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New Development

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Alexandria Sewer
Craddock/Smoot Lumber
Potomac Yard


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Crowne Plaza
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Beach Drive

Park Development

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Completed Projects

National Airport South
Canal Center Plaza


Craddock / Former Smoot Lumber Site

Today, Royal Street traverses 1.7 miles from Jones Point Park at its southern end to Bashford Lane at its northern end.  In the years ahead, when the Potomac River Power Generating Plant Site is redeveloped, the City of Alexandria's Old Town North Small Area Plan envisions that Royal Street will be extended a full city block onto the site, restoring part of Old Town's street grid that was eliminated there more than 70 years ago.

Where North Royal Street now dog-legs onto Bashford Lane (at the main entrance to the decommissioned power plant), there is a 25,315-square-foot triangular-shaped parcel of land bounded by North Royal Street to the west, Third Street to the south, and the Mount Vernon Trail to the north.  The property is referred to as the Craddock site, named after the family that has owned it for well over 30 years.

Robert Craddock (1917-2007), the patriarch of the family, lived and worked in Alexandria for most of his adult life.  He was a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, sat on the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army for 20 years, was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church on South Royal Street for over 80 years, and served as president of W.A. Smoot Lumber Company where he worked for 60 years.  Smoot Lumber is a local building materials supplier that was established in 1822 and is now part of Atlanta, Georgia-based BMC.

From 1858 until 1965, Smoot operated out of the Torpedo Factory on South Union Street.  The business then moved to the Craddock site where it operated for 35 years from 1965 until 1990.  When the company finally moved its sprawling operations to a ten-times-larger facility on Edsall Road in the Fairfax County section of Alexandria, it converted its storefront at the Craddock site into a traditional hardware store.



By 2001, Smoot closed the hardware store and left Old Town for good, and several new tenants found homes at the Craddock site.  The American Showcase Theatre Company converted a 4,000-square-foot warehouse into a modern 130-seat contemporary theater that operates as MetroStage and puts on five stage productions each season.

For the past 15 years, Abaca Imports, which sells high-end outdoor furniture, furnishings and accessories, has been housed in another warehouse building.  And for ten years, from 2006 until 2016, local chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux operated a popular French brasserie on the property, first as their signature Bastille Restaurant (before it moved to its current location on North Fayette Street) and later for a short time as Bistrot Royal.

City development officials have publicly acknowledged that the Craddock property, with an assessed value of $3.5 million, is now available for sale and redevelopment.  Abaca Imports is closing for good.  With the city's encouragement, MetroStage is in discussions with area developers regarding a move to a nearby location.  Two recently announced redevelopment projects, the Crown Plaza Hotel and Waterfront Center, have been mentioned as a possbile new home for the theater.

The Craddock site, which has not seen any significant change in 50 years, is subject to the Old Town North Small Area Plan, which was updated in June 2017.  Any redevelopment of the property will likely include medium-density mixed residential and commercial uses appropriate for a location that will soon serve as a bridge between the older residential parcels to the south and the higher-density development expected at the power plant site.

For those who like things the way they are, the small but meaningful changes at the end of our street will herald the more consequential changes that lay just beyond.  Stay tuned.


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