potomac river generating station

The Redevelopment of Potomac River Generating Station

April 5, 2021 | Inside Old Town | By: The Goodhart Group

The Potomac River Generating Station (PRGS) site in North Old Town is about to undergo a major overhaul.

The Backstory

The coal-fired power plant began operations on the PRGS site in 1949 to provide power to Washington D.C. and to serve as a backup power source for the nearby Pentagon. In the early 2000s, however, residents living close to the station began complaining of black dust covering their balconies. These locals voiced their strong concerns about the site’s impacts on health and the environment. Following years of litigation and under an agreement with the City of Alexandria, the PRGS was decommissioned in 2012. The site then went under years of remediation. While active remediation ended in 2019, onsite groundwater monitoring wells continue to be tested quarterly for petroleum contaminants.

The Latest

In 2017, the Alexandria City Council approved the Old Town North Small Area Plan, which includes the Potomac River Generating Station site. This plan expanded on the City’s plan to create sustainable and livable communities. After a 3½ -year pursuit, Hilco Redevelopment Partners, a subsidiary of Hilco Global, recently purchased the site for an undisclosed amount. This Illinois-based development company has a history of transforming obsolete facilities.

The Plan for the Future

The Hilco deal will completely transform the 18-acre site along the Potomac River. The new development will provide residential housing, including affordable units, commercial office space, dining, retail, and public open space. It is expected to bring many jobs to the area. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson has noted the development will be an “environmentally sustainable, economically vibrant mixed-used development.“

The project will take five to ten years to complete, depending on how long Hilco needs to conduct an environmental cleanup of the site. Potomac Electric Power Co. (Pepco) will retain an interest in the site where it will continue to own and operate an electrical substation.

The Bottom Line

This news on the Potomac River Generating Station can only mean good things for Old Town and local home values. We will keep a very close eye on this project and report back often!

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