Potomac Yard in Midst of Major Face-Lift

The Potomac Yard section of Alexandria, once a desolate part of the city, is in the midst of a major face-lift.

Wednesday, the city officially debuted their plans for a new multi-use town center complex called The Exchange at Potomac Yard. The complex will be located along the Route 1 corridor at the intersection with East Glebe Road and is marked by towering cranes and constant flow of dump trucks.

For nearby residents, the construction is posing a slight inconvenience, but they trust once it's completed, it'll revitalize the area.

"I take the baby for a walk, we come down to the shopping center, we visit the bookstore, so we pass the construction on a daily basis," said Amanda English, who owns a home in Potomac Yard. "We wonder about the traffic coming through here, pushing a baby stroller everyday you hope that there aren't many cars on the road."

Potomac Yard is made up of 300 acres, with about 212 located within the City of Alexandria. For years it was a bustling rail-yard, until the routes changed and it was practically abandoned.

"The yard started declining, deteriorating. It sat here desolate for many, many years," said Alexandria mayor, William Euille.

The site is now booming, with several shopping centers already open. Andrew VanHorn, a senior Vice President with developer JBG, explained the design.

"It hearkens back to the rail-yard heritage. It's an industrial-modern look, but it has a very unique feel which relates to Potomac Yard," VanHorn said.

The 20 acres that will become The Exchange at Potomac Yard will include retail space, new homes, and a park, which will include an ice rink during winter months.

Some of the homes will also be subsidized.

"We introduced Affordable Housing as part of our commitment to that and our plan with Alexandria so we did get additional units and have affordable housing on the site with us," VanHorn said.

Meantime English is most excited about the planned metro stop, which will be above-ground and is scheduled to open in 2017.

"That will be a lifesaver for us," English said. "I mean, now having to get down to a metro station or to a bus stop, and then catch the metro... it's an inconvenience."

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