Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus will be part of a 65-acre, mixed-use Potomac Yard redevelopment.

The updated Small Area Plan calls for a massive transformation of the shopping center and surrounding area to create a new “downtown” combining residential, retail, office and hospitality space with outdoor plazas, parks and vistas, all connected to mass transportation.

VT’s campus will span approximately 15 acres between Four Mile Run and 3575 Jefferson Davis Hwy, currently housing a movie theater and close to the new Metro station, sited about a quarter-mile away. A single academic building with kick off the project and a second will be added along with start-up incubator space, R&D facilities, offices for industry collaboration and a parking garage. Residents of surrounding communities will provide feedback via public meetings. The remaining 50 acres will be redeveloped by Houston-based Lionstone Investments, who co-manage the property with Amazon’s National Landing partner, JBG Smith. The property is owned by a pension fund, according to the Washington Post.

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Block 4 of the N Potomac Yard Small Area Plan is designated for an Alexandria City Public School. Speculation is that Block 4 is the new location for Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus. VT announced in June 2019 that it was locating its campus in Potomac Yard, close to the new Metro station and Amazon’s HQ2. VT ended its partnership with Stonebridge Assoc. in March, passing on  the Oakville Triangle site it originally considered. The exact block of the Potomac Yard plan was not disclosed in the announcement.

Block 4 was being held in reserve to support a growing ACPS student population, which seems even more likely now. The SAP cites 2017 generation rates at between 60-90 elementary, 20-30 middle, and 25-40 high school students by the projected residential uses for North Potomac Yard. The remainder of Potomac Yard (including Landbays G, H, I, J, and L and Potomac Green) generated a total of 84 students enrolled in ACPS during the 2016-2017 academic year. If elementary school student generation rates continue to increase, the City would need additional capacity to support students. If middle and high school generation rates continue to rise, the City would face additional capacity challenges in the middle and high schools, as well. The most critical need is the provision of additional system capacity at the elementary school level.

Because North Potomac Yard will be urban in nature, the city wanted to model a school at Potomac Yard after the Tenderloin Community School in San Francisco, California. TCS is a multi-level elementary school that incorporates a family resource center, health center, counseling rooms, an adult education center, and  preschool child development center. Also needed at Potomac Yard would be an underground garage parking facility and possible rooftop recreation and community gardens.

Should the city decide in favor of the VT Innovation Campus for this location, they have a couple of back-up plans built into the SAP:

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  • Construct a new school at an off-site location; or
  • Expand or reconstruct an existing school like the Cora Kelly STEM School to accommodate additional students.

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The City has reserved the right to use the block for other purposes such as open space and/or a comparable community facility/public building with potential co-located uses above. The remainder of the community facilities will be determined as part of the development review process.

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Three new “neighborhoods” are called out in the updated SAP. Crescent Gateway, Market and Metro Square offer pedestrian and retail-friendly lifestyles.

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This neighborhood is the heart of North Potomac Yard, where a significant amount of retail and restaurants will create an exciting regional destination. Market neighborhood is where large format retailers may be located. It will provide the greatest mix of uses offering a range of housing and office uses above the ground floor retail uses near the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station. One of the blocks may include an internal pedestrian walkway/connection.

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This neighborhood is the transit hub of North Potomac Yard, where the Metrorail station, dedicated high-capacity Metroway, local and regional bus services, and bike lanes will converge. Two important public spaces define the character of the neighborhood: Metro Plaza and Metro Square Park. These open spaces are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 4: Land Uses. The neighborhood is characterized by a mix of uses, but will be predominantly office with ground floor retail. In addition, uses such as entertainment and/or live performance arts are encouraged. An entertainment district could provide a unique identity for this neighborhood and would differentiate this new town center from others in the region. The entertainment and theater uses can utilize the office parking during the evening hours, and add evening activity within the neighborhood.

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Located in the northern portion of the site at the gateway to the City, this neighborhood primarily consists of residential uses, with other uses such as a hotel and a possible school. The neighborhood will be defined by its Crescent Park and will take advantage of the adjacent Four Mile Run and parks. Crescent Park creates a residential address for the adjoining larger scale residential buildings.

Buildings in this neighborhood are situated to enjoy views of the Potomac River and the Washington, DC skyline. A signature element of the neighborhood will be the required curved building facades adjacent to Crescent Park. Taller buildings are located within the central portion of the neighborhood and step down in height to the existing smaller-scale neighborhoods to the west and the George Washington Memorial Parkway to the east.

