BIB Highlights: Learning to Build a 24/7 City

“Building a 24/7 City-Residential Development in the Neighborhoods and Downtown DC” was the topic of the Washington, DC Marketing Center’s April 21, 2005 Business Initiatives Breakfast (BIB).

Various District housing perspectives were presented through panelists Milton Bailey, Executive Director of DC Housing Finance Agency; Lamont Hoffman, CEO, PN Hoffman; Adrian Washington, President, Neighborhood Development Company and Michael Kelly, Executive Director, DC Housing Authority.

The panelists provided the capacity audience with information regarding mixed-use developments, affordable housing and redeveloping neighborhoods. Mr. Bailey reported that HFA is focusing on strategic investment areas- 11 areas where visible and significant outcomes can be achieved in three to five years. Included in the strategic investment areas are: Georgia Avenue corridor, Takoma, Columbia Heights, Anacostia and H Street. Additionally, Mr. Bailey stated the basic goals of his agency are to remove blight, produce housing for all incomes, enhance commercial corridors and invest in the social fabric of the city.

Mr. Hoffman summarized a number of housing developments that his company is currently working on. He also announced the results of a recent survey conducted by PN Hoffman that asked, ‘What do people want in downtown,’ and garnered more than 1,200 responses. The survey revealed the conveniences downtown residents wanted such as corner markets, grocery stores, more parking, access to fitness facilities, community and meeting rooms, restaurants and cultural activities. Of the survey respondents, 40% currently lived in the District and 61% worked in downtown DC.

Neighborhood Development Company President, Adrian Washington, gave an overview of the housing developments his company has completed and planned. The company is currently focusing on Georgia Avenue for the development of housing. The Lamont Street Lofts and The Lofts at Brightwood are both located on Georgia Avenue and will offer loft-style condominiums. Mr. Washington explained that developing in emerging neighborhoods present challenges for developers such as financing risks, finding banks willing to finance projects; construction costs being the same as those of higher priced neighborhoods, what happens if the neighborhood does not experience revitalization; and securing meaningful near-term improvements to immediate surroundings.

Mr. Kelly represented the largest landlord in the District of Columbia, DCHA. They work to provide safe, clean and affordable housing for approximately 50,000 residents or 10 percent of the District’s population.

One of the initiatives Mr. Kelly discussed was preventing displacement of current residents and preserving affordable housing. To support this initiative, DCHA has executed housing assistance payments contracts with the Kenyon Street Cooperative, Euclid Street Limited Partnership, and the 1474 Chapin Street Limited Partnership under the Multi Cultural Tenant Empowerment and Home Ownership Program

DCHA, is the fourth largest recipient of federal HOPE VI funding nationally, having received $162 million in grants. The agency currently has four projects completed: the Townhomes on Capitol Hill, Wheeler Creek and Henson Ridge; the Capitol Gateway and Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg projects are currently under construction or demolition.

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