A development company with a history of transforming obsolete facilities has purchased one of the largest industrial sites in Alexandria and plans to build housing, office space and retail, granting residents new access to a large swath of the Potomac River.
The Potomac River Generating Station, a shuttered, 71-year-old coal-fired power plant, was decommissioned in 2012. Hilco Redevelopment Partners bought the site last week for an undisclosed amount after a 3½ -year pursuit. Pepco will continue to own part of the site to operate an electrical substation.
“We’re excited about the chance to reintegrate it into the surrounding urban fabric, open up that access to the waterfront and create a really dynamic district with world-class architecture,” said Melissa Schrock, the senior vice president of mixed-use development at Hilco. “We think the city of Alexandria deserves nothing less.”
Hilco will be guided by Alexandria’s 2017 Old Town North Small Area Plan and must include some affordable housing in the project, officials said. The site will include dining and public open space along the river.
The group recently redeveloped Sparrows Point in Baltimore, once one of the largest steel mills in the country.
“Development and development policy is the lifeblood of controversy in local government, but this is actually a pretty good example of a development effort that very few people are opposed to,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson (D). “Everyone’s pretty excited to see [the coal plant] go away.”
Schrock said the project could take five to 10 years to complete, depending on how long the company needs to conduct an environmental cleanup of the site.
The group also plans to make what it builds environmentally friendly. Hilco strives to reuse and recycle as much material as possible, Schrock said, with a goal of recycling 98 percent of the materials. It plans to work with the city to meet the goals outlined in the 2019 Green Building Policy.
Those goals include reducing energy use, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and improving indoor environmental quality.
“I think we really envision that this is going to become part of an overall eco district, you know, trying to use some cutting-edge environmental sustainability components: district energy and geothermal and a lot of things that we haven’t seen much of in the city,” Wilson said.