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Alexandria City Council approves redevelopment in Old Town North with more affordable housing for seniors

Proposed massing for the Ladrey High-Rise (via ARHA)

At a meeting this weekend, Alexandria’s City Council unanimously approved an affordable housing redevelopment for seniors despite pushback from neighbors.

While many projects in Old Town come under fire from neighbors for being too tall, the Ladrey redevelopment is creating a shorter building but one more spread out across 600 N. Fairfax Street.

The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority has plans to demolish the existing 11-story, 170-unit affordable apartment building at 300 Wythe Street, which houses seniors and residents with disabilities, as well as its former headquarters at 600 N. Fairfax Street. The replacement would be a 270-unit L-shaped building with heights ranging give to seven stories.

Neighbors, primarily from the nearby Annie B. Rose House development for senior residents, shared concerns about the plan, ranging from worries about structural damage to the neighborhood during construction to the move of a bus stop across the street, requiring some of Annie B. Rose House’s residents with disabilities to cross a street to get to their bus.

Residents of the current Ladrey property, though, said their building is in bad shape, which struck a chord with some on the City Council.

“The residents are forced to leave the building on a yearly basis and it’s unfair,” said City Council member Canek Aguirre. “The residents deserve [a new building]. They deserve to have healthy living conditions. They deserve to live without mice and roaches. They deserve air conditioning.”

Mayor Justin Wilson said outreach will need to be done to make the nearby community aware of the bus stop move, but said overall the Ladrey redevelopment is a benefit to the city.

“This is an important project for the city, one that provides not only a rehabilitation and modernization of existing housing but continues our goals of creating additional committed affordable housing and does so for a population that’s some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Wilson said. “I’m pretty excited about this project… We cannot lose the fact that this is a really impactful project for the community.”

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