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Boutique to mid-rise condo and apartments a move away from big box stores to smaller shop and restaurants.

The Metro Square Neighborhood (Blocks 15-23) will include predominantly office and hotel uses with ground floor retail. Entertainment uses may also be allowed within this neighborhood. This neighborhood will be defined by two open spaces: Metro Plaza and Metro Square.

The Market Neighborhood (Blocks 7-14) will host the largest amount of retail of all the neighborhoods and a similar amount of development as the Metro Square Neighborhood. The Plan recommends flexibility for the upper floors for office and/or residential uses.

The Crescent Gateway Neighborhood (Blocks 1-6) requires predominantly residential uses, hotel, and the probable Virginia Tech Innovation Campus on Block 4.

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North Potomac Yard retail uses can include large and small tenants which serve the regional market, neighborhood-serving retail, restaurants and “lifestyle” entertainment retail. Large format retail tenants who serve the regional market, if included, are likely to be concentrated in the Market Neighborhood. Convenience retail to serve transit users should be concentrated in the Metro Square Neighborhood, and restaurants and entertainment uses could be located in both neighborhoods.

The Plan concentrates a significant amount of retail and relates to the planned retail for Landbay G. The Plan creates a new east-west retail street, East Reed Avenue.

A new north-south retail street on the eastern portion of the site (New Street A) will connect East Reed Avenue to the Metrorail station.

The locations depicted as Required Retail will provide ground floor retail as part of the development of each of the blocks. The locations depicted as Optional Retail are anticipated to be retail, but the final ground floor use will be determined as part of the development review process. However, even where retail uses are optional, the height and depth of the ground floor space and potential loading and service areas are required to be designed to not preclude future retail uses. Additional retail may be provided within the Plan area pending future development approvals if the proposed locations are consistent with the intent of the Plan. As part of the redevelopment, retail must be focused and continual.

The Plan requires the submission of a comprehensive retail strategy that addresses coordination, management, and maintenance issues. The Plan recommends the establishment of a Business Improvement District (BID), or comparable entity, to ensure that the retail is comprehensively managed, the neighborhood open spaces are programmed, and marketing is coordinated. The establishment of the BID or comparable entity will be implemented prior to the occupancy of the first phase of redevelopment to ensure that the retail properties are managed in a comprehensive manner for the entirety
of North Potomac Yard. The North Potomac Yard Design Standards and Guidelines include standards for the design of the retail uses, storefronts, and signage.

Additional ground floor retail locations may be approved as part of the development review process if the proposed location is consistent with the intent of the Small Area Plan and within the total amount of permitted development.

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The SAP provides the following parameters relating to development density, the future transportation network, travel mode choice (mode split), a 2040 build-out year, and general future traffic growth (background traffic):

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  • The new Metro Station: A new Metrorail station is required by the Plan to support the proposed density and accommodate new person trips. The Potomac Yard station will run the Yellow/Blue lines. Its NW entrance will be positioned approx. 1/4 mile from VT Innovation Campus. A SW entrance was planned, scrapped, added again and now seems to be off the table again. Stay tuned.
  • Crystal City/Potomac Yard (CCPY) Transit (Metroway): High- capacity transit service will be provided in dedicated lanes on Route 1 and through the Plan area and Potomac Avenue. It will intersect with the Metro service to create a high- performance transit hub for Potomac Yard.
  • Local and Circulator Transit Service: Additional local-serving routes will be provided to connect the new development in North Potomac Yard to existing neighborhoods and other destinations with enhanced service local transit.
  • US Route 1 (Jefferson Davis Highway) (“Route 1”): Route 1
    will be widened to accommodate a dedicated high-capacity Metroway between E. Glebe Road and Evans Lane, where Metroway is anticipated to turn east on to Potomac Avenue. Figure 6.6 depicts one option for the Metroway alignment. The final alignment will be determined as part of a future planning process and approval by City Council. Route 1 will not be widened to accommodate additional single occupancy vehicles (SOV) lanes.
  • Potomac Avenue: This major north-south route will connect Route 1 to the south with Crystal Drive on the north and will provide additional north-south capacity for local and non- local trips.
  • Internal Street Network: The Plan requires a fine-grained, interconnected network of urban streets with multi-modal connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • New Potomac Yard Park Bicycle/Pedestrian Connection: This off-street trail connection will tie Potomac Yard directly to Four Mile Run through a linear park connecting Braddock Road and Four Mile Run, enhancing its access to the major regional trail network that currently serves recreational users as well as commuters.

