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Mayor Bowser Announces Community Land Trust Approach to Revitalize Langston-Slater Schools Site

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Project will be known as Lebanon Village at Langston-Slater and Ensure the Permanent Affordability of Homes on the Site

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio announced new progress in redeveloping the Langston and Slater Schools by partnering with Douglass Community Land Trust (Douglass CLT), a membership-driven racial and economic equity organization to secure the permanent affordability of housing on the site. The project, located at 33-45 P Street, NW, will produce approximately 55 new homes, consisting of townhomes and multifamily rental apartments for families at various levels of affordability.

“We know that this historic site is good hands with the Douglass Community Land Trust and that they will oversee a project that meets the vision of the community and empowers residents for years to come,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are proud to be working with a community organization that is helping to preserve our city’s history and culture by ensuring families of all backgrounds and income levels have a future in Washington, DC.”

Douglass CLT’s mission includes preventing displacement of current and future residents, creating community-held assets, and building assets for individuals and families. Through this project, the District is piloting the services offered by Douglass CLT, which include homebuyer education, workforce development, and financial assistance programs to prevent the displacement of current and future District residents while building assets for District individuals and families. They have partnered with other mission-driven developers to secure the permanent affordability of the homes produced on the Langston and Slater Schools site. The team, known as the Lebanon Village at Langston-Slater team, also includes CSG Urban Partners, Habitat for Humanity, Mt. Lebanon CDC, R. McGhee & Associates, and Volunteers of America.

“Mayor Bowser has tasked her team to do everything that we can to give more residents a fair shot at pathways to the middle class,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “I am excited that this development, particularly through our pilot with Douglass CLT, has equity at its core so that we are meeting that task and moving us closer to our goal of 36,000 new homes, 12,000 of them affordable, by 2025.”

The site was formerly two elementary schools. Slater Elementary School is a purpose-built public school building that was constructed in 1891 for African American students. Built when public education was segregated by race, it forms part of a complex of Black schools along First Street, NW between L and P Streets. The John Mercer Langston Elementary School was built in 1902 to handle the overflow of students from the adjoining Slater School. The historical designation of both Langston and Slater Schools and the site’s proximity to North Capitol Street, makes the project a prime destination within the Truxton Circle neighborhood.

Douglass CLT’s “pay-it-forward” model allows people who otherwise could not afford to do so, the opportunity to rent, own, or do business in the District and help a future resident do the same. While Douglass CLT employs a variety of legal mechanisms to secure nonstop affordability, the primary arrangement is for the Douglass CLT to acquire the deed for the land underlying the property improvement, though a deed restricted covenant may be employed. If necessary, Douglass CLT may provide equity to fill an affordability gap in exchange for receiving ownership of the land. The Douglass CLT then leases the land back to the owner of the property improvement for a nominal fee and provides ongoing, tailored stewardship services.

This project was the first EquityRFP announced in the District under Mayor Bowser’s strategy to enhance equity in District development projects. The EquityRFP process prioritizes teams that maximize the percentage, with a goal of 100%, of partnering entities or organizations that are owned or majority controlled by individuals determined to be part of a socially disadvantaged population.