The Washington Post

Construction to begin on Potomac Yard apartments — the rest of the town will wait

Two local development firms, MRP Realty and the JBG Cos., plan to begin construction this spring on a town center project in Potomac Yard that aims to take advantage of a planned Metro station adjacent to the area.

Called The Exchange at Potomac Yard, the 1.9 million-square-foot project along Route 1 in Alexandria is expected to include office space, two hotels, 100,000 square feet of retail and 534 apartments.

To start with, though, just the apartments are getting built. Why? The market for companies interested in renting new office space has dried up considerably, particularly with cutbacks by the federal government, and the market for new apartments is still very hot. A spokeswoman for the development team says the companies could decide to turn the apartments into condominiums after construction begins but for now expects them all to be apartments. The stores and hotels that will eventually join them have not been determined.

A rendering of The Exchange at Potomac Yard. (Courtesy of MRP Realty)

MRP has hung with the project through the ups and downs of the economy, having originally planned to break ground in 2009. The company is finally beginning the project with a different partner than it started the planning process. MRP originally partnered with Rockpoint Group, of Boston, on the deal. In July JBG, which has been aggressively buying into deals since the economic collapse, bought into the deal by recapitalizing it with $43 million.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.



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