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"She was moving slowly, but she needed to speed up. Her blue sandals clicked on the hardwood floor, echoing off the empty green walls of the two-bedroom rent-controlled apartment in Northwest Washington where she had spent the past 40 years of her life. Reluctantly, she spun from one room to the next, packing boxes, folding sheets, unfolding sheets, opening cupboards, closing cupboards, doing a mental inventory.
What to take? What not to take? Where would she and her family live now? She hadn’t looked for an apartment since everyone called D.C. by its old nickname: Chocolate City.
Now that city was vanishing, and so was Sanathera Price’s place in it.
“I really don’t want to move,” said Price, 61, sinking into a chair in the living room of her beloved apartment in the 1800 block of 13th Street NW. “My time is up, I guess. I know I have to move. But I’m stuck.”
Her emotions welled up in the thick, oppressive summer heat inside the apartment. The air conditioning was broken, and the fan had stopped spinning in the living room. She opened a window that faced a red brick wall. It wasn’t a pretty view but it was hers.
Outside, her block was a booming microcosm of gentrification. Construction workers hammered and drilled, transforming an apartment building two doors down into condos that will sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tourists with rolling bags swept in and out of the huge brownstone mansion next door that has become a bustling bed-and-breakfast. Millennials sped up and down the sidewalk on scooters. The corner store across the street at 13th and T had be