To the editor:
A cadre of Hunting Point tenants that have banded together in a self-anointed tenants association has received an inordinate amount of “squeaky wheel” press regarding the property’s change of ownership to the Laramar Group. They do not represent the overwhelming majority of tenants who want nothing to do with this association and its confrontational attitude.
They are a small group with personal gripes and perceived, alleged grievances. Transparency demands I acknowledge that there are essential infrastructure improvements to be made to the buildings. But what the public is not being told is that residents have received detailed, written notices of all the planned improvements anticipated through next year and weekly notices of progress or delay in the most immediate projects.
Central to the furor is a longstanding hot-button issue in Alexandria — maintaining affordable housing in the community — and an attempt to continue rentals at the rent-freeze level that many have enjoyed since the Virginia Department of Transportation took possession of the property in 2000 for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project.
It is rather illogical to expect the new owners to improve the infrastructure and move ahead to the new — and desirable changes — they have outlined for the tenants without a modest increase in rent and fees. Couple that fact with members of the association grumbling about the inconvenience that will accompany infrastructure changes.
It would seem that we have a “have a cake and eat it, too” scenario. The improvements are desired, but they are a problem so long as anyone has to pay 1 additional cent in rent.
And the emotionalized use of the word “eviction” is misleading as it implies an arbitrary action as opposed to an eviction with cause, which was handled professionally.
The city missed an opportunity to acquire the property and guarantee affordable housing units, and now — as change takes place here — the owners are finding that every permit needed for the work is as slow coming as refrigerated molasses. Change has come to the property and changes will continue; the hands of time cannot simply be pulled back.
Personally, I applaud the proposed changes and find the new management easy to communicate with. The services I have required recently have been timely, professional and the employees most cordial.
- Ed Dickau