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West End neighborhood associations band together against new residential development

The proposed apartment building at 1900 N. Beauregard Street (via City of Alexandria)

Three West End neighborhood associations say that a proposed residential development at 1900 N. Beauregard Street will create too much density.

The Seminary West Civic Association (SWCA), Seminary Heights Condominium Association and the Seminary Park Home Owners Association wrote City Council discouraging the proposal by Monday Properties.

The developer wants to replace a three-story 1970’s-era medical office building with a six-to-seven-story multifamily residential building with 340-to-350 apartments, a parking garage and a swimming pool.

“The Seminary West Civic Association (SWCA), a community of approximately 600 townhouses and detached homes in the immediately adjacent neighborhood, urges the City to reject this proposal,” wrote Owen Curtis, SWCA president. “Trying to turn North Beauregard into something that resembles Crystal City or the Carlyle or any other dense urban neighborhood is wholly inappropriate.”

Monday Properties submitted a concept plan last month for an apartment complex with 343 apartments — 36 studios, 180 one-bedroom apartments, 121 two-bedroom apartments and six three-bedroom apartments. The company also wants a 110-foot height allowance (10 stories) and construction of a public roadway between the property and its neighbors. That new parallel roadway is drawing the ire of neighbors, who are calling it a dealbreaker after residents successfully lobbied for its removal from the Beauregard Small Area Plan.

Seminary Heights Condominium Board President Dodi Baker said that his community “vehemently opposes the newly proposed redevelopment,” and Seminary Park President Les Jackson wrote that his neighborhood’s board of directors voted against it.

“This proposal seeks to break promises made to our community by inserting a parallel road we fought to have removed from future city planning,” Baker said.

A public roadway is being proposed at the northern end of 1900 N. Beauregard Street (via City of Alexandria)

Monday Properties wants to remove the existing 57,600-square-foot office building, which is the home of the Alexandria Workforce Development Center. The development is also next door to The Blake, a 300-unit residential apartment complex that Monday Properties opened last year. Neighbors say that, if the plan is approved, the area would be too crowded with more than 600 residential units within two blocks.

According to the three citizen groups:

In addition, across the street from The Blake and 1900 North Beauregard developments on Seminary Road, more than 95 additional residential units have been approved to be built in the “Upland Park” development. Nearly directly across from North Beauregard Street and adjacent to the Alexandria Hilton, 367 more residential units have been approved for construction as part of “The Rutherford” building. And only a few more blocks away on Seminary Road, an office building was recently converted from office space to 212 residential units. When combined these developments total over 1300 new residential units within several short blocks and developed within a shared compressed time period.

The neighborhood associations are also supported by Bud Jackson, a member of the Beauregard Urban Design Advisory Committee, which reviews many land use applications in the West End. Jackson says the development goes against Alexandria’s Beauregard Small Area Plan, which calls for less density and more roadway development.

“This proposed development seeks to avoid key provisions established by the Beauregard Small Area Plan (BSAP) and, if allowed to proceed, goes back on promises made to the Seminary Heights community – including promises made that are now memorialized within the BSAP,” Jackson wrote in a letter to City Manager Jim Parajon. “For me, this plan is dead on arrival and should not even be presented to BDAC in its current form. It asks our city to hand out special use permits like candy without regard to the neighborhood, abutting neighbors, and the loss of benefits our city should expect in return for the privileges being granted.”

A public meeting on the proposal is scheduled for Thursday, March 23, at 6:30 p.m. at 1800 N. Beauregard Street.