Park Morton Development Team Meets with Park View Community

Park View Park Morton Meeting April 1(From l. to r.: Sarosh Olpadwala (DMPED Director of Real Estate); Kimberly King (DC Housing Authority); Rob Fossi (The Community Builders); and Buwa Binitie (Dantes Partners))

Following up on last week’s meeting with the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force, the Park Morton Development Team continued to meet members of the community at the invitation of the Park View United Neighborhood Coalition. Approximately 42 members of the community, District officials, and members of the development team were in attendance. UNC President Chris Waldmann opened the meeting by asking for questions from the community that they were hopeful the development team of The Community Builders and Dante Partners would answer. Questions included:

  • Has financing been secured?;
  • What is the time frame for the development?;
  • How are Park Morton residents guaranteed to return?;
  • Have additional building sites been identified?;
  • Will there be a mix of unit types to support families and individuals?;
  • What is the experience of the development team?;
  • Do the developers have a signed contract?;
  • Are there examples of Dantes Partners projects in D.C.?;
  • What are the security measures for Park Morton residents during and after construction?;
  • How will success of the project be measured?;
  • Is there a plan for a diverse range of housing types?; and,
  • Will any of the units be available for purchase?

While it is too early in the process for many of these questions to be answered, or answered in depth, the presenters did a reasonably good job of answering what they could and responding to community members.

Buwa Binitie, of Dantes Partners, was the first to speak. Binitie stated that the community should feel assured that he is familiar with the immediate community as he has completed 2,500 units of housing to date and been involved with local projects such as 4100 Georgia Avenue (where Yes! Organic Market is located), the Lamont Lofts, Justice Park (1421 Euclid Street), and The Heights (3232 Georgia).

Justice Park, in particular, was touted as a good example of Dantes work. Though a complex project, the result was a 28-unit apartment building that is 100% affordable for residents earning in the $45-50,000 range of income.

Rob Fossi of Community Builders, Inc., spoke about their experience with developing communities and that, while Community Builders is headquartered in Boston, their regional office is in D.C.

Kimberly King, formerly Director of the New Communities and now with the DC Housing Authority, was the primary speaker and addressed as many questions as she could. She explained that the reason many of the questions didn’t have definitive answers yet was because things are at such an early stage. Details with financing, housing types, and the general plan will have a lot to do with if additional sites are included and the needs of the Park Morton residents. The needs assessment is particularly critical as this is part of the open community process King stated was a commitment.

While the redevelopment of Park Morton will contain one-to-one replacement units for the public housing units currently at Park Morton, the size of those units — i.e. one-, two- or three-bedroom configurations — can not be determined without working with the Park Morton residents to match apartment sizes to their needs.

One detail that was clarified at the meeting was that after redevelopment, it will actually be the Community Partners and not the DC Housing Authority that will managed the affordable housing units. The transition will occur as new units are constructed and residents take occupancy. This led to some concern about what this would mean to returning residents. A representative from the Housing Authority responded that the rights residents currently have under HUD would remain. There would also be long-term use restrictions recorded against the property to ensure that the replacement units be set aside for use as public housing units during a period of at least 40 years and would be subject to HUD’s 10 year tail requirement.

More information should be forthcoming as the planning process and community engagement dialogue advances.

Explore posts in the same categories: Development, Housing

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One Comment on “Park Morton Development Team Meets with Park View Community”

  1. Curious Says:

    Did they tell the group whether the land disposition agreement has been signed yet? If not, when is that expected?

    Does this plan of development require off site relocation of residents now at Park Morton?

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