Old Dominion Boat Club Reaches Deal With Alexandria

By David Culver
|  Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014  |  Updated 8:39 PM EDT
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Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver gets reaction to the deal between Alexandria and the Old Dominion Boat Club that will bring a big change to Old Town.

Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver

Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver gets reaction to the deal between Alexandria and the Old Dominion Boat Club that will bring a big change to Old Town.

Old Town Alexandria's waterfront will soon look very different. The proposed changes are four decades in the making.

Late Monday night, the City of Alexandria and the historic Old Dominion Boat Club struck a deal. The agreement means the boat club will vacate its longtime King Street location along with its nearby parking lot.

In exchange, the club will move to a site a block and half down river. The city will also pay it $5 million.

Club member John Keegan isn't happy with the deal.

"I voted for the move," he said. "There's a lot of pressure coming from the city to move or 'we're going to take it.'"

That pressure has come and gone over the past 40 years. More recently, city leaders threatened eminent domain to take over the club's adjacent parking lot.

"I became frustrated with the process and decided ... to move forward with eminent domain. I think that was a very strong signal to the Old Dominion Boat Club," said Mayor Bill Euille. "Perseverance is really the key word here, but it's also about victory."

With Monday's deal, there's no need for eminent domain.

As for the land, "It will be redeveloped but it will be open space," Euille said. "It will be open space park land for public use."

"It's for the future of our city to end all these years of litigation," said Jody Manor, owner of the nearby Waterfront Market and Cafe. "It couldn't be better."

"I think a lot of people are tired of the fight, but I also think a lot of people are upset just by the basic premise of the government being able to take something that you've enjoyed," said Keegan.

Manor didn't want eminent domain used but acknowledged it was a strategic move by the city.

"It forced the issue and it brought everybody to the table and it made everybody realize now is the time to get this done," he said.

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