Redevelopment of the Margaret Murray Washington School
27 O Street, NW
Redevelopment of the M. M. Washington School into 80-90 units of affordable senior housing with 15,000 square feet of associated resident/community-use space.
The project is intended for and will be operated for persons age 55 or older, one of several categories of housing allowable under Federal and District law as “housing for older persons”. The project will be an independent living facility, and generally at least at one member of any household must be at least 55 years of age. The development team has not yet begun to build a waiting list for the project.
Security will be a prime concern for the redeveloped site. The development team has met with local community groups, and adjacent property owners on O Street (including So Others Might Eat and Open Arms) to learn about neighborhood security concerns, and has retained a professional security consultant to develop an initial security plan for the site. That security plan is attached to this Project Summary.
The development will provide off-street parking for residents and staff behind the building, accessed via an alley. Loading and trash pickup will take place off-street, behind the building.
The project will be financed with 4% low-income housing tax credits, historic tax credits, and tax-exempt bonds issued through the DC Housing Finance Agency. The 4% tax credits are readily available for the project, and do not require a competitive application process.
The development team is made up of 3 partners: Mt. Lebanon Community Development Corporation, a community based nonprofit located in the neighborhood; UrbanMatters Development Partners, a CBE development company affiliated with Washington
Interfaith Network; and Mission First Development, a CBE affordable housing developer, who has developed similar projects nearby including the senior Golden Rule Plaza and multifamily Golden Rule Apartments.
The building will provide a mix of affordability: not less than 15% of the units will be set aside for seniors making < 30% of the Area Median Income; 80% of the units will be best aside for seniors making <60% of Area Median Income; and not more than 5% of the units will be set aside as market rate units.
The community space will serve the project’s residents, and also will be available for use by neighborhood groups. The project will restore the historic façade of the eastern wing of the School, provide an attractive streetscape along O Street with a new courtyard cut into the gym building, and will provide handicap accessibility to the buildings. Photos of the School are attached to this Project Summary.
The project will comply with Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, which promotes healthy, energy efficient development.
The development team has executed a CBE utilization agreement memorializing the 35% required CBE participation in the project, with over $6.7 million projected to be awarded to CBE firms. Two of the three project developers are CBEs; the third project developer is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 corporation.
The development team has executed a First Source Agreement with the Department of Employment Services. The project will go through a rezoning process. The development team plans to begin the zoning process in late fall/early winter and hopes to begin construction in the second quarter of 2011. Construction is expected to take 16 months. Hamel Builders is the proposed contractor, who has extensive experience in the development of affordable housing in the District of Columbia, and its many associated requirements.
Monthly rents will range from $595 to $900 for a one bedroom unit, and $744 to $1100 for a 2- bedroom unit, depending on the household income.