City of Alexandria, VA
At a public hearing on Saturday October 18, 2008 City Council unanimously voted to approve the Braddock East Master Plan, subject to some minor wording changes. The approved version of the Plan is posted here.
The mission of the Braddock East Planning process is to create a redevelopment plan for the public housing sites within the larger Braddock area including James Bland, Bland Addition, Samuel Madden Uptown, Ramsey Homes and Andrew Adkins. The process will be based on a partnership between the City, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA), public housing residents and other Braddock residents who will plan together for the future of these sites. In addition, the City has established a Braddock East Advisory Group comprised of Braddock neighborhood residents, and housing and redevelopment professionals to guide and inform the process. The plan will take the principles outlined in the Braddock Metro Neighborhood Plan and establish guidelines for future redevelopment.
2008 Meeting Materials
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is the City doing the Braddock East Plan?
During the preparation of the Braddock Metro Small Area Plan it became apparent that issues relating to redevelopment of the existing public housing in the plan area (James Bland and Addition, Samuel Madden Uptown, Andrew Adkins and Ramsey) were distinct from the rest of the area and required separate consideration. As a result, the City is now engaged in the Braddock East planning process to consider these issues. It is a joint planning effort between the Office of Housing, the Department of Planning and Zoning, and the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA).
2. What is the purpose of the Braddock East Plan?
The Braddock East Plan is a supplement to the Braddock Metro Small Area Plan and will be treated as a master plan amendment. It will set out a strategy for the redevelopment of the public housing sites (James Bland and Addition, Samuel Madden Uptown, Andrew Adkins and Ramsey), to include the mix of new housing, the approach to relocation, financing options and design guidelines for the redevelopment of each site.
3. What is the Braddock East Advisory Group?
The City has appointed the Braddock East Advisory Group to oversee the preparation of the Braddock East Plan. The citizen members of this group embody a wide range of interests and persons with a stake in the neighborhood. The Advisory Group provides a structured open forum for public discussion to identify and understand different perspectives, to expand areas of agreement, to clarify differences; and to advise the City staff on the Braddock East Plan. The Advisory Group meets once a month and the meetings are open to the public (Go to schedule for details of all upcoming meetings).
4. What is the process for preparing the Braddock East Plan?
The City has expanded the team of consultants that prepared the Braddock Metro Small Area Plan, including public housing specialists, urban designers, communications specialists and economic analysts, to advise on the content of this plan. With the Braddock East Advisory Group and community residents the consultants, City staff and ARHA are analyzing the key issues of the income and mix of new housing, the approach to replacement housing, financing options and design guidelines for the redevelopment of each site. The dialogue and analysis will inform the policies and proposals of the final plan. This process will continue through the summer of 2008 with presentation of the Braddock East plan to the City Planning Commission scheduled for October 2008.
5. How are the public housing residents involved in the Braddock East planning process?
A number of residents have been attending BEAG meetings, and a resident serves on the BEAG itself. In addition, a series of Focus Groups are being held with public housing residents to discuss their aspirations for the new development and to address issues of temporary and permanent replacement housing. These meetings have been led by the City’s public housing consultant who has considerable experience with similar focus groups in other jurisdictions. In addition there have been and will be further meetings with public housing residents to discuss the specific redevelopment proposals for the James Bland site (Please see Question 8).
6. How is the wider community involved in the Braddock East process?
The Braddock Metro plan set a new standard for community engagement, with 11 lively community meetings and workshops over an 8 month period. Braddock East will fit into the context established by that plan. This time, the primary forum for community input is the Braddock East Advisory Group (Please see Question 3). The Advisory Group meetings are open to the public. In addition, two community meetings will be held to discuss the proposals for Braddock East, hosted by the advisory group. These will take place in late June and early September. In addition, a community meeting is scheduled for April 23, 2008 to discuss the specific proposal for James Bland (Please see Question 8). The development team for that project is also meeting with individual interest groups affected by the development. (Go to schedule for details of all upcoming meetings).
