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Alexandria Master Plan FY 2019 Status of Implementation Report

Above: Interim Waterfront Park and Interactive Public Art Installation. Learn more.

This FY 2019 Status of Implementation Report provides a summary of the year’s implementation and development activities relative to the City’s more recently approved small area plans, as well as projects associated with the implementation of topical chapters of the Master Plan. The report details efforts from July 2018 – June 2019. Each of the highlighted activities contribute to fulfilling the vision of these Plans.

City of Alexandria Growth Crescent

Small Area Plan Implementation Progress Tracking

Department of Planning and Zoning staff tracks progress toward development, community and infrastructure goals outlined in Small Area Plans (SAPs) through a database that records implementation activity accomplished to date. The database organizes implementation tasks into five categories: residential, commercial, open space, infrastructure and community development.

In some SAPs, implementation goals identify discrete tasks, the progress of which are tracked in the database. Other implementation goals were written to be flexible to accommodate changing conditions over time. Inclusive of these differences, the database is designed to capture the unique nature of each SAP.

Areas of the city respond differently to market conditions over time. The progress shown from the tracking of these implementation goals reflects the relationship among market drivers, city investment, and catalytic projects. For example, minimal real estate development in some SAPs may be balanced by more city investment in transit and infrastructure to prepare for future development. In essence, implementation of SAPs is not a linear process, and is different from one area to another.

Tracking Progress in the Growth Crescent

City Council has adopted several new small area plans in recent years within the growth crescent — areas within the city well served by transit where most development is expected to occur. Implementation progress charts for each of these SAPs follow in the succeeding report sections. Each chart indicates progress to date since the Plan’s adoption and assumes implementation of each SAP will take 30 years. The charts indicate adoption, current and full buildout years.

Beauregard

Above: Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School Opening Day

Implementation Progress Tracking

In the seven years since the Beauregard Plan’s adoption in 2012, efforts have been focused on community development and physical infrastructure in the Plan area to attract future real estate investment. The completed infrastructure projects include pedestrian improvements to create a more walkable community and roadway improvements to reduce traffic congestion. Multiple tasks related to the West End Transitway are currently in progress to expand public transit options. Community development projects have focused on rezoning of redevelopment sites and the initiation of the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee.

Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), with City funding, converted a vacant office building at 1701 N. Beauregard Street into an elementary school, which opened in September 2018 to 640 students in kindergarten through 5th grade. The school, with a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics focus, includes multiple innovative design characteristics, including the conversion of the upper floor of a parking garage into a playground and installation of a bridge to connect the space with the main school building.

ACPS is working with City staff to design and construct a connected, elevated gymnasium addition between the school building and parking garage. Construction is anticipated to being in summer 2020 following City approvals.

City and ACPS staff gave a joint presentation during the Virginia American Planning Association’s conference this summer on the adaptive reuse of this former office building, which included discussion on lessons learned and recommended best practices for others going forward.

Braddock

Above: Illustrative of Braddock Gateway

Implementation Progress Tracking

Since the 2008 adoptions of the Braddock Metro Neighborhood and Braddock East Master Plans, the City has surpassed expectations in terms of open space, residential and community development task accomplishments. Anticipated commercial square footage is primarily located on the WMATA Braddock Metro site. While there are no current development plans, this site is listed as a WMATA joint development initiative. Based on current and pending applications, the pace of residential development is expected to continue.

Braddock Gateway

Phase 1 of Braddock Gateway, The Dalton at First and Fayette Streets, is complete and occupied. Phase 2 plans include a mixed-use building with 258 residential units, four of which will be committed affordable rental units, and 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and a 2/3-acre community park. Plans for the third and final phase of Braddock Gateway have been submitted and include two buildings comprising 330,000 square feet, 370 residential units (including four committed affordable units), and 2,400 square feet of ground floor retail.

A preconstruction meeting for Phases 2 and 3 of Braddock Gateway was held in July for community members interested in the upcoming development. Information was shared regarding location of construction worker parking, the plan for temporary pedestrian and vehicular circulation, and hours and overall schedule for construction related to the project.

Eisenhower East / Carlyle

Above: Rendering of pedestrian plaza under Eisenhower East Metrorail Station looking north.

Implementation Progress Tracking

Since plan adoption in 2003, residential and community development within Eisenhower East, which does not include Carlyle, are roughly on track to meet their goals by 2033. To date, the City has focused on infrastructure tasks making it easier to access Eisenhower East from the metro station and the beltway to make the area more attractive to commercial property investors. Note: Square footage estimates are taken from CDD#2.

Eisenhower East Small Area Plan Update

In recent years, market conditions nationwide have significantly changed, particularly for retail and offices uses. In light of this as well as the findings of the City’s 2017 Fiscal Impact Analysis Study and Office Conversion and Competitiveness Study, the City embarked on a planning process in the winter of 2018 to update the Eisenhower East Small Area Plan.

