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.
The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) project aims to tear down a dozen aging townhouses at 899 and 999 North Henry Street — 66 units in total — and replace them with two new multifamily apartment buildings featuring 500 residential units.
The proposed change would be a massive shift in scale for the pair of properties and be a marked visual change to the approach into Old Town along Route 1. The project faced some pushback from the Board of Architectural Review for demolishing homes identified as architecturally characteristic of the historic Parker-Gray neighborhood.
The staff report heading into a BAR meeting tonight (Tuesday), however, expresses more support for the project and said the applicant worked with staff to make changes to the properties.
As previously noted, staff finds that the applicant has been responsive to comments from the Board
and staff and has made significant changes to the proposed design throughout the Concept Design
review phase. These changes include the following:
- Addition of shoulders on portions of the building facing the historic district;
- The reconfiguration of the north building to extend the building further into the proposed
park, relocating the public open space to the north end of the south building;
- The creation of an exterior courtyard at the north end of the building;
- Reorganizing the building organization to locate the entry lobbies across from one another
to further the connection between the north and south buildings;
- The addition of significant setbacks at the south end of the south building in response to
- The elimination of a floor and overall lowering of the south building.
The report said the changes are the direct result of comments from the BAR.
“Staff appreciates the responsiveness of the applicant and the collaborative approach to the design the Board and the applicant have engaged,” the report said. “Based on all of these revisions, staff finds the height, mass, and scale to be appropriate for this location and the surrounding context.”
In general, the staff report said the new architectural shifts in the project will help it blend in more with the buildings around it, including those west of the property that are taller than the proposed development.
“Staff finds that the general architectural character of the proposed design is compatible with the Design Guidelines and the nearby context,” the report said. “Staff recommends that the Board endorse the proposed height, mass, scale, and general architectural character…”
The report also noted that the approval should be contingent on a few more minor changes, like slight elevation and window changes.
The City of Alexandria could be rolling out a new kind of bus stop with some substantial improvements over the current one.
It’s no hoity-toity $1 million Arlington bus stop, but the new shelters have modifications designed to make them more durable.
“Once approved, this bus shelter model will be used as the primary bus shelter to be installed by the City CIP projects and Developers throughout the City moving forward,” the city said in a project application.
The application laid out a few of the improvements over the current design approved in 2015.
“The modified bus shelter design is substantially similar to the current design and offers improvements that would make it more durable,” the application said. “Improvements include a more impact resistant roof, compact solar panels, framed wall panels,
handrails, and better mounting system for light fixture and location sign.”
The City of Alexandria is sending the new bus stop design through its approval process starting with a stop at the Board of Architectural Review on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
After a contentious Board of Architectural Review (BAR) meeting, plans for the redevelopment of Samuel Madden Homes in the Braddock neighborhood are headed back to public review at a meeting next week.
The City of Alexandria said in a release that a community meeting for the proposed redevelopment is scheduled for Tuesday, July 26, at 6 p.m. in the Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe Street).
The BAR recommended approval of a plan to demolish the buildings in a 4-1 vote, but during the discussion BAR members has stern comments about the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s (ARHA) history of neglect that necessitated the redevelopment.
BAR member John Sprinkle also lamented the demolition of the homes as eroding part of the Parker-Gray historical district.
The plan is currently to turn the buildings into a larger mixed-use development that will replace the current 66-units across 13 buildings with 500 residential units.
“Representatives from the development team will discuss the current iteration of the development concept and timeline, and invite general public comment on the project,” a release from the City of Alexandria said.
After few months after purchasing 515 King Street — the big brutalist building in Old Town with a big clock on the side — Douglas Development is pitching a building overhaul to the city’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR).
The purchase of 515 King Street is just one of many recent acquisitions along King Street by Douglas Development.
According to a permit application scheduled for review at the Wednesday, June 15 BAR meeting. According to the permit, planned changes for the building include:
- A new painted exterior to the brick building — images included with the application show it as a darker grey.
- Added storefront windows along King Street and the other sides of the building
- A new office lobby canopy facing King Street
- A new “address sculpture” (in lieu of a tree in a planter box on King Street)
- Expanded ground floor storefront
The building will also have a 5th-floor roof deck facing King Street. The new building will also have railing along a raised sidewalk to make the building ADA accessible from King Street.
The Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority (ARHA) is getting ready to tear down a cluster of affordable garden apartments in Parker-Gray and turn the lots into a larger mixed-use development.
Samuel Madden Homes at 899 & 999 North Henry Street currently comprises 13 two-story garden apartments built in 1945 with 66 affordable housing units. The homes were build to house defense workers during WWII and were transferred to ARHA’s predecessor in 1947. The plan is to demolish and redevelop on the site with two new buildings with 500 residential units
ARHA is headed to the Board of Architectural Review on Wednesday (May 18) for a permit to demolish and a concept review for the new development (items 6 and 7).
The staff report for the BAR described the homes as “contributing structures” to the Uptown/Parker Gray National Register Historic District, describing them as one of several groups of buildings by architect Joseph Henry Saunders, Jr. that helped establish the look of the Parker Gray neighborhood.
