The 300-unit, 45-building Bradlee Towers town house complex in Alexandria is being redeveloped for condominium ownership by CBI Fairmac Corp., which converted the nearby Fairlington apartment complex during the 1970s.
As compliance with state law, tenants were notified of the conversion plans in late February. The tenants were told that only 46 units would need to be vacated immediately after the 120-day required notice period.
J. D. Lee, president of Fairmac, said the firm paid $14 million for the low-rise brick buildings.They formerly were owned by a partnership that included Washington developer Albert (Sonny) Abramson and others. Lee said that more than 40 units were vacant at the time of the sale because some tenants apparently preferred to move in view of the impending change of ownership. Lee said 62 units are now vacant.
Located at 3810 King St., across from South Fairlington and near the Bradlee shopping center, the 25-year-old complex is expected to be substantially renovated over two years, at a cost of about $12 million. The name will be changed to Fairlington Towne.
The two-story dwellings, some of which have basements, have two and three bedrooms. Rents ranged from $250 to $300, Lee said. Tenants paid their own utility bills.
Alexandria attorney Kenneth Warren Smith, who is representing the newly formed tenant association, said the tenants want the new owner to continue to operate Bradlee Towers as a rental project. Most of the 250 member-tenants cannot afford to buy and would have trouble finding comparable rental dwellings, he said.
In discussing his role in representing the tenant association, attorney Smith said he is "seeking a legal means to stop the conversion."
Madge Dinitto Associates of Boston has been hired by Fairmac to help tenants who wish to relocate. Lee said that, according to Alexandria guidelines, tenants will be given $380 to $420 to cover moving expenses and an additional $100 if they find their own places. Supplements on new rentals up to $100 a month will be given to older tenants qualifying for federal rental subsidies under the Section 8 program.
Lee said that tenants will be offered prices 5 to 10 percent below the market rates for the town houses under the condo sales program. He said prices will range from $80,000 to $89,000.
Lois Athey, a member of the staff of Alexandria's relocation task force, said the city council had reviewed the relocation plan and made some suggestions for revisions. However, she added that action was tabled until a report is heard from the landlord-tenant board which will review a request by the new owner for several units to be used as models.
Athey stressed that all tenants are assured of the required 120 days of occupancy after notification and that prospective purchasers among the tenants will have 60 days to make a decision. She said no tenants would be forced to move before the end of June and then only 46 in the first section to be rehabbed. Lee said that the second phase of rehabbing will include 50 units.