Preliminary Agreement with Robinson Terminal South Developer
Acting City Manager Mark B. Jinks announced today that the City has reached preliminary agreement with developer EYA, to require that barges be used, rather than trucks, to haul nearly all fill and excavation material during the redevelopment of the Robinson Terminal South warehouse into townhouses and multi-family units.
“This staff-negotiated agreement would eliminate approximately 90 percent of construction-related truck trips through Old Town for this project, while bringing new life to the Waterfront,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “The City heard the neighborhood’s clear concerns about the impact of truck hauling, and staff worked diligently to reach an alternative. We thank the community and the members of the Ad Hoc Monitoring Group on Waterfront Construction, including EYA, for their input and cooperation.”
The agreement will be included as a staff recommendation in a report regarding the overall redevelopment proposal. The Planning Commission will consider the report at a public hearing on Thursday, April 9, 2015, at 7 p.m., at Alexandria City Hall, 301 King St. After public testimony on the project, the Planning Commission will make its recommendations to the City Council, which is scheduled to hold its public hearing on the project on Saturday, April 18, 2015.
The recommendation would require barging of the fill material required to raise the site above the floodplain and the excavation material required to construct a below-grade parking garage – the equivalent of approximately 7,000 truckloads. Demolition debris and other construction materials would be transported by truck. EYA has agreed to closely monitor the remaining truck operations to reduce noise, traffic impacts, and soil erosion. This barge-truck hybrid arrangement is consistent with the consensus of the Ad Hoc Monitoring Group, which City Council appointed in 2014 to proactively address the construction impacts of waterfront redevelopment.
The staff report also recommends other contributions by EYA to address development impacts, such as preservation and restoration of historic structures, expansion of public parks and facilities, enhanced streetscapes, improved public access to the Potomac River and maritime facilities, incorporation of public art, and compliance with the City’s Green Building Policy. These contributions exceed $5 million, including a contribution of nearly $1 million for affordable housing and an annual contribution of $100,000 for pier and dock maintenance. The barging agreement is estimated to cost EYA approximately $1.6 million more than trucking. To offset this cost, the recommendation would permit the developer to add up to four multi-family units to the 92 currently planned, by reducing the size of proposed units within the same building envelope.
EYA President Robert Youngentob sent a message to Mayor Euille and the members of City Council today, which is reprinted below.
March 26, 2015
Dear Mayor Euille and members of the City Council,
As you know the Robinson South Terminal Planning Commission and City Council hearings are coming up next month. We have been working diligently with staff to resolve any issues around the DSUP conditions. While we are not in full agreement on all the conditions we have been making good progress in finding common ground on most issues. As you know, there has been great community concern around the issue of barging fill and excavation material for the remapping of the flood plain and ultimate garage excavation. In light of these concerns and after careful consideration of the significant cost premium, EYA believes that it is in the best interest of the project, the community and the city to barge this fill and excavation material. Any construction activity required to build out Robinson Terminal South in accord with the City’s waterfront plan will have impacts on the surrounding neighbors. The decision to barge the fill and excavation material will help to lessen this impact.
We look forward to continue to work with Staff and the Planning Commission to address concerns we have on other conditions included in the staff report. Our hope is that we will find common ground on all issues enabling this exciting development project to remain viable and more forward in order to begin to see the vision of the City’s Waterfront Plan implemented.
Robert D. Youngentob l President