City Council last week made an effort to give the old Health Department a new lease on life by calling for proposals to renovate the historic-but-ailing building.
The building, just down the road from Trader Joe’s and Teaism, recently was deemed “architecturally and historically significant” by the city’s Old and Historic Alexandria District Board of Architectural Review.
However, inspections and city staff analyses of 509 N. St. Asaph St. found that it’s “cost prohibitive” to renovate the facility for city reuse, according to a June 21 memo from the city’s manager to council.
Instead, the plan is to sell it, along with properties that are currently parking lots at 511, 513 and 515 Oronoco St.
The properties are currently zoned for residential townhouses.
The Request for Proposal will define criteria such as proposed use, financial stability and experience of the developer, impact on surrounding properties and to define a minimum affordable housing contribution.
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley and Councilman Rob Krupicka agreed at last week’s Council meeting that the building is historic and could be saved.
“Trying to preserve this building is important. This is not going to be a windfall of money…to the city. The bigger benefit is taking a building that’s not being used and getting it back on the tax rolls… The costs of preserving the building are not small."
City staff said the idea is to put this building up for sale with preservation options with current estimates showing a pricetag of $3.1 million to $4.1 million.
“If we don’t receive fair market value, we can redress for future options,” General Services Director Jeremy McPike told Council.
An alternative would be to demolish the building, but McPike noted, an application to demolish would be required and that could be challenged.
Presentation of proposals to council is expected to take place in late 2012 or early 2013.