Bit by bit, a landmark building in Alexandria, once the home of the Old Broadway restaurant, is being demolished this week.
In its place will stand “The Rune” – a $25 million project that will completely change the look of the busy corner of Broadway and Third Avenue.
The developer, GoodNeighbor Properties LLC, is demolishing vacant buildings that last housed Bello Cucina restaurant and Blue Collar Bob’s.
The new five-story complex will consist of commercial and retail space – including a new, unnamed restaurant – along with 72 market-rate apartments, ranging from studios to one- and two-bedroom units.
Four stories will be above ground on the Broadway side and three stories above ground on the Hawthorne Street side. The first floor, which will be at ground level on Broadway and have underground parking on the Hawthorne side, will be the commercial level.
There will be another underground parking level below this with 153 stalls.
The Old Broadway site is sometimes referred to as an “historic” building but that’s not the case. According to City Planner Mike Weber, most of the building was constructed in the mid-1980s and in 1996. Only a small portion of the building from 1910 remained. The building is not included on a list of historic places, he said.
The building has a history of paranormal activity.
In 2017, the Echo Press did a story about talk of a ghost named Martha who reportedly haunts the building, along with about 10 other spirits, and employees talked about strange sights and sounds they came across. The information came to light as a result of an investigation done by Adrian Lee, a paranormal investigator based in Minnesota. You can find the story here.
Here’s a look at the building’s history:
Old Broadway was originally built as a private residence in the 1860s. In 1926, the property became a funeral home and then went back to being a private residence in 1929.
The building was vacant and in need of repairs at the time it was converted to The Bronc's On Broadway restaurant in 1986. Then, in 1993, the eating establishment was sold and the newly named Old Broadway took its place.
The co-founders of Tastefully Simple purchased the property in May 2004 but Old Broadway closed its doors in January 2007.
The building stood vacant for more than four years before reopening as MainStreet Brewery in 2011.
MainStreet Brewery closed in October 2011 and the building was again vacant until another restaurant, Bello Cucina, opened there in May 2016.
It closed again in December of 2017.