Housing property remains in limbo

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The fate of Glebe Park and other public housing complexes near the Braddock Road Metro station is still in question, even after an ARHA work group meeting and some recommendations from city staff.

The redevelopment of the Glebe Park complex has been in question since the Virginia Housing Development Authority rejected the Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authoritys application for low income tax credits to help finance the project last spring. The project now needs city financing to move forward and that financing, it appears, will not come without conditions.

At the work group meeting last week, the staff presented a recommendation for an ARHA strategic plan and for a master plan that will encompass most of the authoritys property. However, there was no specific recommendation about how to move forward in the short-term with the redevelopment of Glebe Park.

A stakeholder group comprised of residents of adjacent neighborhoods did not arrive at consensus, splitting their votes between ARHAs original proposal for redeveloping the property and a proposal that would include fewer public housing units and more market-rate units.

If we include more market-rate units on that property, that puts some of our U. S. Housing and Urban Development potential financing sources in jeopardy, said A. Melvin Miller, chairman of the ARHA Board. Also, it makes our receiving low income tax credit financing for the property less likely.

The proposed master plan, which is tied to the Braddock East Small Area Plan process, also complicates matters. If we cant move forward with redeveloping James Bland and James Bland Addition, how are we going to pay for redeveloping Glebe Park, Miller asked. If we wait too long, our options are going to be gone because we are still facing possible foreclosure on Glebe Park by HUD. We are looking at Plan B, whatever that is.

City Council will not meet until Sept. 11, and that is the first opportunity to take a vote on financing for Glebe Park.

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