The Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), Washington DC's largest affordable housing developer, will announce on Monday the beginning of the reconstruction of the failed Parkside Terrace housing project. The renovation marks what District officials hope will be a watershed in the provision of affordable housing, many of which began amid utopian dreams of lifting up the working poor into self-sustaining communities, and ended as crime-ridden enclaves in dilapidated buildings. Officials expect to ready the building for occupancy by the summer of next year.
The twelve-story high-rise at 3700 9th St., SE, vacant since 2005, will be converted into 316 units of "affordable" rental housing, with seven floors of housing for low-income seniors with rental assistance by the DC Housing Authority. The remaining five floors will become "workforce housing" targeting small families, in all a $73 million project financed entirely by the city through the DC Housing Finance Agency through a bond program.
CPDC's own press release called Parkside Terrace Apartments, built in the late 1960's as a Section 8 housing provider, "a major source of blight" in Ward 8, despite early visions of a new era for occupants. Monday's ceremony will mark the beginning of a complete gut of the building by Harkins Builders, with hopes of a new start for working families, and of improving the general community. Let's hope the plan works out better this time.