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Alexandria's next gateway: 400-plus apartments, hotel and retail

Friday - 8/22/2014, 2:48pm  ET

There’s only one intersection where Alexandria meets Fairfax and Arlington counties — at North Beauregard and King streets. As it stands, that corner is not much to look at, with a TGI Fridays on the Fairfax County side, a Wells Fargo on the Arlington side and a deteriorating strip shopping center in Alexandria territory.

Change is coming. At 4600 King Street in Alexandria, Abramsom Properties has proposed The Gateway at King and Beauregard, among the largest private projects in the city’s pipeline. The development was submitted as a concept in January, and will shift into a more formal review phase within weeks.

“Everything is ready to go and we expect our approvals by the end of the year,” said Danny Abramson, the firm’s co-founder.

Located on the former site of Jefferson Memorial Hospital and its associated office buildings, most of which were cleared a half-dozen years ago, the 695,000-square-foot Gateway is proposed to include a 14-story, 405-unit apartment building above a ground-floor, 62,000-square-foot supermarket, a four-story, mixed-use building with 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail topped by nearly 50 affordable apartments, and an eight-story, roughly 140-key hotel.

The evolving design, from McLean-based DCS Design Ltd., features a lot of glass walls and pre-cast concrete. Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is assisting with pre-construction work.

Abramson, who has a contract with the Lazlo N. Tauber Foundation to acquire the land, has lined up a supermarket anchor, he said, but he will not release the name until the grocer signs the contract, which could happen any day. As for the hotel flag, he said, there is strong interest from a variety of brands.

(My bet on the supermarket: Harris Teeter, a chain that is not represented in the immediate area, as opposed to Giant and Safeway, both of which operate stores in nearby Baileys Crossroads and in Alexandria.)

The cleared hospital land sits on a hill overlooking the King-Beauregard intersection. At street level is a crumbling, half-vacant shopping center — formerly home to one of the first Five Guys. Abramson said he’s had “good discussions” with the owner about “bringing them into the project, but it’s not by any means a done deal.”

Abramson’s portfolio includes the Harborside Townhomes in Old Town and the Colecroft Townhomes at the Braddock Metro, on the former John Roberts public housing site. Both projects, Abramson said, were “transformational” for their respective neighborhoods. But neither was on the scale of the Gateway at King and Beauregard.

“It’s a larger site, a larger project,” he said, “but it’s the same concept of transforming an area.”

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.