Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Alexandria Low-Income Gets Mixed-Income Makeover

The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) and EYA Development Inc. have filed for the permits needed to move ahead with their proposed redevelopment of Alexandria's James Bland Public Housing Project.

the demolition of all 194 units that currently occupy the site, the development team hopes to install a radically different housing development that will promote "mixed-income communities." Shooting for a 65/35 ratio of market-rate to public housing, the new James Bland will consist of 159 townhomes and 86 multi-family units on the upscale end, and 72 townhomes and 62 multi-family units on the affordable side. The same ratio will be maintained throughout each block of the five block development - with no separation by income type.

Other components of the redevelopment include a new, 13,800-square foot park at the intersection of Alfred & Montgomery Streets – intended to cater to the expected influx of families with children, and to serve as a link to the new Charles Houston Recreation Center. A second, 7,800 foot park has also been proposed at the corner of First Street.

The $55 million project will be drawing its funds from AHRA’s sale of the Glebe Park public lots to EYA - whichs plan on beginning construction at that site next month - and Virginia low-income housing tax credits. The plan proposes that 44 of the 194 public homes at James Bland then be relocated to the Glebe site upon completion. The builders plan on offsetting the environmental effects of the construction by aiming for LEED certification – the grade has yet to be determined – and recycling as many building materials from the old structures as possible. The development team has also pledged to use designs that are in keeping with the greater aesthetic of the Parker-Gray neighborhood.

The developer plans five phases of construction, with the build-out expected to commence in November, 2009. The buildings on the 8.49 acre site were originally erected in 1945, and converted in public housing by the AHRA in 1987. The development team received approval for demolition and for their preliminary concepts on September 24th. The project still awaits approval of special zoning and special use exceptions needed to bring the development to fruition.


Tim on Oct 9, 2008, 11:15:00 AM said...

I walked from Braddock Rd Metro through this neghborhood to work for 5 years. It always seemed too quiet for a place so close to Old Town and a Metro stop. I wondered when the development powers that be would push these sorts of changes along. Nice part of town (some call it "North Old Town").

These changes look positive on the face. They will work to keep the 65/35 mix and hopefully not put up too many high rise apartments/condos. Its nice as a low-rise part of Alexandria.

Anonymous said...

Those of us who live in the neighborhood were extremely disappointed in this project. This part of town is already burdened with over 75% of Alexandria's public housing stock. We believe that the City Council likes to keep it contained, rather than risk moving it to more politically connected parts of the City such as Del Ray or Rosemont. As a result of this concentrated public housing, this neighborhood suffers from a high crime rate and all the attendant problems associated with concentrated poverty.

We very firmly believe the City should not have allowed 100 plus public housing units to be put back into an area already overconcentrated with it.

Anonymous said...

I still own a home there and the City has turned their back on those of us paying our fair share of Taxes and the police are still afraid to get out of their cars. I have been begging the City for years to help us and I am told that is just the price I have to pay for living there. So, good luck getting any help from the Mayor or City of Alexandria...I moved.

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