Big Trouble In A Struggling Chinatown

<p>Two civic groups in Washington D.C.'s Chinatown are battling over a proposal to close an alleyway to allow the development of offices. Opponents argue the plan is short-sighted, while others say an economic boost will save the struggling district.</p>
August 15, 2007, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The District's recent decision to close an alleyway to make way for an office building complex estimated to cost $206 million has exposed a festering animosity between two influential Asian civic groups and launched a battle over the future of Chinatown."

"On one side is the 25-year-old Chinatown Steering Committee, led by Chinatown's unofficial mayor, 82-year-old Duane Wang, and powerful restaurateur Tony Cheng. On the other is the month-old Chinatown Revitalization Council, led by 54-year-old computer consultant Alexander Y. Chi."

"Both sides want Chinatown to blossom. But the upstart revitalization council says that under the steering committee's watch, Chinatown has dwindled to 'Chinablock' -- H Street between Sixth and Seventh streets. And there's not much Chinese about that anymore, the critics say, other than the ornate phoenix and dragon archway on H Street and Cheng's Mongolian barbecue restaurant."

"Chi said the lack of vision has stifled the growth of the area."

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Published on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 in The Washington Post
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