Sunday, April 04, 2010

Fire Sale at the Fire House

On Friday the Growler received the following press release from Alexandria eNews:

The Station at Potomac Yard, located at 650 Maskell Street and immediately south of the Potomac Yard Shopping Center, has announced new rent levels and one month free rent for new renters. Income restrictions apply.

The new rents are:

· 1 BR - $1,175
· 2 BR - $1,550
· 3 BR - $1,877

Located on a bus route and situated between two Metro stations, this pet-friendly community was constructed with energy efficiency in mind. Utility costs here are far lower than in other residential communities due to amenities such as energy saving appliances and green construction technologies. Every apartment comes with one underground parking space, with extra spaces available for a fee. One 2 BR unit is fully accessible.

Any one interested in visiting the property or applying for a unit should contact Equity Management: Joseph K. Pyle, Jr., Property Manager, The Station at Potomac Yard, 650 Maskell Street, Alexandria, VA 22301

Equity is also on site every Wednesday and Saturday. For more information, visit

What's significant about this?

We have been told repeatedly by the politicians and housing advocates that there is a massive demand for affordable/work force housing in Alexandria which local government can't build fast enough or in sufficient quantities to even begin satisfying.

Yet the news release indicates some cracks in the facade. The Fire House is a brand new pet-friendly building featuring low cost utilities, parking and a location in the heart of Potomac Yard with all its shops and amenities. It fronts on Jefferson Davis Highway and offers quick access to Old Town, Crystal City, the Pentagon, and D.C.

Yet the property manager is forced to lower prices and throw in a free month as an incentive to bring in tenants.

So the Growler asks again if the City's affordable/work force housing initiatives (which have never been subject to a genuine referendum of voters) are intended to meet a genuine need or instead are programs in search of a political justification.

And what does this portend for the high rise multi-family buildings proposed in the Bland public housing redevelopment project? These buildings, sited on N. Patrick Street, are to include market rate units, units which City staff and politicians have talked about using taxpayer money to buy down so they can be offered as affordable/work force housing.

Readers may remember that the old demolished Glebe Park complex had so-called market rate units too ... and by the time it was torn down the market rate dwellings were entirely Section 8 units because no one who was not reliant on vouchers had any interest in living there.