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Dylan Condominiums in Potomac Yard (Rendering via Dylan Condominiums/Facebook)

The City of Alexandria will select nine locals via lottery for a chance to buy one of the handful of affordable condos built near the new Potomac Yard Metro station.

The units are committed affordable units — part of a trade for extra density from new development — in the Dylan Condominiums development at 701 and 737 Swann Avenue.

The new development is just a few blocks from the new Metro station, scheduled to open sometime next year after being derailed by delays.

“Dylan is a new residential condominium development in Potomac Yard proximate to the new Potomac Yard Metro Station and Metroway bus rapid transit, retail, parks, and other neighborhood amenities,” the city said in a release. “In total, nine condominium units will be available to income-eligible, first-time homebuyers at this new community, which is located at 701 and 737 Swann Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia.”

To qualify, buyers must live or work in Alexandria. In a telling indicator of local home prices, the city’s website said the qualifying income is “a gross annual household income up to 100% of the area median income.” In Alexandria, that’s $99,700 for one person.

According to the city’s website, the sale pries and monthly condo fees for the affordable units are:

  • One bedroom and one bath at $175,000, with a monthly condo fee of $406
  • Two bedroom and one bath at $225,000, with a monthly condo fee of $510
  • Two bedroom and two baths at $225,000, with a monthly condo fee of $630
  • Two bedroom plus den and two baths at $275,000, with a monthly condo fee of $630

“The City will accept applications for the units starting November 15 through December 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.,” the release said.

Image via Dylan Condominiums/Facebook

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(Updated at 11:55 a.m. on Nov. 4) Citing cost increases, developer JBG Smith is putting the brakes on building two seven-story residential apartment buildings around the corner from the Potomac Yard Metro Station.

Construction of an 85-foot-tall apartment building in block 15 and a 90-foot-tall apartment building in block 19 are being put on hold, Matt Kelly, CEO of JBG Smith, told investors this week. Kelly reportedly said that a surge in construction costs inhibit development.

JBG Smith is the master master developer for Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus, and last year signed a deal with to design, construct, manage and own two million square feet of mix-used property at Potomac Yard.

At the time, JBG Smith said that construction could start within the next year,

“The plans call for two multifamily buildings totaling approximately 419,000 square feet that have been placed in JBG SMITH’s Near-Term Development Pipeline and could start construction within the next 12 months,” JBG Smith said.

The hold on more than 400,000 square feet of residential development was first reported by the Washington Business Journal.

The 180,000-square-foot property on block 15 is a block away from the unfinished Metro station. Plans approved by the city call for a 212-unit building with an underground parking garage and 15,000 square feet of ground-level retail.

The 286,000-square-foot property on block 19 is planned as a 262-unit apartment building with an underground parking garage and 23,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

Virginia Tech plans on opening its four-acre Innovation Campus by fall 2024, and the delayed Potomac Yard Metro station is expected to open sometime next year.

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It’s been a busy week of meetings in Alexandria.

First, parents met with Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) leadership in a forum addressing safety in schools, a major talking point in schools after the murder of a student this summer and issues involving violent “crews” in ACPS.

In an Agenda Alexandria meeting, City Manager James Parajon said adding density to the city is vital to meeting affordable housing needs, though some in the audience expressed concerns that added density could harm the “historic nature” of Alexandria.

Lastly, the Chamber ALX held its Best in Business awards last night. Land use attorney Cathy Puskar was named the 2022 Business Leader of the Year and restaurant Chadwicks (203 Strand Street) was named Overall Business of the Year.

Top stories

  1. New Duke Street development replacing car dealership with affordable housing
  2. Tenant arrested for allegedly pointing handgun at landlord in West End apartment
  3. City Manager: Trading height for affordable housing means ‘unlikely’ impact on historic districts
  4. Alexandria mayor to present multi-year plan to rename streets named after Confederate soldiers
  5. Potomac Yard Metro station hits major milestone after earlier plans derailed by delays
  6. Alexandria lowers speed limits on major West End streets
  7. Falafel Inc. opening on Halloween on King Street in Old Town
  8. Nine more COVID deaths in Alexandria within the last month
  9. Public comment period closing on three Duke Street Transitway options
  10. Alexandria City Council hires auditor to review allegations of police misconduct
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Train going through Potomac Yard Metro station (image via WMATA/Twitter)

After a series of delays, there’s finally a positive milestone for the Potomac Yard Metro station.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) tweeted this morning that the first test train has gone through the station.

“Major milestone in our efforts to complete the work for the new station,” WMATA said in the tweet. “Testing is on schedule [and] we appreciate everyone’s patience as our teams work to get the station completed.”

The opening, originally scheduled for this past spring and then to this fall, was pushed back last month to sometime in 2023 with no more specific date.

The delay also prolonged the period of time when Alexandria will be cut off from the rest of the Metro system to early next month.

