Old Town Alexandria is starting to look a little, well, new.
In the northwest section of town, near the Braddock Road Metro, apartment buildings are starting to pop up.
“I love the neighborhood,” says new resident Kristen Hanna, 29. “I have easy access to King Street, where I spend a lot of my time, and I’m able to walk to everything.”
Last fall, Hanna moved into The Asher Apartments (620 N. Fayette St., 888-273-7048), which is the first of four new apartment buildings opening near the Braddock Road Metro. Convenient to the Old Town waterfront and shops as well as to Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray and Potomac Yard off U.S. 1, the area will have 1,001 new units by spring 2015, compared to the time before The Asher opened last September.
The next building slated to open is Belle Pre Apartments (1125 Madison St. and 1111 Belle Pre Way) in November. The 360-unit complex will include a rooftop swimming pool and a courtyard with grills. Braddock Metro Place has plans to open in July 2014, and Braddock Gateway is scheduled to open in early 2015.
The area’s makeover is thanks to a 2008 Braddock-area improvement plan. Developers are tearing down old warehouses and constructing a new neighborhood. Buildings will have shiny new appliances, rooftop pools and fitness centers, and the neighborhood will get new parks and retail spaces.
“There are so many new buildings going in right around us, and the whole neighborhood just really seems to be growing an awful lot,” says Heather Walrath, 29, who has lived for the past five years in the Meridian at Braddock Station (1200 First St.; 888-419-5882), which has two buildings, one that opened in 1991 and another in 2002. While construction is commonplace in the area now, “it’s not ridiculously loud or anything really disruptive to us,” she says.
Walrath and her neighbors will soon be rewarded for taking the construction in stride. This summer, the city of Alexandria plans to unveil a multiuse trail that will run along the train tracks from Braddock Metro and connect to a new 21-acre park at Potomac Yard.
The city also has plans to construct a 1-acre park directly across the street from The Asher once the post office that is currently housed there finds a new home.
And this time next year, there will also be a bus transitway between the Braddock Metro and Crystal City.
The promise of a growing community has inspired local business professionals to invest, too.
The owners of Yates Automotive have purchased the tired-looking 7-Eleven on Braddock Road across from the Metro and are giving the block a complete overhaul. They have torn down the old building and in the fall will open the doors to a complex they are calling Yates Corner (Yatescorner.com). The new brick building will feature a renovated 7-Eleven, green dry cleaners and Yates Automotive, as well as additional retail and office space.
“[They are] taking that sort of slightly unattractive corner and revitalizing that neighborhood, making it feel like Del Ray easily now sort of segues into Old Town,” says Century 21 New Millennium Realtor Stephen Newman (703-405-6494).
Building managers are reaping the benefits of the neighborhood overhaul.
“We’re in a great location,” says Melanie Martin, property manager of The Asher Apartments. “King Street’s five blocks up. The water’s 10 blocks down.”
Located directly between Old Town and Del Ray, residents have access to two King Street farmers markets plus one in Del Ray.
“I rarely use my car, except to pick up my dog from doggie day care,” says Hanna, who works in human resources for a defense consulting company in Old Town. She likes to take Trey — her Pembroke Welsh corgi — to run around in a nearby dog park in Del Ray.
“With the Braddock Road [Metro] being there, it makes it an easy commute and handy to the city,” Newman says. “People who don’t want the hustle and bustle of the District but who prefer a little more laid back lifestyle? They will gravitate toward that area.”