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Heritage project in Old Town returns for design review

The Heritage stirred up significant community uproar in the lead up to its approval in February, and now the project is coming back to public review for its design phase.

The project, once described by some on the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) as “Lipstick on a Pig“, is comprised of three new apartment buildings in southeast Old Town along S Patrick and Washington Streets. Each of the buildings scale from three and four stories up to seven stories in parts.

Block 2 of the project, between S Columbus Street and S Alfred Street, is located entirely within the Old and Historic District boundary. Block 1 is half-inside the boundary. Block 4, and a potential future development site labeled Block 3, are entirely outside of the Old and Historic District.

Borders of Old and Historic District as it runs through the Heritage project, image via City of Alexandria

In a presentation prepared for the BAR, the applicant said there were some redesigns to Block 1, including greater variation in heights and efforts to adjust windows and details to be more in keeping with Old Town’s historic feeling. Renderings show these alterations to be minor to the point of being almost indistinguishable.

Minor adjustments to Block 1 of The Heritage project, image via City of Alexandria

The application noted similar alterations for Block 2 of the project: revised brick detailing and window types, added balconies, and some changes to building material coloration.

Minor adjustments to Block 2 of The Heritage project, image via City of Alexandria

While the project was unanimously approved at the City Council, several on the Council expressed reservations about the building’s size and impact on the neighborhood density. But each member of the City Council ultimately said the promise of almost 200 affordable housing units was too much to pass up.

The project is scheduled to be reviewed at the Wednesday, July 21, BAR meeting.

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