Thursday, September 20, 2012

Georgia Ave. Housing Overhaul Moving Forward

A city plan to overhaul a DC affordable housing neighborhood on Georgia Avenue, called Park Morton, is moving forward and the city will unveil its first apartment building on Friday.

Workers put finishing touches on The Avenue on Thursday
"The Avenue at Park Morton" is an 83-unit mixed-use apartment building located at 3506 Georgia Avenue NW.  City officials will gather to celebrate its grand opening  Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Completion of the building is a mile-marker for "The Park Morton New Communities Initiative", which has realized only a small part of its potential.  The $170 million initiative was established under then DC mayor Anthony Williams to replace an aging public housing complex on Georgia Avenue.  The initiative is a collaboration between the District's Housing Authority (DCHA), which owns and manages the complex, and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

Image courtesy Wiencek + Associates
The old Park Morton housing has 17 apartment buildings.  In a report on the overhaul initiative and the old Park Morton housing, the city notes "the site consists of suburban-style apartment buildings and incorporates design elements that tend to foster criminal activity."

In 2008, then-Mayor Adrian Fenty sent out a Request For Proposals for developing in the project in 2008, promising that no former residents of the complex would be displaced; the building broke ground in 2010.  The overall plan calls for 317 market-rate housing units, 206 affordable housing units, a 10,000 square foot park, and a new community center with green designs throughout.

The entire Park Morton redevelopment is being carried out by the Park Morton Development Partners (PMDP), a joint venture between Landex Corporation and the Warrenton Group. Wienecek + Associates designed the project.  Hamel Builders is the general contractor.

Image courtesy Wiencek + Associates
The building, which has 81,044 square feet of residential space and 2,388 square feet of ground floor retail, includes a mix of one and two-bedroom apartment units.  Residential space features lounge, a fitness center, meeting rooms, and underground parking.  It also will include ground-floor retail. While overall the plan calls for some market-rate housing, the Avenue is 100 percent affordable under the city's affordable housing laws.

The development was funded by a mix of city agencies and departments, as well as Freddie Mac, Prudential, Hudson Housing, and Capital One.

1-BR Unit Rendering, courtesy Wiencek + Associates


Anonymous said...

I think this is a very nice building and an overhaul of the Park-Morton complex is well overdue.

I wish we could afford such a nice place on dual incomes and college degrees but we can't. Besides the affordable housing piece is this simply creating more incentive's for non-productivity among Section 8 renters? I know some people really need it but I live near PM and can tell you there are many fully capable people who choose to hang out everyday instead of working. Not knocking the new mixed housing model but perhaps we should be looking at the welfare system as a whole and how to 'incentivize' people to get to work when capable.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe anonymous actually buys into the ridiculous notion that the poor are poor by choice. It's true that if their 2-person household earns more than $51,600 they do not qualify for tax-credit subsidized projects, and its also true that they may have a hard time finding affordable housing in the District. But to label families who have probably been victimized by generations of substandard schools and substandard medical care and who may have been saddled with a felony for a non-violent drug offense as lazy welfare cheats is mis-guided. Many of these families are unemployed not because they are lazy, but because they are educationally, medically or criminally un-employable. To denegrate these people without casting a critical eye on the system that created them is nothing more than a self-serving temper tantrum. I am sure about one thing: I'd rather subsidize folks who seem lazy because they are un-employable, than subsidize a couple of intellectually lazy college-educated thirty-somethings with more than $50,000 a year coming in. If you're concerned about welfare cheats, you should take a look at farm subsidies, big oil, and the developers who reap huge profits from Section 8 and other subsidized housing programs.

Keepin' Em Honest

Anonymous said...

Really, you pretty much crushed your own argument by referring to them as "victims". Someone isn't criminally un-employable as you allude to because they are a victim, it is because they chose to be a criminal. That is exactly what is wrong with the welfare system and why I said we need to look at an entire revamp of the system instead of just supplying new shiny housing.

Yes, substandard schools and medical care sometimes put certain folks at a disadvantage but instead of stating that we should do things to encourage productivity and increased competitiveness for these individuals you give the argument that subsidy is the only way because they've been wronged.

Let me tell you something, I grew up poor in the public school system and made the choice that I was going to make something of myself so I stayed away from the gang-bangers and thugs and instead studied, eventually working my way through college to be the first in my family to graduate (I also pass this attitude and work ethic to my children). The key word is I 'chose' to take that path and not feel sorry for myself because my previous generations were disadvantaged. I was fortunate and understand that some people fall on hard times by no fault of their own and that is who the system should work for.

To say that you'd "rather subsidize folks who seem lazy because they are un-employable, than subsidize a couple of intellectually lazy college-educated thirty somethings with more than %50,000 a year coming in" is just silly. You know what I'd rather not subsidize anyone lazy period!

mona on Sep 28, 2012, 7:46:00 AM said...

Ok, if we can get past this welfare debate from the previous posters. Does anyone know what actual income levels and qualifications for getting into this affordable housing? What I really wish someone would define is exactly what is "affordable housing". My biggest concern would be that the city is moving back into the model of warehousing the poor. They tore down a lot of the big housing project and replaced with housing that was market value and a mix of "affordable" housing all in one area and that seems to have worked out well. Georgia ave needs a lot of help and if they are just going to stick to the old tired method of putting up a building and then warehousing the poor with no assistance or oversight then this could be a failed venture

Anonymous said...

60% of Area Median Income will get you in the door = $45,180 for singles in 2012, $51,600 for a couple, $58,080 for 3 people, etc. Some of The Avenue's units are extremely low income = $22,600 for singles.

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