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What Should Replace Audi of Alexandria?

Dealership set to leave Del Ray sometime in 2013.

is on the move, but exactly when the dealership remains unclear.

Messages left with dealership management last week went unreturned, but a representative with Audi of Alexandria said over the phone that the dealership would move sometime in 2013.

A rendering of the dealership’s new Columbia Pike facility is currently on display in the showroom.

The impending move has set off discussion of what is to become of the site at 1704 Mt. Vernon Ave. The issue recently came up at a meeting community groups had with the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership.

“All parties realize that we do not control the property. We are currently reaching out to the owners of the land, Four Mile Run Associates, LLC, to see what they have planned," AEDP Senior Vice President Stephanie Landrum wrote in an email to Patch. "In the meantime, the business and civic community is giving us good input on what they would like to see, should the site become available for a use other than automotive.”

Landrum said her office is reaching out to some retailers to gauge their interest and is arranging visits to Del Ray.

Pat Miller, an officer with both the Del Ray Citizens Association and the Del Ray Business Association, sat in on the meeting with AEDP and said she understood the dealership's move is contingent on the new Arlington County location being completed.

"People that have driven by there say not too much is happening," Miller wrote in an email.

Would you like to see the site become something other than an automotive dealership? If so, what? Tell us in the comments.

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John Arbuckle July 31, 2012 at 07:53 PM
My money is on that it will be a mixed use development with high price condos on top and some shops on the bottom like is the trend in the area. I hope I'm wrong and its a Fresh Market or something of the sort but who knows. We could use a good burger place or something of the like, maybe a falafal joint, salads, etc.
MJVolk July 31, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Trader Joe's of DelRay would be fabulous!
luisa paucchi July 31, 2012 at 08:40 PM
A grocery store...Trader Joe's, Harris Teeter, WEGMAN'S, even a "gourmet" Safeway... anything to avoid the Giant!
Joseph M. July 31, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I think you're right on both counts. Though I think the eventual mixed use development may be smaller scale than many of us are envisioning because it's not all that big of a parcel and it will be height-limited probably to four stories ~40 feet with a step down towards the back and existing homes. With that presumed height and size of parcel, it may be cost-prohibitive to have a below-grade parking garage. At best, I expect an eventual wrapped parking garage like the approved 5 story apartment building next to the closed Gold Crust/soon-to-be M.E. Swing's Coffee Roasters. (garage is above ground but is completely wrapped by apartments so invisible from the street). My money though is on something more like the Pork Barrel BBQ/Sierra Club building. Surface parking lot in back, restaurants or shops on ground floor, and offices above.
Sarah haut July 31, 2012 at 10:36 PM
I think we need more retail to balance out all of the restaurants we already have. A grocery store (I love the trader joe's idea) would be excellent. It would also be great to see an establishment that is centered around kids such as "the little gym." We have more and more children in the neighborhood each year. What ever goes in, I hope that there is adequate parking as it seems that the city's idea of shared parking isn't catching on. I keep seeing empty parking lots that are roped off.
DelRay1 July 31, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Sorry to burst everyone's bubble, there's going to probably be another car dealership. Rosenthal(who own's Audi of Alexandria) has a long lease on the property. They will probably put another brand or put in a used car lot. When I heard Audi was leaving last year, I called to see if they wanted to sell the property and that is what they told me. If/when another dealer comes, it should be mandatory that they meet with the Hyundai dealerships owner and learn how a neighborhood dealership should operate. Audi of Alexandria is complete pain for the neighborhood. There employees take up all the spots on mt vernon ave and mason ave. They double park cars in the city owned alley and the apartment building behind it and block entrances. They also have very rude employees. Mixed use building would be ideal. Retail/Restaurants/Little Gym on the bottom and apartments/office on top. It would be great if the city gets involved and tries to improve the neighborhood.
Phillip Cide August 01, 2012 at 02:52 AM
One factor that has not been mentioned is that the auto use on this site in grandfathered in. That means that a continuing auto use here does not have to meet all the code requirements that a comparable new auto use somewhere else would have to meet. This increases the value of the property.
KH August 01, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I agree with comments about grocery but given that a new MOMs will be done and the Giant is moving to a new store across Rt. 1 I'd like to see some type of anchor retail. I'm curious if the Del Ray Citizens Association has or will become involved in what appears to be zoning for "auto use"?
Pat Malone August 01, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I had heard that Audi of Alexandria was moving last summer, when I was working to help get sponsorships for the Alexandria Aces. I'm quite surprised that the news, which wasn't private, took so long for people in Del Ray and Alexandria to find out that they were moving. They were pretty up front about it at the dealership, in 2011, that they were moving, as was noted by 'DelRay1'.
Drew Hansen (Editor) August 01, 2012 at 02:34 PM
We reported the move several months ago, Pat. Here's the link: http://delray.patch.com/articles/report-del-ray-audi-dealership-moving-to-arlington I wrote this story this week because there have been some meetings where the site has been brought up.