7. What is the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA)?
The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority's (ARHA) is a public agency established under the Housing Authority Law, Chapter 1, Title 36 of the Code of Virginia of 1938. Its primary mission is to provide sanitary and safe dwelling accommodations to persons of low income at rents they can afford. Its strategies for meeting this goal include the provision and maintenance of 1,150 public housing units and the administration of 1,722 vouchers for Section 8 housing. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds the annual operating cost and provides capital funding for the upkeep and maintenance of ARHA properties. The City appoints the nine Member Board of Commissioners. ARHA is active in exploring innovative partnerships and strategies for increasing the supply of low-income housing. ARHA uses its bonding authority to issue tax-exempt bonds that provide low-cost financing to qualified developers who set aside a percentage of the units developed for low-income households.
8. ARHA is already engaged in redeveloping the James Bland complex. Why is it moving ahead at this time?
ARHA has entered into a development agreement with EYA to redevelop its property at Glebe Park due to deteriorated conditions. The redevelopment of Glebe Park cannot pay for itself alone and must be developed with other ARHA properties to be financially feasible. EYA identified the James Bland site as a perfect candidate for a mixed-income housing redevelopment due to its size and access to transit. A key part of the complex financing includes tax credits issued by the state. A key factor in the schedule for planning redevelopment of James Bland is the state’s deadline for tax credits. To qualify for them, the James Bland development application must be approved by the City by November 2008. If this does not occur, the Glebe Park project will be jeopardized.
9. What is the proposal for the James Bland Redevelopment?
EYA and ARHA are proposing to replace James Bland with a mixed-income development of approximately 134 public housing units and 259 market rate units. It will include town houses and multi-family units and will incorporate open spaces and parking facilities. The public housing units will be distributed throughout the development and there will be no design distinction between the public housing and the market rate units. The density, height and design parameters for the redevelopment of this site and the other public housing sites (Samuel Madden Uptown, Andrew Adkins and Ramsey) will be addressed through Braddock East planning process (Please see Question 4). The developer has been taking informal guidance from the design principles of the Braddock Metro plan.
10. What is the timeframe and phasing for the James Bland Redevelopment?
The redevelopment of James Bland will be carefully phased to minimize disruption to the existing residents, ensure continuous access to equivalent or better housing at each phase and limit relocation to not more than two moves. Some of the required replacement units for James Bland will be provided at the redeveloped Glebe Park (Please see Question 8). The Glebe Park project is scheduled for construction between November 2008 and December 2010. The construction schedule for James Bland is November 2009 to November 2014.
11. What is ARHA’s role in the Braddock East process?
ARHA owns all the existing public housing sites in the Braddock East area. It therefore plays an essential role in the Braddock East process. As ARHA undertakes redevelopment, it is bound by the one-for-one replacement requirements of Resolution 830 (See Question 13) and is committed to providing modern replacement housing for its current and future residents. ARHA also recognizes the benefits to its residents and the wider community of integrating public housing into mixed-income housing developments. Any redevelopment of the existing public housing sites must provide sufficient funds to pay for the replacement public housing, whether on-site or elsewhere in the City, and must conform to the City’s zoning, licensing and permit requirements.
12. What is the overall timeframe for the redevelopment of the other public housing sites (Samuel Madden Uptown, Andrew Adkins and Ramsey) in the Braddock East plan?
Currently, ARHA has no redevelopment plans for the Samuel Madden Uptown, Andrew Adkins and Ramsey public housing sites. A key issue is the requirement to replace public housing units when redevelopment takes place. The Braddock East Planning process is exploring the potential market for redevelopment. It is hoped that the Braddock East Plan and successful redevelopment of James Bland will act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the remaining public housing complexes over the next 10-15 years.
13. What is Resolution 830?
Resolution 830 is a City policy, adopted in 1981, that seeks to retain the inventory of public housing, in existence at that time, some 1,150 units. It requires that no public housing unit be demolished unless replacement publicly assisted housing is available; that no tenant be displaced from public housing until they can be moved into replacement housing; that all money from the sale or lease of any public housing projects be used to benefit the living environment of public housing residents; and that all relocation costs be born by ARHA or its developer.