New communities take pride in attracting a mix of residents from far and wide, which usually means from across the Potomac River or a county on the other side of the state. But Portland, Ore.? That’s a stretch of 2,300 miles from the West Coast.
Yet that’s exactly where Fiona Sim and her husband Steven Chin came from last week when they moved and closed on a unit in Majesty West, a new townhouse community in Alexandria, Va.
“Steven grew up in New York,” said Sim. “We lived in Portland for 18 years. When we stopped working we wanted to move back to the East Coast.”
It’s a wonder the couple discovered the property.
“We just found it by accident,” she said. “A friend of a friend mentioned Alexandria, so we looked it up. We wanted to live outside a large city and have easy access to it. We wanted to walk and use our bikes. It has all the things we like.”
Inspired by royalty: Majesty West is close to Old Town. It’s three blocks from Virginia Route 1/South Patrick Street and four blocks west of Virginia Route 7/King Street, a major thoroughfare through Alexandria.
‘West’ derives from this west end location, said Shay Carson Onorio of Red Thinking, the branding and marketing firm representing Prime Building Advantage, which is handling sales.
‘Majesty’ is a reference to the names of nearby King, Prince, Queen and Duke streets. “The core of Old Town started with 10 streets spanning 60 acres, named after royalty, as people at the time were more aligned with England and the Parliament,” she said.
The community sits on an acre formerly occupied by a warehouse filled with tables, chairs and drapes used at events in government facilities. The Wilkes Street side overlooks Alexandria National Cemetery. “There’s even a boundary marker at 1220 Wilkes,” said Chin. It’s one of 40 boundary stones placed around the perimeter of the original District of Columbia in 1791-1792. “It shows up on Google maps as a historic marker,” he said.
M/I Homes bought the property and is putting up three buildings in a U-shape with 22 townhouses. One building of eight townhouses is complete; two are sold, and six are on the market. Construction of the second building and sales of the eight units will start in the summer.
“The builder worked closely with the City of Alexandria to make sure the development blended in with the rest of the city especially Old Town,” said Pam Swartz, new home consultant with Prime. The facades are shades of red, rust and maroon; windows are framed in brown-black metal; the sidewalk is red brick.
Modern and traditional takes: Two floor plans are offered. Kent end units are 22 feet wide; Cambridge interior units are 20 feet wide. All are four levels with two-car garages. “Practically everything is included,” said Swartz. “We don’t have a big options list.”
Entry is on the garage level adjacent to a bedroom and accompanying bathroom. Up a flight is the central kitchen flanked by living and dining room. “That was one of the things we liked, the open plan,” said Sim. “It’s what we had in Portland where we lived in a 2,000-square-foot loft. Now we have a more modern take.”
“Modern amenities in a traditional townhouse,” added Chin.
“We like to cook so we like the huge kitchen island and lots of prep space,” she said. The 10-foot-long marble island is designed with the waterfall feature, meaning the marble top falls to the floor. The microwave is hidden behind a cabinet door with a swing-up hinge. Ceiling lights are recessed, and the ceiling is pre-wired for a sound system. A little alcove houses a pantry, utility closet and powder room. Double-hung windows are large and let in lots of natural light. “Even on cloudy days it’s bright inside,” said Swartz.
The washer and dryer are stacked in a spacious laundry room with windows on the third floor. Two bedrooms are off a hallway. Two narrow terraces frame a fourth floor loft, one facing the street and one the rear. “We like the open feel up there as well,” said Chin.
What’s nearby: Alexandria sits on the Potomac River and offers a waterfront with great views, pathways to stroll and grass to frolic on. You can catch a dinner cruise, boat ride to Mount Vernon, water taxi or boat tour. It’s magical. Retail, restaurants, commercial services and entertainment venues are abundant.
Old Town’s historic district is well preserved. Cobblestone streets and Federal style red brick architecture conjure up early American history.
The city of Alexandria offers programing for recreation programs in camps, pools and parks and cultural activities for all.
Four farmer’s markets operate across the city.
Schools: Lyles-Crouch Elementary, George Washington Middle, T.C. Williams High.
Transit: The closest Metro stations, on the Blue and Yellow lines, are Braddock Road, which has 46 bike racks and 12 bike lockers, and King Street-Old Town, with 34 bike racks and 20 lockers. Virginia Route 1, George Washington Memorial Parkway and Interstate 495 are the main traffic arteries. Ronald Reagan National Airport is about 12 minutes away.
425 S. Payne St., Alexandria, Va.
The eight townhouses are priced from $1,189,000 to $1,339,000.
Builder: M/I Homes
Features: Each townhouse has a two-car garage, insulated garage door, exterior keypad and two remote openers. There’s a 75-gallon water heater, touch-screen thermostat and aluminum clad wood windows. Ceilings are nine feet on each level; floors are laid with engineered hardwood; door handles are by Schlage. The kitchen is outfitted with maple cabinetry, marble countertop and island with a waterfall edge.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3/ 5
Square footage: 2,494 to 2,747
Homeowners association fee: $180 per month
View model: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday to Tuesday.
Sales: Pam Swartz, 301-503-0917 or www.mihomes.com.