The Samuel Madden redevelopment from 66 to 532 units, which is up for city review in February, would have an ALIVE food hub.

Emily Leayman, Patch Staff
Posted Fri, Feb 3, 2023
Read the Full Story Here

ALEXANDRIA, VA — If the proposed redevelopment of the Samuel Madden public housing is approved in the City of Alexandria, it would include a food hub from nonprofit ALIVE!

The public housing, located at 899 and 999 North Henry Street, is proposed to be turned into multifamily housing by the owner Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The community is currently 66 total units with thirteen two-story apartment buildings.

The redevelopment would create 532 units in two mixed-income multifamily buildings on two blocks. Of the 532 units, 326 would be affordable to households 30 percent to 80 percent of the area median income, and 208 would be market rate units. The density would change from a 0.75 floor area ratio to 3.9, which includes a 0.9 bonus density.

Along with the 532 residential units, the development would have 5,000 square feet of public open space, the ALIVE! food hub, an early learning and childcare center by Hopkins House, and 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The proposals for the Samuel Madden Homes redevelopment will go to the Planning Commission at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7. If the proposal is advanced by the Planning Commission, it goes to City Council.

The ALIVE! food hub would fill a need in Alexandria, where a 2022 Capital Area Food Bank found 31 percent of families face food insecurity. ALIVE!, a safety net nonprofit providing food assistance and other programs, serves about 17,000 people and 4,500 households per month.

“Food insecurity is on the rise in Alexandria, and the emergency food benefits for low-income families that were put in place during the pandemic are about to expire,” said Jenn Ayers, Executive Director of ALIVE!, in a statement. “Being a part of the new vision for the Samuel Madden Homes will help ALIVE! grow our impact and reach even more families in need throughout Alexandria.”

The new location will be open to all of Alexandria. The nonprofit also envisions the food hub as a place where clients can be connected to other services.

“Once we connect with a family, we work with them to understand their needs to layer in the services they need to improve their lives,” said Ayers. “You can come into an ALIVE! Food Hub location for free groceries, and leave connected to other supports, such as educational, workforce, and health care services.”

The redevelopment plan for the public housing has been refined since the Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority chose Fairstead, Mill Creek Residential, and the Communities Group to work on the redevelopment.

The Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority noted many of its residents already use ALIVE! services.

“When working with our partners on the vision for the new Samuel Madden Homes, we knew we wanted to root the plans in the needs of the community,” said Noah Hale, director of development at Fairstead. “By partnering with ALIVE! for a new food hub in the neighborhood, as well as Hopkins House for an early learning and childcare center, we are addressing the needs of the wider community while providing high-quality housing.”

ALIVE! was founded in 1969 as Alexandrians Involved Ecumenically by 14 faith communities. Today, it has grown to 49 faith communities involved in the nonprofit’s work. The first ALIVE! food hub was opened in summer 2022 in the West End and serves hundreds of families each month. A second food hub is expected to open in February.