The Alexandria City Council agreed last night to consider selling two buildings in the controversial Torpedo Plant complex to a developer as a means of raising the estimated $1.8 million needed to rehabilitate the city's two decaying piers adjacent to the buildings.

The recommendation made by City Manager Douglas Harman was immediately opposed by Vice Mayor Robert L. Calhoun (R.) who protested that selling the two buildings "would wipe out with a stroke of the pen . . . a process we took months to negotiate."

Earlier this year, the previous city council approved Alexandria WaterfrontRestoration Group as the redeveloper of the sprawling complex north of King Street. Under that plan, only a one-square-block section of the complex was to be sold to the group, headed by developer Charles R. Hooff III. the remaining structures were to be leased by the city to Hooff.

Under the modification proposed last night by Harman, Hooff could buy the building now housing the popular Torpedo Plant Art Center, and another adjacent structure, now unused. The money from the sale would be used to rehabilitate the city piers. The artists who now occupy the Torpedo Plant protested to the council in a letter that the plan could seriously hurt them.

The council scheduled a public hearing on the subject for Nov. 13.

The vote to consider the sale was 6 to 1, with only Calhoun voting no.