A $24.9 million proposal to redevelop Alexandria's aging, riverfront Torpedo Factory into a complex of condominiums, shops and a new marina was recommended for acceptance yesterday by city planners.
The plan, submitted by the Restone Development Corp. of Northern Virginia, was selected from among three other competing bids furnished last November.
The planning department's recommendation is not binding on the City Council, which will make the final decision. A public hearing on the issue, which has been a controversial one in recent years, is scheduled for Tuesday night.
In its 50-page analysis, the planning department also endorsed, with less enthusiasm, the redevelopment proposals made by the Alexandria Waterfront Restoration Co., and CTV/ Watergate Developments Inc.
The department recommended that a proposal by the Lenkin Co. be dropped entirely from further consideration by the council. City Manager Douglas Harman said yesterday that the Lenkin plan was not in substantial compliance with mandatory guidelines issued by the city to prospective developers.
The Redstone plan "provides the best overall response" to city needs, "offers the best financial package," provides more public parking spaces, and is made by a firm with proven expertise in the field, according to the planning department report.
The Torpedo Factory, which consists of four large buildings built by the Navy at various times since World War I, occupies 6.25 acres along the Potomac River in the center of the city's Old Town section. In their plans, the developers were required to eliminate at least 25 percent of the gross mass of the buildings, which currently include 380,000 square feet of floor space, and to provide at least 182 parking spaces.
The Redstone plan calls for eliminating the upper stories of three of the four buildings.The plan would demolish completely the eastern side of the largest structure, and place 150 expensive townhouses in the three sides of the resulting horseshoeshaped structure.
There would also be two levels of underground parking, a health club using solar heat, and retail shops in the structures closest to the water, according to the plans.
The plan retains the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a popular tourist attraction where artists work at their crafts. The plan would create pedestrian walkways through several of the buildings, providing waterfront access where none is now available.
The Redstone proposal also includes plans for a small-boat marina and a promenade built out over the Potomac.
In effect, the Redstone plan reduces the size of the Torpedo plant complex, bringing it into the same scale as the surrounding buildings, one of which is the historic Carlyle House, built in 1752, on Lee Street.
The analysis of the competing plans was made by planning director Engin Artemel and a staff of consultants.
Because the sale of city property is involved, final approval of any plan for the redevelopment of the area requires at least six votes from the seven-member council.
City Manager Harman recommended in the report that the council take up the matter at its March 13 or March 27 meetings.