June 25, 2018

Meeting Recap Alert: City Council Public Hearing June 23, 2018

Recap of City Council’s Public Hearing

held June 23, 2018

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Saturday, the Alexandria City Council held their final public hearing meeting for FY2018, where they considered an Umbrella Special Use Permit for Outdoor Uses at 2425 Eisenhower Avenueconversion of two existing buildings at Park Center from Office use to residential (multi-family) use; a Lease Agreement between the City of Alexandria and Sweetbake, Inc. for use of vacant café at the Torpedo Factory Art Center; a waiver to the Special Events policy to allow for programs and events on consecutive weekends at the Interim King Street Park at the Waterfront in support of the City’s King Street Corridor Initiative; and amendments to a previously-approved Development Special Use Permit for a new office building for the American Physical Therapy Association in Potomac Yard. 

Details on these items can be found below.

Item: Umbrella Special Use Permit (SUP) for Outdoor Uses at 2425 Eisenhower Avenue
Action: Approved 6-0 from the consent calendar
Next Steps: Events and activities in the open space will begin this summer!
Description: In order to create a sense of place and vitality the SUP will allow for temporary, outdoor pop-up uses, meeting the needs of nearby office workers and residents. Property owners in the area plan to work together to regularly program the space.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Vacant lot in front of restaurants and office buildings on Eisenhower Avenue

– Umbrella SUP allows for temporary uses until the site is developed with a permanent structure

– Approved uses include:

outdoor food and craft markets, to include up to three food trucks

amusement enterprise uses such as musical performances and lawn games

fitness-related classes such as yoga, pilates & Zumba for up to 30 people

special events featuring amplified music

public art displays

temporary gardens

moveable seating


Item: Conversion of two existing buildings at Park Center from Office use to residential (multi-family) use
Action: After being pulled from the consent agenda for discussion, 6-0 vote to approve the Development Special Use Permit (DSUP) with changes to a number of conditions (see below)
Next Steps: Owner Lowe will work with existing office tenants as leases expire to plan a timeline for building conversions; the first phase expected to commence in Q2 2019.
Description: In Spring 2018, Lowe and USAA Real Estate acquired three buildings in the Park Center development- 4401 Ford Avenue, 3101 Park Center Drive and 4300 King Street. The DSUP allows for the redevelopment of up to two of the existing buildings into multi-family apartment buildings.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Currently, the three building complex of office buildings is home to a mix of tenants, but with significant vacancy

– The largest tenant, the USDA, will be moving to the Braddock Road Metro over the next year

– Planned conversion:

4401 Ford Avenue- 207,000 SF to be converted into a mix of 192 one and two-bedroom apartments

3101 Park Center Drive- 216,000 SF to be converted into a mix of 201 one and two-bedroom apartments

the exterior of both buildings will be reskinned

– 4300 King Street- 68,000 SF will remain an office building with anchor tenant XSport Fitness

– Commercial to residential conversion projects are not subject to the City’s voluntary contribution procedures for affordable housing- but, Lowe has committed to providing five one-bedroom units at 3101 Park Center Drive and five one-bedroom units at 4401 Ford Avenue affordable at 70% of the area median income for a period of 40 years

– Council removed conditions 22-25 which required additional administrative review of ground floor uses like daycare centers and restaurants with outdoor seating, making those uses by-right as allowed in the zone

– Council also removed the term “market rate” from condition 37, allowing the owner more flexibility in structuring shared parking agreements

– Two speakers expressed concerns about construction impacts on traffic and existing congestion


