Thursday, September 03, 2009

Deanwood Swaps Abandoned Apartments for New Housing

In a continuing effort to rejuvenate poverty and crime-ridden areas, Blue Skye Development and DC Mayor Adrian Fenty moved some dirt around a 26-unit housing project at 4427 Hayes Street in Washington's Deanwood neighborhood on Wednesday, a symbolic opening for the project. Having sat vacant for nearly 15 years, the 29,000 s.f. building is now a shell, which Blue Skye has gutted and will renovate. The $5 million project is expected to deliver new homes by summer of 2010.

The District acquired the land in 2005 using federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grants, and has since gone through several aborted development attempts. In March of 2008, the District selected Blue Skye Development to develop the space after a competitive solicitation process. The architects for the project are PGN Architects. PNC Financial Services Group, working with Vornado/Charles E. Smith, contributed $700,000 toward the project as part of a community services benefits package tied to PNC's new downtown building’s zoning approvals. “We are committed to enhancing the quality of life in our city—not just through development downtown, but through transformational projects like this that help make our DC neighborhoods great places to live,” said Mitchell N. Schear, President of Vornado/Charles E. Smith.

These 26 new one and two-bedroom units are part of the District's New Communities Initiative, which aims to replace highly concentrated low-income neighborhoods with mixed-income neighborhoods that still protect low-income residents by offering one-for-one replacement of previous units. The Hayes Street project includes nine replacement housing units for families currently living in the Lincoln Heights/Richardson Dwellings community.


Anonymous said...

Anybody live in Deanwood and have input to share on what its like to live there?

Anonymous said...

I am taking a wild guess but iam guessing pretty shitty

Ajia Meux said...

My name is Ajia Meux and I am President of the Deanwood Citizen's Association. The neighborhood is not "shitty" as the poster indicated, but actually a quaint and historic neighborhood just outside of the hustle and bustle of the more "developed" areas of the city. It boast a 98% African American population and has one of the highest concentrations of homeownership in the District. It is also one of the oldest communities in the city as well. Its residents are civically engaged and community focused. I love my neighborhood.

If you're interested in coming to an association meeting, we meet on the 4th Monday of every month, excluding August and December, at First Baptist Church of Deanwood located at 1008 45th Street NE. The meeting time is 6:30pm.

Deanwood Denizen on Sep 10, 2009, 1:42:00 PM said...

Anon 11:34, your "wild guess" is DEAD wrong. Deanwood has a strong community and civic base that is excited about the community econ development projects finally coming to fruition. We are working through 4427 Hayes and other projects to leverage and avocate for amenities like retail and coffee shops. The players in this project will strengthen that advocacy. Check out 'All Things Deanwood' on Facebook,visit Deanwood Heights Main Streets' web site, follow anc7c04 on Twitter, join the Deanwood Citizens Association yahoogroups, or just bike/metro/walk over and say hello to find out the real deal.

Anonymous said...

I did not leave the above comments, but I do think you are oblivious to the how ideal the living situation is in Deanwood because you are a "resident". The facts show that this area has Extremely HIGH CRIME, of very serious nature; you can review here-
Just last night there was a gun carjacking in Deanwood, and a double shooting at the Benning Road Rec Center around the way. Not to mention the numerous Assaults all around the area. It is concerning that you are content with your "quaint" neighborhood which might be historic. Inviting people to "bike/metro/walk over and say hello" could be tragic. I also think it is moronic that you are boasting this area is 98% African American, it shows the lack of integration in the area which has resulted negatively for many reasons. Sounds like you might need a police escort regardless if you are you are not in the 98% of the population or not.

PGN is working closely with Fenty and Blue Skye on other rehabilitation's but they are behind the times in regards to Architectural Design. From my experiences they lack creativity, and I find it questionable that they continue to get these Fenty projects.

Ajia on Sep 10, 2009, 6:01:00 PM said...

@Anon 2:34: Though I would agree with you that Deanwood has crime (as do most neighborhoods in the District of Columbia), I would discount your assertion that it is a "high crime" neighborhood. I went to your link, and was surprised to see that some of the crimes reported are actually not in Deanwood, but some of our surrounding neighborhoods. Familiarize yourself with the boundary areas of Deanwood and you'll be able to weed out the crimes that actually take place here.

I find it ironic and sad that you would call into question (and almost make a joke of) a neighborhood that has been able to preserve the historic richness and culture of African Americans in a city oversaturated with development (READ: Turning White). It is also ironic that you chose to point out the bad and not even care to learn about the positive statistics about the area (read the article in the city paper about Deanwood). The cynicism you (and others like you) display is the cause for the huge divide between African Americans and Whites, Washingtonians and outsiders and young and old. (Oh, I'm sure this will illicit a great debate!!)

Lastly, in 2003, Columbia Heights had the greatest concentration of abandoned buildings in the city and still has some of the most violent crimes in the city. Ledroit Park and Eastern Market both had terrible crime rates. Neighborhoods have to start somewhere and if you come to a damn meeting, you'll see that there are people working to make Deanwood a better place.

Anonymous said...

Ajia Meux, thanks so much for setting the record straight. I previously moved from the china-down town area. My kids attend school on 6th and P st. NW and yes it is a mixed area but the crime in that area is very high. So just because you have housing that majority of the blacks can't afford doesn't mean that the area is safe.

Green-Bean on Sep 11, 2009, 12:34:00 PM said...

Chad Durbin....I just met some of the residents of the Deanwood nieghborhood and they were some of the nicest people that ive met in a while!I think that it's GREAT that that abandoned housing unit is being restored,i took a picture of it while i was there.Deanwood is a WELL deserving community and im pleased that someone else is taking notice!!

Green-Bean on Sep 11, 2009, 12:44:00 PM said...

Ajia,Keep on!!Anyone that would call a nieghborhood "SH@#@#TY" is obviously not a person that involves themselves in anything but what surrounds THEM!Because thats all they care about.Deanwood was a great experience for me,and im going to be with Sylvia and Carbon Free DC to makeover 20 homes for the GREAT residents of that neighborhood!Have a great weekend!!If you want to see the pics that I took,friend me on facebook,


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