Bye, Bye Bus Barn

Demolition of the former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board (WMATA) bus garage in Alexandria, VA to begin in January 2020

former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board (WMATA) bus garage, a.k.a. bus barn
Source: Rosemary Guerguerian

Alexandria, VA– Located at 600 N. Royal St., the former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) bus garage, a.k.a. bus barn, has remained vacant since August 2014. In a meeting on Monday, December 9, developer Tramell Crow Residential detailed plans for the upcoming construction of the Alexan project. Alexandria residents can expect a disappearance of the eyesore in the very near future.

Demolition of the bus barn is scheduled to begin on January 2, 2020. In its place, a mixed use apartment building will be built.

The main entrance of the apartment building will be on Wythe St., with an entrance to a parking garage on Royal St. The underground parking will accommodate over 300 spaces.

Construction will begin with the underground garage in June 2020, followed by above ground construction in the last quarter of 2020. The project is estimated to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

Surrounding residents will be receiving property surveys prior to demolition, and Tramell Crow assures them that vibrations created by construction will be monitored by vibration sensors. To limit disruption of traffic and parking, the developer will provide the construction crews with Metro subsidies and dedicated parking in a nearby garage.

In the process, N.Pitt and N. Royal St. will be narrowed by approximately 3 feet to allow for widening the sidewalks adjacent to the apartments. The trees removed from the Pitt St. side during construction will be replanted after construction is complete.

The structure dates back to 1945 when it was first built. At the time it was called the A.B. & W. Transit Company Bus Garage. Over the years, countless buses have come and gone from the garage. Some local residents recall the daily parade of buses. 

“That’s one of the reasons that we changed our windows,” says Mike Schmitz, who lives in a townhouse nearby.

In 1992, The Old Town North Small Area Plan recommended that the site be zoned for residential use, given the surrounding area was also largely residential. In May 2015, bidding was opened by WMATA for re-development. Now, residents will finally see the change occurring.

Tramell Crow Residential hopes to have a website up about the development by the end of December 2019.

Until then, click here for more details and images of the planned development.

For more information about Tramell Crow Residential, visit them at https://www.crowholdings.com/tcr/properties