"The community room filled early that July night in 2002. The tenants of Capital Manor were about to learn how much it would cost to stay in their apartments.
Their century-old complex -- three buildings with 34 units each -- was a dilapidated eyesore in a gentrifying D.C. neighborhood. Its ceilings sagged, the window frames were cracking, the front-door intercom hadn't worked in years. In the summer, residents seeking refuge from stifling apartments shared the sidewalk with drug-dealing toughs.
Across the way was another threat -- but also proof of what could be. Refurbished Victorian rowhouses lined the north side of the 1400 block of W Street NW, reminders of the wave of wealth sweeping up from U Street and pushing out poor and working-class residents. Rents in the new, nearby luxury apartments routinely topped $2,000, compared with Capital Manor's average $663.
These black and Latino tenants knew they had to buy their complex or risk being displaced by a new generation of city dwellers, most of them white." - Debbi Wilgoren, Photo by Andrea Bruce - TWP