Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jubilee Housing to Renovate and Expand Adams Morgan Property

A vacant, boarded, and derelict facade in Adams Morgan is set for a makeover and a fresh tenant in the new year, as local non-profit and affordable housing provider Jubilee Housing recently received approval from the BZA to renovate 2448 18th St, NW. The narrow, four-story brick building is sandwiched between the bright blue Reef and the red and white Draft Pix and will abandon its former life as a mixed use (residential/retail) building for new beginnings as a non-profit administrative headquarters.

The juxtaposition of eyesores and eye-popping color is a common theme in
Adams Morgan, but not necessarily a welcome one, as ANC1C voted unanimously to approve the developer's plans. One ANC member explained their appreciation for any change for the better to the BZA, saying of the property: "It’s been abandoned for six years, it’s gone through several different ownerships, it’s been blighted property during that entire time." Jubilee had apparently been the only entity to make a genuine effort to reach out to the community and communicate their plans for restoration and reuse. Such was news was ultimately appreciated by the local ANC and well received by the BZA.

Project architect Ronald Schneck of Square 134 Architects describes the building as being "in very poor condition," forcing a rather aggressive renovation (a level III renovation for the jargon-heads out there). This is essentially new construction, as almost 50 percent of the building will be gutted and renovated, with building codes forcing the installation of two new staircases and an elevator. These additions essentially made the traditional ground floor retail and residential space above unfeasible, as roughly 800 s.f. of usable ground floor space didn't exactly have local businesses lined up around the block for tenancy.

"You end up carving up the available space in such a way that you have bad housing and you have bad retail, neither works well," explains Schneck. As consequence, the space will become the operation headquarters of one of Jubilee Housing's affiliate organizations or another local non-profit with a "similar social mission": Jubilee Jumpstart Daycare Organization, Columbia Road Health Services, or Primary Healthcare Organization, etc.

Earlier this year Jubilee finished restoring the Ritz to use, and even more recently completed the resuscitation of the 23-unit Sorrento and the 47-unit Euclid with a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this month. Without wading into the merits of subsidized housing, seemingly always a sticky subject on comment threads across the blogosphere, the revival of a dilapidated and crumbling facade is good news no matter how you spin it.

Washington D.C. Real Estate Development News


andrew said...

This is great news. Jubilee does wonderful work, and this building should look amazing once it's fixed up!

vikkir on Feb 7, 2014, 4:31:00 PM said...

My experiences with Jubilee, as a tenant, cast a very different light. They pretend to be great "givers", and claim it is their Biblical sensibility that guides them in this pursuit. However, the actuality is that they are far more interested in "taking". They have found that, by pretending to be a religious organization, which they term "no church", they easily claim monetary assistance, and also have made a profession out of "caring for the disabled". (Their term). In this way, they are able to convince vulnerable people, who receive Disability payments from the U.S. Government, to "let Jubilee help them 'handle their finances'". In this way, Jubilee is able to "mooch" by taking the Disability payment meant to help the actual recipient, and putting it, instead, into "Jubilee's" pocketbook. They do the same with their victim's food stamps. In this way they are able to make it seem as though the financial assistance the disabled person is qualified for, and which is paid by the U.S. Government, is actually coming from "Jubilee the Generous". (This is a quoted from a sign which I saw in Jubilee's front Office, about a year ago. They had put up a display of used books by their Front Desk, on Columbia Road, N.W., bearing this phrase in a large, hand-lettered sign. It read: "Books! Free from Jubilee the Generous" in letters about 12" high, mounted over a huge stack of used books. Being a bibliophile, myself, I went right over, and began looking at the "free" books. To my shock, I realized that each and every "free" book, contained either my bookplate, or my name and phone number, written on the first page! I left, immediately, and found a D.C. Police Officer to witness this upsetting display. I left him there, went back to my apartment. (Jubilee the Generous says that, as a disabled woman, almost 60, who worked all of her life, I am not qualified for anything better than a 150 square foot, Efficiency apartment). I got my shopping cart, and went back to reclaim my treasured books. Jubilee's reaction to my complaint was to take me to Court, repeatedly, claiming that I "am no longer disabled". (I suffered a cerebral aneurism, and thanks to the life saving surgery, I am 20% plastic.

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