The Alexandria Planning Commission approved Tuesday plans for a 370,000-square-foot office for the Institute of Defense Analyses in Potomac Yard Land Bay G, just south of where Target is currently located.
The proposal will go before the City Council on Dec. 15.
The office, the first non-residential building in the Potomac Yard development to enter the city’s approval process, is expected to be the focal point of a new town center. The proposed office is seen by city staff as an important addition to Potomac Yard, envisioned as a mixed-used center that also supports retail and other services.
IDA has outgrown its current office, located next to BRAC-133 in the West End.
Its proposed Potomac Yard structure is 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.
Traffic volume analysis submitted by the developer predicted the office would create an increase of 773 peak hour morning vehicle trips and 1,036 more peak afternoon trips to what exists today in the area. These numbers include a net change of 60 additional trips in the morning peak hour and 23 fewer trips for the afternoon peak hour when compared to what was approved to the area in 2009.
City staff hopes the traffic numbers will be mitigated by the Route 1 Bus Rapid Transitway, which will have a stop near the office, when it is completed in December 2013. The proposed Potomac Yard Metro station was cited by planners as another potential source of traffic mitigation.
Two members of the Traffic and Parking Board of the Del Ray Citizens Association, following a community meeting with city planners on traffic issues on Nov. 29, asked the city to take a proactive approach to traffic-calming measures, specifically on neighborhood streets in Del Ray.
“We want to city to be proactive,” said Sandy Modell, an E. Custis Avenue resident. “We have to do this right otherwise it will not be enjoyable.”
Farroll Hamer, the city’s director of Planning and Zoning, said at the Nov. 29 meeting that it was too late in the process to ask the developer for additional money.
On Tuesday, Rich Baier, the city’s director of Transportation and Environmental Services, and the developer agreed to secure about $30,000 from an already agreed upon $90,000 donation for parking meters to be used for some traffic-calming measures in Del Ray. The money will be used at Baier’s discretion.
Baier is planning a second community meeting with Del Ray residents in January to discuss when and how to use the money.
“This proposal is good for IDA and its good for the city,” Planning Commissioner Stewart Dunn said.