Monday, May 24, 2010

Pollin's Parkside Project: Bringing Down the House(s)

Public housing in Parkside will crumble and fall this summer, not from age or neglect, but by a demolition team, clearing the way for the new Linda Joy and Kenneth Jay Pollin Memorial Community Development. The Pollin project will replace one-for-one the 42 affordable rental units on site, known as Parkside Additions, while adding 83 for-sale units. The project was initially spearheaded by the late Abe Pollin and his Pollin Foundation. The District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) is seeking permission to raze the row of apartment buildings from 705-721 Anacostia Avenue, NE and, according to DCHA Spokesperson Dena Michaelson, hopes to demolish the buildings over the course of the summer.

Pollin Memorial Community Development, LLC's planned $35 million development would bring 125 new affordable for-sale and rental homes to the northeast site, an assemblage belonging at one time to three different government entities – the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), and the National Parks Service (NPS). The developers courted the approval of all landowners back in 2006 and received approval for the project from the National Capitol Planning Commission (NCPC) in 2008. The NPS transferred its property to the District in 2007.

According to Michaelson, the developer is putting up $2 million to guarantee construction loans for the project. Michaelson said the entire project will eventually be paid for by the condo sales, and that Pollin, acting as a fee developer, will not gain financially from the sales. DCHA will be the property owner for the public housing and will maintain the units. Financing for development is being provided by the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the District of Columbia Housing Authority, United Bank, Enterprise and the Abe Pollin Grantor Trust. DHCD is providing a construction loan, explained Michaelson, "a portion of the DHCD loan that applies to building public housing units is forgivable."

The project will provide 125 off-street parking spaces, one per unit, and the new residential structures will not exceed 40 feet or 3 stories. The 83 condominiums will be available to individuals earning between 40 percent and 100 percent area media income (AMI) and the 25 rental units will be offered to residents earning at or below 30 percent AMI.

A ceremonial groundbreaking in December was marred by a community boycott - an effort to convince developers and city officials to be more forthcoming about the project's community benefits which, though not final, had been viewed as skimpy. At the time, Michaelson indicated that a community benefits package would be available to the public upon its completion. When asked if an agreement has now been reached, ANC7C04 Commissioner Sylvia Brown said, "Short answer: no, no community benefits. Medium answer: there was a change in the ANC7D chairmanship and the momentum went out like air from a balloon. There hasn't been any other broad community update or discussion." Michaelson said the Pollin family has committed to giving $350,000 to the community, but was not sure what form the donation would take.

Meanwhile, DCHA will begin relocating residents to alternate public housing until Pollin's project delivers, a process that will determine the demolition date. "It's not a quick's a process to be able to relocate find the right size bedroom units, etcetera." explained Michaelson.

Current Parkside residents will have the first right to return to the new units. A press release from the ground breaking indicated the first units would be available in 2011. The phased project will complete in February 2013, according to Michaelson, who added that for-sale units will not be marketed until 2013.

Enterprise Community Investment is one of the development partners on the project. John Stranix, of Stranix Associates, is spearheading the construction effort with designs by Torti Gallas & Partners.

Washington, DC real estate development news


IMGoph on Jun 4, 2010, 3:33:00 PM said...

yay, more surface parking!

why build urban-style when you can build suburban-style in ward 7? those poor schlubs will take whatever we throw at them!

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