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Town Square | Luxury apartments arrive in Alexandria

(SK&I Architecture)

The site of the Belle Pre Bottle Factory in Alexandria has been transformed with two new apartment buildings surrounding a public plaza with a commissioned sculpture by artist William Cochran.

The luxury development, built by Equity Residential, will have 360 apartments and 9,700 square feet of retail space one block from the Braddock Street Metro at 800 North Henry St. in Old Town Alexandria.

Community amenities include a landscaped rooftop with a swimming pool; fire pit and grilling stations; a lounge for residents with a theater, a private dining room and multiple games; and a fitness center with a yoga studio.

The development will have 70 floor plans ranging in size from 534 to 1,348 square feet. The apartments have hardwood flooring, an open kitchen with granite counters, a tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances. The one- and two-bedroom and loft units also have oversized windows, some with views of the downtown D.C. skyline.

The first of the two buildings is available for occupancy, with one-bedroom units renting from the mid $1,600s and up and two-bedroom homes starting in the mid $2,400s.

For more information visit or call the leasing office at (703) 229-1366.

Mortgage rates projected to jump in 2014

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank E. Nothaft wrote in his Executive Perspectives Blog that he expects interest rates to gradually rise throughout 2014, reaching 5 percent by the end of the year.

In addition, he anticipates that home values will rise on a national level by 5 to 6 percent in 2014, although he says price increases are likely to be higher in areas that were hardest hit by the housing crisis.

Nothaft wrote that inventory will likely remain tight during the year because new home construction isn’t able to keep pace with homebuyer demand and many would-be sellers still lack enough home equity to put their homes on the market.

New resource for homebuyers

Singles have become accustomed to using matchmaking sites such as and eHarmony to find a life partner and now house hunters can use similar technology to find a home.

Redfin Matchmaker, a new software technology available to Redfin real estate agents, uses algorithms to track potential buyers’ and other users’ activity on the company Web site.

Redfin says the combination of the agent’s knowledge of the client’s preferences and the technology provided by the software can bring up different listings and neighborhoods to broaden the home search.

For instance, if a buyer is looking for a specific style and size of home in Georgetown, Matchmaker might suggest a home in Cleveland Park that could match the buyer’s wish list. The software makes it easier for the agent to expand the property search and then use his or her insight into the customer’s preferences to evaluate the match.

Holiday bazaar to feature home décor

EastBanc and Jamestown, which own commericial real estate properties in Georgetown, are hosting an open marketplace holiday bazaar in Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley, a destination for upscale home design shopping.

The 8,000-square-foot, split-level pop-up Cady’s Alley Bazaar, which began earlier this month, features Zestt, a contemporary home accessories store with textiles, decorating and entertaining items and Victoria Road, which features handcrafted gifts, home décor and accessories from small businesses in emerging markets around the globe.

The bazaar, located at 3330 Cady’s Alley off Wisconsin Avenue near the western edge of Georgetown, will be open through Jan. 5. Visit for bazaar hours.

Lerner is a freelance writer. To pass on a tip or news item, contact us at and put “Town Square” in the subject line.