Route 1 or commonly known as Richmond Highway serves as the artery road connecting the military base at Fort Belvoir to the outside world. When BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) workers relocate to Fort Belvoir in 2011 (3 years from now), the function of Route 1 becomes more important than ever.
According to Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation information, currently there are 16 developments (.pdf) slated for Richmond Highway with different stages from planned, rezoned to completion a few of the projects. In 2006-2007 period 33 projects (.pdf) slated for Richmond Hwy in which some of them were completed, i.e. projects like Midtown Alexandria Station (residential), Safeway Center, Mount Vernon Plaza (.pdf) and shopping center renovation, etc. Its revitalization plan stretches from Huntington Metro all the way down to around Woodlawn area, a combination of residential density, offices, and retail spaces worth $1 billion in 25 years of investment from the private sectors.
A few interesting projects.
- Owners of this property, the former Dairy Queen property located at the corner of Richmond Hwy and E. Lee Avenue, is looking for a buyer. The site has been rezoned for a three-story, 27,900 s.f. townhouse style retail and residential on 1.2 ac or property. It also includes 24 residential units and 8,700 s.f. retail space.
- Walgreens have two stores slated here: at the corner of Richmond Hwy and Beacon Hill, and a 14,000 s.f. building corner of Richmond and Boswell Ave.
- Three hotels: expansion of Hampton Inn, new Holiday Inn Express and Marriott Springhill Suites. Now completes and open.
- K.B. Homes Huntington Mews with 94 new townhouses on 14 ac. along Huntington Ave.
- Kings Crossing - a 42.2 ac. joint project of JPI and JBG Rosenfeld at near intersection of Kings and Richmond Hwy. Project includes 300,000 s.f. office, 285,000 s.f retail/ restaurants, 1280 residential units and 3932 parking spaces. The current status of this project indicate that JPI bailed out from the project, but JPG Rosenfeld moves forward with a facade improvement (for now).
- The big thing - Fort Belvoir. 19k employees will be relocated to work out of Ft. Belvoir. A new hospital and office space, and the National Museum of U.S. Army planned at Ffx County Pkwy and Kingman Road.
You can imagine how the traffic leading to Ft. Belvoir will be so congested with all the new developments coming on the pipeline and workers relocation. To solve the traffic challenge, the Army is even looking to consider monorail and water taxi which is an interesting combination.
Looking at the current market conditions, neighborhoods surrounding Richmond Hwy is loaded with foreclosures and short-sales properties. It has one of the highest foreclosure rates south of Alexandria. There are bank-owned townhouses in the 300's on the market which were selling in the $500's a couple years ago.
This is the thing. If the big businesses willing to take risks and invest some $1 billion for the area, that shows some serious money will be vested down the road. From an investment perspective, that's a good sign. Because that means ka-ching. There are opportunities (foreclosures, etc.) for those who are willing and able to wait - until the market swings back up. The potential is there. You just have to sit and wait for the turnaround. And be patient.