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ALEXANDRIA, VA-MRP Realty and Boston-based Rockpoint Group have just closed on 17 acres in the Potomac Yard section of the Alexandria submarket. The $70-million transaction is the first step to realizing the firms’ plans to develop a $600-million mixed-use project here.

Called the Potomac Yard Town Center, the ambitious project calls for the development of 800,000 sf of office space, 625 hotel rooms, 414 residential units, and 80,000 sf of retail space anchored by a 1.25-acre town green. Gensler is serving as master planner and architect for the office and retail components while SK&I is designing the residential space. MRP Realty is the operating partner in this venture; Rockpoint is the equity partner.

MRP Realty principal and co-founder Ryan Wade tells GlobeSt.com that the companies are designing the office component–which will be between six to eight buildings–to accommodate the needs of associations and industry groups, the typical corporate user in Alexandria. “So we are building smaller buildings that such a group might want to purchase.”

Indeed, the MRP-Rockpoint venture is unlikely to foot the entire $600-million development costs–which includes the $70-million land acquisition–at least in the long run. “We may sell off individual parts like office or a hotel,” Wade says.

Right now, he says, much is still on the table. The hotels are likely to be a mainstream flag, although a boutique is not out of the question. “What we are trying to do is create a sense of place for residents and tenants.” The firms are talking with a small urban grocery store and fitness center operators, he goes on to report. “We are also focused right now on retail and bringing in food and entertainment.”

The goal is to have enough of a town center atmosphere in phase one, which is expected to deliver in 2012. The entire project will deliver by 2015 or before.

This is the largest project MRP has launched thus far, Wade says–the next largest in size is a $350-million, one-million-sf development in the District called Washington Gateway.

Potomac Yard Town Center has been a long-pending deal for MRP, not to mention a fairly stealth one, although Wade has hinted to GlobeSt.com that it had a huge deal moving through its pipeline. Next up, he says is another mixed-use project in Northern Virginia. “We just signed a letter of intent for it,” he says, declining to provide further details.

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