Image via WMATA/Twitter

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Current state of Landmark Mall (image via City of Alexandria)

Except for the shots fired in the Braddock neighborhood, it’s been a relatively quiet week in Alexandria.

The water was still settling on Monday after the big drop on Friday: the Potomac Yard Metro station was going to be delayed until sometime in 2023 and the shutdown affecting Alexandria would be continued into November.

Beyond that, the top stories this week were a revisit of some of the old hits: Landmark Mall development, on-street dining, speed cameras and flooding.

Top stories

  1. Developer opens up about next steps for Landmark Mall redevelopment
  2. Alexandria woman caught with gun at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport checkpoint
  3. No injuries or arrest after shots fired in Braddock area
  4. Alexandria looking to loosen up a little for on-street dining
  5. Alexandria’s first speed cameras headed to City Council review this month
  6. BREAKING: Potomac Yard Metro station opening pushed back to 2023
  7. New change to Alexandria manholes could help combat some stormwater flooding
  8. For fifth straight year, Alexandria makes Best Small City list by Condé Nast Traveler
  9. New e-bikes launch in Alexandria with $5 coupon
  10. Poll: Were you surprised by the Potomac Yard Metro station delay?
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Last Friday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that the Potomac Yard Metro station would not be opening this fall, as they’d been insisting it would for months.

The new opening date is set as sometime in 2023. The announcement also came with an update that the shutdown cutting Alexandria off from the rest of the Metro station would be extended into November.

The delay is the latest in a long series of screw-ups connected to the Potomac Yard project, from a delay earlier this year to Metro and city officials concealing information about the station losing a southern entrance back in 2018.

Beyond Potomac Yard, the announcement came on the heels of a new report casting serious doubts about the safety on the rail line after the Metro system reportedly failed to fully address the issues that caused a train derailment last year.

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Construction work at Potomac Yard Metro station, photo via City of Alexandria

(Updated 2:15 p.m.) The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that the Potomac Yard Metro station’s opening will be delayed yet again.

WMATA said in a statement that the Metro shutdown impacting all of Alexandria will be extended into November and the station, set to open this fall, will not open until sometime in 2023.

Just as WMATA had been vague about when in the fall the station would open, there’s no timeline for when in 2023 the station will open. Given that the station was originally set to open in April 2022, it’s possible the station’s opening could be delayed a full year past the original opening date.

“Regretfully, Metro announces that the new Potomac Yard Station will not open this calendar year,” WMATA said in a release. “The delay in completing construction of the station is due to the contractor’s failure to meet the project delivery schedule. Metro will continue to work with the contractor to produce an achievable schedule and will provide an update by the end of this year.”

WMATA said as site work got underway at Potomac Yard, crews discovered issues with underlying soil that affected the structural stability of the ground beneath the tracks. A remediation plan was developed and implemented, but WMATA said that reinforcing the ground below the tracks “required removing any work already completed, excavating additional soil beneath 1400 feet of track, and installing new subgrade materials to provide the required stability.”

According to Executive Vice President of Capital Delivery Andy Off:

We are frustrated with these developments on the Potomac Yard Station project. The team has been working around the clock to push the project delivery team to perform in accordance with the schedule. Recently, it has become clear that the published schedule will not be met, unfortunately delaying the opening of this important station. On behalf of our customers and the City of Alexandria, we apologize for this inconvenience. We will continue to work as quickly as possible to deliver a high-quality station, and we are doing everything within our power to move the project forward in a safe and responsible way.

Currently, Alexandria is cut-off from the rest of the Metro system. That was supposed to end on Saturday, Oct. 22, but WMATA said that ending has been pushed back to Nov. 5. WMATA officials previously said that once work had started on the station, it would be virtually impossible to reconnect Alexandria to the rest of the Metro system until the station was ready to open.

“Metro is extending the closure of six stations south of Reagan National Airport due to unexpected site conditions and remediation efforts for the future Potomac Yard Station,” WMATA said in a release. “The announcement today comes three weeks before stations were scheduled to reopen to give our customers time to plan their trips accordingly.”

WMATA said free shuttle bus service will continue to be available through the extended shutdown.

“As always, Metro will continue to work collaboratively with the City of Alexandria and the contractor to resolve these scheduling issues and continue our commitment of transparency to the local community,” the release said.

Mayor Justin Wilson called the delays “unacceptable” and said the project needs more direct oversight by WMATA:

The numerous delays to the Potomac Yard construction project are unacceptable. This critically important project requires more intentional oversight by WMATA. Our residents and businesses deserve better from our partners.

This latest setback must be met with urgency and significant actions by WMATA and its contractor to recover from the time and money lost. The City of Alexandria has provided specific operational actions to WMATA that we believe will more effectively manage the contractor’s efforts to complete this project in an expedited and efficient manner.

The City is also demanding that the financial impacts of the numerous delays be assessed and adjusted by WMATA to the benefit of our community. We will continue working with our partners to ensure transit riders have accessible alternatives during this continued shutdown.