Margaret Janowsky August 01, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Great idea! maybe we can get Moms to move here since their shopping center will be under renovation.
Drew Hansen (Editor) August 01, 2012 at 05:08 PM
The plan is for MOM's to stay in Arlandria and reopen in the new building when it is completed. The construction is going to be phased in so MOM's can stay open in it's current location, then open in the south building of the new development once it is completed. That was the plan in December.
Larry McDorchester August 01, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I would love another great restaurant, a bar, a grocery store (but I think you haters should show a little more love for our early 1950s Giant), a book store or a bowling alley. If I were betting on it, however, I would bet that it will be a different car dealership.
Bill Cook August 01, 2012 at 07:05 PM
10+ years ago Audi had a proposal to move to the "Safeway site". The arched architectural theme that Audi has used for their dealerships adopted very well to the Safeway store design. This was presented to the Warwick Village Civic Assoc. I don't know if it didn't go forward due to market conditions or other reasons.
K L August 01, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I like your bookstore/bowling alley idea. There needs to be more than just typical yuppie restaurants and stores. There needs to be more places for activities (for other people not just parents with young children). Del Ray needs to start showing some more variety and cater to others' interests.
Joseph M. August 01, 2012 at 07:56 PM
What about duckpin bowling like in Baltimore. It's basically mini-bowling balls and lanes. Could work for kids' parties during the day and adults/bar scene at night. Kids may have a hard time though because it's actually harder to knock the pins down than true bowling due to the lower mass and momentum of the ball).
Betty August 01, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Something for teenagers like a skating rink, bowling alley, or movie theater with adjacent low-cost healthy food diner would be best.
K L August 01, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Be grateful.
Jennifer Meadows August 01, 2012 at 09:31 PM
A Harris Teeter would be gladly welcomed, esp. since I heard a rumor that the flooded and shuttered Potomac Yards location will not be reopening.
Drew Hansen (Editor) August 01, 2012 at 09:38 PM
They're already building a Teeter in North Old Town. http://delray.patch.com/articles/mayor-lauds-new-madison-street-development-as-uplifting#
Scooby's Doo August 02, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Please don't spread rumors.
Mollykjkj23@hotmail.com August 02, 2012 at 11:31 AM
I propose an aquarium.
Thom Kohout August 02, 2012 at 03:10 PM
How about green space, which could be used for a number of activities, such as relocating and expanding the Farmers Market.
Mollykjkj23@hotmail.com August 02, 2012 at 04:00 PM
The current location for the farmer's market is a joke. Whoever deemed it be located there wasn't thinking. Essentially zero parking, very constrained space causing unnavigable passages between stalls, and absolutely no room to welcome new vendors. Essentially it's a yuppie-fied, out of season, tomato-selling clusterf##k. It's the worst one in the region. My husband and I stopped attending ages ago.
Joseph M. August 02, 2012 at 08:27 PM
I don't get negative comments like this about the Farmer's Market. It's a great location in the heart of Del Ray. Across from St. Elmo's, down the street from Cheesetique and Meat on the Avenue. Do you have a better location? If so, where? (helps if it is a city-owned property like the current location). I would hate for it to be, say, at GW Middle School. Most people walk, there's tons of on and off-street parking in the area if you aren't too lazy to walk a couple of blocks and enjoy the Saturday morning. Out-of-season? Makes no sense. Yes - vendors do sell tomatoes. And several varieties of peaches, nectarines, meat, watermelons, fresh cut flowers, cheese, yogurt, beans, squash, baked goods, saltenas (though I've missed the lady passed few times, is Marcela's still selling saltenas?), etc etc.
Mollykjkj23@hotmail.com August 02, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Joseph- what makes a farmer's market "great" because it's in proximity to a cheese shop? Of course most people walk- there's no parking! I live here Jospeh, I know. The market is like a private party catering to the few that live within 5 blocks. Del Ray deserves better than that. Most markets welcome people from the entire community not just those from the immediate vicinity. GW would be far superior. It would provide parking, a stop on the new trolley's route, and metro-ability, as well as simplify the schedules of families that have children in athletics there or at Simpson field. The space is huge and could accomodate all sorts of new vendors. The saltenas stopped being sold ages ago. Probably because they realized the market was too small and insular. Again, the current directors lack vision if what's there now is what the Del Ray Farmer's Market always will be.
Mollykjkj23@hotmail.com August 02, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Umm, and it isn't across from St. Elmos.
K L August 03, 2012 at 09:58 PM
This just sounds like Del Ray in general.
Renee' Peregory August 09, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I honestly don't think we need yet another grocery store. We have the Harris Teeters on Rt. 1, the one on Madison (?), the Giant on Glebe, the New Giant on Rt. 1, the Trader Joe's on St. Asaph and Mom's! All of these are within one mile from my house on Dewitt! I would love to see some more green space in Del Ray. The Farmer's Market in Arlandria is a huge disappointment of green space promised.
Delraymike August 28, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Mom's Organic with Cafe seating and a prepared foods section

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