Monday, April 26, 2010

Condos Fail at Alexandria's Nordic Press Site

It's a fabulous condo project: the citizens' associations have supported it, the city heartily endorsed it and even gave it a special zoning exemption, and at a meeting to present their plans the developers reportedly even got a standing ovation for turning an outmoded printing plant into an attractive "gateway" into Alexandria. The only glitch is that it will never be built.

In fatter times, the Nordic Press condominium development would have been a no-brainer, bringing 28 residential units to the 800 block of Slaters Lane in Alexandria. But the developer, Diamond Property Co., bought at the wrong time, and now the 16,000 s.f. property has gone back to lender Cardinal Bank, which has leased the property to another printer, ending hopes for a transformation of the site into something less industrial.

The developer has had plans since 2005 to demolish the warehouse, just off the GW Parkway on the northern tip of Alexandria, in favor of 28 one- and two-bedroom units designed by Rust Orling Architects. The project was intended to be green enough to meet the USGBC's Silver certification, and would have required the developer to undertake streetscape improvements. The city had even approved a rezoning from commercial-industrial to residential, no easy feat, noting that the area had undergone a thorough transformation, with even more residential planned for next-door Potomac Yards. "Everything was good except the economy," lamented architect John Rust, who would have overseen the design.

The last tenant, Nordic Press, closed its doors last year, raising hope that the building would be readied for demolition, but with construction financing nil, the bank took control of the property in December of last year. Sources familiar with the project say Cardinal Bank has now leased the property to ABC Printers, ending the possibility of another developer picking up the designs and approvals. County records show the property traded for $2.2m in December, less than the $2.7m that Diamond Slater LLC paid for the land in 2005.

Alexandria Virginia real estate development news


Jay on Apr 26, 2010, 6:51:00 PM said...

Buzz and Rustico already crowded :-)

PCR said...

I think the key is to put something else in for residents to patronize. Jay is right. Buzz and Rustico are crowded. We dont need another condo, we need more to entertain those that are already there! (I would be the first to visit!)

jim on Apr 28, 2010, 9:07:00 AM said...

Having worked for Nordic Press for 12 years and observing the stress on Jim Murray Sr., former owner and now diseased, and his son Jim Jr. from this particular developer It's a pleasure to see another printer move into the ole Nordic Press site to carry on this noble trade. Hurray for ABC printing and the Nordic Press legacy!!

jim K.

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