Item: Lease Agreement for use of vacant cafe at the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Action: City Council vote 6-0 to authorize the City Manager to execute a lease
Next Steps: Negotiations between the tenant and the City will continue
Description: Following the vacancy of a space in the Torpedo Factory Art Center (TFAC) previously occupied by a cafe, City staff issued a call for cafe or barista management. Following receipt and review of proposals, Sweetbake, Inc. was chosen to provide coffee, pastries, sandwiches, soups and other refreshments.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Lease agreement details:

term- 15 months, ending 9/30/19

coincides with current leases of all other TFAC tenants

operation 7 days a week

– Tenant- Sweetbake, Inc. doing business as Bread & Water Company, operates in Belle View and Arlington and numerous farmers markets around the region


Item: Waiver to the Special Event Policy to allow for programs and events on consecutive weekends at the Interim King Street Park at the Waterfront in support of the City’s King Street Corridor Initiative
Action: City Council vote 6-0 to approve the waiver allowing more frequent special events
Next Steps: Programming in the interim park will commence in the fall
Description: The 2012 approved Waterfront Small Area Plan calls for programming public spaces and promoting the waterfront as a cultural destination. In Spring of 2018, the King Street Corridor Initiative was created- designed to enhance Alexandria’s quality of life and economic competitiveness through programming, beautification and marketing. The initiative is timed to capitalize on the opening of the interim King Street Park at the Waterfront to shine a spotlight on Alexandria and its waterfront. The programming portion of the initiative is essential to maintaining market share as waterfront destinations like The Wharf and other well-funded destinations upgrade their offerings.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– In 2010, City Council approved the City’s Special Events Policies and Procedures which limits the number of event occurrences in Old Town.

– According to the Special Event Policy “Events in Old Town with anticipated attendance over 500 are limited to no more than one such event every other weekend in a calendar year. A weekend is defined as beginning Friday, 5 p.m. and continuing through Sunday, 6 p.m.”.

– The King Street Initiative- Visit Alexandria + a number of City departments and business partners- is seeking a waiver on this policy for a pilot one year period from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

– The waiver will be limited to up to ten sets of consecutive weekends during the FY 2019 pilot.

– A vast majority of programs of the King Street Corridor Initiative will be public space activation attracting fewer than 500 guests, as opposed to large-scale special events for which the not-on-consecutive-weekends policy was created to address.

– City protocol will be followed, and special events applications will go through the Special Events Committee for review and approval.

– 3 speakers expressed concerns about how increased events will negatively impact parking and congestion, suggesting that parking enforcement and traffic management be increased

– City Council directed the City Manager to explore these suggested increases and allocate resources accordingly

– Types of events (seasonal and ongoing):

history programming such as mobile history exhibits, reenactors, tours and events;

hands-on arts programs with the Mobile Art Lab and other local arts organizations and artists;

rotating public art and related programming;

small concerts and other performances;

pop-up markets that highlight the region’s makers and creators;

programs featuring local foods and culinary traditions; and

recreational activities such as over-sized games, outdoor yoga and other classes


Item: Development Special Use Permit (DSUP) for 3030 & 3050 Potomac Avenue and a portion of 3601 Jefferson Davis Highway for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
Action: City Council vote 6-0 to approve the DSUP
Next Steps: APTA will proceed through further design and building permit processes, with plans to deliver the building in 2021
Description: Alexandria-headquartered APTA identified Potomac Yard as their preferred site to build a new office headquarters, and will build a 108,000 SF office building adjacent to the National Industries for the Blind office building currently under construction.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Existing Alexandria trade and professional association will sell their three buildings in Old Town North as they construct a new headquarters facility in Potomac Yard

– 108,000 SF- 40,000 SF will be available for lease to other users

– $20,000 contribution to build out a Capital Bikeshare station adjacent to the new building

– New building will deliver in time for the APTA to celebrate their centennial in 2021

– No speakers weighed in on this item

– AEDP submitted a scorecard outlining the economic impact of this project

Land use items we are tracking in July & August:

None! The City Council will go into recess following their final June meetings- so we will pick-up land-use tracking in September.


Weigh in on these issues!

Contact the Planning Commission – PlanComm@alexandriava.gov
Contact the City Council – Call.Click.Connect.