As an Alexandria citizen and as an active REALTOR® in the City of Alexandria, I am dismayed by the appearance of graffiti on the side of the vacant CompUSA building at 5901 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304.
In my business, I spend considerable effort promoting Alexandria, Virginia as a wonderful place to live and work. Through original articles that I write and post on the internet in my real estate blog, I introduce potential homebuyers (and other real estate professionals around the country) to features of Alexandria such as the Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library, the historic homes of Old Town Alexandria, various Alexandria neighborhoods, and updates on real estate market conditions. I know that your goal and job as Mayor and ambassador of our city is to make Alexandria a beautiful and safe place to live and to attract more people and companies to move to the city.
With the current problems in the real estate market, home sales have slowed down throughout Northern Virginia. Alexandria has not been immune, though our market has held up better than towns and counties further out from D.C. As you know, the CompUSA building stands at a very visible point in West Alexandria. It is one of the first landmarks you see exiting the 395 highway onto Duke Street and at the highly trafficked crossroads of South Walker Street and Stevenson Avenue. The building greets residents of “Condo Canyon” as they return home and is one of the first buildings that potential homebuyers see when searching for a new home in this part of Alexandria.
It is bad enough that the building has stood empty for several months. Large vacant commercial properties with vast parking lots invite and are targets for theft, vandalism, trespassing, and are often the scene of shady dealings. Several weeks ago, I noticed large graffiti on the wall facing Walker Street and the very busy Passport Chrysler dealership. This graffiti is an unwelcome addition to the West Alexandria neighborhood. As a resident of this area of the City, I feel less secure in my own community every time I see this graffiti. Moreover, this public vandalism makes it more difficult for me to sell homes in West Alexandria during this already challenging market.
I understand that the City has an Adopt-a-Block Litter Program and other task forces designed to combat this type of vandalism and graffiti and I applaud those efforts. Furthermore, I understand that the graffiti is on private property, not public City property. Obviously the owner of the property is responsible for cleaning off the defacement of the building, but in several weeks has not done so.
Therefore, Mr. Mayor, I ask for your help in leading the charge against vandalism. Please help clean off this wall!
Brian Block, REALTOR®
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