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Essex Village won’t be renamed after Maggie Walker after all

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Henrico’s Essex Village apartment complex will not be named after Richmond native Maggie Lena Walker after all.

Ernst Valery, the business man who bought the complex for $42.5 million, confirms the complex will renamed to St. Luke Apartments.

In November, Valery announced the troubled apartment complex would be renamed after the Richmond woman who became the first woman in the nation to charter a bank.

After the announcement some people argued that Walker’s name should not be attached or associated with Essex Village.

Valery said tenant leaders agreed to rename the apartment complex “St. Luke Apartments,” in honor of the good the Independent Order of St. Luke did to empower people of color under Maggie L. Walker’s leadership.

“It is in the good spirit of Maggie L. Walker that the residents of Essex Village—now St. Luke Apartments, want to rename and rebrand their home,” said Mr. Hopkins. “Ms. Walker was all about empowerment and striving for a stronger, better life. It is an honorable thing to follow in her footsteps.”

Valery previously told CBS 6 report Melissa Hipolit that he planned to buy the Section 8 property and renovation the area. That renovation, he said, would transform the complex so that a three-bedroom apartment at the Section 8 complex would cost up to $1,445 a month in rent. A one bedroom would cost $1,055 a month in rent.

Numbers that are higher than what the U.S. Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD) calculated for fair market rent in Henrico in 2018.

In October, Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas said the proposed rent increases did not sit well with him since taxpayers already paid $5.4 million annually to subsidize the complex.

Valery said the amount of rent residents would pay would not change, but the amount subsidized by taxpayers would increase by about 40 percent.

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