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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Planners share design details for new town center on Beauregard Street

An illustration of the town center for the West End in Alexandria.
Representatives from a couple of architectural firms presented their plans for the development of two blocks in Alexandria’s West End Sept. 26 to the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee (BDAC).

The City of Alexandria had approved the Beauregard Small Area Plan in June 2013. JBG Cos., the owner of a large piece of property in that area, submitted a concept plan to the city in July 2016 for a section of the Beauregard Town Center encompassing two blocks along Beauregard Street on either side of Reading Avenue.

The plan calls for that area to have 573 multifamily units and 109,481 square feet of retail. Block F1 (1.86 acres currently occupied by a portion of a shopping center), would have 183 units and 735,987 square feet of retail.

Block G (4.76 acres) would have 390 multifamily units and 73,494 square feet of retail. The Stoneridge & Hillwood Apartments, with 198 garden apartments, would be demolished to make way for the new development.

The BDAC, a group whose members include Alexandria residents and professionals in architecture and design, are reviewing the proposed project to determine whether it conforms with the design guidelines approved by the City of Alexandria.

Lee Quill of the Cunningham Quill architectural company described his vision for the two blocks: Buildings of various heights with a mix of contemporary and older styles. Retail would be at street level, taller apartments buildings would be set further back from the street, and  multi-story parking would be in the middle of the block.

As an example of redevelopment project with a walkable, inviting streetscape he has in mind, he pointed to Larimer Square in Denver.

The Beauregard project would have a 60,000 square foot grocery store and about eight townhouses facing a new road, said Jim Voelzke, with the MV+A architectural firm, which is also working on the project. The plans also call for open space, multimodal transportation, and a public plaza with a water feature.

“It’s not a typical suburban model,” Quill says. The goal is to create a vibrant public realm with a sense of destination.

The 48-acrea Beauregard Town Center is just one of seven neighborhoods in the Beauregard Small Area Plan, which encompasses the west side of Beauregard Street between Rayburn Avenue and Roanoke Avenue.

While the Small Area Plan calls for 800 units of new affordable housing to be built to offset the demolition of existing garden apartments throughout the area, that isn’t going to happen with the first phase of redevelopment. During the first phase, developers will provide funds for transportation improvements; affordable housing will be incorporated into later phases.

For residents displaced by the Town Center project, the city plans to work with JGB to make sure they are in the city database and refer them to existing affordable housing in other neighborhoods.


  1. Before the typical negative commenters post their typical snarky troll-like comments, two facts.

    1). Penny Gross is not the reason projects such as this are not proposed for Mason District in general, and Bailey's Crossroads specifically.

    2) Even if such a project was proposed for Bailey's Crossroads there would be immediate criticism that this proposed project is "unacceptable" - for example, too many residents will create traffic Armageddon - and there would be cries that "two cents Gross" is corrupt and is in the pockets of the developers.

    1. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, but I don't think either of these points constitute "facts".

  2. Ms. Gross IS in the pockets of the developers.

    1. Please!! We might have a chance of
      more developments like this being proposed if anyone in Mason District was in the pocket of legitimate developers. Instead, Penny is in the pocket of two-bit no-name small parcel developers, and John Thillman. I WISH Penny had the ability to grease some wheels for more desirable development in Mason District, but I really don’t think she does.

  3. This will never happen in Mason District. Penny Gross does not have any cache with any good developers, there are too many nutty NIMBYs, Culmore is like a permanent black eye, and there are not any good mass transit options to lure young professionals.

    What Mason does have are all the makings of DUMPling soup.

    1. Write to JBG and ask if redeveloping Olde Slum, er Salem Village in Falls Church will ever be a possibility. I have.

  4. How about the Penny supporters use their influence to get her to have the county vacate the SEQ so a developer would be interested in executing the 2007 plan for mixed-use commercial/residential. I fear Penny still wants her government palace there once the homeless shelter has a new location.

    Penny is an obstacle for healthy business development in Mason District, no doubt about it.

  5. "How about the Penny supporters use their influence to get her to have the county vacate the SEQ..." Because most of Penny's supporter live outside the area. Last year's election results indicate that most of Molly Loeffler's support was concentrated in those precincts that were most likely to be affected by development along Route 7.