Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Victory Square senior community opens in Parkside

Victory Square - Photo courtesy of Communi-k
A little neighborhood east of the Anacostia River, in Northeast DC, is set for a slew of groundbreakings and developments, including a ribbon cutting this Thursday for an affordable senior apartment community.  Victory Square, the 98-unit senior community, is just one of the many new developments - built or planned - in DC's Ward 7 neighborhood of Parkside.  The project is part of the Parkside Master Plan, a 15.5-acre area that was acquired by City Interests in 2004.   

City Interests charts a course for growth for the site near the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station. The neighborhood, home to 5,700 residents and described as poor and isolated by the Urban Institute, has seen an influx of planning and educational grants in recent years.  Greater, Greater Washington this year called the Parkside neighborhood a "place to watch".

Parkside Master Plan developers say the Master Plan foresees a "major transit-oriented development, slated to bring homes, services, jobs and educational opportunity to D.C.'s Ward 7."  City Interests gained approval for Stage 1 of the planned unit development (PUD) in 2007, and Stage 2 gained approval in 2011.  The plan calls for 1,500 to 2,000 residential units, up to 50,000 s.f. of retail space, and 500,000 to 750,000 s.f. of office space.

In 2010 the Zoning Commission rejected a bid by developers to delay first stage construction of the project, putting pressure on developers to push forward with the first stage of the project, which includes the Victory Square apartment community, or lose approvals. 

Victory Square Interior with view of Nevel Thomas Elementary School
The Victory Square apartment community for adults aged 55 or older opened in June.  Of the 98 units, 35 are public housing units reserved for the the poorest of the poor.  It is developed through a partnership between Banc of America Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Merril Lynch, and Victory Housing, Inc., the affordable housing arm of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. City Interests is the master PUD developer, but sold .65 acres to BACDC, a subsidiary of Merryl Lynch, to build Victory Square.  Victory Square was designed by Grimm and Parker Architects of Calverton, MD, and constructed by Hamel Builders, Inc., of Elkridge, MD.

The contemporary design includes a fitness room, an arts and crafts room, an on-site beauty salon.  It also has a wellness room where seniors will have access to wellness screenings, such as consultations with health professionals.

"It's been a long time in the making," Maurice Perry, senior vice president with BACDC, told DCMud.  Perry oversaw and managed the development of and financing process for Victory Square. "The rents in our property are relatively inexpensive compared to other apartments," Perry said of the units which are not public housing, and not paid for by housing authorities.  Rents range from $775 for a one-bedroom to $960 for a two-bedroom apartment.  Units range in size from 600 to 750 square feet.  Although the apartments have been open for less than two months, Perry said the units are now 62 percent leased.

Perry said the community was completed in affiliation with Victory Housing, Inc., an affiliate of the Archdiocese of DC.  "They do a lot of affordable housing and they will be the long-term owner of the property," Perry told DCMud.

In addition to adding to the housing options for residents of Ward 7, Perry also thought the housing project signaled good things to come for the neighborhood.  "It's a great neighborhood, residents are really involved, they care about the community, and have a lot of potential."

Victory Square Community Room
Another residential development in the Parkside Master Plan area is Mayfair Mansions, a renovation of 569 historic apartments that now serve as public housing,  by the non-profit Community Preservation and Development Corporation. DCMud reported in 2010 that 160-unit condo element - that had once also been planned for the  Mayfair Mansions project - was pigeonholed permanently.

Other residential units with groundbreakings this summer include Metro Homes at Parkside, an 83-townhome developed by Enterprise and the family of Abe Pollin, and Parkside Townhouses, a complex of 100 market-rate townhouses developed by City Interests.
Also slated for groundbreaking this summer is "Park 7", a mixed-use development including 376 apartments developed by Donatelli Development.  Other retail in the Parkside Master Plan includes Ray's the Steaks At East River, which opened in fall 2008, and the renovation of a Safeway, completed in 2009. 

The Parkside Master Plan also foresees offices and health facilities.  It already includes the 227,000 square foot headquarters for the DC Department of Employment, with 700 employees, which was completed in 2010.  A groundbreaking is planned this summer for the DC Primary Care Association, a 43,000 s.f. primary care facility owned and operated by Unity Health, according to project developers.

Victory Square was built using tax exempt bond financing in the form of a construction loans from Bank of America, the DC Housing Authority, the District's Department of Housing and Community Development and tax-exempt bond financing from Bank of America. The project also received Federal stimulus dollars by way of the DC Housing Production Trust Fund. The National Equity Fund provided $4.85 million in low-income housing tax credit equity proceeds.
Victory Square is located at 600 Barnes St., NE.  The ribbon cutting will be held July 26 at 10:00 a.m.  The community is located between the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station and the Anacostia waterfront, in northeast DC.

Washington D.C. real estate development news


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