City officials say the development’s tax revenue is needed to pay for the plan’s public amenities. As the redevelopment occurs over the next 18 to 20 years, that revenue will pay for flood mitigation, a possible museum and parks, they say. Euille wants a vote by the City Council by June 30, before the summer recess.
The Post Co.’s Robinson Terminals frame this new development on the waterfront on Oronoco Street to the north and Duke Street to the south. The two-story warehouses, which store newsprint for The Washington Post and other publications, could be redeveloped as five-story office, retail and residential buildings totaling 640,000 square feet using existing zoning, said Hamer, the city’s planning director.
The waterfront plan would allow boutique hotels and about 125,000 square feet more space but keep the average five-story cap on the properties, she said.
“We believe the plan, including its new special-use-permit process, can provide a viable and sufficiently flexible guide for redevelopment that takes into account the interests of the city, the community and Robinson Terminal,” Rima Calderon, a Post Co. spokeswoman, said in a statement.
“Robinson Terminal is not currently marketing the properties for sale or development,” she said. “The company has no present plan or schedule as to when or how it would market the properties.”
The Post Co. has been participating with the city to ensure they have the development options provided by the 1983 settlement agreement, Calderon said. Those discussions were a result of a 2008 lawsuit filed by The Post that was later withdrawn, when the city reduced the amount of redevelopment allowed by the settlement.
Numerous issues, meanwhile, cloud the Old Dominion Boat Club’s talks with the city.
Club members want an agreement in place by June 15, said Harry P. Hart, a lawyer representing the club. They want Fitzgerald Square removed from the plan because it would reduce the club’s fair-market property value, he said.
Members don’t want the city’s proposed plan to hinder their future improvement projects to the clubhouse and parking lot, Eric DeSoto, chairman of the boat club’s board, told planning commissioners last month.
Local residents say the council should hold off on a vote to come up with a better plan or make sense of the one they have. Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan, in conjunction with the Greater Alexandria Preservation Alliance, have scheduled a rally at the foot of lower King Street at 8 a.m. Saturday to urge rejection of the city’s plan, which the City Council plans to consider during a work session at 9:30.
“It is confusing and inconsistent, and it doesn’t need to be either,” said Poul Hertel, former Old Town Civic Association president. “We’ve got the boat club, and that is a problem. The rest of the [development] portions don’t need to be that complicated. We don’t need 1,000 pages to describe three properties.”
The existing neighborhoods can’t handle the amount of development the city is being proposed, he said.
“Someone once said growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell,” said Hertel, quoting Edward Abbey, an author and critic on public land-use issues.
Meshelle Armstrong is still hoping her restaurant, Virtue Feed and Grain, could one day look out at something more majestic than the boat club’s parking lot.
“For such an amazing historic town, it deserves a proper waterfront,” she said. “We are hoping. We’ll do our part, fingers crossed, that they will see what it can be.”