Albemarle Square is a new residential development that makes up virtually all the housing in the Jonestown neighborhood today. Albemarle Square opened in 2006 on the footprint of the old Flag House Courts public housing project.
The history behind Albemarle Square is a story of urban change and revitalization. Upwardly mobile Jewish immigrants began to move out of the neighborhood in the 1920s. From the 1930s to the 1950s, the area housed a diverse population of the working poor: black and white, Italians, Jews, and others. Declared “blighted” by city officials, the neighborhood’s sagging old row houses were torn down and replaced by Flag House Courts in 1955. The public housing project’s mix of three massive high-rise apartment buildings and 15 low-rise buildings lasted until 2001, its final years plagued by crime and neglect.
Realizing that “warehousing” the poor in vast concrete structures was a failed solution to poverty, city officials demolished Flag House Courts and designed Albemarle Square as an innovative mixed-income development with architecture that echoes the row houses of old. The residents of the development now include both homeowners and tenants.