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New Development

Giant/ABC Site
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The Towns at 1333
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Old Dominion Boat Club
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Landmark Mall
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Potomac Yard


Montgomery Street
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Beach Drive

Park Development

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Completed Projects

National Airport South
Canal Center Plaza


Metro Bus Barn Redevlopment
Block Bounded by North Pitt, Wythe, North Royal and Pendleton Streets

For more than 50 years, the Alexandria, Barcroft and Washington Transit Company operated an independent local bus service in Northern Virginia.  AB&W, as it was known, started out in 1921 with one bus, an REO Speed Wagon, traversing a single route running up and down Columbia Pike from the Barcroft neighborhood near Baileys Crossroads into Washington, D.C. and back.  At the time, Columbia Pike was still a dirt road, and the one-way bus fare was 15 cents.  The Speed Wagon, an early antecedent of the modern-day flat-bed pick-up truck, was manufactured by the Ransom Eli Olds Motor Car Company from 1915 until the early 1950s.  The American rock band of the same name was formed in 1967.

By 1924, AB&W had expanded its bus service to include Alexandria.  In 1943, the company moved its offices to 600 North Royal Street in Old Town.  Two years later, in 1945, AB&W built a bus garage on the block, which is bounded by North Pitt Street to the west, Wythe Street to the north, North Royal Street to the east, and Pendleton Street to the south (outlined in white on the aerial view above).  The site of the new bus garage was previously occupied by two-story row houses and other buildings.

In 1973, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority acquired four privately-owned bus companies to serve as the foundation for its new public bus service intended to augment its budding rail service.  AB&W was one of those bus companies.  From that point onward, the AB&W garage on North Royal Street became known as the WMATA bus barn.  In August 2014, after nearly 70 years of use, WMATA, under pressure from Alexandria officials, closed the bus barn, moved its maintenance operations to a new facility in an industrial park in the Newington area of Fairfax County, and announced that it would offer the North Royal Street site for sale.


To facilitate the property's redevelopment in a manner consistent with the Old Town North Small Area Plan (see the City Planning page of this website for details), the city rezoned the block from industrial to medium-density residential, and formed a Royal Street Bus Garage Ad Hoc Advisory Committee.

In May 2015, WMATA released an initial solicitation of proposals for development of the site, but later canceled the process purportedly because none of the responses met the agency’s criteria.  Others suggested that the project became mired over disputes regarding liability for environmental remediation of the site.  In mid-August 2017, WMATA announced that it was preparing a second solicitation of proposals and holding a pre-bid meeting for interested developers on September 19, 2017.

According to Alexandria property records, the two-acre parcel's current assessed value is $15.1 million.  That will certainly rise once redevelopment is completed.

For many years, AB&W used fare tokens manufactured by Scovill Fasteners that featured a punched-out "B" at its center.  The token in the photo at right is part of the undisplayed permanent collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.



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