The Alexandria City Council voted 5 to 2 this week to allow for the conversion to condominium of the 208-unit Port Royal apartments on North Pitt Street in Old Town Alexandria.
City Council members Donald Casey and Nelson Greene cast the two dissenting votes, voicing concern over the city's rapidly diminishing store of rental housing units and a rental vacancy rate that is currently less than one percent.
"If we keep up this way, the problem will resolve itself," said Greene. "There won't be anything else left to convert." Since May of 1980, owners of 17 apartment complexes in Alexandria have announced plans to convert.
Though a developer does not ordinarily need the approval of city council for a condo conversion, the Port Royal Development Corporation needed council approval because the apartment building does not conform to current zoning restrictions.
In a related action, the council also approved the developer's tenant relocation plan, calling it generous and suggesting that the plan might be a model for subsequent conversions. The plan provides for the phasing of relocation over a period of time and also includes substantial discounts for tenants who wish to purchase units they now rent.