Alexandria’s Planning Commission earlier this month approved plans to redevelop the Afghan Restaurant on Route 1 into a two-building commercial development.
The new development will be named Tony’s Corner after the man who ran and owned Steve’s Diner, a restaurant that existed at the site for many years.
Tony’s son-in-law now owns the property.
The small commercial buildings will house between two and seven businesses in total, depending on how the spaces are leased.
Attorney Duncan Blair, representing the applicant, said the business tenants would likely be determined once the buildings come out of the ground.
He envisioned a blend of uses to assist the residents in Potomac Yard, including a bank and drycleaners. He also raised the possibility of the Afghan Restaurant coming back as a smaller eatery in the development.
“From a transit standpoint, this is going to be one of the best locations in the city because the BRT [in the middle of Route 1]… is right in front and there will be a station a block away,” Blair said.
The development will have 30 on-site parking spaces and the owners will lease an additional 25 spaces from the Station at Potomac Yard, located just across Route 1.
The Land-Use Committee of the Del Ray Citizens Association made several design recommendations to the project’s architect, suggesting some changes so the buildings would resemble the Art Deco warehouses on E. Monroe and Leslie avenues.
During respective discussions of the proposal, planning commissioners and DRCA members questioned the lack of a coordinated site plan for the west side of Route 1 across from the new development at Potomac Yard.
Faroll Hamer, Alexandria’s director of planning, said city will develop a small area plan for the west side of Route 1 in the future. Currently, it sits behind Eisenhower West and North Old Town on the priority list.
A plan for the west side of Route 1 could dovetail with the opening of the proposed Potomac Yard Metro station and the expected eventual redevelopment of the Oakville Triangle, a plot that includes the restaurant site and many of the industrial buildings directly to the south and west.
The Afghan Restaurant has yet to determine its last day of business. Construction of the new development could begin in the first or second quarter of 2014.
Because the Tony’s Corner proposal is a development site plan, the Planning Commission had final approval on the matter and the issue will not go to City Council.