Town Could Help Turn Hotels Emptied by Coronavirus Into Economical Housing | ALXnow

Regional losses to tourism and the hotel marketplace could be an sudden windfall for Alexandria’s ongoing initiatives to find inexpensive housing.

In the course of a presentation to the Town Council very last 7 days, Alexandria Economic Enhancement Partnership (AEDP) President and CEO Stephanie Landrum claimed that the city could seem at streamlining some rezoning to assist change inns emptied by COVID into inexpensive housing units.

“We’ve put in a ton of the time in the earlier talking about office conversion and speaking about the economics of that,” Landrum informed City Council. “We are likely to incorporate accommodations to that listing. The place does it make sense to motivate the conversion of an older, potentially considered out of date resort, and serving to us accomplish probably some of our reasonably priced or other housing goals — and at the exact time investing and encouraging in new motels in the ideal areas?”

The proposal will come as the town balances affordable housing desires with some public reluctance on colocation. The College Board voted unanimously from co-finding economical housing at the Minnie Howard Campus of Alexandria’s high university, and ACPS mentioned that the proposal sparked local community backlash.

Before this week, an ACPS expert proposed both incorporating affordable housing to a community shelter or shifting the shelter totally and applying the site as a combined-use growth with an affordable housing component.

In the meantime the city — and the region as a total — have observed a extraordinary fall-off in lodge occupancy and revenues. Mayor Justin Wilson famous in a social media article that hotel profits fell from $1.1 million in July 2019 to all around $200,000 in July 2020.

Landrum informed ALXnow that AEDP is presently seeking about some of those people strategies and will arrive back to Council with a extra in depth report.

“We’ll give them a search at our commercial corridors, like office and hotel works by using,” Landrum reported. “It may be that some lodges make a decision that travelers are not likely to come again for a extended ample time and maybe they are not approximate to a metro or have sufficient amenities. They could make your mind up hanging onto the lodge does not make sense and might go after sale or conversion.”

These would likely be inns off Eisenhower Avenue or in the West Conclude that never have immediate obtain to central tourism locations, Landrum reported, so it’s unlikely this would utilize to any Old Town accommodations.

The proposal noticed some first aid on the Metropolis Council, while it will choose a lot more investigate over the up coming couple of months to see what the metropolis could do to aid that form of turnover.

“I believe it would be attention-grabbing in terms of looking at alternatives for long run viability in some of those web-sites,” City Councilman John Chapman explained to ALXnow. “With the require of housing, coupled with the truth that some lodges could possibly not survive — so what would you do with people properties?

Chapman claimed he’d like to see some motels applied as business or residential place, although the metropolis will have to function with the building proprietors to figure out that.

“I wouldn’t want to near the door to very affordable housing with out hearing a lot more about what is planned,” Chapman explained. “I’m not hoping to bounce the gun on that, but I want to say that there is fascination. We’re intrigued in regardless of what that second existence is [for some hotels], but I really do not know what that system involves and how we change it in a way that helps make it match.”

Chapman said the town ought to do more to search at other localities to see if any others have gone by means of comparable strategies and acquire some lessons acquired.

“Is it anything we see throughout the D.C. metro location as it relates to tourism and lodges in their up coming life?” Chapman said.

Landrum said the town has seen that with some office structures, and, in rezoning, has had to determine no matter whether circumstance-by-case no matter if it was proper to make it possible for all those parcels to have other makes use of. This has occurred a handful of occasions ahead of for motels, Landrum mentioned, which includes:

  • Washington Suites Alexandria (100 S. Reynolds Street) currently being transformed to The Mark Flats
  • Crowne Plaza Resort mid-conversion by Carr Providers to Location.
  • Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham (420 N. Van Dorn Road transformed to Broadstone Van Dorn Apartments

The first two had to undertake a zoning critique, while the Broadstone Van Dorn Residences conversion was done by-ideal.

“As we’re seeking at influence on the serious estate marketplace, I consider we really should be proactive and make a decision no matter if this is a thing we want to go after,” Landrum said. “Affordable housing is a big precedence.”

Landrum stated the metropolis would likely begin with one particular resort area and function in partnership with a community economical housing nonprofit to exam the strategy.

The city’s function in this course of action, Landrum reported, would most likely be facilitating discussions among home homeowners and affordable housing builders and nonprofits.

“We would want to speak with nonprofit housing and say ‘you should choose a seem at this’ or chat with very affordable housing builders,” Landrum claimed. “I don’t see a circumstance the place we would, as the metropolis, action in and try out to get it ourselves. Our position is to make restoration uncomplicated to take out hurdles. We must acquire next month or two to see: Are there any hurdles? Is there a way for this to transpire without having getting to go by a bureaucratic procedure?”