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Finding inspiration and relaxation in luxury condos of Old Town North

The 72-unit Muse occupies an eight-story building near the Potomac River and the Mount Vernon Trail in Alexandria, Va.

The living room in a staged model unit at the Muse in Alexandria, Va. (Benjamin C Tankersley for The Washington Post)
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The location, close to the water and its serenity, drew Michele Pearce and her husband, Stephen, to the Muse, a 72-unit condominium development in Alexandria’s Old Town North.

The prospect of walking and cycling on the nearby Mount Vernon Trail and the luxury of living in a place where “every detail has been thought of” were further incentives for a couple seeking a peaceful change from their condo in bustling CityCenterDC.

“The whole kind of feel is different and welcome,” said Michele, who is of counsel at a D.C. law firm. She and her husband bought a large, one-bedroom unit with a den and patio. They moved there in April.

The Pearces were among the first residents to move into the Muse, which occupies an eight-story building near the Potomac River waterfront. Its builder, the Carr Cos., expects construction to be completed in July.

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The location at 1201 N. Royal St. was once home to Bastille, a French restaurant. Later, for almost 20 years, the occupants included MetroStage, a theater group that will be moving to a Carr Cos. development around the corner on North Fairfax Street.

The North Royal Street location will still have room for the arts. Within the Muse development, space has been set aside — on the ground floor of a new three-story building — for art studios and for classes, workshops and other events organized through the Art League.

The Art League’s presence "provides an elevated cultural experience within our community that our residents are looking for,” said Kami Kraft, vice president of the Mayhood Co., which is in charge of sales and marketing. “It’s a little different.”

It also inspired the condominium’s name. “The Muse was the name derived to give that artistic nod,” Kraft said.

Available units at the Muse come with one or two bedrooms.

The largest, at 1,863 square feet, has two bedrooms, a den, two full bathrooms, a powder room (or half-bath) and a balcony. It is one of six models offering two bedrooms plus a den or a loft. The smallest of the six, at 1,655 square feet, also has two balconies. Prices for units with two bedrooms plus a den start at $1.85 million.

Two-bedroom, two-bathroom units without a den or loft come in seven layouts and range from 1,114 to 1,576 square feet; the largest comes with a balcony. Prices start at $950,000.

Units with one bedroom plus a den or a loft come in five varieties. They have either two full bathrooms or one bathroom and a powder room, and sizes range from 952 to 1,398 square feet. Prices start at $860,000.

Prices for all luxury loft units start at $1.15 million.

About half of the units have been sold, and most early sales were of larger units priced at $2 million to $3 million, Kraft said. Midsize units make up most of the inventory left for sale.

The units have open-concept floor plans, gourmet kitchens, spalike bathrooms, nine-foot-tall windows and 7½-inch engineered oak floors throughout. Finishes include Snaidero cabinets, quartz countertops, and Bosch and Thermador appliances.

Floor plans were designed with an emphasis on "how we expected people to live,” which is reflected in such features as a walk-in laundry room and linen closets and pantries for storage, Kraft said. Additional storage is also available to purchase, in amounts from 8,000 to 20,000 square feet.

All units come with one or two underground parking spots that are included in the price of the home. Extra parking spots are for sale, along with electric-vehicle chargers.

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The Muse provides 24-hour concierge service and has a property manager and engineer on-site. An additional lobby attendant is available to assist with groceries and provide other help Monday through Friday. Kraft said the Muse “aims to offer a higher service level than what has been offered in Alexandria.”

Community amenities include a penthouse-level fitness center with yoga studios and an outdoor fitness terrace. Akseizer Design Group in Alexandria handled the interior design of all amenities, common areas and units at Muse.

A rooftop indoor-outdoor clubroom offers scenic views of the Potomac. It has a party kitchen and informal and formal seating inside. Outside, a wraparound terrace has private dining, fire pits and a grilling station.

In the garage, there’s a pet wash and a bike storage room with a repair center.

On the Mount Vernon Trail, residents can travel for miles along the Potomac on their bicycles. They can ride to Old Town for dinner without having to worry about parking, Kraft said.

The Muse is within walking distance of Tide Lock Park and is a few blocks from a cluster of stores, including Harris Teeter and Trader Joe’s, coffee shops and fast-casual restaurants. It’s about 10 blocks from the commercial activity on King Street.

The river remains a huge draw for people, Kraft said.

“The water is magic,” Kraft said. “Every buyer comes in and says they want a view. They want the river. They want the trees and our whole artful-living theme.”

Schools: Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School; George Washington Middle School; Alexandria City High School

Transit: The Muse is about three-quarters of a mile from the Braddock Road Metro station (on the Blue and Yellow lines) and the Potomac Yard station (also on the Blue and Yellow lines), which is under construction and expected to be completed this year. Residents can ride the Dash bus to the Braddock Road station. Nearby highways include George Washington Memorial Parkway and Interstate 395. The building is on the Mount Vernon Trail.

Nearby: Mount Vernon Trail, Tide Lock Park and Oronoco Bay Park; a cluster of grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants within walking distance; shopping and dining on King Street about 10 blocks away.

The Muse

1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria, Va.

The plan calls for 72 condominiums, and about half remain for sale. Prices for available units start at $860,000 for one bedroom with a den; $950,000 for two bedrooms; $1.85 million for two bedrooms with a den; $1.15 million for units with lofts.

Builder: Carr Cos.

Features: Snaidero cabinetry in kitchens, owner’s suites and guest bathrooms; quartz countertops in kitchens and bathrooms; Bosch and Thermador kitchen appliances; 7.5-inch engineered oak floors throughout; nine-foot-high windows; custom lighting. One or two underground parking spots are included in home price. Extra storage is available to buy.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 plus den to 2 plus den/1½ to 2½ (in available units)

Square-footage: 952 to 1,863

Condominium fee: $900 to $1,800 a month, depending on unit size

View model: By appointment

Sales: The Mayhood Co. at 571-771-MUSE (6873) or