Judges, clerks and lawyers whose lives revolve around the U.S. District Court in Alexandria are finally going to get some elbow room.
When the Alexandria City Council approved a 76-acre development in the Eisenhower Valley section of the city last month, it also set in motion plans for a spacious $75.6 million federal courthouse for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The new courthouse will provide a focal point for the first phase of the development, which is a joint project of the Oliver Carr Co. and Norfolk Southern Corp. The project will include more than 1,000 residences and more office space than the Pentagon.
The new 290,000-square-foot courthouse will occupy 2.6 acres donated by the developers, house 15 courtrooms and include parking for 500 vehicles. Located just off Duke Street between the King Street and Eisenhower Metro stations, the new facility will replace the 65,000-square-foot Albert V. Bryan Courthouse at 200 S. Washington St., a Georgian-style building constructed in 1931 and named after the late federal appellate judge who was the father of U.S. District Chief Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr.
Despite a recent $3.2 million facelift, the current five-courtroom structure in the city's Old Town area had grown cramped as the district's criminal and civil caseload soared in the 1980s.
When the new courthouse is opened in 1994, it will also house a U.S. Magistrates Court, a federal bankruptcy court and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the eastern half of Virginia -- all of which are now based in leased offices scattered around Old Town.
Elisabeth Rome, spokeswoman for the Oliver Carr Co., said the inclusion of the courthouse in the Eisenhower Valley project was a perfect marriage of needs.
"They needed a new location because they were expanding," Rome said. "And it's a wonderful anchor tenant to have because it brings life to the project . . . . It's going to help us attract other tenants. Law firms will certainly be interested in being nearby."