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New Parker-Gray development pushed to veer away from Old Town aesthetics

(Updated 5/20) A stretch of vacant land and parking lots in the Parker-Gray could soon become a five-story, multi-family residential development with a redesign meant to evoke the neighborhood’s unique heritage.

The development is headed to its second Board of Architectural Review (BAR) meeting tomorrow (Wednesday). The building underwent a slight redesign after a February meeting when the board scolded the architect for trying to make an industrial waterfront-style building in lieu of respecting the historically Black neighborhood’s own unique — and distinctly not Old Town — aesthetics and style.

“The character of the three-story portion of the building has been modified to be more reminiscent of the historic Parker Gray school… than the industrial buildings more commonly found at the waterfront,” a city staff report noted.

The building went through a few more visual updates to bring it more in-line with other buildings in the neighborhood, like replacing glass balconies with black iron-railing.

The new building would be immediately adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express currently under development.

“Staff recommends that the BAR endorse the proposed design direction for the project,” staff said in the report, “shifting the tallest part of the building towards the east side of the site and revising the architectural character to make it more compatible with the immediate neighborhood.”

Images via City of Alexandria

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