Alexandria City Council approves new ‘neighborhood’ at former Vulcan Materials site

After years of planning, a new neighborhood was just approved to replace the former Vulcan Materials site in Alexandria’s West End.

City Council approved the proposal 5-1 at their Saturday public hearing, with City Council Member Canek Aguirre voting in opposition.

Lennar Corporation and Potomac Land Group II LLC can now build a dual-branded 11-story hotel with 256 rooms facing S. Van Dorn Street on at 701 S. Van Dorn Street and 698 Burnside Place, as well as condominiums, townhouses and a new public park. Renderings of the hotel revealed a Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites.

The group also plans to contribute $3.5 million into the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund instead of including affordable housing on the 18-acre site. Additionally, $2.6 million would go toward construction of the 4.4-acre Backlick Run Park in the northwest corner of the property, and the developers would also build a pedestrian bridge from the property to the park.

Aguirre said that the project is an island without affordable housing, and said that the plan does not create a new voting precinct, or a school, and is difficult for the community to otherwise access.

“This is acres and acres of land,” Aguirre said. “We don’t get an opportunity to deal with this much land like this, and to say that we’re gonna have this large ofsite and not have anything affordable, I don’t know how we do that.”

The site is the former home to a gravel and granite processing site, and is approximately a half-mile from the Van Dorn Metro station. About one-third of the property can’t be developed due to its previous industrial use.

Mayor Justin Wilson said that the city can’t always get what it wants, especially with such an industrial parcel of land.

“We want to do it all,” Wilson said. “We want public art, we want open space, we want affordable housing. We want it all and the reality is that it all does not pencil out.”

Ken Wire represents the developers and told Council that it will take a year to do environmental cleanup on the property and three years before housing units can be sold.

The plan also calls for construction of 204 condominiums, 88 back-to-back multifamily units, and 31 townhomes connected on an internal street network. Wire said that the condos would range in price from $400,000 to $600,000.