Saturday, January 23, 2010

EYA Ready to Demo Another Old Town Low-Income Project

After nearly 4 years of planning, developer EYA is getting ready to demolish one of Old Town's numerous subsidized housing relics and replace it with a mixed-income community. EYA reports that demolition should be underway by March on 808 Madison Street, part of the James Bland Additions community on the northern edge of Old Town Alexandria.

Old Town Commons will add 245 market-rate and 134 affordable homes, renovating five full blocks of Old Town, replacing the 194 units of affordable housing built in 1954 and owned by the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA). Current residents will be relocated on site or transferred to other available ARHA housing in the community.

The EYA project will continue in phases, one phase per block, allowing for many residents to remain in their homes until new space becomes available, though public housing residents are not guaranteed a space in the new project. The developer began the process in 2006 when it responded to an RFP released by Alexandria, which it won in the summer of 2006. As part of the agreement, the developer will buy the land beneath the market-rate units, money which ARHA will then put toward funding the public housing units.

Across the five phases, the housing breaks down into 159 market-rate townhomes, 86 market-rate condos and 134 subsidized apartments. The first phase includes 37 market-rate units and 18 subsidized units with the remaining phases following a similar pattern of 2/3 market-rate to 1/3 public. The first phase units should complete by the end of 2011.

The homes will be a mixture of architectural styles, designed by project architect the Lessard Group. According to Jennifer Hebert of EYA, the primary streets, such as Madison and Wythe, will have "very traditional Old Town" designs, while the new secondary streets "will feature a more modern architectural style." EYA told DCMud that subsidized and market housing will be interspersed and that the exterior will cloak such distinctions to "ensure that the overall community has a consistent look." According to Brian Allan Jackson, a Senior Vice President at EYA, both type of units will be built to LEED for community standards, like their Capitol Quarters project in D.C.

EYA also developed several projects in the immediate vicinity, including Chatham Square and Potomac Greens, both collaborations with EYA and county-funded ARHA. EYA is also now building Glebe Park, another partnership between EYA and ARHA, with funding from Alexandria that will be repaid through land sales at Old Town Commons, and have caused more than a little hand-wringing at the thought of sponsoring more low-income housing within Old Town. Glebe Park broke ground in August for the construction and rehabilitation of 102 homes off West Glebe Road, with completion scheduled for late 2010. Jackson said the two projects combined will likely amount to $200 million in total project costs.

Alexandria Virginia real estate and development news


Evan on Jan 24, 2010, 2:28:00 AM said...

Wow, I know I usually complain about neo-traditional infill, but here I can understand, I'm sure they want to keep the old timey atmosphere. At least they're planning modern townhomes to diversify the architectural styles.

Sick of crappy architecture said...

I have yet to see an EYA-Lessard project that doesn't look like it could be blown over in the wind. Ditto for Capitol Quarter. Thin wood frames, little or no moldings, cheap plastic windows with fake mullions, no depth to the building (that would cost more), just a long, vinyl-covered wall uninterrupted by anything architecturally mentionable. This cheap garbage belongs in Manassas, not here in Old Town. And the interiors are just as bad; I've been in some of these before, they are so thin you can hear everything. There is no reason not to demand better for our community.

Anonymous said...

Love the old style architecture. Nice to see more architects abandoning the bull&(#$ they get taught in schools about what is and isn't modern. Refreshing!!

I wonder if Palladio had to listen to a bunch of loosers whine that he was designing in a 1500 year-old style?

Sick of crappy architecture said...

Please point out to me where the classic element is here. I love classic architecture, this is not it. If you can't distinguish this from any historic building, you need laser surgery.

Anonymous said...

If you can't distinguish the fact that today's building technology is different (no matter what style)from Palladio's period, then you need a lobotomy.

BTW: It's classical, not classic.

Anonymous said...

As a neighbor to this project, I am very disappointed that the City of Alexandria has elected to keep its public housing segregated in this small area of North Old Town.

Old Town Commons buyers beware: the public school serving this new EYA project is already overwhelming low income, with approximately 85 percent qualifying for subsidized lunches. Even though this new EYA project will be only 1/3 low income and 2/3 market rate, there are already numerous other large public housing projects in the immediate area, including the troubled Andrew Adkins housing project.