The goal of the Plan update is to ensure the area’s competitiveness in the coming years through determining an appropriate balance of office and residential uses and incorporating flexible land use strategies to accommodate both the existing and long-term needs of this growing community. Additionally, the Plan update recommends enhancements to Eisenhower East that work toward building a complete community including enhanced housing affordability, a more human-oriented streetscape connecting neighborhoods and open spaces, planning for sustainable infrastructure and improvements to mobility and safety. The Plan is anticipated for Public Hearings in late 2019.

Eisenhower West / Landmark Van Dorn

Above: Rendering of Landmark Plaza

Implementation Progress Tracking

Since the adoption of the Landmark/Van Dorn Corridor Overlay in 2009 and Eisenhower West in 2015, the City has prioritized improvements to streets and bridges, access to the area via public transit and the beltway, and improvements to the sewer system. Ongoing community development tasks such as the Implementation Advisory Group, developer contribution analysis, and identification of future community facility sites will provide developers with additional incentives to invest in this area.

Landmark Mall Redevelopment

In May of this year, City Council adopted a new chapter to the 2009 Landmark/Van Dorn Corridor Plan for the Landmark Mall site. Building on the vision and recommendations established in 2009, the chapter provides updated recommendations to encourage a unique and connected mixed-use neighborhood by providing an urban street grid and transit hub, urban building forms, a complimentary mix of uses, community amenities, connected open spaces and a range of housing opportunities.

Given that the anticipated build-out of the site is 20-25 years, the chapter includes flexible strategies related to land use and housing affordability, including co-location with community facilities. The chapter also incorporates recommendations for public and private open space, institutional uses, and increased mobility, connectivity and traffic safety.

Old Town North

Above: Rendering of 600 N. Royal Street

Implementation Progress Tracking

Since its adoption in 2017, Old Town North (OTN) has exceeded expectations in most implementation tracking categories. The progress demonstrates that the residential real estate market in this area is already attractive to investors. The City is encouraging continued market interest with the establishment of the OTN Arts and Cultural District, and by prioritizing open space development, pedestrian and bike improvements and community resources.

Old Town North Linear Park

In FY 2019, the City continued working with Norfolk Southern and Rails-to-Trails to inform the implementation of the linear park to be located along the existing rail spur between E. Abingdon Drive and Madison Street, running along the existing Mount Vernon Trail.

In addition to improving approximately three acres of the rail/trail section between Madison and Third streets, the conversion of the rail corridor will add approximately four acres of new open space between Third Street and E. Abingdon Drive. The Linear Park will be designed to incorporate a variety of passive and active recreational uses, provide enhanced landscaping, and improve the trail connection between the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Mount Vernon Trail.

Potomac West

Above: Four Mile Run Playground Ribbon Cutting

Implementation Progress Tracking: Combination of Arlandria and Mount Vernon Overlays

The majority of progress in the Potomac West area has taken place in the Arlandria and Mount Vernon Avenue overlay areas. Arlandria and Mount Vernon have exceeded expectations in terms of open space development, infrastructure implementation, and community development implementation. Infrastructure projects have improved roads, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and streetscaping.

Implementation Progress Tracking: Oakville Triangle Overlay

In the four years since the adoption of the Oakville Triangle/Route 1 Corridor Plan, implementation has focused on bike and pedestrian improvements to the future Potomac Yard Metrorail Station. Development applications for the plan area have been approved, although construction has not yet commenced. The Plan for the Mount Jefferson Park Improvements was approved in 2016 and will be implemented with redevelopment of the Oakville Triangle site.

Arlandria and Del Ray Plans Update

This fall the City is hosting community conversations for communities and organizations located adjacent and near to Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria and Del Ray as the first phase in the planning process to update the 2005 Mount Vernon Avenue Business Plan and the 2003 Arlandria Action Plan. Information gathered during these community conversations will identify issues of importance to community members and help staff develop the framework for the overall planning process to ensure that it is responsive to their needs and concerns. Updating the objectives and strategies for achieving a long-term vision is particularly important with the planned phased arrival of Amazon in Crystal City, the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in North Potomac Yard, and the North Potomac Yard Metrorail Station.

Potomac Yard

Above: Rendering of Virginia Tech Innovation Campus

Implementation Progress Tracking: North Potomac Yard

Since its adoption in 2017, the City has prioritized infrastructure tasks in North Potomac Yard with a focus on enhancing public transit and pedestrian facilities including the forthcoming Potomac Yard Metrorail Station and the existing Metroway bus rapid transit system. In FY 2019, Virginia Tech selected North Potomac Yard to develop an Innovation campus, capitalizing on the proximity to the Metrorail station and Potomac Yard’s mixed-use community.

Preliminary Implementation Progress Tracking: South Potomac Yard

Since the Potomac Yard Small Area Plan was adopted in 1992, it has been amended by CDD #10. Residential and open space development have exceeded the goals set in those two documents, and all planned infrastructure tasks have been completed. Anticipated commercial development is on track to be completed by 2022.

