The Lincoln-Westmoreland apartment complex expansion long slated for 7th and R Streets NW, next to the Shaw metro station, is being held up by a land rights issue between Lincoln-Westmoreland Inc. and WMATA.
Construction of the 56-unit complex, owned by the Westmoreland Congregational Church (UCC) and designed by Shalom Baranes architects, necessitates the purchase of "air rights" for a small 400-square-foot sliver of land presently owned by WMATA. Lincoln-Westmoreland Inc. sold this sliver of land to WMATA in the Sixties for what Robert Agus, the owner’s representative and development manager for Lincoln-Westmoreland, describes as a “token fee” (“we basically gave it to them,” he says ruefully) but says WMATA is now holding out for “fair market value.”
In their defense, WMATA Director of Real Estate Steven Goldin said that Lincoln-Westmoreland is getting the same treatment everyone else gets. "We're required to ask for fair market value" Goldin said. "It's FTA (Federal Transit Administration) regulations." WMATA can't sell the parcel outright because it contains an important access hatch to an underground section of the Shaw-Howard metro structure.
Phase one of the construction project – a $9 million renovation of the existing ten-story, 198 unit property – is complete, and Lincoln-Westmoreland is well into the planning process for the new structure, says Agus. Plans for the new complex include 3,100 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, as well as a significant expansion of the small greenspace located on the south end of the property. Developers also hope to build a playground at the north end of the complex, though the prospective site for this is a divided property co-owned by the District, which could cause problems.
As for funding, Lincoln-Westmoreland received NIS grants from the District to cover redevelopment costs, and expects to work with District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) in early January to work out further financing. The units are expected to be leased at 30% - 60% AMI, the lowest income level designations. A majority of the original 108-unit building is dedicated to Section 8 housing.
The several blocks including and surrounding the project were devastated during the '68 riots and were redeveloped as affordable housing in the early 1970's.
Washington D.C. real estate development news