different types of food and beverage from all over, maybe from around the country or maybe just regionally”.

Noteworthy developments include a project in Old Town North currently under construction by Edens, which brought the D.C. region the likes of Union Market and the Mosaic district. The developer will soon deliver a mixed-use project featuring 50,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail and restaurants anchored by West Elm and 232 residential apartment units from partner Gables Residential.

Other projects underway or in the pipeline include significant developments along Alexandria’s waterfront, including EYA’s Robinson Landing project, featuring riverside retail and restaurants with townhouses and apartments.