City Council last week approved a plan calling for proposals to develop the city-owned dilapidated property at 1505 Powhatan St.
The lot is about an acre with an existing 5,000-square-foot building that housed Alexandria’s Traffic Division operations until the late 1980s. It’s situated near Buzz Bakery and the Potomac Greens area off of Slaters Lane.
In 2009, the city sought to sell the site to Alexandria Housing Development Corp. but, according to a memo from City Manager Rashad Young to council members, “due to market conditions, site constraints and limited financing options, a successful AHDC project could not be structured.”
The building is currently vacant with no plans for future use by the city.
Councilman Rob Krupicka said at the Tuesday evening meeting that he did not support the plan to call for development because he believes it should be converted into a park.
Councilwoman Alicia Hughes suggested that the site could be used for pre-kindergarten classrooms or related initiatives in concert with a city push to offer more services to this age group.
However, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley countered that the site is “loaded with asbestos” and a facility for young children probably is not “an adaptable reuse.”
Councilman Frank Fannon called it a good move and said "it's a valuable piece of city land."
The city manager's memo said based on a third-party analysis of the parcel, the city could bring in up to $4.5 million from its sale.
The Northeast Civic Association has said it supports mixed-use or residential proposals as well as underground parking.
Staff presentation of any possible proposals is expected to go before council in December or January.
Councilman Paul Smedberg was not at the meeting due to a family emergency.