The Boundary Cos. has paid $15.1 million for the Atlantic Self Storage site near the Van Dorn Metro station in Alexandria, with plans to eventually redevelop the property as the city’s longer-term vision for the Eisenhower Avenue corridor takes shape.

The roughly 4-acre site at 4900 Eisenhower Ave. is the third acquisition for the Chevy Chase-based developer within the city’s Eisenhower West Small Area Plan. Boundary founder John Wilkinson said he’s confident in the area’s long-term potential to become the sort of urban, pedestrian-oriented environment the small area plan calls for. That will take time, though, and at least one major redevelopment to help get things going.

That could have been HQ2, had Inc. (NYSE: AMZN) chosen an assemblage closer to the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station for its second headquarters. Wilkinson said he is watching several other potential kick-off projects including he potential redevelopment of Victory Center, a 16-acre property across the street from Atlantic Self Storage that is being marketed for sale through Cushman & Wakefield.

“The good news here is Alexandria is underpinned by strong fundamentals, HQ2 or not,” Wilkinson said. “What we need, and what we’re waiting for on the Eisenhower Avenue corridor, is a catalyst. We need that first stone to create the ripple.”

Through the late 1990s, the Eisenhower Avenue corridor was mostly dominated by commercial and industrial properties. That has begun to change with the addition of new residential projects like the Exchange at Van Dorn, which is adjacent to 4900 Eisenhower, and the Reserve at Eisenhower, which is two parcels away.

The self-storage site is assessed at nearly $14.8 million, according to Alexandria assessment data. It could potentially be redeveloped with a multifamily building of up to 15 stories, per the small area plan, but that would be pending additional approvals from the city. The property was sold by Eisenhower Ave. LLC, comprised of two separate ownership groups, which retained real estate brokerage ARA to market the site to interested buyers in 2016.

In the near term, Boundary plans to continue to operate the site as self storage, with “a few hundred thousand dollars” in renovations planned for the 75,000-square-foot facility.

Originally published: Washington Business Journal, Feb 20, 2019, by: Daniel J. Sernovitz