Construction continues on “1111 Belle Pre,” (340 residential with 25,000 SF retail and previously named “The Madison”) at the corner of Route 1 South and Madison. Opening soon, it is one of many projects north of Old Town and close to Parker-Gray that are part of Alexandria’s transit-oriented development around the Braddock Road Metro station.
Some residents will remember this site as the location of the DMV (moved to Eisenhower Avenue). Decades ago, the Parker-Gray High School stood on the other side of N. Fayette.
It’s an older time, however, that this new place brings back in subtle ways.
From 1901 to 1921, this site was the home of the Belle-Pre bottle factory company. In his book, “Historic Alexandria,” Ted Pulliam writes about the bottle industry in Alexandria. Four glass-bottling plants rose up around the turn of the century. In 1902, a group of Washington businessmen organized the Belle Pre Bottle Company. They owned a patent on one of the types of milk bottles and produced one of the largest amounts in the U.S. In 1912, they declared bankruptcy and went out of business.
Inside the sales studio hangs a lovely image of lower King Street. One also sees some glass bottles as part of the décor. But it's along the outside of the second floor where one sees a creative nod to the industry and the workers who sweltered inside.
Another aspect of this project is the creation of a new street -- Belle Pre Way.
The sales rep said 94 units will open up next month, followed by Phase II in February with the remaining 216 units. We wish them luck and say thanks for the window into a lesser-known part of our history.