A development of more than 200 luxury town houses and condominiums at the site of the old Ford plant on the Alexandria waterfront has stalled because of financial problems, but the project may soon start up again, officials said yesterday.
The project was put on hold after a subsidiary of NVR L.P., the Virginia-based parent of NV Homes and Ryan homes, was unable to obtain construction financing, said John H. Rust Jr. Rust is an attorney for Cook Inlet Region Inc., the business unit of the Alaskan tribe that owns the land and is the other partner in the development.
Cook Inlet has taken the project back and intends to provide financing for construction, according to Rust, who said that work on the development has been stalled for several months.
The 10-acre project was designed by the Washington architectural firm of Arthur Cotton Moore Associates and included a plan to dig a 50-foot-wide U-shaped canal and build town houses around it. The first six of those town houses were under construction when the project stalled, Moore said.
The completed project is slated to have 93 town houses and 115 condominiums.
The old Ford plant, a vacant industrial structure built on piers over the Potomac at the south end of Alexandria, is expected to be modified and converted to condominiums.
The price of town houses in the Alexandria project has not yet been determined, Rust said.
However, original estimates were that some of the town homes could sell for up to $1 million each.
Moore, one of the area's best-known architects and the designer of Washington Harbour, the United Press International building and the Rockville Civic Center, said yesterday that he expects the project to be completed as it was originally designed. He also confirmed that his firm, like others in the area, has suffered because of the recent building slowdown.
"We've had a few layoffs, not just because of this project but because of the general slowdown in real estate," Moore said. "There's not an architectural firm in town that hasn't done the same thing. We have enough people working to complete the project."
Moore said his firm has fewer than 20 employees -- about half the size it was a year ago. "Some are in a furlough condition until things start up again," Moore said.
The Alexandria residential development was the major project for NV Classics, a subsidiary of NVR that does construction at the high-priced end of the market.
NVR is in the process of restructuring -- reshuffling management, dropping out of some markets elsewhere in the country, negotiating with banks and backing out of several projects in the Washington area.
"We had to come in and take the project back," said Rust, who added that the Cook Inlet group is still working on the project's financial details.
The construction of the project will be done by Paul Bennett Associates, a group that formerly worked for NV Classics. Bennett could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for NVR declined to comment.
The waterfront plan was called an exemplary addition to the Old Town historic district when it was approved by the Alexandria City Council two years ago, but has faced repeated problems. NV Classics was the second partner to drop out of the planned development. The Connecticut Life Insurance Co. was the first.
Staff Writer Jacqueline L. Salmon also contributed to this report.