Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Low Income Housing in Shaw Hits Snag Over "Air Rights"

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


Anonymous said...

Lincoln-Westmoreland is one of the worst managed buildings in Shaw and major contributor to the crime at the Shaw/Howard metro...hope the snag is indefinite.

Guest said...

People here don't seem to realize that the 1970's are over. Putting poor people all in one housing project doesn't work. It is pouring money down a rathole.

JP said...

Oh God, just as Shaw is starting to improve. Can the city pleeeeeeeese stop them from piling the poorest of the poor together into an instant slum? And that design makes me want to weep.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Housing discrimination should be legal because a few wise asses can over simplify history.

Please don't continue to allow bigots to drive development policy.


Mike said...

Low income housing projects do NOT work, and Shaw is overrun with these projects already. Mixed income developments help everyone, drawing money and new residents to the community, while preserving affordable housing for those in need. I hope this project never gets off the ground as-is. I would rather see a parking lot than another low income only project in my neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Well that is one metro station I will NEVER use.

Anonymous said...

If you think you're getting any meaningful retail on that lower level, think again. Stop making the 7th/RI intersection a low-income dumping ground.

Anonymous said...

"instant slum? "
"low-income dumping ground."

Stop using inflamatory language then maybe there can be intelligent discussion of the issues. This is bad policy now, it was bad policy 25,35 years ago.

John in DC said...

Well, I don't think dense low-income housing is a good idea. It never works out.

Regardless, as a tax payer and because metro is limping alone as it is, Metro should ALWAYS expect fair-market value for air rights. So what if they did not pay a lot for them. Hello -- that is in the past, so deal with it or don't complete the project.

Penny said...

I feel this is a great idea....Please stop hating on Low income people. Go back to Maryland and Virginia... we do not need your bad comments. Low income people are tax payer as well and they need a place to live and work...move back to Maryland or Virginia if you do not like this idea...we do not need this... THIS IS A GREAT IDEA FOR LOW INCOME PEOPLE IN DC. :)

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