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An interconnected park and greenway system will provide residents, employees, and visitors access to local and regional active and passive recreation amenities. Sustainable design of parks and open spaces can include pervious materials and native landscaping in addition to providing crown coverage and tree canopy to this area of the City.

Public art and historical interpretation help define a community, create a sense of place, celebrate the site’s unique history, reinforce a design theme, engage and inspire the public, and add beauty to space that will be enjoyed for generations to come. Consideration should be given to the integration of public art and historical references, interpretation, and educational opportunities. The public art element of the Plan will need to be consistent with any Citywide public art funding policy and/or as required through the development review process. The Plan recommends a Public Art and History Interpretive Plan to integrate public art and history in a comprehensive way throughout the Plan area.

The Plan recommends that portions of the roads adjacent to Potomac Yard Park and
the Metrorail station be designed as shared streets, intended to prioritize pedestrians and provide a seamless transition from the open space and the adjoining streets. Shared streets are also intended to have design elements such as pavers to differentiate from other streets within North Potomac Yard, and encourage slower traffic to maximize pedestrian safety adjacent to Potomac Yard Park and Metro Plaza.

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Similar to Old Town and South Potomac Yard, most east-west streets visually terminate into the Potomac River or linear park except within the Metro Square Neighborhood where the street terminates at the Metro station pavilion and plaza.

Throughout the development, buildings will visually reinforce prominent vistas along Route 1, Potomac Avenue, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The scale, character, elements, and orientation of new buildings are required to highlight the designated gateways and vistas. Signature facades and gateway elements draw attention to specific points of interest and mark the location of entries and places for each of the neighborhoods. The Plan recommends variety in building massing, design, height, and distinctive building tops for taller buildings.

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[uncode_list]Four Mile Run Restoration Project

Arlandria Neighborhood Plan Implementation

 

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Alexandria West Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992 and amended by the following:


Beauregard Small Area Plan

Adopted by  Ordinance 4765 on June 16, 2012. The  Beauregard Urban Design Standards & Guidelines were adopted by City Council on April 13, 2013.


Braddock Road Metro Station Small Area Plan

Adopted by  Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992.  It has been amended to include the King Street Retail Strategy , the Braddock Metro Neighborhood Plan, and the Braddock East Master Plan and amended by the following:


Eisenhower East Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 4293 on March 15, 2003 and amended by the following:


Eisenhower West Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 4980 on December 12, 2015.


Fairlington/Bradlee Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992 and amended by the following:


King Street Metro/Eisenhower Avenue Small Area Plan

Adopted by  Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992. It has has been amended to include the King Street Retail Strategy and amended by the following:


Landmark/Van Dorn Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance  No.3576 on June 13, 1992. It has been amended to include the Landmark Van Dorn Corridor Plan and amended by the following:


Northeast Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992 and amended by the following:


North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance 5081 on September 16, 2017, replacing the previous Chapter as amended. 


Northridge/Rosemont Small Area Plan

Adopted by  Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992. It has been amended to include the  Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan (2006) and is amended by the following:


Old Town Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992. It has been amended to include the Hunting Creek Area Plan, the King Street Retail Strategy and the Waterfront Plan and is amended by the following:


Old Town North Small Area Plan

The Old Town North Small Area Plan and the corresponding Urban Design Standards and Guidelines were adopted by Ordinance 5082 on September 16, 2017, replacing the previous Chapter as amended. The Waterfront Plan is an overlay to the Old Town North Small Area Plan.


Potomac West Small Area Plan

Adopted by  Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992. It has been amended to include the Arlandria Neighborhood Plan, the Upper Potomac West Task Force Report, the Mount Vernon Avenue Business Area Plan, Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan, and the Oakville Triangle/Route 1 Corridor Plan. It is also amended by the following:


Potomac Yard/Potomac Greens Small Area Plan

The Potomac Yard/Potomac Greens Small Area Plan was adopted by  Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992. It has been amended to include the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan and the Waterfront Plan and is amended by the following:


Seminary Hill/Strawberry Hill Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992 and is amended by the following:


Southwest Quadrant Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992. It has been amended to include the Hunting Creek Area Plan and South Patrick Street Housing Affordability Strategy, and is amended by the following:


Taylor Run/Duke Street Small Area Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 3576 on June 13, 1992 and is amended by the following:


Waterfront Plan

Adopted by Ordinance No. 4749 on February 25, 2012


Citywide Chapters of the Master Plan

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