Plenty of model homes offer surprises but not that many truly induce visitors to say “wow” over and over again like the Oronoco condominium in Old Town Alexandria.

The 60-unit building, converted by EYA from the former office building of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, offers Potomac River views, walkability to everything Old Town Alexandria has to offer and spacious upscale homes with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Chuck MacDonald, a buyer at the Oronoco, is selling his 180-acre property outside Leesburg, Va., to enjoy a “lock it and leave it” lifestyle.

“The biggest thing that appeals to me now that I’m an empty nester is that I want to be able to lock the door and head off anywhere without thinking about my property,” MacDonald says. “I’ve been looking for a long time but hadn’t found anything with the spaciousness of the condos at the Oronoco. The river views are great, and to be able to walk to everything in Old Town is great, too. But I also just love the modern look and all the glass.”

The U-shaped former office was gutted to create the Oronoco, allowing EYA to design homes with 10-foot high ceilings and tall windows with views of the Potomac and Old Town Alexandria.

“We kept the style very modern with stone, glass and metal on the exterior but with a nod to Old Town in a few elements,” says Preston Innerst, vice president of sales and marketing for EYA. “This is the first new waterfront housing in Old Town in more than a decade, so we like the fact that the shape allows every unit to have plenty of natural light and great views.”

MacDonald says the building is small enough to feel homey, but his place is also big enough to feel more like a single-family home than a condo.

“You can entertain a crowd in these places,” he says. “The layouts work great for people who are done with a big house and don’t want the maintenance but still want the space for guests.”

Soundproof windows: The model home, Unit 301, has 3,015 square feet inside and a 936-square-foot terrace. The front hall, lined with closets, opens into a great room with a living and dining area, an open kitchen with quartz counters and stainless steel appliances, a breakfast area and an indoor/outdoor fireplace.

Glass doors open into a library with a private balcony. This unit also has a powder room, a laundry room, three bedrooms and two full baths. The master suite has two walk-in closets, a bedroom with a sitting area and a sybaritic bath with stone floors, an oversized shower, a soaking tub and two separate vanities with quartz counters.

“All the windows in the building have been upgraded to be soundproof so that you never hear airplanes or boats on the river,” Innerst says.

Innerst says that while there are a variety of floor plans in the building, the majority of the features and finishes in the units are standard.

Heated exterior walkway: Residents at the Oronoco each have two garage spaces, a private storage room and building services, such as a concierge, 24-hour security, elevators, a heated outdoor pool that has a bathhouse with a kitchen, a fitness center with a yoga room, a children’s playroom, a meeting room, a bicycle-storage room and a dog-washing station. The landscaped courtyard and central walkway is heated in winter to melt snow.

Just outside the Oronoco is the waterfront Oronoco Bay Park. Nearby are Founders Park, the Torpedo Factory Art Center, the Mount Vernon Trail for walking and biking, and myriad shops and restaurants.

The Oronoco is being built to meet LEED-certification standards of the U.S. Green Building Council, including features such as lights that automatically go on and off. In addition, the adaptive reuse of the former office building and walkability are green features.

More than 80 percent of the Oronoco has already been sold, Innerst says.

Schools: Jefferson Houston Elementary School, George Washington Middle School, T.C. Williams High School.

Transit: A mile to Braddock Road Metro station; Alexandria DASH bus routes AT 2, 4 and 5 serve this area of Old Town Alexandria; water taxi to National Harbor from the Old Town waterfront.

Michele Lerner is a freelance writer.

The Oronoco

119 Oronoco St., Alexandria, Va.

The condo’s 60 units range from $1.6 million to $4.5 million.

Builder: EYA

Features: The condos have outdoor terraces and balconies, 10-foot high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood flooring in all living areas, a gas fireplace or indoor/outdoor fireplace, and a home automation system to operate lights, heat and window shades.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 2 or 3/2.5 or 3.5

Square footage: 1,602 to 3,500

Homeowners association fees: 45 cents per square foot per month or an average of $1,080 per month

View models: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

Sales office: 571-483-0286 or