Virginia Tech Innovation Campus

Virginia Tech Innovation Campus

In conjunction with the Amazon announcement in November, Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth of Virginia announced funding for an Innovation Campus in Alexandria targeted at developing tech talent that will benefit all companies in the Commonwealth. The campus will offer master’s and doctoral level programs that dovetail with the industry’s most pressing demands. Degree programs and research opportunities will focus on computer sciences and software engineering, while offering specializations in high-demand areas, including data sciences; analytics and collective decisions; security; and technology and policy.

The campus will build on the growing innovation economy in Alexandria and Arlington, anchored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, as well as private sector companies like Amazon.

In spring 2019, Virginia Tech selected North Potomac Yard to develop its campus because of the proximity to the planned Metrorail station, new Amazon headquarters and to take advantage and contribute to Potomac Yard’s mixed-use community.

Waterfront

Above: Windmill Hill Park

Implementation Progress Tracking

Since its adoption in 2012, the City is on track toward meeting its goals in the Waterfront Overlay Plan area. The City has prioritized flood mitigation tasks, pedestrian and bike facilities, and open space rehabilitation along with completing community development goals such as working with the Waterfront Commission and negotiating the relocation of the Old Dominion Boat Club to allow for contiguous public access to the waterfront.

Opening of Interim Waterfront Park and Interactive Public Art Installation

In March 2019, City Council held a public ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the interim Waterfront Park, which includes the installation of Mirror Mirror, a new sound-responsive, interactive public art installation.

The new Waterfront Park combines the original King Street Park and Waterfront Park sites with the sites of the former Old Dominion Boat Club building and parking lot to create a seamless transition between Old Town’s historic retail corridor and the water. The interim park features an open plaza, a waterfront promenade, shade structures, and a modular space that can adapt to different purposes throughout the year. In several years, the interim park will close so that flood mitigation infrastructure can be constructed and additional amenities added before the permanent park reopens.

To help activate the space, the City commissioned an original work of public art. Mirror Mirror, created by SOFTlab, a New York-based design studio led by artist and architect Michael Szivos, was inspired by the historic Fresnel lens of Alexandria’s Jones Point Lighthouse. The art responds to sound with illuminated color, bathing visitors in rainbow-hued light as they talk, sing, and play within the installation. The installation is the first for Site/See: New Views in Old Town, a new annual series of temporary public art installations in Waterfront Park. It will be on display through November 2019.

Housing Master Plan

Above: Groundbreaking at The Spire

The City continues to implement the Housing Master Plan goal of preserving or developing 2,000 units with new affordability through enhanced planning and housing policies, public/private and nonprofit partnerships, increased leverage of City financial investment, and incentives to secure additional affordable housing through the development process.

Open Space Master Plan

Above: Simpson Park Playground Renovation

In 2013 the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities (RPCA) developed the Citywide Parks Improvement Plan as an implementation strategy of the City’s Open Space Master Plan. The goal of this initiative was to study and understand the existing conditions and future needs for Alexandria’s 10+ acre parks, including Ben Brenman and Armistead L. Boothe Parks, Chinquapin Park, Four Mile Run Park, Joseph Hensley Park, the Holmes Run Park System, and Simpson Stadium Park. These parks serve as vital open spaces for our community, providing recreational opportunities, areas for picnic and relaxation, and ecological benefits to the city. Since the Plan’s completion six years ago, 20% of the total recommended projects have been completed.

Sanitary Sewer Master Plan

Above: Rendering of RiverRenew outfall 001 Diversion Facility Restoration, Robinson Terminal North

RiverRenew Project

As part of the City’s implementation of the 2001 Water Quality Management Supplement and the 2012 Sanitary Sewer Master Plan, and following the 2017 Virginia General Assembly enacted law requiring Alexandria to bring four combined sewer outfalls (CSOs) into compliance with state and federal laws on an accelerated schedule, the Planning Commission and City Council authorized the transfer of ownership of the CSOs to AlexRenew, effective July 1 2018. The City and AlexRenew agreed that transferring the ownership of the CSOs to AlexRenew will provide the best approach to comply with the level of CSO control and implementation schedule mandated by the State Legislature.

Transportation Master Plan

Above: Community outreach during the Dockless Mobility Pilot

Dockless Mobility

Transportation and Environmental Services launched a Dockless Mobility Pilot program to allow private companies to operate shared mobility devices in the city, such as dockless bicycles and scooters. This program evaluates these devices as transportation options for the city, overall management of issues and performance of the companies. Data, research and community input received will help guide the development of the recommendation that Council will consider later this fall regarding a path forward.

Wayfinding

Above: Interpretive signage at Windmill Hill Park

Implementation of the City’s Wayfinding System Design Guidelines Manual recommendations continued in FY 2019. Milestones included the installation of an additional 79 vehicular directional signs throughout the city. These signs provide direction to major historic sites, recreational facilities, neighborhoods and other city resources. In FY 2020, staff anticipates moving forward with the next phase of the program, which will include installation of destination identity signs for the City’s historic sites and parks.

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Department of Planning and Zoning

Department of Project Implementation

Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities

Department of Transportation and Environmental Services

Office of Housing

Visit Alexandria

Alexandria Economic Development Partnership