"After essentially two decades of inactivity, frustration and blight…the District of Columbia government finally seized control of the property [in 2008]," said Fenty. "Don’t forget, it had been owned by countless private sector landlords [and] slum lords…People who just had no interest at all in making this the type of fantastic residential apartment building that it was once was and that it will be again.”
To that effect, the District has teamed with Blue Skye Development to repurpose the now-gutted apartment complex for the Tewkesbury Condominiums - a 30,000 square foot, 26-unit condo building that will, according to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, be comprised of 51% affordable housing.
“We want to promote home ownership,” Deputy Mayor Neil Albert told DCmud of the decision to make the building a for-sale property for the first time in its fifty plus years of existence. “It was originally conceived as a condo project and we were able to get financing for it. Again, there’s a level of affordability that’s going into this building. It’s not a luxury condo building…It’s easier to get that financed than your mid-level and high-priced condos”
Purchased by the DC government early last year for $3 million, after filing suit against its owner for “numerous building code violations,” the total cost of the renovation will come in at $4.6 million. New amenities slated for the complex, as outlined by PGN Architects, include “a community room, roof deck, energy-efficient aluminum windows...as well as outdoor spaces directly behind the building.” With selective demolition already underway inside the complex, the development is scheduled to be open by March 2010 – a full year later than the District initially anticipated when they acquired the property.
“[These] haven’t been easy projects. The reason some of these projects have taken a long time is because there’s a lot of trouble and legal trouble that the city’s been dealing with,” said Muriel Bowser of the numerous concurrent, affordable housing initiatives under way in her ward. “But this administration has taken a ‘can do’ approach. Not 'we can’t,' not 'we won’t,' but that we’ll figure out how to get it done.”Fenty and Bowser teamed-up earlier these week to oversee demolition at 3910 Georgia Avenue, NW, future site of the 130-unit Georgia Commons project, and for the opening of the Neighborhood Development Company's Residences at Georgia Avenue in March.