Despite the economic climate, government financed low-income housing projects have largely marched forward, but the condo bust is now hitting home in the subsidized low-income market, too. In November 2007, development partners Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) and Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO) broke ground on the planned renovation of Mayfair Mansions - almost 600 units of affordable housing. Of the 17 buildings, 12 rental buildings were slated for interior renovation, and 5 buildings were to be renovated and converted to condos. Today the 12 rental buildings are fully renovated and occupied, but the planned 160-unit condo element of the Mayfair Mansions has now been pigeonholed permanently.
In 2005 the Mayfair Mansions Tenant Association organized a purchase of the property, selecting CPDC and MHCDO to assist with the acquisition, rehabilitate the buildings and maintain the Mansions as affordable housing - affordable mansions, technically.
The rental renovations began in 2007 and completed this past September. But, according to Paul Brown at CPDC, the condominium project, originally scheduled to deliver first quarter of 2010, is not "going to deliver this year. It probably is not ever going to deliver as a condo." Brown said the conversion to condo never happened and the building, sans renovation, still serves tenants. Brown said CPDC is working closely with MHCDO to figure out how to finish the renovations.
The partners did complete the a new LEED-eligible community center, which delivered just in time this past summer for the community to enjoy a new pool facility, computer labs, an assembly room and classrooms for services such as literacy programs.
The non-profit developers purchased the property with a $24.2 million loan provided by the District's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Additional funds for the residential renovations and the construction of a new community center came from the DHCD Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF), Federal Historic Tax Credits, as well as Tax Exempt Bond financing and Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocations provided by DC Housing Finance Agency (HFA). Of the funds, $23 million went towards successfully revitalizing the 410 rental units. The $6.9 million set aside for undelivered condos, however, equates to lots of public money for development, which never happened. Kind of like Lehman Brothers.
Mayfair received a Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit because of its historic status; the Mayfair Mansions were originally constructed in the 1940s specifically for the African-American community in a time when racially restrictive covenants had a stranglehold on housing practices. The community was designed by Albert Cassell, a renowned African American architect who designed numerous milestone structures for Howard University.
Wiencek + Associates and McDonald Williams Banks Architects served as the design team. Gilford Construction Corporation and Hamel Builders Inc. served as general contractors in a joint venture.
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