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Luxury Condos Planned for the Waterfront

EYA readies The Oronoco, which opens onto Oronoco Bay Park along the waterfront in Old Town. The developer is holding a grand opening this weekend and a community meeting July 24.

Developer EYA is offering new riverfront condominiums in Old Town Alexandria in the building formerly organization.

Plans for The Oronoco at 601 N. Fairfax St. include 60 single-level units ranging from 1,600 square feet to 3,500 square feet, plus private patios and terraces.

Homes are priced from approximately $1 million to $4 million.

Unlike some other development projects throughout the city, this conversion from office to residential is "by right" and does not require review and approval by the Planning Commission or City Council, according to the city’s Planning and Zoning Department.

However, the building’s transformation requires city staff administrative approval of a grading plan and building permits. City staff plans to allow landscaping alterations and grading changes for creating street-level access to the lobby.

“The city’s ability to require additional public benefits envisioned in the Waterfront Small Area Plan, such as improvements to Oronoco Bay Park and an art wall, is limited because of the administrative process,” according to an email from Planning and Zoning. “However, the applicant may wish to volunteer some of these improvements.”

The building permit process will include demolition and replacement of the exterior skin of the building and interior removal of walls and some other changes. The city has not yet received building permits for exterior demolition work and new construction. A demolition permit has been approved for some interior work.

Construction is planned to begin in August and take approximately 16 months. EYA expects the Oronoco’s first residents to move in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to EYA Vice President Preston Innerst.

The company is holding a grand opening event on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Oronoco Sales Center, 119 Oronoco St., in Alexandria.

Innerst's EYA, which also developed the Old Town Commons project, said The Oronoco fills a need many prospective residents asked for—one-level living.

Innerst noted that most Old Town residences are multi-level and this new project “provides something that’s been missing” in Old Town.

Additionally, “the Oronoco is the only new condominium that has the combination of views and direct access from your back door to a park on the Alexandria waterfront,” Innerst said.

Building amenities include underground parking, a fitness room/yoga center, pool and pool house, outdoor cooking center, meeting room, playroom and dog washing station. The building will be staffed with a concierge, porter and a 24-hour attended lobby.

EYA on July 24 at 5:30 p.m. plans to host a community meeting at its Oronoco Street sales center to introduce the construction team, discuss the construction schedule and address questions.

The city has invited EYA to attend a Waterfront Commission meeting to share additional information in August or September, after construction has started.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that the condos' first residents are expected to move in during the fourth quarter of 2013.

N. P. July 12, 2012 at 07:57 PM
One-level living is something that I've wished Alexandrians would have embraced CENTURIES ago! I applaud EYA for being such a proactive company in reshaping our Alexandrian landscape and continuing to offer modern and innovative architecture in this old town. Affordable prices, too!!
Isaac Smith July 12, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Q. What do you call $1 to $4 million dollar housing in Alexandria? A. Affordable housing.
Howard B. July 13, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Seems like a good use of an existing building, unlike the monster hotel planned for the waterfront at Duke Street. (No, a five story 150 room hotel on the waterfront is NOT a small, boutique hotel).
Kim Moore July 13, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Oh goodie, yet more ridiculously expensive housing in Old Town. A million bucks for 1600 square feet? I guess Fords Landing will now be known as the low-rent district.
N. P. July 13, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I think it's pretty reasonable... I mean, the one thing that really gets me about 'old town' is that there just simply isn't enough new housing and new construction to go around. That's why I really like this architect's rendering... it has that National Harbor look going for it. I'm willing to forego the problems of a 4 mil historic victorian (that unclear 'wavy' glass, having to walk up stairs, those oversized doorways, etc) in order to finally get the one-level luxury living that Alexandria deserves. It was really smart for EYA to purchase this entire block outside of the purview of the BAR - that way they can proceed with demolition and construction quickly and don't have those rediculous design constraints (old town is so matchy-matchy).
Brent July 13, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Seriously -- does this building include a set-aside of a certain number of ARHA units? I should think every building in Old Town would have that as a requirement, if we are to truly break down the concentrations of public housing.
Doug July 13, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Why should the developer be required to include that at their cost?
Doug July 13, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Good. That building that is currently there is ugly.
Joseph M. July 13, 2012 at 07:08 PM
What's your solution? Do you think disallowing new construction will lead to decreased prices? This will be priced at about 3x the cost of Del Ray per square foot. Bottom-line is that some places are naturally expensive. All the more reason to leverage the developers and get a waterfront that's open to all [that shouldn't include a ODBC parking lot at the foot of King Street].
Kim Moore July 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I am thrilled to see one-floor living coming to any area of Alexandria. It is long overdue. I am waiting for the big turn-over in the newly built 4-story town homes as the owners age, hips and knees need to be replaced, etc. I do not think that recent development has been diverse enough in terms age-diversity and physical needs. My initial point was that residents who want or need one-floor living might not be the same ones who want to spend millions on a home. It seems like every time our home values increase even the slightest bit, developers go over the top to make Old Town an even more exclusive enclave of the city. If some of the amenities could be reduced (no dog-washing station, a gym when there is a fantastic health club just down the street) maybe the prices could come down a bit and make the new development more affordable; the $900,000-2,750,000 range. I would love to see more developers create one-floor housing options. For now, I will be waiting to see if my three-level duplex in DelRay can be outfitted to accommodate motorized stairwell chairs when I need them in the next 12-15 years.
JohnFitzgerald July 14, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Has anyone looked at the financial implications of this project? What is the incremental tax revenue the city will collect for the $200M or so value of the combined properties over what the city collected from the previous owner? Now deduct the city's anticipated cost to deliver services to these presumably wealthy retires and emptynesters (no kids in public school). My guess is this project will bring the city significant tax revenues which could be used to acquire all or part of robinson terminal north. That to me would be a good use for the new hip thing called "tax increment financing".. Thoughts??
JohnFitzgerald July 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I attended the open house on Saturday for this project. I was impressed. What I like most is that the property owner is not asking for greater density and seems to be providing ample parking. Additionally, this has got to be a real money maker for the city in terms of tax revenue. Less is more. The open house was packed and I believe that they have a dozen or so units under contract. Nice job e y a .
Sharon McLoone (Editor) July 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM
An EYA representative told me that 14 of the 60 units were sold on Saturday.
Scot July 16, 2012 at 01:51 PM
A big improvement to what is currently an eyesore. Also, I don't understand why anyone is surprised that a new 1600 square foot Old Town riverfront condo is $1M+. I mean, how are the river views in Del Ray??
Scooby's Doo July 17, 2012 at 02:47 PM
A "river view" of Blue Plains. I'll keep my Del Ray house thanks.
Jon Rosenbaum July 17, 2012 at 06:52 PM
121 room are proposed, not 150. Stick to the facts about the hotel proposal.
Joseph M. July 17, 2012 at 07:40 PM
My guess is that 60 units of condos from 1,600 square feet to 3,500 is as large, if not larger than 121 hotel rooms. Hotel rooms are, what, 500 square feet typically? The existing Sheet Metals Workers building isn't small either: Google street view: http://goo.gl/maps/a4X8
David James September 04, 2012 at 07:59 AM
It is good that the luxury condo will be developed at the water front. I can imagine the view from the top stories to be great. Perhaps the building of this condo can bring much needed life to the area, as more people move in. - http://www.jzandf.com

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