“As such, demolition of these structures requires a higher degree of scrutiny than non-contributing structures,” the report said. “Staff is always reluctant to recommend demolition of any building that has historic or architectural significance, but several factors mitigate against retaining these buildings.”
The staff report said that while the homes are representative of a popular construction style in the area, there are ample enough “colonial revival” style buildings in the area. The report also said that while the scale of the buildings were once generally reflective of much of the neighborhood, there are several high-rise multi-use buildings in the neighborhood.
“Since the construction of this community, the scale and character of the neighborhood has undergone radical change,” the report said. “Samuel Madden now appears out of scale with the surrounding community.”
As for a permit for the new development, the staff report suggests that some further refinement is needed.
“Staff has been working with the applicant on the development of their documents and recommends that as the project progresses, the applicant explore different architectural motifs that relate to either the history of the site or to the surrounding buildings. The Board has often encouraged applicants to take design inspiration from the historical use of the general area of the city.
The staff report says the proposed building needs some touch-ups to bring it more in-line with some of the neighboring development.
“Staff recommends that the BAR request the applicant to return for a second Concept Review after addressing feedback from the Board and Staff. Staff finds that the height and scale of the project as submitted is appropriate for the immediate context,” the staff report said. “The applicant should continue to develop the massing and architectural character, taking into consideration comments from the Board and Staff.”
Some changes could be coming to the King Street pedestrian zone to make the block’s change a little more permanent.
The Board of Architectural Review is scheduled to review a certificate of appropriateness for new bollards at either end of 100 block of King Street at the Board’s Thursday (May 5) meeting. The use of bollards was already approved in January, but the type approved in January was not rated for withstanding vehicle crashes, so a new type needs to be approved for locations like the 100 block where they’re designed to block vehicles.
“This request is for a second bollard type that is rated for vehicle crashes and could be used on the block where needed, such as at the Lee Street end,” the application said. “The bollard will be black to be as similar in style as possible with the previously approved bollard. The previously approved bollard will remain an option for other areas, potentially the Union Street end. Final selection of the two bollards, quantity, and location will be determined after coordination with an engineer and the utility companies.”
The addition of 20 bollards are part of an effort to make the area safer for pedestrians to prevent vehicles from crashing into the zone.
“Manufacturer testing has determined that these proposed bollards provide the ability to arrest a 5,000 lb. vehicle traveling up to 20 miles per hour,” the application said. “In addition, they are removable, which offers the ability to maintain the bollard over time and increase its use-able life span. They can be easily replaced without having to go through the costly re-installation of the entire bollard unit.”
Two years after plans to convert 116 South Henry Street into an automated parking garage first went to city review, the garage is going to the Board of Architectural Review again on Thursday (May 5) with some changes in mind.
The plan remains to build a 50-foot garage just off King Street, but the entrance is going through something of a redesign after the earlier designs were considered too “monolithic” at earlier hearings.
“The lower levels of the garage will be clad in black brick and the levels above will be clad in EIFS/Dryvit synthetic stucco,” the staff report said. “Entries on the first level will consist of two overhead rolling garage doors, an aluminum and glass storefront door system, and two pedestrian doors. Large backlit letters spelling ‘PARKING’ will be at the west end of the north elevation, above the entrances.”
The report comes with some potential changes to the visuals of the front of the building along with options for different lighting, though to the untrained eye they all still pretty much look the same.
Construction was approved in April for the three buildings on the site. The parking structure will be neighbored by a four-story residential building and a four-story mixed-use building.
Staff is recommending approval of the parking garage design, with a preference expressed for the fourth option.
The demolition and redevelopment of 628 King Street, formerly Banana Republic, is headed to review at the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) as the developer hopes to make some changes to the upper part of the building.
Currently, the building’s second floor is an almost entirely windowless brick facade. Jemal’s Gap Corner King, LLC, part of Douglas Development, is applying to demolish part of the north and west parts of the building to add windows to the second floor.
“Staff supports the proposed demolition, as the proposed changes will improve the appearance of the building, which currently appears imbalanced and bulky due to the lack of second-floor fenestration,” the report said. “The character-defining features of the building will be retained, and the overall proportions will be improved. The wall surfaces to be demolished are not of old and unusual or uncommon design, and they could be reproduced easily. Staff therefore recommends approval of the Permit to Demolish.”
The staff report says there was a 19th-century building on the site that was in poor condition and the 1949 BAR “reluctantly” approved demolition and redevelopment. the retail building at the site was combined with adjacent buildings for a store design referred to by the BAR at the time as “simple and dignified.”
Banana Republic and Gap Outlet closed at the location in January after decades in business.
A stretch of the waterfront could be getting new permanent railings after being stuck with unsightly temporary fencing for years.
The area of the waterfront at 1 Pioneer Mill Way, where BARCA Pier & Wine Bar is, could be getting a new permanent railing.
The proposal is scheduled for the consent calendar — items usually approved with little or no discussion — at the Wednesday, March 3 Board of Architectural Review meeting.
The addition is designed by OLIN, the studio handling much of the waterfront redesign, and will be designed to complement other nearby features at Waterfront Park.