The father and son team of Larry and Bob Brandt of architecture firm Lawrence Brandt are well underway in making significant renovations of two historic warehouses along Old Town’s river side.
Bob Brandt told the Waterfront Plan Work Group in October 2011 of his plans to renovate the building located at 204 and 206 S. Union St.
The Brandts bought the building to renovate it and venture capital firm Columbia Capital will be the new tenant, expected to move in around May. The venture capital firm invests primarily in communications, media and information technology firms.
“Renovating this building is the most fun I’ve had in 25 years,” Bob Brandt said during a public tour Thursday evening attended by some city officials and community members. “I live in Old Town and I try to put myself in the shoes of who ever lives across the street when ever I renovate a building.”
The warehouses most recently housed Velocity Bike Co-op, which has since moved to Del Ray but also has been home to a munitions factory among other things.
“The great thing about this project is that everyone’s supportive of it,” said Nate Macek, chairman of the Waterfront Commission and co-author of a report from the now defunct Waterfront Plan Work Group. “Here we see two long-time members of the Alexandria business community, Columbia Capital and Lawrence Brandt, step in to rehabilitate two historic structures that were threatened by years of neglect.”
He lauded the renovators’ efforts to go beyond the minimum requirements to “build out a project with high-quality workmanship and attention to detail."
The back part of the building’s first floor some time ago was a shooting range and bullet holes are evident in the columns and some windows. The windows are generally original to the building but have been re-glazed, Brandt said.
When the Brandts cut into some concrete to make plumbing changes instead of finding steel they found gun barrels.
“This building will not only serve as an anchor for the 200 block of S. Union Street, but a model for preserving other historic buildings in the waterfront area,” said Macek, who is also an Old Town resident.
For more news about development along the waterfront, see Old Town Alexandria's Patch's Waterfront Redevelopment page.