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ARHA lays out plans for new North Old Town affordable housing development

Rendering of new proposed Samuel Madden development (image courtesy ARHA)

(Updated 1:50 a.m.) The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority announced some next steps as it works to transform the Samuel Madden Homes (921 N. Henry Street) in the Braddock neighborhood into a mixed-income, mixed-use rental community.

There are currently 66 public housing units in a neighborhood at the northern point of where Route 1 splits into N. Patrick and N. Henry streets. It’s an area overshadowed by the larger, higher-density developments to the east and west. A press release said the development would double the number of affordable units.

ARHA announced today a partnership with three development companies to help develop and operate affordable housing.

“The selection of a development partner for the Madden community is a happy day for Alexandria as it will allow us to increase affordable rental housing for all residents of the city” ARHA CEO Keith Pettigrew said in the press release. “Our partners have an outstanding track record of producing quality affordable housing and have embraced our goal of increasing housing opportunities for low-income and working families. The plan that they have submitted accomplishes that goal.”

The plan is to create a new development where one-third of the units will be low income — for those at 0-30% of area median income. Another third will be for slightly higher-income households, those at 30-80% of area median income. The last third of the units will be available for market-rate renters — units at rates comparable to other nearby developments.

“The team will propose to the City that the apartments be constructed in two buildings, with amenities including courtyards, on-site management offices, pool, exercise rooms and indoor and outdoor community rooms,” the press release said. “The site concept plan will also include a 10,000-square-foot public park with a playground and public art; a food pantry and other potential ground-level retail.”

A project representative said amenities at the project will be available for all residents.

The press release noted that the new development will have a daycare center run by local non-profit Hopkins House, which will have a sliding scale rate based on economic need. The development will also have an Alive! food pantry, with fresh food and vegetables.

“I believe that this property will become the crown jewel of our portfolio,” Pettigrew said. “When you come down the hill on Route 1 into Old Town, this majestic site will be the first thing you see. I can’t think of a better way to welcome people to our city.”

The release noted that ARHA is planning to submit concept plans to the city in 2022 and meet with nearby civic associations, neighborhood groups, zoning and planning boards, and eventually seek City Council approval.

Image courtesy ARHA

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