Politically speaking, it was just easier for the City Council to keep its public housing segregated here than disperse it throughout the City. It's really a shame since this was such a golden opportunity, but unfortunately, the City wasted it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this neighborhood has so much potential but is rightly known as City Council's dumping ground for civic problems.

City Council will likely purchase the unwanted "market rate" units at a discount after they fail to sell, and use those units for affordable housing.

Sick of NoVa said...

Against my better judgement my husband and I moved to Alexandria thinking it was a liberal enclave of understanding, empathetic, and like minded people. On hearing that the City has (without any substantial opposition from residents) decided to demolish it's low-income housing for more of the same creepy, cookie-cutter "modern Old-Town style" affirms for us that NoVa is still for the RED birds. When will you learn that sweeping our less fortunate brothers and sisters out of sight doesn't solve the problem?? Enjoy your private tennis courts and passive McDonnell racism, we're headed north.

Non-subsidized said...

Nova chick: Go see a doctor, you are insane. If your government's penchant for taking up prime real estate sites near a historic town center, and using your tax dollars to build housing for poor people, qualifies as too conservative, you need to head west (to China), not north. I agree that the architecture is atrocious, but that's everywhere, not just in Alexandria. As if DC's subsidized housing is better. The crime is stuffing so many poor people into one neighborhood, the same mistake Alexandria made with its '50's projects, which made the periphery of Old Town a ghetto. Looks like it will stay that way.

Anonymous said...

Yes... because China is known for its human rights and taking care of its poor, so that is probably where I would want to go. Interestingly, your love of inequality and increasing your wealth while displacing the poor would fit in quite well with China, as it has a considerably higher income inequality than the US. I have no doubt that you don't care though, which was my point. No one seems to care where these people who are getting kicked out of their homes are going. You don't care that their kids are getting pulled out of school mid-year, that they are just getting handed vouchers with no promise of available apartments, and that it is all of the sake of making you richer! That's called greed! Have a heart and think FOR ONCE about those who are less fortunte than you rather than being so conserned about further increasing your estate value. Jerk.

Sanderlina said...

I have to agree that NOVA chick is insane. I live up the street, the houses in that area are currently unbelievably run down and badly managed, further, there's a lot of crime in that area (hence the two cops that showed up in my yard one night asking if we'd seen, and I quote directly, "two black guys beating up a black chick.").

There are ways to make this work. I'd prefer to see someone use sustainable development inside the beltway instead of piling subdivisions on top of fields 50 miles away, destroying our farmland and making our highways impassible.

Anonymous said...

Concurrently to building the Capitol Quarter, they are also building the Arts District Hyattsville, where they are using almost identical blueprint for units in both developments, the materials and the options are the same, and I am assuming it costs them the same amount of money to build these similar units. Take a look at the Rousseau at ADH - listed at $499k and the Carroll at CQ, listed at $829k - the similarities are obvious and both areas - Hyattsville and Navy Yard are upcoming - therefore I cannot justify the price difference to be due to the cost of the land. It is definately not due to the cost of the construction since these are built at the same time a few miles away from each other.

EYA markets the Navy Yards heavily, creating a price bubble for these units, and I think at some point it will pop, unfortunately in the hands of the believing buyers. Also - the Navy Yard projects are not quite moving at the pace they were projected to, and a buyer will need to hold a CQ home for at least 5-10 years to be able to recover its cost upon sale.

Here are the units I am referring to, good luck:​u.pdf​.pdf

Anonymous said...

Its so sad to read these comments. No one seems to recognize this is a mixed income development. The biggest tragedy is that low income residents have to be displaced during construction. Rather than scatter the low income residents to the wind, EYA and Alexandria have attempted to improve the neighborhood. And while they attempt this here we have one person warning those who are better off not to move in, some one else ignoring the fact that they demolished the low income housing to build higher density low income housing mixed with market rate housing. Its simply amazing. And comments on cookie cutter homes are so tired. I lived in DC for 4 years and could walk for a half mile in any direction and come across maybe 5 different floor plans. And every single house is nearly 100 years old.

Anonymous said...

Watch out DC!! EYA sales staff are arrogant and non-responsive after you sign.


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