We cannot continue to repeat these failures.

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We’re just a nebulous amount of time away from the opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station, but the station is already showing up on new Metro maps.

The ongoing shutdown for Alexandria to bring the Potomac Yard Metro station into the system is scheduled to finish on Oct. 22. Metro officials said trains will be passing through but not stopping at the station.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has said the station will open this fall, and Fred Robertson, project manager for the Potomac Yard Metro station, said there’s no more definite date available even as the year slides into fall.

The station was supposed to open in the spring but was pushed back to fall because of a contracting error.

The new map shows the Potomac Yard station as just a white dot lacking the black circle of its completed peers — indicating that the Potomac Yard Metro station is a “future station”. If WMATA keeps to its “fall” timeline, the new map should only be up to date for two months at most.

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Construction work at Potomac Yard Metro station, photo via City of Alexandria

(Updated 6:50 p.m.) As the Potomac Yard Metro Station nears the finish line, WMATA representatives told Alexandria leaders at a meeting this week they’re trying to learn from previous mistakes and avoid fumbling the ball this close to the endzone.

Alexandria will be cut off from the rest of the Metro system from Sept. 10 to Oct. 22 while WMATA works to bring the Potomac Metro station in line. At a meeting of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group on Monday — where city staff also discussed additional commuter options — WMATA explained what will be going on inside the station during the shutdown.

The opening of the station was delayed by approximately half a year.

Fred Robertson, project manager for the Potomac Yard Metro station, said that starting on Sept. 10, WMATA will begin cutting the old track and working to install new track through the station.

Like Hernán Cortés burning his ships, WMATA said an early part of that work will involve cutting the existing rails connecting Alexandria to the rest of the Metro system, after which there’s no going back until the station opens.

“Let’s say you complete two weeks of work and testing doesn’t go well: at that point is the only option to go back to the other section of track?” Mayor Justin Wilson asked.

“There is no other section of track once we cut it,” Robertson said. “It’s gone.”

The cutover work is expected to last from Sept. 10-Sept. 28. From Sept. 28 to Oct. 22. Robertson said WMATA will be running tests on the systems, safe braking and more.

Trains will start moving through the station — but not stopping there — on Oct. 23.

Roberson also acknowledged that construction and testing will likely be disruptive to neighbors, with trains moving at all hours between National Airport and the Braddock Metro station. That will involve train horns and braking sounds extending even after hours.

“Let your HOA know: there’s nothing we can do about that,” Robertson said.

There’s no fixed date for when the station will fully open. WMATA would not commit to a specific date beyond the existing fall 2022 time. Construction will also likely continue through January even after the station opens, Robertson said.

One of the members of the group told Robertson that if anything changes and there is a delay, that information needs to be made public as quickly as possible.

“We talk about that often so as not to happen again,” Robertson said. “I bring it up all the time with the south entrance. I wasn’t a part of it, so I can say that.”

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While buses and trains are centerstage in efforts to replace Metro during an extended closure planned through earlier next year, Alexandria is also looking to bicycles and boats to help make up the difference.

Alexandria will be cut off from the rest of the Metro system from Sept. 10 to Oct. 22 as WMATA works to bring the Potomac Yard Metro station in line with the rest of the system. Then, from September through spring 2023, the Yellow Line Tunnel connecting Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations will be closed for repairs, forcing Alexandria commuters to loop up into D.C. through the Blue Line.

In a meeting of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group on Monday, Thomas Hamed, an urban planner with the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES), outlined some of the other methods the city is looking at to get commuters back and forth between Alexandria and D.C.

“Capital Bikeshare will be free for people coming to and from Alexandria,” Hamed said. “We will have a code with Capital Bikeshare operator Lyft to allow people who either live or work in Alexandria to use the Capital Bikeshare for free for any trip that comes to or from the city or within the city.”

The offer resembles bike share deals from previous Metro shutdowns, though Capital Bikeshare has been significantly expanding the number of bicycle docking stations around Alexandria.

Another commuter option used previously is the Potomac Water Taxi, which runs from the Old Town waterfront up to Georgetown and The Wharf or down to National Harbor. The Potomac Water Taxi is a private service, but Hamed said the City of Alexandria is working on partnering with them for increased service.

“We will be adding water taxi boats earlier in the morning,” Hamed said. “Right now, it’s a private service that starts later in the day and is geared mostly toward visitors to and from Alexandria. It’s not really practical for commuters. We partnered with them in 2019 to add boats [earlier in the morning] and we will be doing that again. We are working with the operator of the water taxi to throw in a little extra incentive.”

Someone in the room quipped that the incentive might be life jackets, but others suggested various types of alcoholic drinks might be an added boon.

One of the other Metro replacements planned is VRE, which will offer free rides throughout September throughout its system. A VRE representative at the meeting said the train will be free in October as well, but only for the Alexandria-Crystal City to L’Enfant section of the line.

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