Development Proposed for Former Hebrew Home, 1125 Spring Road NW
The District of Columbia Housing Authority is currently working on a development concept to breath new life into the vacant Hebrew Home for the Aged building — located at 1125 Spring Road. While the Hebrew Home campus includes the buildings at 1125 Spring Road and 1131 Spring Road, the Housing Authority is only focused on the large central building at this time.
As part of the public outreach process for this concept, D.C. Housing Authority’s Alastair Smith, Development Project Manager, attended the April 9th ANC 1A meeting and gave an overview of the current plan. The dual purpose of the presentation was to gather community input for consideration. As the property is located on the Ward 4 side of Spring Road, the D.C. Housing authority is planning to make a similar presentation before ANC 4C at their May 14th meeting. This provides another opportunity for community participation at this stage of the proposal.
The plan as presented is to renovate the building for affordable/workforce housing. The current estimate is that it could support between 70 and 80 units in a variety of sizes. In this case, affordability was described as being up to 60% AMI (Area Median Income) at the high-end, but with units being available at many income levels and not just at the 60% level. According to current AMI data, this would put the 60% figure around $63,000 at this time. The plan is also to create a property that is privately owned and managed.
As indicated above, this proposal is very early in the process. The D.C. Housing authority is currently working with engineers and architects to fine tune a plan. The property is also owned by the District of Columbia which once used the facility as a behavioral and mental health care facility. Before the D.C. Housing Authority could move forward with any project, the D.C. Council would need to review and approve the transfer of control to the D.C. Housing authority. Optimistically, the timeline would be for all of the necessary plans and approvals to be completed in 2014, a start date in 2015, and a completion 18 months later in 2016/2017.
Among the comments the D.C. Housing Authority received from the community & 1A Commissioners was that the AMI for the Washington Metro Area was much higher than the AMI for the District of Columbia alone, and that to truly make the building affordable for District residents this should be taken into account. Also, the residential character of the surrounding neighborhood, with a neighboring school and recreation center/playground could make the building attractive to families, so it would be desirable to have units that could support more than a single couple without children. These comments, and others, seemed to be received favorable.
The ANC invited the D.C. Housing Authority to return to future meetings and provide updates on the project as the proposal moves forward, which the Authority agreed to do.
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