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Bonaventure scales down Del Ray mixed use development, gives parking lot to community

Bonaventure has released its second concept design for its mixed use shopping center proposal for 2525 Mount Vernon Avenue in the middle of Del Ray.

Bonaventure made a few big changes, including reducing the size of the proposed mixed use building from 88,500 square feet to 72,000 square feet. The number of esidential units has also been lowered from 79 to 73, and the building setbacks have been increased along Mount Vernon, Stewart and E. Mount Ida Avenues.

Cathy Puskar, Bonaventure’s land use attorney, said that the developer received lots of feedback from the city and community on their first conceptual design.

“We continue to do our work to try and work with you as residents of Delray to address concerns and issues and hopefully get to a point where we have a project that everyone can be proud of,” Puskar told members of the Del Ray Citizens Association in a presentation Monday night (May 16).

Bonaventure is also giving the community a parking lot, so to speak. The developer owns the 144-space parking lot across from Pat Miller Square on Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue, and 73 spaces will be available for public use. The lot currently allows for 33 shared retail parking spaces.

“We are proposing to provide our residential parking on the lower floor of the of the parking structure,” Puskar said. “We would have 73 parking spaces that would be available for shared retail use so the public would be able to use those spaces.”

Bonaventure bought the home to the former Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services for $22.5 million in 2019, along with the neighboring properties at 2401, 2403 and 2411-2419 Mount Vernon Avenue.

Notable changes:

  • The number of residential units has gone from 79 to 73
  • Residential square footage went from 75,970 square feet to 63,200 square feet
  • Increased building setback along Mount Vernon Avenue from nine feet to 12.1 feet
  • Increased building setback along E. Mount Ida Avenue from seven-and-a-half feet to 10.7 feet
  • Increased building setback along Stewart Avenue from nine feet to 10 feet
  • Residential balconies have been removed

As for stormwater concerns, Puskar said that the new plan relocates a storm sewer pipe from the sidewalk into the street, and that the pipe will be increased from 15 inches to 18 inches.

“We received a number of comments about being concerned about stormwater and stormwater runoff and stormwater treatment,” Puskar said. “Since we have to relocate the pipe anyway, we’re working with staff to upgrade that pipe to help as they continue to do infrastructure improvements to address stormwater concerns in the area.”

Bonaventure is not including affordable housing units in the project, and will instead contribute to the city’s Housing Trust Fund.

The company wants their plan to go to the City for review in November, to be followed by a final site plan and building permit process, and upward of a year-and-a-half for construction. Barring unforeseen circumstances, development could start in the fourth quarter of 2023 and be finished in approximately 20 months.

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