WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Alexandria Council Votes To Rezone In West End, Displacing Thousands

Play associated audio
Developers will replace 2,500 market-rate garden units with 6,600 units of mostly luxury apartments in Alexandria's West End.
Michael Pope
Developers will replace 2,500 market-rate garden units with 6,600 units of mostly luxury apartments in Alexandria's West End.

Thousands of low-income families on the West End of Alexandria, Va., are facing a new sense of uncertainty about their future after the Alexandria City Council voted 6 to 1 last weekend to rezone the area to make way for luxury apartments.

Many of the families in residence don't know what the future holds. Hazam Khammash, 15, is from Jordan, one of many residents in the area from around the globe.

"It's kind up upsetting, you know, because my mom works really work and, you know, she has to work harder," Khammash says.

This blue-collar neighborhood is full of taxi drivers and restaurant workers and hotel janitors. Now the area is ripe for redevelopment, especially now that city leaders have opened the door to a massive redevelopment effort that will eventually demolish all of the garden apartments here.

"It's like a disaster," says Heber Banegas, from Honduras. "I mean, you know, many families don't know where to go. I mean, this is their home."

Supporters say the plan calls for 800 units of dedicated affordable housing units, but opponents say that's little consolation for the thousands of families who currently live in the 2,500 units of market-rate affordable housing now.

"It destroyed what I planned, because I wanted to be stable here for about two years, but if this happens in the next year, this is not good for me. Not good," says Iraqi Salam Jawad.

City officials say they will do everything they can to make sure that residents who currently live in these apartments are able to stay, if they qualify for one of the dedicated units.

Demolition is slated to begin next year.

NPR

No Longer Omar: Actor Michael K. Williams On Lucky Breaks And Letting Go

Over the course of his career, Williams says he's learned to separate himself from his characters (like The Wire's Omar). In HBO's The Night Of, he plays a powerful prison inmate named Freddy.
NPR

#FoodPorn, Circa 1600s: Then And Now, It Was More About Status Than Appetite

A new study of old masters finds that capturing and showing off decadent and expensive meals is a decidedly old-fashioned practice. Like today's Instagrammers, it was all about projecting an image.
NPR

Michelle Obama: From Reluctant Political Spouse To Pop Culture Icon

The first lady speaks Monday night at her third Democratic National Convention. Her popular image is a transformation from how she was first introduced to the country eight years ago.
NPR

The Big Internet Brands Of The '90s — Where Are They Now?

Verizon's purchase of Yahoo will close the book on one of the oldest Internet companies. What happened to the other famous 90s brands, like GeoCities, Netscape and CompuServe? A nerdy remembrance.

Leave a Comment

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