(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Alexandria is one step closer to the demolition of the NRG Potomac River Generating Station site in Old Town North.
On Saturday, City Council unanimously endorsed the plant owner’s Coordinated Sustainability Strategy, which outlines a plan to electrify the future mixed-use development slated to be built there.
Next month, City Council will conduct a public hearing on Hilco Redevelopment Partners’ (HRP) infrastructure development site plan, which details its proposal to build a mixed-use district. HRP plans on analyzing special use permits for the property between now and 2026.
Mayor Justin Wilson said that the project will be instructive for future projects.
“When’s the thing going to get knocked down?” Wilson joked to Hilco. “Today? Tomorrow?”
“If you could advance all of the approvals necessary, we’ll get started even faster,” replied Hilco’s attorney Mary Catherine Gibbs.
“Electrification of primary building systems ensures that there is a future pathway to carbon neutral operations while simultaneously delivering a high level of building performance and comfort,” HRP said.
HRP reported it will have to overcome a pandemic-induced severe supply chain backlog for critical equipment such as transformers, however.
HRP anticipates demolition could start next year. The former power plant first opened in 1949, shut down in 2012, and was acquired by HRP in 2020.
The site needs extensive remediation after leaky storage tanks bled pollutants into the soil.
The coal-fired power plant also severely polluted the air, according to HRP:
The facility emitted 3.15 million metric tons of CO2e annually, among other contaminants, or nearly 200 million metric tons of CO2e over the course of its operation. Concerned citizens hired scientists to study the power plant’s pollution, which triggered local and state investigations into the site. Air quality studies found that the plant violated national ambient air quality standards for sulfur dioxide, particulates, and nitrogen oxide.
The eventual redevelopment will occur in three phases, each consisting of two blocks, beginning with blocks “A” and “B” at the southernmost portion of the property. HRP proposes 80% of the buildings in blocks A, B and C to be residential development with 20% dedicated to commercial spaces
“At its core, the project is the removal and remediation of a power plant,” Dustin Smith, the city’s green building manager, told Council. “Following a decade’s long community process to achieve this, the redevelopment will bring with it stormwater and transportation infrastructure improvements and additional areas of open space to the Old Town North neighborhood.”
In its sustainability strategy documents, HRP said that the development will be transformed into a “vibrant, urban, mixed-use community that will include office, residential, arts, hotel, entertainment, retail, and restaurant use.”
“The property will be reconnected to the surrounding Old Town North neighborhood through the extension of the existing street network and the seamless integration of new publicly accessible parks with existing and future public open space,” the developer wrote.
“The site will be accessible through public transportation, the pedestrian and bicycle network, and will engage the adjoining uses and buildings, offering Alexandria the ability to showcase forward thinking urban and sustainable planning and development,” it continued.
Images via City of Alexandria
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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).
ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.
This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.
If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!
In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!
We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.
Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!
This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA