Neighborhood Profile – I like Ike

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A short 160 years ago the first locomotive engine ran from the north end of Union Street to the Wilkes Street tunnel in Alexandria. 

Today, a different engine, is driving the Carlyle neighborhoods development.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is a 2.5 million square foot campus has brought more than 8,000 employees, and nearly 700 visitors a day into the market. A wide array of related professional service companies, notably intellectual property law firms, have relocated to the Carlyle area.

City officials worried in meetings a year ago that the centerpiece of the 4.5 mile east-west corridor in Eisenhower valley might not be enough to keep employees past 5 p.m. to become a thriving urban neighborhood.

The residential developers of the area have a vision, though.  Luxury condominium buildings are rising up from the former dump and swampland. 

The Carlyle neighborhood is master-planned for a high-density, urban mixed-use center.  When complete, Carlyle will include more than 7 million square feet of office, hotel, residential, and retail space designed to be a vibrant, walkable area with an atmosphere reminiscent of Old Town Alexandria – with a modern urban flair.  Easy access via Metro, Amtrak, I-495, and Reagan National Airport have made Carlyle attractive for developers.

“It’s partly the Metro stations, it’s partly the planning process and partly the great amenities” that is drawing developers, even while other real estate markets in the Washington area struggle, Faroll Hamer, Alexandria’s planning and zoning department director, said to the Washington Times.

I love it, Derrick Cobey, who works in the neighborhood.  The development appears to be heating up, especially since we moved here three years ago.

Concrete mixers and cranes populate the old rail yard on new pavement dividing bright new buildings from one another. 

Its nice except for the construction going on, Hassan Vaziri, who also works in the area, said.  Trucks block the streets. 

Construction trucks and cranes clog the streets for three city blocks.

More than 5,000 people reside in the corridor today, a number that is expected to double by 2010 in part due to the addition of residential units, the the Eisenhower Public-Private Partnership said.

Current residences located in the Eisenhower valley from east to west include The Royalton, Meridian at Carlyle, Post Carlyle Square, Carlyle Square, Carlyle Towers, Carlyle Mill, Avalon Apartments, Townes at Cameron Parke, The Exchange, The Reserve and Summers Grove.

Soon, the residences will be joined  by a 280-unit rental apartment community in the 800 block of John Carlyle Street, the Alexan Carlyle, developed by Trammell Crow Residential (TCR).  The $94 million project is being built on a 2.8 acre lot and schedules delivery of the first units in the third quarter of 2009.

The development will have five stories and a variety of resort-style amenities including a pool, clubhouse, exercise room, billiards room, business center, and more. The single building, designed by Cubellis DCA, incorporates three distinct architectural styles. One portion of the building reflects the classic Federal architecture of nearby Old Town Alexandria; another has art-deco flair; and the third brings to mind airy loft dwellings created from urban warehouses.

TCR said it is marketing to young professionals who decide to rent to maintain liquidity and geographic flexibility due to job changes.

The Carlyle neighborhood even has its own blog, which lists the incoming retail restaurants, but no news of the residents. I need to write about something other than restaurants, but it seems that that’s about the only news … the Carlyle neighborhood blog said.

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