Showing posts with label washington highlands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label washington highlands. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Highland Addition, HOPE-ing and Waiting

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Last night, DC's Highland community was handed another development delay as New Market Investors and developer Crawford Edgewood Managers Inc. (CEMI) received approval to prolong their development schedule with a request for a three year extension. Along with the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), the team filed to alter the zoning application approved in 2007, which would have expired this month.

The Zoning Commission approved the delay, allowing DCHA and the developers a little breathing room as they scrounge for funds and wait on a recent HOPE VI application for $22 million to develop 17 acres of townhouses. The soonest the group might expect good news about the competitive HOPE VI funding is February; until then they will be holding out hope that the stalled development will finally come to fruition.

According to Knox Hayes, DCHA Project Manager for Highland Addition, the reason behind the stalled development is the lack of funds to build new roads for the PUD. The City was unable to cough up the money for necessary roads, so DCHA took the federal path, applying through HUD'S HOPE VI grants for the maximum project award. In so doing, DCHA expanded the scope of the development from the PUD's 9 acres to include a total of 17 acres of land needing new roads and development.

The PUD will maintain its approved number of residential units at 138, but will increase the number of rental units from 30 to 46. On the remainder of the site, the same group of developers will build more residential units by matter of right zoning, with no PUD required. The proposed site will offer 261 units with 118 rental and 143 for-sale units (including the units in the PUD). Most of the homes will be townhouses, though Hayes indicated the possibility of some condominiums.

The site at Highland Additions used to be home to several public housing buildings, which were torn down in 2001, with the PUD process ensuing in 2004. Nearby are the newly renovated Overlook apartments, which replace the former Parkside Terrace apartments.

Washington DC real estate news

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Washington Highland's Overlook Brings New Affordable Housing to Ward 8

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Tomorrow, at 10 AM the Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), DC's largest affordable housing developer, along with Mayor Fenty will announce the opening of The Overlook apartments, formerly known as Parkside Terrace. The newly renovated twelve-story high-rise at 3700 9th St., SE, has a total of 316 units that break down to 231 one-bedrooms and 85 two-bedrooms. The $73 million project is a welcome improvement to a formerly blighted housing project in DC's Washington Highlands neighborhood in Ward 8.

Overlook has been vacant since 2005. Prior to that time it was one of the many ill-fated 100% Section 8 housing projects. The building will now include 57% Section 8 housing with the rest slated as affordable. Tim Westrich a Real Estate Associate at CPDC described the transformation from Parkside Terrace's "faded 60's look" to today's modern Overlook as "tremendous." Westrich was quick to counter the perception that Section 8 properties give "the perception of blighted properties." Not so, he says, "this is absolutely gorgeous."

The new building includes seven floors of senior housing, with rental assistance from DC Housing Authority, and five floors of small family housing, all affordable. Residents on the seven floors of senior housing have access to a concierge desk, reading rooms and lounges on each floor (like a dorm?). The senior housing also includes a 5,000 s.f. community room with exercise facility, computers, a small store and a "health-care suite." The small family units on the top 5 floors will have a a 24-hour gym and in-unit utilities including a hook-up for full size washers and dryers. There are a total of 181 units of senior housing and 135 units of small family housing. According to Westrich, the building is about 50% leased at present.

The architects on the project were Wiencek and Associates. The general contractor was Harkins. Harkins Vice President of Preconstruction Services Larry Kraemer said "this was a really complex project, with multiple funding sources and a building that presented us with a number of construction challenges, including a masonry skin that was peeling off the fa├žade." But in the end Harkins worked with the design team to "bring it all together for CPDC."

Financing for the project came from the DC Housing Finance Agency through a tax exempt bond program (Union Bank purchased these bonds), as well as from Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity through Capital One and Department of Housing and Community Development's Housing Production Trust Fund.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Financing Trouble Adds Woes to Troubled Southeast Neighborhood

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Residents of the beleaguered Washington Highlands neighborhood in Southeast will have to wait at least a little longer for the DC Housing Authority’s (DCHA) planned reinvigoration of the Highland Dwellings public housing complex. In 2007, DCHA selected New Market Investors and Southeast developers Crawford Edgewood Managers Inc. (CEMI) to construct the Highlands Addition – a project that would utilize a vacant 300,000 square lot as the site of a new “physically and socially vibrant neighborhood” with 138 units of mixed-income housing. With the project’s planned summer 2008 start date having come and gone, HR Crawford, President of CEMI and a forty year veteran of District redevelopment initiatives, tells DCmud that project is now locked in a holding pattern.

“It’s all over the place. We need to decide what's getting built and how we’re going to get there,” said Crawford. “Everyone is suffering right now…We have to re-ignite things a bit.”

Crawford, who previously succeeded in luring middle class residents back to Far Southeast with the gated Walter E. Washington Estates project in 1998, chalks the delays up to a lack of readily available financing and the need for infrastructural improvements in the surrounding neighborhood before work can begin. Nonetheless, he says that though the project may be in stasis, his development team – which also includes architects Torti Gallas and Partners and Hamel Builders – is ready to commence construction once those pieces fall into place.

“We had to go through the ritual of getting [US Department of Housing and Urban Development] approval and all the public hearings and those kinds of things…It’s fully approved. We’re ready to go. You might say we’re shovel ready,” said Crawford.

However, Crawford went onto describe the project’s timeline as “questionable” – an unwelcome piece of news for Washington Highlands residents and DC policymakers alike. In the intervening years since the Highlands Addition was first announced, the surrounding community has had to battle some of the District’s highest rates of both unemployment and violence; in 2007, the neighborhood accounted for one-third of all homicides in the District. Media scrutiny of the area only intensified when, that same year, 14-year-old DeOnte Rawlings was shot to death by police inside the very same Highland Dwellings that DCHA has targeted for redevelopment. Despite its' troubled past, Crawford is confident that the area will be in for an image makeover (if and) when the Highlands Addition begins to draw in new neighbors.

“[We’ll be offering] both rental and for sale units. We’ll be a relatively innovative property, in that you won’t be able to tell who the renters are versus the owners,” said Crawford. “We’re going to integrate everyone socio-economically.”

 

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