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Council OKs IDA Office at Potomac Yard

City secures $30,000 donation for traffic-calming measures in adjacent neighborhoods.

Alexandria City Council approved for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in Potomac Yard Land Bay G Saturday. The office is the first non-residential complex to be approved for the development.

The structure, which is located just south of the Target, is expected to be the focal point of a new town center in Potomac Yard.

Keeping IDA in Alexandria was seen as an economic development priority by councilmembers. The agency currently works out of an office near BRAC-133 in the West End.

The new structure will be composed of two, eight-story towers built on a connected ground floor. It will have a 580-space parking garage consisting of one level below grade and four levels above grade. The 1.88-acre lot was originally planned for a hotel.

The office will have a parking-to-space ratio of 1.16 spaces per 1,000 square feet, a number similar to BRAC-133 and the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

“This site shares the characteristics of PTO,” Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said. “It’s at or near different modes of transportation. This will have a future Metro station and a transitway.”

A stop on the Route 1 Bus Rapid Transitway, which is currently under construction, is planned for one block away from the office. The city also continues to move forward on plans for a Metro station at Potomac Yard.

Parking access to the office will be available on Douge Street on the north side of the complex. Negotiations are ongoing with owners of neighboring Land Bay F (where Potomac Yard Shopping Center is located) to construct parking access on Main Line Boulevard. City staff is expected to report back to council before the end of the year on progress in negotiations. The second access point is needed to disperse traffic during peak hours around the complex.

“Let it be known here and now and far and wide that there will be an access point there,” Donley said.

Rich Baier, the city’s director of Transportation and Environmental Services, secured about $30,000 from an already agreed upon developer parking meter donation of $90,000 to be used for some traffic-calming measures in adjacent neighborhoods, including Del Ray, Lynhaven and Arlandria. Initially the donation was listed as only for Del Ray. Councilmembers clarified the condition on Saturday, stating that the money will be used for “neighborhoods adjacent to Potomac Yard.” The traffic-calming money will be used at Baier’s discretion.  

The donation was a late addition to the proposal. It came as the result of a Nov. 29 meeting on traffic issues in Del Ray and the work of city staff and the Traffic and Parking Committee of the Del Ray Citizens Association. Planning Director Faroll Hamer said at the Nov. 29 meeting that it was too late in the planning process to ask the developer for additional contributions. Baier was then able to source the money from the previously-agreed donation.

A second community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at Mount Vernon Recreation Center to discuss when and how to use the traffic-calming funds.

jeff epperson December 19, 2012 at 04:18 PM
The comments are focused on the wrong things. The greater issues are: whats the value to Alex of having a secured defense agency fronting a pedestrian town center (which per Fed guidelines will ook to pay little/no taxes (ala BRAC). A hotel was planned there to create pedestrian animation, bring retail, and add max tax dollars to City. IDA does the opposite; an office park used only by the locals . There is plenty of vacant office space in Alex if needed. Further, the cost for proposed Metro is stupendous and will NEVER create INCREMENTAL value for the City. IDA is proof developers will build there without the certainty of a Metro. Meanwhile, Braddock, Eisenhower and Van Dorn remain neglected as economic engines with no sense of place. Where are the planning and Econ dev't departments?
Joseph M. December 19, 2012 at 06:03 PM
There is a great deal of approved site plans at Braddock and Eisenhower. I don't know about Van Dorn. Braddock is about to be transformed with high-rises of retail, housing and office space. It will really finally take advantage of the existing Metro station - which as you mention is very expensive infrastructure. Eisenhower already has built-out a lot, but there is a lot more to be built - and is already approved. Chapter 3 of the Braddock Metro Neighbor Plan specifically addresses creating a sense of place. http://alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/planning/info/braddock/BraddockMetroPlanscreen041108.pdf I do think you make a good point about IDA security demands, though I'm not sure they're as high as you imply. The EPA buildings in Crystal City are built to post-911 standards and are pedestrian friendly and engage the street.
matt tallmerq December 19, 2012 at 06:14 PM
As someone who has lived near Braddock Place since 1995 and commutes via Metro, I have noticed a dramatically increased number of passengers on the platform since the Merdian projects were built. Depending upon the time of day, it often is difficult to get on the platform (especially if there's a delay). That likely will get worse after the project under construction at the paint site opens, let alone the one behind the Braddock Place Condos. And heaven help us if and when Council's vision of massive development along PY comes to fruition.
Joseph M. December 20, 2012 at 04:08 PM
http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2012/12/pentagon-rejects-post-sept-11.html?&page=all "The Pentagon has eliminated the stringent real estate leasing standards it put into place following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, opting instead for a more relaxed version widely used by federal civilian agencies."
Stan Babalistic July 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Obviously a little late to this party but worth pointing out that while IDA is a non-profit, it is technically a contractor and NOT federal government. So there will be more of a tax base than I think you're all anticipating.

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