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AEDP president says future of Potomac Yard Target is a top question for many locals

Target in Potomac Yards (image via Google Maps)

While people around the region have been discussing the proposal to move the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards to a new Potomac Yard arena, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Stephanie Landrum said one of the most popular questions she’s been getting from Alexandrians is “What will happen to the Target?”

The Target (3101 Richmond Highway) at Potomac Yard was controversial back when it opened, according to a Washington Post article from 1997.

Nearby residents quoted in the article said they were concerned the strip mall project would create more traffic for their neighborhood and clog Route 1. The article contains eerily familiar accusations that neither the developer nor the City of Alexandria have adequate plans to deal with traffic.

Some bemoaned the death of plans to bring the Washington Redskins (now the Commanders) to a new stadium at Potomac Yard; others said the shopping center was too large and unsightly.

The 1997 article notes that the shopping center was designed as an “interim” project to last around 20 years.

Now, with that interim use likely to be replaced with new development, Landrum said there’s widespread concern about Target going away.

“I don’t mean this facetiously; one of the biggest questions we’ve gotten is: what is going to happen to my Target?” Landrum said. “We want to acknowledge that our city loves our Target.”

Mayor Justin Wilson noted in an earlier meeting with the Del Ray Citizens Association that the Target at Potomac Yard “does extremely well” and will likely return in some capacity in the development process — though it might be scaled down.

“That was always an assumption, that we’d, in the future, have a more urban Target,” Wilson said. “What that looks like still needs to be determined in the future.”

Landrum said the plan was always, even pre-arena, to redevelop the current Target building.

“Our community, development partner, and Target are aligned in trying to find a future location for Target in a reimagined Potomac Yard,” Landrum said. “To be clear, that has always been the vision for the site, this project aside.”

During the same discussion, Landrum noted that tickets to Capitals and Wizards games might be slightly cheaper in Alexandria thanks to the city’s lower taxes.

“I don’t want there to be any confusion that somehow coming to events here is being structured as more expensive,” Landrum said. “Our admissions tax rate is a tiny bit lower than the current sales and tax use rate that people pay in D.C. So, that’s for the fans.”

Image via Google Maps

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