Project raises queries

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The Planning Commission and the Board of Architectural Review for the Old and Historic District got a first look at the proposed site plan for Hunting Point and expressed skepticism.

IDI is proposing to build one five-story building with 73 condominiums and one 14-story building with 294 condominiums units on the site where Hunting Terrace currently stands. In return for height and zoning variances, IDI will purchase Hunting Towers and preserve all of the nearly 600 units as affordable housing. Since the Virginia Department of Transportation owns Hunting Towers and has been unwilling to sell those buildings to IDI, that purchase is in doubt. The tallest of the new condominium buildings could be as tall as 150 feet. By comparison, Portaveccio is 85 feet tall. I am certain that the National Park Service is going to have something to say about this, as well, Fitzgerald said.

The proposal has been making its rounds through the Hunting Point stakeholders group and through various community groups for two years. IDI hopes to bring the proposal to the Planning Commission and to City Council for consideration in November. Given that the purchase of The Towers is still uncertain, that timeline may be in jeopardy as would final approval, which is scheduled for March 2008.

If those units are not available, the developer is proffering $20 million in cash as a donation to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, said Mildrilyn Davis, the director of housing for the city.

Does the goal of preserving affordable housing and the goal of preserving the character of the George Washington Memorial Parkway mix? I just dont see how those two things are compatible, given this proposal, said Oscar Fitzgerald, a member of the BAR.

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