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Community meeting planned for controversial Braddock redevelopment

Samuel Madden redevelopment rendering (image via Torti Gallas + Partners/City of Alexandria)

The Samuel Madden redevelopment project at the north end of the Braddock neighborhood is heading back to the community review process after a significant redesign.

The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) is planning on tearing down a dozen aging townhomes at the north end of the Braddock Neighborhood, where Patrick and Henry streets reform into Route 1. They will be replaced with a new 500-unit multifamily residential development that would act — as it was called in some of the earlier meetings — as a gateway into Old Town.

The project had previously been lambasted by the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) for the neglect of the previous townhouse units, which were allowed to significantly deteriorate, and for seemingly giving little care to the architectural character of the townhomes the new development would be replacing.

The new version of the project doesn’t quite emulate the WWII-era design of the townhomes currently on the site, nor does it retroactively fix the years of neglect for the buildings by ARHA, but it did receive a more positive reception by staff and the BAR with inclusions like a new northern courtyard and more significant setbacks at the southern end of the site where it sits across from much lower-elevation development.

The new community meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. It will be both in-person and virtual, with the in-person side held at the Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe Street).

A release from the City of Alexandria said the development team will be available to offer updates on the project and explain some of the new uses coming in, including mixed-income rental housing, community services, and early childhood education programs.

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