Upon completion, the new 241,000 square foot project will boast a combination of one-bedroom public housing units available at 30% AMI and two-bedrooms available at 60% AMI - which in sum total, in the words of Reverend Michael Kelly of St. Martin's, makes it “the largest affordable housing project in DC.”
According to Neal Drobenare of NorthStar Development, the apartments will have "two internal landscaped courtyards, a business / computer center, internet café, wireless internet access, full fitness center and community room…[plus] a full level of underground parking." At present, the new development remains untitled, as NorthStar has yet to “hit upon a final name that conveys a market rate level of quality, respect[s] St. Martin Parish's sponsorship, and the secular nature of the apartments themselves.” The project is expected to reach completion in the first quarter of 2010. Grimm & Parker is designing the new building.
The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington will control the apartments through a subsidiary, which will then pay St. Martin's Parish to lease the land underneath. Said De Drebonare:
“St. Martin's Parish will continue to lead our neighborhood steering committee, which has representatives from nearly all local churches and civic associations [and] will help build bridges between the neighborhood and our residents, as well as keep our feet to the fire on operating at a market rate level of service. A third party manager will run the building.”
According to Drebonare, the matter of transplanting a former nunnery wasn’t the only obstacle encountered by the development team since planning began in 2007. "The closing of the financing was quite the cliffhanger as [the] financial markets collapsed around us…we managed to close the day before the complete meltdown of the stock market in October."
Looks like someone up there was looking out for them.