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Ask McEnearney: What’s the Skinny on Old Town’s Bus Barn?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Philip G. Matyas, Associate Broker, of The Shannon Group and McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Philip at 703-507-8655 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What’s the Skinny on Old Town’s Bus Barn?

Answer: The Bus Barn Days are numbered.

Having lived in Historic Old Town Alexandria for the past 22 years, I have seen tremendous housing developments dramatically change the local real estate markets. But few properties have evoked the curiosity of Old Town residents as much as the block-long, vacant WMATA “Bus Barn” site with its questions of how and when it will be developed.

Here’s the skinny.

Earlier this year, City Council rezoned the property, almost doubling the density of the existing townhouse zoning, and then approved a 287-unit apartment complex to be built by Trammel Crow Residential. Pre-construction may begin as early as the end of the year once the Final Site Plan and building permitting have completed the City’s administrative review.

The deteriorating site will be enlivened with four block faces of contemporary, urban-designed, LEED-certified construction, a pocket park, roof-top Open Space and Green Streets streetscapes. Units will be built using Energy Star appliances and WaterSense fixtures.

Bounded by Historic Old Town’s Pendleton, North Pitt, North Royal and Wythe Streets, the apartment complex will consist of 275 market rental units (about 18 studio, 180 one-bedroom and 75 two-bedroom) and 12 affordable-rate units for a 40-year duration (1 studio, 1 junior one-bedroom, 7 one-bedroom and 3 two-bedroom).

Buildings along Pendleton and North Pitt Streets will rise from 3 to 4 stories with up to 50-foot heights with facades that are enhanced with stoops and front entrances at street level. Buildings along Wythe and North Royal Streets buildings will rise from 4 to 6 stories with up to 70-foot heights to reflect a transition to the neighboring high-rise architecture of Annie B. Rose and Alexandria House.

The block will come alive as decorative trees, unique pocket park pavers and wide sidewalks are added to the landscape and combined with Green Streets bioretention tree wells designed to capture and treat stormwater runoff. A small pocket park (approximately 34×34 feet) provides a visual transition break between the buildings on North Pitt Street. Walkers and joggers passing the park will find extra seating areas around the corner on Wythe Street.

The new development was required to provide 22,645 square feet (sq. ft.) of open space. About 5,000 sq. ft. is provided for the public’s use at ground level which includes the pocket park and streetscapes.

The remaining open space provides for private, renters’ use only, amenities that include the complex’s ground-level interior courtyard, swimming pool, grilling stations, seating areas and rooftop gardens. The apartments’ two-level garage will house 298 parking spaces, level 2 electric vehicle charger installations and 86 bicycle parking spaces. Six exterior bike spaces will be placed at the main lobby entrance on Wythe Street.

If you would like more skinny regarding this project or would like to discuss your local housing needs, please connect with us at or call 703-507-8655.

Once a month “Your Eyes and Ears for Old Town Real Estate & Beyond” sponsored by The Shannon Group (licensed in VA/DC) will bring you exciting details and updates to properties of interest, access to our hyperlocal home real estate markets and strategies for success when buying or selling in our fast-paced housing markets. Bring your home buying or selling needs and questions to The Shannon Group Old Town Experts, Joan Shannon and Philip G. Matyas. Set up an appointment to view homes from Old Town to Mt. Vernon and Beyond and see how 40+ years of experience, local knowledge, integrity and care means success for you.”

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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