A movement decrying Bonaventure’s proposed mixed-use development in the heart of Del Ray launched online this month, and its organizer says the plan will ruin the neighborhood’s peaceful vibe.
Nate Hurto and a few dozen of his neighbors aren’t happy about the proposal to convert the old 88,500-square-foot former home of the Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services building at 2525 Mount Vernon Avenue into a four-story, 43-foot-tall building with 12,530 square feet of retail and 79 rental units.
Hurto, a 15-year resident of the neighborhood, launched SaveDelRay.org earlier this month.
“We’re not anti-development or against progress,” Hurto told ALXnow. “We just want everybody to take a concerted look at this, and most importantly to let the City Council and the Planning Commission and everybody else know that this is important to us.”
Hurto says the development ignores the guiding principles of the city’s Mount Vernon Avenue Business Area Plan, which includes preserving the historic scale and character of the neighborhood and providing convenient parking and transportation solutions.
“Go to the site and imagine a building that’s twice as tall as the existing structure,” Hurto told ALXnow. “I think if you stand at the corner, where Pork Barrel BBQ and Tops Of Old Town are, just look north on Mount Vernon Avenue. Imagine a structure that’s twice as tall right there on the street, right next to the houses. It does not convey a small town neighborhood feel, it does not convey any of the historic sense of place.”
Bonaventure owns the 144-space parking lot across from Pat Miller Square on Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue, which will be available for residents living in the new building. The company says that the residential and retail parking required for the project can be accommodated and will be provided in the the existing lot in the 2400 block of Mt Vernon Avenue.
“We want an emphasis on ensuring that there is sufficient parking for the development, that traffic controls are in place,” Hurto said. “Instead of fundamentally altering the community, we want the developer to look at this project and say, ‘How do I make this really fit into Del Ray?”
As for SaveDelRay’s strategy, Hurto wouldn’t say much.
Bonaventure last briefed the Del Ray Citizens Association on the project in February, and wants the plan to go to the City for review in November. That would be followed by the final site plan and building permit process, and upward of a year-and-a-half for construction. That means, barring unforeseen circumstances, that development would start in the fourth quarter of 2023 and be finished in approximately 20 months.
Images via Bonaventure