Novo Secures Approvals for Apartment Project in Old Town Alexandria

Original article by CoStar Research, Craig Donahue, August 3, 2020

Novo Properties has received unanimous approval from the Alexandria City Council and Alexandria Planning Commission to develop a new apartment project along Route 1 in Old Town.

The multifamily investor, developer and manager out of Washington, D.C. said it plans to break ground early next year on The Grayson, a 119-unit apartment complex with street-level retail. The development is named after Sarah Gray, an African American educator in Alexandria during the late 1800s and an inductee into the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Women in History program.
Novo paid $9.25 million last July to acquire a stake in the 1970s-vintage retail complex at 1200 N. Henry St. from Avanti Holdings Group, with the venture teaming up to co-develop the new project. Located just north of the Braddock Road Metro station, the development has been drawn up to incorporate reprogrammed ground floor retail space as well as a daycare that has been redesigned to improve its layout and accessibility. Novo is exploring retail brokerage firms at this time.

“There’s a huge unmet demand for daycare in this submarket and even more now as spacing needs are changing due to COVID-19,” Novo Partner Neil Goradia said in a statement. Novo said the design changes made to the daycare and retail spaces allowed it to capture additional residential density after initially proposing a development with 115 units.

Amazon’s new home in Crystal City is expected to be a huge boon for neighboring Alexandria, where historic Old Town and the transforming Potomac Y
ard area offer potential Amazon employees the best of both worlds: a small town, suburban escape, and a fast-paced, Metro-accessible urban community, according CoStar’s latest report on the submarket. Coupled with the arrival of Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus in Potomac Yard, Novo said it will look to capture demand from the more cost-conscious, suburban-type renters expected to arrive with the rollout of the two campuses.

“The impact from the entry of these large employers is creating a demand for tiered apartment pricing,” Goradia said. “Not every apartment dweller will want to pay up to live in National Landing or Potomac Yards and can live a few Metro stops away for a more affordable rent and we want to capture that demand.”

Construction on the project is expected to be completed in 2022.

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