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.