|The proposed town center|
The City of Alexandria released a revised draft of the Beauregard Small Area Plan March 27, a framework to guide development along the city’s West End for the next 20 to 30 years.
Residents, businesses, community groups, civic organizations, property owners, and developers have worked on the plan for more than a year, and the revisions reflect some of their concerns.
Extensive high-density mixed-use development is planned for the the Beauregard corridor, generally extending from Lincolnia Road to just beyond Seminary Road. That area includes the new Mark Center complex with its 6,400 federal employees.
New developments under consideration include several new hotels, office buildings, and retail centers. The number of housing units is expected to increase from the current level of 5,500 to 9,000. But because many of the existing garden apartments would be replaced with townhouses and mid-rise apartments and condos, the number of school-age children is expected to decrease, so the plan doesn’t call for any new schools.
Approximately 700 aging apartment units would be demolished and replaced by affordable housing, and the plan calls for the city to provide relocation assistance to displaced residents. A new fire station would be incorporated into the plan, as well as a new athletic field and more green space. Private developers have committed to contributing $148 million for affordable housing, transportation improvements, parks, and other amenities.
The Small Area Plan aims to manage that growth by creating a town center connected to nearby neighborhoods with new curving streets, wide sidewalks, and pathways. An improved transportation system would encourage people to use mass transit and walk, rather than drive. North Beauregard Street would have a landscaped median and dedicated transit lane. An ellipse would better manage traffic flow at the intersection of Beauregard and Seminary Road.
The revised draft contains several major changes from a working draft released in January, many of them dealing with affordable housing:
- The number of affordable housing units would be increased from 700 to 800.
- Two existing multifamily buildings adjacent to I-395, two existing multifamily buildings adjacent to Dora Kelley Park, and a variety of existing multifamily units in Southern Towers and Seminary Towers would be retained to provide multifamily housing.
- The draft plan calls for affordable housing to be provided for 30 years. The revised draft includes an option to extend it for an additional 10 years.
- 0.85 acres of public open space would be added, adjacent to Dora Kelley Park.
- Proposed building heights would be reduced.
- A survey of tenants would be conducted to determine their housing needs.
The City of Alexandria has scheduled a Town Hall meeting on the Beauregard plan for April 9, at 7 p.m., at John Adams Elementary School, 5651 Rayburn Ave., Alexandria.