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Alexandria asks Potomac Yard developers for more money

Alexandria officials are pushing private developers to fork over more money for the proposed $240 million Metrorail station at Potomac Yard.

"The city is expecting [the property owners around the site] to contribute $10 a foot to the Metro station project," said Faroll Hamer, the city's director of planning and zoning.

Hamer said investors are objecting to the $10, which would be in addition to other agreed-on property taxes.

"The additional $10 ask is something that doesn't make sense in our mind," said Fred Rothmeijer, a founding partner at MRP Realty, which owns property around the proposed station. "I have no idea why the city feels that they have one, the ability, and two, a reasonable argument, to ask for the $10."

Alexandria officials are trying to transform Potomac Yard from a sprawling melange of auto dealerships and big-box stores into a more concentrated, walkable neighborhood of private residences, restaurants and storefronts.

The first and most integral part of that plan is a new Metro station, according to Mark Jinks, Alexandria's deputy city planner. The city has worked with Metro engineers on the planning.

Jinks estimated the project would cost $240 million. He said that because the 7 million square feet of real estate within a quarter-mile of the proposed station site would be more valuable, developers should pay an additional $10-per-square-foot "contribution."

Neither Jinks nor Hamer would discuss specifics of the city's negotiations with developers.

Alexandria officials in December announced the plan for the north section of the Potomac Yard development, which would include the proposed Metro station.

Jinks said city officials hoped to reach an agreement with developers by April, when the Alexandria Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the plan. The Metro board of directors also must approve the plan before construction of the new Metro station could begin.