Manager's Report - November 8, 2013
Royal Street Bus Garage Update
Last week the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) broke ground on its new bus facility site located off Cinderbed Road, in an industrial park in the Newington area of Fairfax County. This new bus maintenance facility will replace the Royal Street Parking Garage in North Old Town. It will service approximately 150 buses, which is about double the capacity of the Royal Street facility and provide a better and safer work environment for WMATA employees. The new facility also allows WMATA to continue its conversion to a hybrid diesel fleet, as the Royal Street garage was too small to accommodate these larger hybrid buses. Congressman Jim Moran was instrumental in helping obtain some federal funding for this facility. Fairfax Supervisor McKay advocated for this bus maintenance site to reside within his own district despite some neighborhood resistance which included a land use lawsuit that went to the VA Supreme Court. The Court affirmed Fairfax County’s handling of the matter. WMATA and City staff are discussing the process for WMATA competitively seeking a buyer/developer for the Royal Street site. City staff is crafting, for WMATA’s consideration, a pre-RFP community participation process to help inform the RFP content regarding land use goals, density, etc. It is expected this process would begin in early 2014.
Alexandria Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission Update
The members of the Alexandria Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission are pleased to announce the release of the Alexandria Children & Youth Well-Being Profile, the draft Children and Youth Master Plan and Plan Overview. The Profile contains data and the latest research findings that were used to assess the state of Alexandria’s young people. As a companion document, the draft Children and Youth Master Plan provides a blueprint for improving outcomes for Alexandria’s children and youth. The Plan identifies priority areas, targeted outcomes, and sets forth a roadmap for creating positive outcomes. It encourages stakeholders to engage in collaborative efforts through cross-sector partnerships and initiatives. All residents are encouraged to get involved. Comment on the draft Plan on the Comment Board, and attend one of the following community meetings where the Profile and Plan will be presented and input will be gathered.
Twelfth Annual Veterans’ Day Ceremony at Captain Rocky Versace Plaza
The “Friends of Rocky Versace” will host the 12th Annual Veterans’ Day Ceremony on Monday, November, 11 at 1 p.m. at the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave. This year’s featured speaker is Brigadier General, Jack Nicholson, U.S. Army, retired, who is the former Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission. The one-hour ceremony includes the reading of the names of Alexandria’s 67 Vietnam War Fallen Heroes; recognition of all U.S. Military Veterans; reading of the Captain Versace Medal of Honor Citation; reading the tribute to Captain Versace written by his fellow POW, 1st Lt. James "Nick" Rowe; wreath laying; the sounding of "Taps," and the singing of “God Bless America.”
Beauregard Design Advisory Committee Hosts Walking Tour of Mosaic District
The City’s recently created Beauregard Design Advisory Committee has begun meeting to discuss upcoming projects within the Beauregard Small Area Plan area. In preparation for those upcoming projects, planning staff and the advisory committee are hosting a walking tour of the Mosaic District in Merrifield, VA on Saturday, November 9. The tour will last from 10 a.m. to noon and will focus on elements such as urban design, streetscape, design guidelines, retail and open space programming for this mixed-use project. Representatives from the project developer and architects will be part of the tour. For more information, contact Amy Friedlander in the Department of Planning and Zoning at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3858.
AHDC’s Revises Refinancing and Renovation Plan for the Arbelo, Lacy Court and Longview Terrace Properties
The Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) has revised its plan for refinancing and renovation of the Arbelo, Longview Terrace and Lacy Court (“A-L-L”) rental properties. The revision is in response to recent fluctuations in the financial markets (primarily, interest rate increases and changes in tax credit investment underwriting). None of these proposed changes materially affect the City’s financial position, as a lender, from the plan City Council approved in June 2013. AHDC will now renovate and refinance the Arbelo and Longview Terrace properties using 4% (non-competitive) tax credits and Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) bonds and loans, instead of short-term Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority bonds and a long-term FHA/HUD loan (whose rate has increased substantially since June). This change allows AHDC to take advantage of a low blended-rate offered by VHDA and close before the end of 2013 (a prerequisite to maintain the excellent tax credit pricing negotiated with its tax credit investor).
In mid-January, renovation activities at Arbelo and Longview Terrace will begin and are expected to be completed by fall 2014. The renovation and refinancing of Lacy Court will be deferred until 2016. This allows AHDC to maximize 9% low-income housing tax credit equity, a very competitive rate for this project. While this change in financing plans will result in a small reduction in loan repayments to the City between year 5 and year 10, the greater use of tax credits will substantially reduce the property’s loan balance by year 15. This will result in an improved City position in regard to repayment of the existing $14.1 million in City loans to those three properties.