DC-Chinatown

June 23, 2015; Washington Post

If you need yet another reason to remember the crucial importance of nonprofit advocacy, consider the Museum Square battle going on right now in Washington, D.C. Washington’s Chinatown is one of the most unbelievably hot real estate markets in the region. Over time, Chinatown’s Chinese population has been gentrified out by young condo developers, high-income renters, and upscale restaurants. Half of all of the remaining Chinese in Chinatown live in one apartment complex—Museum Square—but their ability to stay in their neighborhood is in jeopardy.

The apartment building—302 units, about 60 percent Chinese in occupancy—has been purchased by the Virginia-based Bush Companies, a developer that plans to terminate the building’s Section 8 rent subsidies that expire this fall, tear down the building at 4th and K Streets NW, and replace it with a new apartment complex targeting the luxury rental market.

The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act requires that an apartment building must be offered to residents to purchase before their apartments can be sold or the building torn down. The Bush Companies chose an unusual but e