City of Alexandria Awarded for Mixed Income Housing Redevelopment
The National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC) of the American Planning Association has presented the City of Alexandria with the 2005 Housing Choice and Affordability Award for its Samuel Madden Homes/Chatham Square redevelopment project. Planning Director Eileen Fogarty accepted the award on November 8, 2005 at the NCAC Chapter Gala in Washington, DC, on behalf of the Mayor and City Council, along with the Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority (ARHA) and the private development firm Eakin Youngentob & Associates (EYA), the team that created the mixed income housing redevelopment project.
About Chatham Square
In 2002, the City of Alexandria City Council approved a project unlike any other in the nation. With local, state and federal funding, strong support from the community, and a broad public private partnership, the City of Alexandria undertook the pioneering step of redeveloping a public housing complex with a mixed income development that integrates 52 public housing units among 100 market rate town homes. More than 34% of the two-block development called Chatham Square located adjacent to Old Town Alexandria is comprised of public housing units owned by the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA).
Today, Chatham Square is nearly complete, and some residents have already begun to unpack boxes. This comprehensive and innovative mixed income residential development is the culmination of more than a decade of City, ARHA, and community discussions regarding the redevelopment of the Samuel Madden Homes, a two-story 100-unit public housing complex originally built to house military personnel in the 1940's. By the late 1980's the ARHA owned Samuel Madden complex was aging, and it became clear that the best solution would be redevelopment with the goal of replacing all the publicly assisted housing units, and creating a diverse new community integrating a broad array of incomes.
The City created a workgroup in 2001 to establish parameters and objectives for redevelopment of the Samuel Madden housing. The workgroup stipulated that 52 public housing units be distributed proportionally on site and that the development must comply with the City's open space, urban design, and architectural guidelines, to ensure high quality construction that provides benefits to the new residents and existing neighborhood. In 2001, the City selected the firm of Eakin/Youngentob in a competitive selection process to purchase, design and redevelop the parcel.
In accordance with the City of Alexandria's longstanding policy for no net loss of public housing, all 100 of the original Samuel Madden units have been replaced at sites in the City. Six of the Samuel Madden replacement units will be on Braddock Road, eighteen on Reynolds Street, and twenty-four on Whiting Street, in addition to the fifty-two integrated into the Chatham Square site. Each of the new sites benefits from good access to transit and services, including parks, recreation centers, and household needs such as grocery stores. Financing for the additional three sites came from ARHA's sale of the Samuel Madden site, low-income housing tax credits (State of Virginia), and up to $3.5 million from a combination of the City and Housing Trust Fund, as well as Federal HOPE VI funds.
Neighboring historic Old Town, the design for Chatham Square features urban townhouses that reinforce the historic fabric of Old Town and continuation of the street grid. High quality building materials and architectural design, variation in height, underground parking, alley access, and streetscape improvements complement the local architectural character. The site plan smoothly integrates the 52 public housing units throughout, rather than in concentration, and the townhouse design featuring windows and front porches looking out onto the sidewalk enliven the street environment and enhance civic engagement. Integrated into the existing neighborhood, residents of Chatham Square will have easy access to public open space, the City's waterfront, and local neighborhood services and transit.
Alexandria is proud of its ongoing commitment and policy to enhance and increase affordable housing opportunities for its residents. With its high proportion of public housing units, Chatham Square represents a monumental step in providing affordable housing within a well-designed integrated neighborhood environment. Alongside the bricks and mortar, the City is committed to providing a support system for the families in the new housing, ensuring that they have comprehensive community services that foster independence.