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How will the new Potomac Yard Metro stop impact Alexandria's economy?

WMATA opened its 98th Metrorail stop Friday, and some Alexandria residents think it will result in some big changes.

WASHINGTON — Will Metro’s newest rail stop bring an economic boom for Alexandria? Residents in one of its historic neighborhoods think so.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority opened its Potomac Yard stop, along Potomac Avenue, in Alexandria, Virginia Friday morning.

The stop, which gives nearby riders quicker access to both Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines, finally became a reality after a few years of delays.

Development has already begun to pop up in the immediate area around the stop. There are several massive building projects being constructed just blocks away from both of the station’s entrances.

The City of Alexandria has long believed more people would come to the northern part of the community due to Metro’s arrival.

In 2015, the city projected the Potomac Yard stop would result in 26,000 new jobs and 13,000 new residents in the nearby community. Alexandria also predicted the station could help generate up to $2 billion in new tax revenue.

However, locals in some neighborhoods that live even farther away from the station’s immediate reach believe it could help improve their own economies.

Donna Welch and her family has run “Let’s Meat on the Avenue” for almost a decade on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Alexandria’s historic Del Ray neighborhood.

It takes commuters about twenty minutes to get to Metro’s 98th rail station, by foot, from the heart of Del Ray.

Welch said she believes the development that is created to the west of the station will ultimately bring even more people, farther west, to small businesses in Del Ray.

“It brings development and that means more people,” she said. “So, that can only help us.”

Welch also thinks the new stop will help address congestion issues along Route 1. Car traffic is a problem that can sometimes hurt businesses.

“Our biggest concern really is traffic and with another Metro, we see a lot of that, hopefully, easing,” she said.

Still, one question remains, with all of the new development that could pop up in and around Potomac Yard and Alexandria, will parts of the Northern Virginia city lose their character?

Alexandria native Analise Keeney doesn’t think so.

“You know the character of Del Ray and Alexandria as a whole is so welcoming,” she said. “And, [Alexandria’s] been changing since the day of its inception. So, I welcome, like I said, good vibes only.”

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