There were public concerns about the massing, height, and construction hours for the newly approved development at 701 N. Henry Street. Behind those criticisms though was a recurring theme: many residents of the city’s historic Parker-Gray neighborhood are unhappy with the new density coming to their neighborhood.
Before it was part of the trendy Braddock neighborhood, with Metro adjacent coffee shops and bars, the Parker-Gray neighborhood was a historic black community formed as a haven for former slaves after the Civil War and solidified into a distinct center of Black life in Alexandria during segregation, according to the Washington Post.
With increasingly upscaled development coming to the neighborhood, however, many at a City Council public hearing last night for 701 N. Henry street directed their frustrations with new developments they see as literally overshadowing local homes at the proposed five-story building.
“The Parker-Gray district started in the ’60s, now we are facing the dilemma of splitting the block and putting together historical regulation with no regulation,” local resident Isabelle Zorro said. “That leaves us in a very difficult situation. What I’m counting on with you, the Council, is to look at this in a different way. We don’t believe this is fair. We would like you to represent us.”
Local residents voicing concerns about new development near their homes is nothing new to Alexandria, but the developments in Parker-Gray are complicated by concerns about gentrification in a historic black community.
“I have been a longtime resident over 50 years,” said Bernice Johnson. “This is kind of personal for me because this home I inherited was my parents’ struggle and I am proud to live here where they succeeded in becoming homeowners in the ’60s. Our neighborhood has a very personal history to me… Our neighborhood history must be preserved, not erased by a massive five-story building that has no contact or history with our neighborhood.”
Despite the concerns from residents, some on the Council said there was nothing legal or technically wrong about the applications. Councilman Mo Seifeldein repeatedly said he believed the city could have gotten more affordable units than the seven units required as part of applying for bonus density, but admitted that concern wasn’t exclusive to this project.
Cathy Puskar, representing the project developer, said the development was not unlike other new buildings nearby.
Ultimately, the City Council unanimously approved the project. Despite the approval, Mayor Justin Wilson said he appreciated the input given by the nearby residents and said it created “thoughtful engagement” on the project.
“It’s going to be large, that’s for sure,” said Redella ‘Del’ Pepper. “These are delightful neighbors and I do hope, when all of this is built and people get to know each other, there will be good relationships.”
Image via City of Alexandria
(Updated 4:15 p.m.) A conversation around a hair salon’s paint job forced Alexandria leaders to confront the question: should Old Town stay a red brick town? At a meeting on…
Before unanimously voting on financing the massive WestEnd Alexandria project at the former Landmark Mall site, a majority of Alexandria City Council members said that they still dislike the name….
Like one of the many oversized trucks stuck there over the years, a regional partnership will impact the long-troubled Virginia Railway Express (VRE) bridge over King Street and other nearby…
The brand new apartments at South Alex offer a zestful way of life centered around art and design showcasing a curated collection of custom artwork, sculptures, and murals throughout the…
Our local therapy practice is delighted to welcome Stacey Cali, Resident in Counseling, who has openings now for new clients. Stacey specializes in therapy for women, couples, teens and families. A graduate of George Mason University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Masters Program, Stacey is also passionate about working with people with addiction.
Stacey’s approach: “Therapy’s a powerful combination of reflection, support and action. You’ll find sessions are filled with empowerment, compassion, goal setting and a metaphorical shovel to dig deep to find the root of your difficulties and how to move past them.”
Adds Stacey, “As a therapist who works with women, teens, couples and families, I use a personalized style of counseling, tailored to you as an individual. You’re the expert in your life, I’m just here to guide you towards transformation and healing.”
Discover Healing and Renewed Well-Being through Psychotherapy
Life’s challenges can sometimes feel overwhelming, leaving us with feelings of anxiety, depression, and uncertainty. That’s where psychotherapy can make a profound difference. Our dedicated team of experienced therapists is here to guide you on a journey towards emotional and mental well-being.
Why Choose Psychotherapy?
The Made in ALX Fall Makers’ Market at Port City Brewing Co. in Alexandria is set for Sunday, Sept. 24!
This is the fall’s most fun sip-and-shop, featuring craft beer from the award-winning Port City Brewing Co. along with food,