Alexandria Apartments' Forthcoming Sale Worries Residents | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Alexandria Apartments' Forthcoming Sale Worries Residents

Play associated audio
Hunting Towers in Alexandria were constructed in 1950.
Michael Pope
Hunting Towers in Alexandria were constructed in 1950.

Most people don't think of the Virginia Department of Transportation as a landlord, but the state agency has owned Hunting Towers in Alexandria, two mid-rise apartment buildings, for several years -- part of a strategy to help facilitate construction of the Wilson Bridge. Now VDOT is ready to put the buildings on the market, a development that has many residents worried that their rents might spike or worse, that they may get evicted if a new owner wants to convert the buildings into luxury condominiums.

"I can actually find a place for myself," says Nahida Sultana, who has lived in Hunting Towers since 2008. "But people who have been living here and enjoying this neighborhood for a long time... it might be hard for them."

Alexandria Deputy City Manager Mark Jinks says the architecture of the 1950 building may be a saving grace that will help the city preserve the 530 units as affordable housing. The walls are reinforced concrete.

"Those walls are there," he says. "You can't put more bathrooms. You can't do washers and dryers. You cannot do central air. They have wall units."

Councilman Frank Fannon says he doesn't think the residents have anything to worry about.

"I just don't see a reality where a new landlord would come in and increase rates $500 or $600," Fannon says. "I just don't think it would bear in an old building like that."

Vice Mayor Kerry Donley disagrees. "If we do take the laissez-faire approach and just do nothing and let the market dictate, well I can tell you what will happen: we will lose these units forever."

Back at the towers, Tanjin Minar says residents have every reason to worry.

"It's human nature to get your home, you know, you don't want to just leave like the Great Depression," says Minar. "People left from their homes. If you read the Grapes of Wrath, they couldn't live in their homes and stuff."

VDOT is currently taking bids from potential buyers in an effort to determine the real market value.

NPR

Sarah Koenig On Serial: 'I Think Something Went Wrong With This Case'

Serial, the hugely popular (and sometimes controversial) podcast spun off from This American Life, wraps up its first season today. NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Serial creator Sarah Koenig.
NPR

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food

The decision to normalize relations is driving all kinds of speculation about American food companies opening up shop in Cuba. But analysts say: Don't expect to see McDonald's there anytime soon.
NPR

In List Of Changes For Secret Service, A New Fence Comes First

An independent review panel calls for changes ranging from a better fence at the White House to a new approach to training and leadership within the Secret Service.
NPR

North Korea Has Invested Heavily In Cyberattacks

American officials have concluded that North Korea was behind the hack of Sony Pictures Company. Melissa Block talks to James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.