Tuesday, November 28, 2006
When looking across the Washington metropolitan region, it often seems the development of new residential and commercial projects, buildings, and neighborhoods is proceeding at an unprecedented pace, bringing with it the ongoing issue of how to ensure and protect affordable working-class housing for those either already living or working in this increasingly pricey region. A microcosm of this ongoing battle is playing out now in Fairfax, one of the country’s most affluent counties, where just last week residents of a long-standing, affordable mobile home community learned they won’t have to move to make way for a new high-priced town home development … for now. The Penn-Daw Mobile Home Park along Route 1 below Alexandria first learned of their imminent displacement in February 2005, when the owner of the park and a nearby shopping strip sold the land to developer JPI, which planned to build its $100 million Kings Crossing project (pictured), containing 872 residences and town homes, 215,000 square feet of retail, a 150-room hotel, and 160,000 square feet of office space over 33 acres. The residents of the park banded together to save their homes, or in the worst-case scenario to work for a fair financial outcome to ensure they could find new places to live. For the past year, the residents and JPI battled to find a workable solution, but just last week JPI decided not to move forward on its plans, citing a soft real estate market along with the inability to reach an agreement with the trailer park. The Penn-Daw residents are now contemplating ways to safeguard their homes for the future, whether it be working to buy the park themselves or having
protect it from development.