Alexandria City Council approved plans for a 370,000-square-foot office for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in Potomac Yard Land Bay G Saturday. The office is the first non-residential complex to be approved for the development.
The structure, which is located just south of the Target, is expected to be the focal point of a new town center in Potomac Yard.
Keeping IDA in Alexandria was seen as an economic development priority by councilmembers. The agency currently works out of an office near BRAC-133 in the West End.
The new structure will be composed of two, eight-story towers built on a connected ground floor. It will have a 580-space parking garage consisting of one level below grade and four levels above grade. The 1.88-acre lot was originally planned for a hotel.
The office will have a parking-to-space ratio of 1.16 spaces per 1,000 square feet, a number similar to BRAC-133 and the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.
“This site shares the characteristics of PTO,” Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said. “It’s at or near different modes of transportation. This will have a future Metro station and a transitway.”
A stop on the Route 1 Bus Rapid Transitway, which is currently under construction, is planned for one block away from the office. The city also continues to move forward on plans for a Metro station at Potomac Yard.
Parking access to the office will be available on Douge Street on the north side of the complex. Negotiations are ongoing with owners of neighboring Land Bay F (where Potomac Yard Shopping Center is located) to construct parking access on Main Line Boulevard. City staff is expected to report back to council before the end of the year on progress in negotiations. The second access point is needed to disperse traffic during peak hours around the complex.
“Let it be known here and now and far and wide that there will be an access point there,” Donley said.
Rich Baier, the city’s director of Transportation and Environmental Services, secured about $30,000 from an already agreed upon developer parking meter donation of $90,000 to be used for some traffic-calming measures in adjacent neighborhoods, including Del Ray, Lynhaven and Arlandria. Initially the donation was listed as only for Del Ray. Councilmembers clarified the condition on Saturday, stating that the money will be used for “neighborhoods adjacent to Potomac Yard.” The traffic-calming money will be used at Baier’s discretion.
The donation was a late addition to the proposal. It came as the result of a Nov. 29 meeting on traffic issues in Del Ray and the work of city staff and the Traffic and Parking Committee of the Del Ray Citizens Association. Planning Director Faroll Hamer said at the Nov. 29 meeting that it was too late in the planning process to ask the developer for additional contributions. Baier was then able to source the money from the previously-agreed donation.
A second community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at Mount Vernon Recreation Center to discuss when and how to use the traffic-calming funds.