Friday, March 07, 2008

Art and Development in Southeast

ARCH Development, together with InscapeStudio, is putting together its own revitalization package for southeast DC, offering subsidized artists' housing to stimulate both the arts and economic development in one of DC's needy neighborhoods. In the next few months, two of ARCH's projects will materialize side by side, at the 1600 block of V Street and the neighboring 2025 Fendall Street, SE. Both projects will be for sale and include elements of affordable housing.

ARCH, both a nonprofit development firm and nonprofit artist-training center, has already delivered on a residential project: a 4-unit, artist-residence at 1706 16th Street SE, half of which is used for complementary housing for artists doing community work in the area, and the other half as gratis housing for artists who are visiting the District. How can they offer free housing you ask? During Christmas of 2005, a fire tore through much of the building when it was briefly vacant, and thanks to a grant from the Commission of Arts and Humanities, the building was renovated in 2006 and continues to operate with a negligable overhead. Among the residents that Arch attracts to the building will be Delphine Perlstein a Parisian artist who will be exhibiting at ARCH's Honfleur Gallery and the French Embassy in April, and the crew from HGTV, who will come to Washington DC to revitalize three historic Anacostia developments (1, 2 and 3).

Duane Gautier, President of ARCH, gave input as to how his firm has a special advantage in neighborhood revitalization. "We believe that arts and culture can be one of the strategies that can revitalize the Anacostia neighborhood. What we're trying to do is develop a critical mass of arts and culture activities both commercial and residential, which should help to generate further development in the neighborhood. And that's what we want to see: more private sector involvement."

Now the firm is finishing up their plan for V Street, which requires the demolition of the existing building, and will replace it with a three story, 8-unit, artist-housing condo. Its one and two bedroom units will range from 550 -1200 s.f., and the first five lucky buyers will get free access to each of the five work spaces located on the first floor for two years, as an added incentive implemented by ARCH in the hopes of selling the building as quickly as possible. Prices range from approximately $165,000 to $210,000 - four of the units will be affordable for households earning approximately 60% AMI, while the other four units will be sold at market rate. ARCH is currently finishing up permit drawings for the condo and plan on breaking ground in October 2008, setting up for a grand opening in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The Fendall Street condo building, at the corner of Fendall and V, sits just in front of the V Street condos. Arch is currently performing internal demolitions on the apartment building that sits on the site, with the plans of stripping it bare, and remodeling the entire three story building to house 29 condominiums ranging from 600 - 11,000 s.f. Like V Street, 10 units of the building will be reserved for artists, and it will house a number of artist studios in the basement; about 80% of the total units will be affordable and only 20% will be sold at market rate. Gautier expects the Fendall Street project do be finished by February, 2009.


DG-rad on Mar 10, 2008, 2:48:00 PM said...

Sounds like a great project, but how will that pass the Historic Preservation Review Board?

DG-rad on Mar 10, 2008, 5:37:00 PM said...

Nevermind, it is just outside the district's boundaries.


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