The Washington Post

In Old Town Alexandria, a chance to buy new and skip the headache of owning old property

Even with its trendy features, the Old Town Commons development in Old Town Alexandria brings to mind a simpler time, when people used feet rather than wheels to get around their communities and neighbors sought each other rather than the TV for companionship.

“It’s new construction, it’s LEED certified, which means the homes are very energy-efficient, and it’s very walkable, so homeowners aren’t dependent on an automobile,” said Preston Innerst, sales and marketing manager at EYA Homes, which developed the community.

The development, for which ground was broken in 2012, occupies five city blocks.

There’s little new construction in Old Town Alexandria, with the exception of small infill projects, which makes Old Town Commons more in-demand for people who don’t want the headaches that often come with an older property, Innerst said.

When Matt and Sharothi Sultana purchased there three years ago, they were among the first residents.

“We really love Old Town and find it a very charming neighborhood, and we have some great neighbors,” said Sharothi Sultana. They preferred to own new construction and not have to deal with renovation and remodeling, she said.

Easy being green: Old Town Commons, selling in its final phase, has three floor plans with three- or four-bedroom options.

Rooftop terraces come standard in all of the floor plans. Hardwood floors, nine-foot ceilings on both the main and upper level, a chef’s kitchen with designer cabinetry, luxurious bathrooms and energy-efficient features are standard. For more outdoor living space, the builder offers decks and porches as optional features.

The Sultanas said they found the home to be spacious, well-designed and green.

For example, light-colored roofing materials were used to increase energy efficiency by reflecting the sun’s rays. The developer said this reduces the urban heat island effect, which causes temperatures to spike in neighborhoods with dark roofs. There’s also space for solar thermal panels that could be installed in the future.

Many upgrades: Whether entertaining or unwinding after a long day, the rooftop terrace, which can double as an outdoor living room, is an ideal space to sit and chat, dine or catch up on reading.

“The rooftop terrace is a huge draw and can also come with an indoor/outdoor fireplace,” Innerst said.

On the top floor, each townhouse has a large loft with glass doors offering access to the terrace. The model homes have some interior brick walls that give the space an urban feel.

The Carlyle floor plan is 1,724 square feet and offers four levels, an open dining room and kitchen, three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a two-car garage and storage space.

The Buckingham plan has three bedrooms and 2.5 baths on three levels and comes with a fenced back yard, two reserved parking spaces and 2,005 square feet of space.

The Duncan is the largest floor plan at 2,082 square feet and includes four levels, three bedrooms, with the option to add a fourth bedroom on the entry level, 2.5 bathrooms, a private den and two-car garage. The Duncan offers a kitchen with white cabinetry and a granite center island that doubles as a breakfast bar, and a master bathroom with ceramic walls and flooring as well as a large soaking tub.

“I’d say the best features in our home are the open living room and kitchen, the front porch and the indoor/outdoor fireplace in the loft with the rooftop terrace,” said Sharothi Sultana. She and her husband live in the Duncan model.

Living with and without cars: While the neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly, there are spaces for cars. The homes come with either private garages or parking in enclosed back yards.

It’s an easy stroll to the center of Alexandria’s Old Town to take in the cobblestone streets and century-old buildings. However, this is also where the old meets the new, with restaurants, boutique shops and entertainment venues lining King Street. The waterfront park is a great place to picnic, and the Old Town Farmer’s Market, in business since 1753, operates on Saturday’s, year-round.

Also, the Charles Houston Recreation Center, with a swimming pool, is directly opposite the Old Town Common sales office.

Transit: “We feel one of the best things about [Old Town Commons] is its central location,” said Sharothi Sultana, adding that the couple’s home is less than a 10-minute walk from the Metro and is near to major highways and the airport.

Carisa Crawford-Chappell is a freelance writer.


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