Alexandria City Council requested city staff study the possible creation of a right-turn lane from Jefferson Davis Highway onto E. Reed Avenue last week when discussing a proposed housing development near the intersection.
Council authorized a $250,000 loan to AHC, Inc., from the City's Housing Trust Fund for predevelopment costs for the proposed development.
The four-to-five-story development — to be built in the 100 block of E. Reed Avenue — includes 77 apartments comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. All will offer rents affordable to households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income level.
The loan, which will go toward project design and architectural and environmental studies, will be repaid if the project receives future land use approvals and is successful in its application for 2013 low-income housing tax credits from the Virginia Housing Development Authority.
“We’re asking to fund some of the predevelopment costs [for the development] in hopes that it provides affordable units,” Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said. “Ultimately we will get the money back.”
Councilman Paul Smedberg brought up the issue of the right-turn lane, saying the subject deserved discussion now as opposed to later. He said Reed Avenue will be a key connection to the redeveloped Potomac Yard.
“It’s going to be awfully hard once this thing gets built [to build the turn lane],” Smedberg said. “We keep doing this stuff ad hoc [on the east side of Route 1] and Reed is going to be such an important road [entering Potomac Yard]. … This has nothing to do with the worthiness of this proposal. This is our one opportunity to discuss it. Oftentimes we don’t go back.”
Currently, a third lane on the southbound side of Route 1 ends just before the intersection with Reed, sometimes causing congestion during peak hours.
Donley requested that staff study the right-turn option at E. Reed Avenue and Route 1 and report its findings to council within six months.
AHC, a housing nonprofit that has produced close to 40 rental apartment communities in the D.C. metro area and Virginia’s Tidewater region, has assembled six privately owned properties along E. Reed Avenue for its new development — the group’s first in Alexandria. AHC also needs a parcel of city-owned land at the corner of E. Reed and Route 1 to complete the assemblage.
AHC is also requesting up to $2.25 million in gap financing from the city’s Housing Opportunities Fund. That issue and other zoning questions are expected to come before Planning Commission and Council later this year.
The approval of the smaller predevelopment loan does not bind the city to future decisions.