By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer
Alexandria, Va.–Buchanan Partners and The Pinkard Group have joined forces to develop a mixed-use residential property in Alexandria, Va., just over five miles outside of Washington, D.C. The $74 million project will help answer an increasing call in the area for luxury residential accommodations with the added amenity of ground-level retail.
Buvermo Properties Inc. is an equity partner in the project, which will bring from 170 to 175 apartments to a 1.5-acre site spanning most of one block in the popular Old Town area of Alexandria. “Most of Old Town consists of townhouses,” Kingsley McAdam, project manager with Buchanan, tells MHN. “There aren’t a lot of multifamily buildings; there aren’t a lot that have been built recently in this section of Old Town. And this isn’t an upscale rental market, so there won’t be a lot of competition.”
In addition to apartments, the Buchanan and Pinkard endeavor will yield another coveted option–a full-service grocery store. Harris Teeter has signed on to open a 51,500 square-foot store in the building. “We’ve been meeting with a lot of citizens and this is what they want,” he says. “The northeast quadrant of Old Town Alexandria is underserved by standard grocery stores.”
Given that Harris Teeter will be a neighborhood attraction of sorts, it will likely draw attention to the residential segment of the mixed-use development. “Multifamily is the hottest product in the D.C. area right now, and if you can bring in a store like Harris Teeter, it only enhances demand for residential units,” Mc Adam notes. “It makes the building a more desirable place to live. You get the feel of Old Town but the convenience of Harris Teeter.”
It’s not just the residents that yearn for a grocery store in the area; grocery stores want to have a presence there, too. “Certain retailers want to be where there’s a high density of population, and the reality is, you’re not going to find 15 acres to build a traditional shopping center,” Cary A. Judd, principal with KLNB Retail, the commercial real estate services firm that represented Harris Teeter in the lease transaction, tells MHN. “So in order to service those types of customers, you need to have an urban store format, which means, more than likely, being on the ground floor of a building.”
The development site for the Buchanan-Pinkard project is presently in the rezoning process. The team is on track to break ground on the building during the second quarter of 2012. Harris Teeter and the apartments will make their debut in 2014.