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Located south of the Duke Street corridor, Lower Alexandria mixes micro-neighborhoods of single family homes, both attached and detached, townhouses, and retail centers. Industrial use properties are primarily located south of Duke Street, around Wheeler Avenue, S Pickett and S Van Dorn Streets.
The 80-plus acre area bordered by Holmes Run on the west, the intersection of Wheeler Ave. and Duke Street on the east, SR-236 on the north and zig-zagging on the south between Vermont and Wheeler Avenues is locally known as “The Block.” During the 1960s and 1970s, the Shirley Duke-Regina apartment complex containing 2,214 low-income rental units housing about 1,200 families was located here. It represented nearly 30% of the low-cost housing in Alexandria. The condition of the complex deteriorated dramatically during the 1970’s and after Shirley-Duke was denied further occupancy permits and foreclosed on in 1977, the property was purchased by Morton Sarubin and Brian Gordon and converted to the Foxchase apartment complex in the early 1980’s. The Foxchase developers were required to contract with the city of Alexandria to ensure that the rental units would not be lost to condominium conversion. The 20-year agreement prohibits Foxchase from ‘going condo’ and reserves 20% of the apartments for persons who qualify for federal rent subsidies (Section 8). That agreement expired in 1999.
The adjacent shopping center was also redeveloped in a joint partnership between Morton Sarubin, Bush Construction Corp. and the National Housing Partnership. It was renamed The Shops of Foxchase.
The area is serviced by the Van Dorn Metro Station.