Tomorrow, at 10 AM the Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), DC's largest affordable housing developer, along with Mayor Fenty will announce the opening of The Overlook apartments, formerly known as Parkside Terrace. The newly renovated twelve-story high-rise at 3700 9th St., SE, has a total of 316 units that break down to 231 one-bedrooms and 85 two-bedrooms. The $73 million project is a welcome improvement to a formerly blighted housing project in DC's Washington Highlands neighborhood in Ward 8.
Overlook has been vacant since 2005. Prior to that time it was one of the many ill-fated 100% Section 8 housing projects. The building will now include 57% Section 8 housing with the rest slated as affordable. Tim Westrich a Real Estate Associate at CPDC described the transformation from Parkside Terrace's "faded 60's look" to today's modern Overlook as "tremendous." Westrich was quick to counter the perception that Section 8 properties give "the perception of blighted properties." Not so, he says, "this is absolutely gorgeous."
The new building includes seven floors of senior housing, with rental assistance from DC Housing Authority, and five floors of small family housing, all affordable. Residents on the seven floors of senior housing have access to a concierge desk, reading rooms and lounges on each floor (like a dorm?). The senior housing also includes a 5,000 s.f. community room with exercise facility, computers, a small store and a "health-care suite." The small family units on the top 5 floors will have a a 24-hour gym and in-unit utilities including a hook-up for full size washers and dryers. There are a total of 181 units of senior housing and 135 units of small family housing. According to Westrich, the building is about 50% leased at present.
The architects on the project were Wiencek and Associates. The general contractor was Harkins. Harkins Vice President of Preconstruction Services Larry Kraemer said "this was a really complex project, with multiple funding sources and a building that presented us with a number of construction challenges, including a masonry skin that was peeling off the façade." But in the end Harkins worked with the design team to "bring it all together for CPDC."
Financing for the project came from the DC Housing Finance Agency through a tax exempt bond program (Union Bank purchased these bonds), as well as from Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity through Capital One and Department of Housing and Community Development's Housing Production Trust Fund.