Monday, December 07, 2009

Community Boycotts Groundbreaking for Affordable Housing

When the development team for the $35 million Linda Joy and Kenneth Jay Pollin Memorial Community Development in northeast DC announced its groundbreaking scheduled for tomorrow, one thing they didn't count on was fierce opposition from the community. But they've gotten it, and then some. ANC7D organized a phone and email campaign that ultimately convinced Councilmembers Kwame Brown and, according to the ANC press release, Chairman Vincent Gray to boycott tomorrow's press conference and groundbreaking scheduled for 10:45 AM at Anacostia Avenue and Hayes Street, NE. Though Gray's office indicated the groundbreaking was still on his schedule. Pollin Memorial Community Development, LLC's planned development would bring 125 new affordable for sale and rental homes to northeast, a site which is a composite of property belonging to 3 government entities – the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), and the National Parks Service (NPS).

The Pollin project will replace one-for-one the 42 affordable rental units on site, known as Parkside Additions. The project was initially spearheaded by the late Abe Pollin and his Pollin Foundation, which courted the approval of all landowners back in 2006 and received approval for the project from NCPC last year. The current Parkside project was described by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) as “functionally obsolete,” so no real loss there.

In July of 2009, ANC7D reviewed a loan request for $7.9 million submitted by the Pollin Foundation to the DCHCD (DC Housing and Community Development), however with only 30 days provided to submit a response, the ANC unanimously rejected the request, and continues to object. ANC7C04 Commissioner Sylvia Brown told DCMud in an email that the "Pollin team have not been transparent and open to communications." Of particular concern is the community benefits agreement and the plan for relocation and return for current Parkside tenants. According to Michael Price, spokesperson for Councilmember Kwame Brown, "the community is adamant that they are looking for a community benefits package and the Councilmember stands by them."

Terri Bolling, Spokesperson for Enterprise Community Investment, one of the development partners on the project,was unaware of the community's recent actions and plans to boycott the groundbreaking. She remarked "this is so strange" since community outreach "is what we do."

John Stranix, formerly of Clark Construction and now of Stranix Associates, is spearheading the construction effort using designs by Torti Gallas & Partners. The project aims to begin construction in early 2010 with the first units available in 2011.

Washington, DC real estate and development news.


Anonymous said...

The ANC previously voted to support the development. Why int he world would they change their mind?

Deanwoodenizen on Dec 7, 2009, 5:30:00 PM said...

To be clear the ANC7D is NOT opposing the development just the ceremonial groundbreaking. Within the last ANC7D administration we have documentation of an agreement that is completely unaccepatable such as the developer offering a few turkey dinners in the community and at the Verizon center. As a community we are eager to develop in partnership with the developers benefits that are in scale with the scope of the project, as well as public resources that are contributed to the project.

Anonymous said...

Because the ANC Commissioner that secretely supported this was voted out. 4 new Commissioners have been voted into office since that time and they now are actually looking out for the community, not just themselves! Its all about securing a legally binding Community Benefits Agreement that specifically states what the community/tax payers will get in return for giving a developer free District owned land and approximately $8M tax dollars! We think taxpayers deserve a little more than a few free turkeys, a couple of meetings, and a free lunch for 25 Seniors... in exchange for millions of dollars woth of DC assets and cash.

Anonymous said...

really!? after deductions, credits, and direct government payments, do you think your taxes cover for the police, fire, education, street cleaning and other government services that that you enjoy? (i think not). although i agree 100% with deanwood denizen that more should be done, i find it distasteful to evoke the "tax payer" argument. i'm a tax payer too! why not send profits to my bank account? why do only some in the community get to benefit? i'll never understand why some people can't stop whining think outside the box and actually do something, instead of wait for pollin to offer something. why not find partners with colleges and businesses and build/house a business incubator? too big of an idea? how about raise a little money and present a viable option for running a community center with after school activities, senior classes etc... tell pollin to keep his turkey dinners and match our very own empowerment.

Anonymous said...

More freeloaders looking for a hand out. The Pollin's are already doing your hood a favor by building a project no else would, especially considering that everyone of the deadbeats that is already living there gets to stay.

Standard DC Marion Barry syndrome... Destroy your own neighborhood and them bitch when someone comes in a tries to clean it up.

Anonymous said...

If the project is providing housing affordable to those earning 50% or less of the area median income (I don't know that that's the case -- what is their definition of "affordable?"), and if it is being provided without profit by the Pollin folks, that IS the community benefit! Why should there be an expectation of additional bennies for a small group? That being said, however, the land was provided for free, and an additional sum was provided by DC government. So it would be useful for the news media to figure out just what value did the Pollin company and foundation add to the project, before it becomes part of the litany of his "good works".

poo poo sees the big pic said...

unfortunately, the folks that many of you are addressing are likely not to read this blog.

they do, however, still represent a majority of the voters in that area.

thus, one of the many problems.

complicated, but hey, one step at a time.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!!! after years of trying to build up a community our sorry ass community leaders sold us out for a few turkey’s that cost $ 11.00bucks from the Safeway. Let's tell the real story; our fake last ANC Commissioners got paid well behind the table along with the Parkside Civic Association. How are we going to get justice if our main leader’s hands are dirty??? Please stop lying and tell the truth PCA is not a legal Association they want to represent all the communities such as Lotus Square, Parkside Townhomes, Paradise and Mayfair but get the profit for Parkside ONLY what's going on. It’s sad for the community to fight for leadership and then fines out that the people they believed in was out only for under table money. Payoff ; Payoff; Payoff's. So one please call 911 and see how long it take to get inside of our circle. Dam those who will die trying to get out call you slow ANC’s from 2009 they live in the Parkside Townhouse they we want something better.

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