Plans for Robinson Terminal South are a sign of great things to come

Plans for Robinson Terminal South are a sign of great things to come

By Robert Atkinson, Alexandria

I have followed the deliberations on the waterfront redevelopment plan with great interest over the past few years and am a firm supporter of bringing new life and vitality to this critical part of Alexandria. Now that we are beginning to see its implementation, I am even more convinced that the end result will be a place that is a great source of pride for Alexandrians.

The proposal for Robinson Terminal South that EYA has put forth is a perfect example. The plans presented at a recent board of architectural review hearing are a harbinger of good things to come.

The sensitive massing of the site; the creation of intriguing and attractive streetscapes; the inclusion of retail and restaurants at the water; and the creative preservation of the one historic building on the site all bode well for the future. The fact that the architecture responds to its context without overly copying its neighbors should be applauded. Buildings should reflect the place and time of their making and this, the current design, does admirably.

As pointed out at the hearing and in the staff report, there are elements that need tweaking. But a true course has been set.

One thing that needs to be noted: throughout the discussions on the waterfront plan — and even at last week’s hearing — comparisons have been made between Alexandria’s future waterfront and National Harbor. These are two entirely different developments in terms of scale, massing and purpose.

While both seek to create urbane places for people work, live and relax, just how this is accomplished is unique one from the other. Continuing to juxtapose the two is not helpful in framing the conversation about the future of Alexandria.

As a proud, longtime resident of Alexandria, I look forward to seeing Robinson Terminal South completed and enjoying dinner and a stroll along the waterfront.