City mulls selling off $22M in land


The Alexandria City Council could sell off an abundance of properties worth more than $22 million in total, according to market assessments, but council members disagree on what form the parcels should take.
One building on Powhattan Street in Old Town has been vacant for 20 years, according to Mayor Bill Euille, and is worth almost $4 million. In an era of fiscal austerity, council members jumped to propose possible uses for the site: market-rate commercial or residential development, affordable housing or open space.
Theres a dearth of affordable housing in the city, but open space is shrinking, too. And the city could use the money for its wish list of capital improvement projects as well, or for debt reduction. 
Some uses are more realistic than others, officials said.
Were at a point now where this site has been dangling out here since 1980 and its ridiculous, Euille said. Despite our vision of wanting to sustain and maintain affordable housing, at some point we have to be realistic here. Weve tried just about everything.
Thirteen parcels from parking lots to an abandoned gas station are now on the table, but officials arent pressed to make any immediate decisions.
Were not making a sale tonight, folks, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said. Just because we declare something a surplus doesnt mean were compelled to sell if we dont like the price and dont like the proposal, we dont have to sell.