Chatham Square

Tags for this project:
Street ViewView from Inner Courtyard, looking at a mix of affordable and market flats and townhouses. A layer of parking is tucked under the courtyards.Site Plan

Location: Alexandria, VA. Public housing area in historic district of Alexandria, Virginia

Chatham Square is an innovative mixed-income community designed to improve the quality of life for residents by replacing high concentrations of outdated public housing with quality mixed-income development. It is a major public/private partnership undertaking of a former public housing project within Alexandria, Virginia's historic Old Town.

The project features a creative use of land, exchanging low-density two-story units arranged in a barracks pattern with high-density three and four-story market rate town homes and public housing rental thoughtfully integrated into a common structure, designed to emulate Alexandria's former historic streetscape and architecture. Every unit is given concealed parking which makes room for large central courtyards and a pedestrian-friendly site plan. The plan provides an improved streetscape as well as usable open space for residents. This was made possible by employing a design method of "back to back" mixed income buildings with market rate town homes on one side and 6 "two-over-one" public housing units on the other side, both of which are constructed over one level of podium type parking. The rental units are designed to appear as though they are 4 market rate town homes - resulting in the seamless integration of the public housing not only within the existing community, but within the surrounding neighborhood as well.

The solution required upholding the former street design and adding a green space in the center of each block, accessible via new, pedestrian-friendly streets. The outer streets are faced with new homes (some selling for $850,000 or more); the rear of these homes, in turn, border new low-income apartments, many of which face directly into the interior green space containing brick walks, a tot lot, benches, and trees. The apartments aim to have a townhouse appearance to achieve a continuum of low and high income homes.

Chatham Square is a model for public/private partnerships. The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Fannie Mae (purchaser of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits), and the City of Alexandria collaborated with the developers to create a transaction structure allowing revenues from the the market-rate homes to subsidize the cost of constructing the replacement of public housing units - both on and off the stie. Every one of the 100 existing public housing units razed on site were replaced in-kind either on site or elsewhere in the city. Due to the success of the project, the Housing Authority retained financial participation in the for-sale housing which will eventually provide $2,000,000 in additional funds for the Authority.

Read more at this project's website.

Transect Zone(s): T4 general.
Status: 76-99% Built
Project or Plan's Scale: Region
Features: Affordable/subsidized housing.
Land area (in acres): 4
Total built area (in sq. ft.):
Total project cost (in local currency):
Retail area (in sq. ft.):
Office area (in sq. ft.):
Industrial area (in sq. ft.):
Number of hotel units:
Number of residential units (include live/work): 152
Parks & green space (in acres): 1
Project team designers: Lessard Group, Inc.
Project team developers: EYA, Mid-City Urban, LLC

Previous site status: Redevelopment

Starting/Ending date of construction/implementation: -