Sale of Robinson Terminals paves way for waterfront hotel project

Sale of Robinson Terminals paves way for waterfront hotel project

By Erich Wagner (File Photo)

After six-plus months on the market, the soon-to-be-renamed Washington Post Co. accepted offers for the two Robinson Terminal warehouses over the weekend.

Property firms JBG and EYA partnered to buy Robinson Terminal South at 2 Duke St., while CityInterests, a company that has developed a number of properties on the north side of the Potomac River, purchased Robinson Terminal North at 1 Oronoco St.

JBG and EYA, two firms that already have a significant presence in the Port City, did not return calls for comment Tuesday. But CityInterests partner Peter Farrell said that he was excited about bringing his company’s expertise into Northern Virginia.

“We consider [the Robinson Terminals] to be legacy real estate, and it is very much deserving of a premier development project, which is what we have planned,” Farrell said. “[It] really is an interesting time to come to Alexandria for a site like this. After many years, the city leaders and the community have designed a target for which a developer can actually hit, and that feels pretty good.”

Farrell could not discuss the specifics of the deal but said his company plans to build a boutique hotel at the site, along with some retail and residential property.

“We are going to do a 150-room luxury boutique hotel, and we’ll also do residential and retail, all of which will be on the western portion of the north terminal,” Farrell said. “The east portion will be residential with more retail. Our plan also calls for some very public open space on the waterfront itself.”

The company’s development plans would mean the demolition of the warehouses located at the site.

Mayor Bill Euille will meet with all of the buyers this week. Based off what he’s seen, Euille said the developers will remain mostly within the parameters of the controversial waterfront plan, passed by city council last year and then again — with a supermajority vote — in the spring.

“I’m sure that there will be requests for minor tweaking, but we already had a long and enduring process [on the plan],” Euille said. “But we don’t want to see anything that would make the whole plan subject to community review and scrutiny again.”

Euille believes that when all is said and done, there only will be one hotel at the Robinson Terminals — the one Farrell envisions for 1 Oronoco St.

“I’m hearing that on the southern side, there’s going to be a mix of commercial and residential, with some retail mixed in,” he said. “That all fits into the scheme of things in terms of the division of the waterfront plan. From what I’m hearing, at this juncture, there won’t be two hotels, but there will be at least one between the two sites.”