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Notes: Wall Street Journal piece targets ‘Save Del Ray’ controversy

Good Monday morning, Alexandria!

Today’s weather: Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 57 and low of 43.
Tomorrow: Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 51 and low of 38. Sunrise at 6:33 am and sunset at 6:07 pm.

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An opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal by a former Mike Pence speechwriter took aim at the anti-development “Save Del Ray” campaign.

The piece by Stephen Ford, titled “Yes, There’s a Housing Crisis. No, You Can’t Build Here”, detailed much of the appeal of Del Ray — its “Main Street” atmosphere, the Halloween parade — but said the once working-class neighborhood has become increasingly unaffordable.

“Now the most affordable town homes typically run in the low to mid $700,000s, and single-family homes usually go for $1 million or more,” Ford wrote. “People want to live in Del Ray, but for many families it’s getting difficult to move — or even to stay — here.”

Enter Bonaventure Realty and its plans to Alexandria redevelop the former Department of Community and Human Services building at 2525 Mount Vernon Avenue into a four-story, 43-foot-tall building mixed-use development.

The plan prompted backlash from some locals and the creation of a “Save Del Ray” group. The project’s density was scaled back but eventually, community feedback pressured the developer into backing away from the project. According to Ford:

Hyperbole carried the day. In November, Bonaventure put the project on indefinite hold, and the property is now for sale. It makes sense. Nothing short of the status quo seems likely to win over opponents. Until some middle ground can be found between not-in-my-backyard and yes-in-my-backyard, neighborhoods like mine–and Berkeley, Calif., and Brooklyn, N.Y., and many other desirable places–will keep getting more expensive and less welcoming to newcomers.

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