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Alexandria Nearing Decision on Beachcomber Lease

City conducting detailed analysis of proposals for the waterfront property at the foot of Prince Street.

The Beachcomber building is located at 0 Prince Street in Old Town Alexandria. (Photo credit)
The Beachcomber building is located at 0 Prince Street in Old Town Alexandria. (Photo credit)

Alexandria is currently conducting a final analysis of proposals to reinvigorate the Beachcomber building on the Alexandria waterfront, with an announcement on the final selection expected in coming weeks.

The city bought the land at 0 Prince St. in February 2006 for $1.135 million using the city’s Open Space Fund as part of an effort to consolidate and make land available for public use on the city’s waterfront.

In October 2012, Alexandria City Council approved the issuance of a request for proposals to lease and renovate the 3,360-square-foot structure.

Michael Stewart, division chief of administration with the city’s Department of General Services, the city is buckling down on a multifaceted review of the different submitted business models at this week's Waterfront Commission meeting.

“We’re looking at the economics of all the business plans we’ve received,” Stewart said. “Having a non-starter is the worst scenario.”

In 2012, members of City Council suggested a restaurant was likely the highest and best use of the space. The Beachcomber last housed an eatery in 1954. It is believed to have been the first, real non-industrial use on the waterfront.

Jeremy McPike, director of the Department of General Services, told councilmembers a year ago that there are cracks in the exterior walls of the building and some rotting wood in the balcony.

The city also owns one-third of the lot next to the Beachcomber.

The parking lot should "eventually become a park [according to the Waterfront small area plan]. ... In this RFP, there is no on-site parking. In an SUP process, applicant will have to link up with other garage owners” or seek shared parking, McPike said.

This article has been updated since it was originally posted.

Doug October 18, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Good! I'm all for places to eat that overlook the river.
Jon Rosenbaum October 18, 2013 at 05:48 PM
This eyesore should be torn down. To claim that this cinder block building is historic because it hosted the first riverside restaurant in the1950s takes historic preservation to an extreme meaning. It was purchased with open space funds and should be used for open space. The preservation of the building was one of many demands by the waterfront plan opponents. And this offer by the city to retain the building, like all the other compromises the city made, met with no reciprocity by the opponents. The city ended up with no real negotiating partner.

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