Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Deanwood Developer Announced, 1500 Units to Follow


Today, Mayor Fenty stood in Deanwood before a forlorn 4427 Hayes Street, NE and announced that Blue Skye Development has been awarded the contract to renovate and develop the building. Blue Skye will turn the shell, vacant for the past 12 years, into 26 apartment units (rendering pictured). The project originally started as 'affordable condos' by defunct NCRC several years ago but never got off the ground.

Though the project has been long sought by District planners, its renovation is really a sideshow to the larger development this will permit. Hayes Street will serve as temporary housing to families in the Lincoln Heights and Richardson Communities, two projects that can be revitalized under the New Communities Initiative, now that the District will have, in Hayes Street, replacement housing for residents of the two needy communities. Under the DC Housing Authority, the agency which owns both Lincoln Heights and Richardson, suitable replacement housing must be found before renovation work on existing housing can begin.

Back in 2006, the District began working with residents from both the Lincoln Heights and Richardson Dwellings neighborhoods, an area between 48th Place 57th Streets off East Capitol Street. In the fourth quarter 2006, the DC Council officially adopted the Lincoln Heights/Richardson Dwellings New Community Revitalization Plan, which would transform the public housing developments and the surrounding neighborhood into a mixed-income, mixed-use community. The District plans to bring at least 1,500 units of new housing, loads of retail, urban spaces, public facilities and transportation infrastructure to the area, as well has constructing a "vibrant mixed-used town center." Even more complex is the new residential street grid which the District is planning for the area, which is being viewed as one of the most essential steps to properly integrating the neighborhood into the surrounding areas.

"The building behind me represents the past for DC...the untapped potential found in great neighborhoods," started Fenty, who went on to commend Blue Skye both for winning the contract and for being a 100% Local Small Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (LSDBE) that currently employs 20 Lincoln Heights residents and offers 30 apprenticeship positions for Lincoln Heights youth.

The redevelopment work at 4427 Hayes Street should start within the coming months. A keyed up Councilmember Yvette Alexander spoke about the imminent transformation of the area: "We're going to bring back the Nanny Helen Boroughs and Deanwood Communities that people once knew."

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