Clark Realty Forms Partnership to Rehabilitate Columbia Heights in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Clark Realty Capital* of Bethesda, Md., and the non-profit Change All Souls Housing Corporation (CASHC) have formed a unique partnership with Columbia Heights Village residents that will preserve the long-term affordability of the housing community.
The partnership's program, which is supported by the city and the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, provides for the renovation of the community and ultimate ownership by the residents and CASHC, an approach which may serve as a model for the future preservation of affordable housing stock.
On April 17, Washington Mayor Tony Williams joined a number of District officials to celebrate the city's $34.7 million bond allocation for the acquisition and renovation of the 406-unit apartment complex on 14th Street in the Columbia Heights section of Northwest Washington. The District's housing finance agency, Clark Realty Capital, CHV Tenants Association and CASHC are teaming to renovate the community, which includes seven townhouses, a 10-story high-rise with 189 units, and 23 garden-style apartment buildings with 210 units.
All of the units are slated to "remain affordable" for low income residents who currently live in the apartments with the help of federal subsidies. The renovation is part of the housing agency's $62 million pledge to save more than 750 subsidized units along 14th Street.
The area immediately surrounding Columbia Heights has recently experienced a surge in new development and rehabilitation activity, including the renovation of several older apartment and office buildings. This surge has coincided with the recent opening of the new Metrorail station just one block north of Columbia Heights Village.
While the revival of Columbia Heights has been spectacular, the impact on the community's low to moderate-income residents has been troubling. The gentrification of Columbia Heights has contributed to the affordable housing crisis in Washington, D.C., where more than 20,000 District residents are waiting for public housing and where another 10,000 units of Section 8 housing could opt out of the system in the next four years.
Columbia Heights Village, while adequately maintained, has been suffering from aging systems and functional obsolescence. Specifically, the rehabilitation will comprise the replacement of the aging HVAC system in the high-rise as well as the original windows. Further, kitchens will be renovated to include new cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances. Plumbing fixtures and common area electric fixtures will be replaced. Common areas will be fully updated and landscaping will be added.
It is anticipated that the rehabilitation of the project by Clark Realty Builders** will be accomplished with "tenants in place." The goal of this type of rehabilitation is to minimize inconvenience to the residents while performing high-quality construction at competitive prices. The residents of apartments undergoing renovation will be encouraged to take advantage of community space and "hospitality rooms" during the hours that their units are being renovated. The rehabilitation is scheduled for completion in March 2003.
Last year, Clark Realty Capital and partners The Patriot Group were honored by the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) for the multi-million dollar renovation of Rockburne Estates, a 222-unit apartment community in Washington, D.C. The community earned the DCHFA's 2001 "Affordable Housing Development Award of Excellence" that was presented at the organization's annual awards ceremony.
According to the DCHFA, Rockburne Estates was selected for the award as the development that "most exemplifies quality affordable housing" in Washington. Rockburne Estates ranked the highest among HFA-funded projects in the following five categories: best construction concept, affordability, community need, cost efficiency, and uniqueness.
# # #
* Clark Realty Capital, L.L.C. (CRC) offers a full spectrum of services to the real estate industry including investment, development, construction, property management, capital markets, and advisory.
** Clark Realty Builders (CRB) is a national, multifamily general contractor which was recently ranked as the sixth largest such firm in the U.S. by Builder magazine. More information about the Clark Realty organization can be found on the Internet at www.clarkrealty.com.