Thursday, February 26, 2009

Council Approves Town Center Plan

“A new network of streets, “two distinctive mixed-use activity centers” and tree-lined transit corridors anchor the plan and environmental and economic sustainability are the themes throughout.”

Those are the elements of an urban development plan that was adopted by the Alexandria City Council last Saturday. According to this story by David Sachs in the Alexandria Times today, the plan would add about a million square feet of office space and 6,400 new residential units to the area surrounding and including Landmark Mall. Landmark Mall is owned by General Growth Properties.

In Alexandria, it just so happens that our own Greg Hamm is also representing GGP’s interest. This time however, GGP is not driving the process but it does hold the “crux of the plan” with its mall.

Not so fast says Greg.

“Hamm said the company was in favor of the city’s efforts but could not offer an exact timetable on when the city could utilize the “underperforming” mall’s space, but said redevelopment is “probably imminent.”

Poor guy. In Columbia they tell him he’s moving too fast. In Alexandria they tell him he’s moving too slow.


PZGURU said...

Alexandria alreaday has the infrastructure to handle a large scale increase in residential density and increase in commercial development; Columbia does not. This is a complete apples to oranges comparison.

If you like Alexandria, move to Alexandria.

Anonymous said...

NoVa is a nightmare of ensnared traffic. If that's infrastructure planning, they can keep it.

PZGURU said...

ANON - very funny, but true. I probably should have expanded my comment to convey that I meant that an additional 5,000 (for example) trips per day in the Alexandria area would be less of a catastrophic impact than the same amount of new trips in Town Center Columbia area. Alexandria has metro service, bus service, and is very close to an EXISTING and more extensive highway system (than Route 29).

The pro-downtown groups always want to hold up those other cities as examples of how the Town Center Plan will work ok, but it's a patently untrue and illegitimate comparison.

Anonymous said...

I just boggles the mind how so many people moved to Columbia because it's different, and now are marching around trumpeting it's obsolescence with inaccurate comparisons.

Makes me think there's another agenda at work.

Anonymous said...

Change is inevitable.
When I moved to Columbia, there were 5000 people and now there are around 100,000 from what I hear. The town's changed. The people have changed. There is another agenda. If you live in the same house for 40 years, don't you think it might be time to put some improvements in it? Why should the Downtown remain the same without improvement?

PZGURU said...

HH - "improvement" is very vague. A lot of people, me for one, have no problem with "improvements", such as adding pedestrian bridges over LPP, or adding more "cultural" activities and destinations. However, those improvements can be done without a zoning change and massive density increase, and without a complete re-design of the road network.

True, n'est pas?