The Alexandria City Council agreed last week to hold a special summer meeting to vote on a special use permit required for a major commercial building project along Mount Vernon Avenue, an area the city is striving to revitalize.

V. Rodger Digilio, the developer, is planning to build 11 commerical and retail town houses and an underground parking garage in the 2200 block of Mount Vernon Avenue at a cost of $3.75 million. The proposed Potomac Town Square project would add to the more than $500,000 the city has invested in the previously underdeveloped Mount Vernon area.

"We need to get stimuli in there to encourage other people to do the same thing," Vice Mayor Patricia S. Ticer said.

Digilio's plans have been endorsed by Del Ray Citizens Association members and several council members, who say the project has been carefully prepared to enhance the neighborhood. Mayor James P. Moran Jr. called the plan "a real fine addition to the avenue" and called Digilio "a sensitive, thoughtful developer who knows how to work with the community."

"In this day and age when everybody is screaming about development, it's nice to see people pleased with what you're going to do," Digilio said.

At the council's final session last week, the mayor and others hedged at scheduling a July session and then agreed to have only one item on the agenda. "It will start at 6 o'clock and hopefully be over at 6:05," Moran joked.

Digilio said that bureaucratic snafus have delayed his project and that the funding for the town houses would dry up without the summer meeting.

Potomac Town Square would include 2 1/2-story red brick town houses around a central fountain and designed in a Victorian style with blue roofs and bright red doors. "I've been developing in Alexandria since the early '70s and I think this is the prettiest project I've ever done," Digilio said.

Digilio said he plans to sell the town houses, which will have more than 36,000 square feet of floor area, to commercial and retail firms for about $125 per square foot. Digilio said about a dozen firms, including architects, engineers, accountants and financial planners, have expressed interest.

"The city has been trying to stimulate the development of Mount Vernon Avenue, and this {project} will follow on the heels of that," Digilio said.