After paying back a redevelopment loan earlier in the Feb. 14 City Council meeting, Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) came back a few minutes later to request nearly a million more for the Ramsey Homes redevelopment.
Helen McIlvaine, director of the Office of Housing, presented ARHA’s request to double the city’s loan. McIlvaine said the loan increase was the result of the delay in the loan application process from 2016 to 2017 after the City Council requested ARHA do more work to further study preservation options for Ramsey Homes. $700,000 of the $900,000 total request was a result of a tax rate increase during that year. Mayor Allison Silberberg said, even knowing the resulting cost increase, the delay was the right decision.
“It is a complicated project,” said Silberberg. “We had to take in a lot of input in terms of history of the site to help us figure out a way forward.”
Vice Mayor Justin Wilson added that cost delays will likely continue to plague affordable housing development in Alexandria as a result of changes at the federal level.
“This is the cost of delay,” said Wilson, “but I also think this is the leading edge of a changing environment that is unfortunately going to bedevil us on all these projects.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the loan request.