Mark Center BRAC Site Proposed

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Alexandria (VA) Gazette Packet
January 24, 2008
Pg. 1
Location of WHS personnel down to three possible locations
By Chuck Hagee, Gazette
Alexandria now has a second site in the running to become the future home to 6,300 personnel of the Washington Headquarters Group (WHS), the final large contingent to be relocated as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Report (BRAC).
Mark Center — bordered by I-395, Beauregard Street and Seminary Road — has two undeveloped plots totaling 19 acres that are now in competition with Victory Center on Eisenhower Avenue and the GSA Warehouses in Springfield to house WHS. It has passed the U.S. Army's first cut and is now in the second phase of evaluation.
"We are in receipt of the next round of questions from the Corps of Engineers. They have to be completed and submitted by January 31," said Peter Scholz, senior vice president of Duke Realty Corp., which is marketing the site.
"We have been paying attention to the entire BRAC situation and discussions by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors since the beginning. When the Army made that open solicitation for the WHS we naturally responded," he said.
There are two separate plots within the Mark Center campus area -- one four acre and another 11 acre. "These are the sites we have proposed for new construction to house WHS. And we are not opposed to selling those sites to the Army and Fort Belvoir to comply with the BRAC requirement," Scholz said.
Ownership of any future WHS site has been a stumbling block for the Victory Center site. Owners of that site have focused on future tenants as opposed to relinquishing ownership.
The GSA Warehouses are already federal property. Control would merely need to be transferred to the Department of Defense, U.S. Army. Legislation to accomplish that has been introduced by U.S. Representative Thomas M. Davis III (R-11) and James P. Moran (D-8).
Another prime requirement by the Army is that the future site have ready access to mass transit and highway accessibility. Victory Center is accessible to the Capital Beltway via the Eisenhower Avenue interchange and Metrorail via the Van Dorn Station, within two blocks of the site.
THE WAREHOUSE SITE is accessible by both Virginia Rail Express (VRE) and Metrorail. However, former Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman cautioned that any personnel compliment over 3,200 being relocated to the GSA site would require the construction of additional roads or splitting those being relocated between two sites. WHS has 6,200 personnel.
"We haven't seen all the Corps' specific requirements. But we have ready access to not only I-395 but also other roads, such as Little River Turnpike (Duke Street), Seminary Road and Beauregard that can disburse traffic. We are also served by both Metrobus and DASH. And, we have our own shuttle bus service to the Pentagon Metro Station," Scholz explained.
"We may be required to make some I-395 interchange improvements by the City of Alexandria," he said. Those improvements and changes have been brought before the Alexandria Planning Commission previously in exploring other possibilities to enlarge Mark Center having nothing to do with BRAC.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors were informed of the Mark Center proposal by Mark Canale, Fairfax County BRAC coordinator, in January 11 and 14 memoranda. According to Canale, during a meeting with DoD "they told us the other site (in addition to Victory Center and GSA Warehouses) was the Mark Center in Alexandria."
However, the Army has not made any official announcement pertaining to any of the sites under consideration. When inquires were made to Dave Foster, public information for the Department of the Army, he stated that he had no official word. "It's all in the hands of the Corps of Engineers," he said.
Fort Belvoir's director of public information, Donald Carr, was also not able to verify any of the sites remaining viable. "There were seven sites in addition to the GSA Warehouses that submitted proposals. But, we have no official word on any of them at this time," Carr said.
"The proposals that did not receive favorable consideration were notified of that just prior to the holidays," Canale told the Fairfax County Supervisors. Their names have not been officially released.
Canale also noted in his memoranda that the Victory Center and Mark Center proposals will be evaluated against one another. The one not eliminated will then "compete against the GSA site for final determination," according to Canale.
That process will play out over the next several months, according to Foster. However, as Canale explained, "Depending on responses to the questions (from Corps of Engineer) and ability to meet the federal BRAC requirements, the Federal Government might go out with an RFP (Request for Proposal) by Feb. 28."