Alexandria is located inside the Beltway, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., and minutes from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The city's robust business environment is fueled by stable economic drivers such as a large concentration of technology companies, the fourth-largest concentration of professional associations in the country, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and a tourism industry that hosts nearly 3.3 million visitors a year. The city encompasses 15.75 square miles.
As a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission requirements, miscellaneous DoD, Defense Agency, Military Department, and Field Activity leased locations are to close throughout the National Capital Region, including leased space in Alexandria. It is estimated these actions will result in an estimated loss of more than 3,000 jobs in Alexandria and the vacancy of approximately 1.4 million square feet of office space. The majority of leased space to be vacated in Alexandria is concentrated in the Eisenhower Avenue corridor, specifically the Hoffman Center.
In June 2008, the Army released a Request for Proposals for a Build to Suit Campus to accommodate the BRAC Recommendation #133 personnel from 23 Defense agencies under the direction of Washington Headquarters Services (WHS). On September 29, 2009 the Army announced the selection of the Mark Center site in Alexandria. Under BRAC law, the Mark Center site became an "annex" of Fort Belvoir. In late 2009, the Army entered into negotiations with the property owner, Duke Realty, to purchase the site and develop the complex on behalf of the Army. The Mark Center campus encompasses other buildings and development that surround the BRAC Recommendation #133 site and remains under Duke Realty ownership.
The City of Alexandria Mayor's BRAC Work Group was designated as the organization to focus on assessing and addressing the impacts from the leased space BRAC action. The Alexandria Mayor chairs the work group, together with the Assistant City Manager and representatives of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, who serves as the lead agency to monitor, report, and assist the BRAC- affected personnel units. A significant challenge for the city is working with the BRAC-affected property owners to replace the DoD presence as the properties vacate.
In response to the BRAC Recommendation #133 realignment to the Mark Center, the city established the BRAC 133 Advisory Group comprising representatives from adjacent civic groups, business organizations, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Army, WHS and Duke Realty. The Alexandria Vice Mayor also established an advisory group to interface with the Army and WHS in development of the Mark Center Transportation Management Plan and to address specific Mark Center transportation access issues. In August 2011, Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell established a Virginia Department of Transportation task force to implement a Mark Center traffic management plan, closely monitor traffic impacts, help manage delays, and coordinate increased transit service in an effort to avoid gridlock on I-395. I-395 is a main north/south commuter route in Northern Virginia, serving 200,000 commuters each weekday.
To view the community's 2009 Mission Growth profile, click here.