Several warehouses on Alexandria’s West End will soon be demolished to make way for a new mixed-use development, Landmark Gateway, at the corner of South Van Dorn and South Pickett streets.
The development will sit on just over 6 acres that currently house three single-story warehouses with surface parking and little to no vegetation. Developer Sean Caldwell with Mill Creek Residential Trust said construction is slated to begin soon, and the company has closed on the financing and secured most permits.
“We’ll be knocking down the warehouses in the next couple of weeks, and then we’ll be starting new construction,” Caldwell said.
The site will have three five-story residential buildings with 15,000 square feet of retail space and 492 rental units. The development will also include an underground parking garage. Phase I of the development, which includes two buildings with 360 rental units plus the retail space, will be built first. Phase II will add the third building.
The units will be market-rate, but the developer has made a contribution to the city’s affordable Housing Trust Fund. The development also includes a 7,500-square foot clubhouse with an exercise room, small yoga studio, a cyber cafe, wine bar, game room and billiards area, as well as a pool with an outdoor fire pit and landscaped courtyards, Caldwell said. The rental units will be studios and one-bedrooms and two-bedroom units.
The first phase should be completed by the summer of 2014, Caldwell said. That date can’t come soon enough for Mindy Lyle, a resident of Cameron Station and board member of the Cameron Station Civic Association and Homeowner’s Association who spoke at the Alexandria Planning Commission hearing about the development.
“I wish I could drive a forklift and knock those warehouses down, that’s my first thought,” Lyle said. “I’m so excited. This is a catalyst project for the Landmark-Van Dorn Small Area Plan.”
The new development incorporates a grid street concept, she said, and also helps meet the need for new housing stock and revitalized retail in the West End. Landmark Gateway, as well as the Delaney, an upcoming mixed-used development on South Pickett Street, will enhance the walkability of the area, Lyle said.
Caldwell said developers have not yet signed any contracts with retail establishments but have received expressions of interest from some coffeeshops. He would not disclose the total cost of the development.
Discussions between developers and the city about the project have been under way since 2006, said Gwen Wright, chief of the development division in the city Department of Planning and Zoning. The Alexandria Planning Commission and Alexandria City Council approved the project in January.
“Because of the economy and the problems that we had in 2008-2009, the project did not move forward,” Wright said. “They came back in with the amendments to make a few changes to the project, and those amendments were approved in January of 2012.”
The developer has agreed to install the new turn lane as part of the development. Also, a second travel lane will be provided where on-street parking currently exists.