The Alexandria City Council welcomed four new businesses last Saturday with offers of flexibility they had not requested and with words of concern about their very existence.
The specific concern is about development in the Carlyle area of the city.
We really want this area to be a vibrant destination for visitors even after 6 p.m., said Mayor William Euille. These fast food-type places will do a very good business during lunch because of the thousands of people who work there but what about after those people leave?
Bill Harvey, a spokesman for the homeowners at Carlyle and for the Carlyle-Eisenhower Civic Association said, We welcome these small businesses to our community and I must express some concern about the tenor of this generic conversation, he told Council. I do not believe that it is appropriate to talk about how these are not the types of restaurants we want to attract when these owners are taking a chance on our community and putting their businesses there.
There is no retail plan for Carlyle with anchor stores. Most of the businesses here are small businesses and we welcome them. We would much prefer businesses who want to be here to serve the residents and those who work here than empty storefronts, Harvey said.
I think that is right and if these businesses are successful, more will come, said Councilman Rob Krupicka.
Council offered the two restaurants in Carlyle, a bakery on King Street and a caf and sandwich shop in the Hampton condominium complex, the flexibility to serve wine and beer and additional hours. We just dont want you to have to come back to us for an amendment to your special use permit if you decide that serving beer and wine in the evenings when you say you are planning to have live entertainment will help to make your business more successful, Euille said.
Boyd Walker, owner of the proposed bakery at 1307 King Street, said, We dont plan to serve alcohol at this time but wouldnt object to having this flexibility for some time in the future.
Walker will operate a bakery and coffee shop on upper King Street with hours from 6 a.m. to midnight. The bakery/caf will have indoor and outdoor seating and will feature live acoustical entertainment. It will open in the next few months.
The owners of Brueggers, a bagel store, did not accept extended hours or the flexibility to sell beer and wine. We are a bagel bakery, said Duncan Blair, the attorney who represented Brueggers. Most people who want a bagel arent going to come in after 6 p.m.
The caf in the Hamptons will serve residents of the condominiums and those who work in nearby offices. The complex is located just off Seminary Road on the Alexandria/Arlington boundary. Like the other restaurants, Council unanimously approved its special use permit.