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Mayor Bowser Breaks Ground on DC's First "Our RFP" Affordable Housing Project Located in Ward 2

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Washington, DC – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA), District leaders, and community members broke ground on Parcel 42, DC’s first “Our RFP” project, a mixed-use and 98% affordable apartment building with 110-units and ground floor retail space located at 7th Street NW and Rhode Island Avenue in Ward 2.
“When we engage the community early, then we can deliver a project that people are excited about — and that’s what we’re doing here at Parcel 42,” said Mayor Bowser. “This is a project that has gone through several mayors, and I’m proud that today we can begin the transformation of this vacant lot into much-needed affordable housing. When we come back to cut the ribbon, we’ll be 108 homes closer to our goal of 12,000 new affordable homes by 2025.”
Parcel 42, a project that originally started during the Fenty Administration in 2007 and has been vacant for roughly 20 years, will consist of studio units as well as one-and two-bedroom apartments. Two units will be market-rate, while the remaining 108 apartment homes will be reserved for residents earning up to 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), with the majority reserved for those earning 60 percent or less AMI. On-site amenities will include retail space, amenity space serving retail, a management office, fitness room, penthouse clubroom, and five central laundry rooms.
Parcel 42, developed by Dantes Partners and the H Street Community Development Corporation, was the District’s first “Our RFP” project that incorporated community engagement early in the design. “Our RFP” is a community-based approach to developing requests for proposals (RFPs) implemented in Mayor Bowser’s first term that engaged residents to ensure their needs, wants, and priorities were understood and taken into consideration before crafting the RFP.
The project is estimated to support approximately 33 permanent jobs, with 30% filled by DC residents and about 200 construction jobs, half of those being filled by DC residents. Construction is anticipated to begin in the next few weeks and  completed by 2024.
“Parcel 42 has been discussed for years, but because of Mayor Bowser’s leadership and the hard work of the DMPED team, 108 units of affordable housing are on their way in this amenity rich neighborhood,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “We’re proud that despite various twists and turn, the project – which was the first to utilize the innovative, community-driven approach known as “OurRPF” – will advance and deliver long promised housing and amenities.”
The project is financed via land provided through the DMPED administered disposition, senior debt provided by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A, and Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity provided by Wells Fargo Affordable Housing Community Development Corporation, and DC Tax Credits. DCHFA issued $29.46 million in tax exempt bonds and underwrote $24.58 million in LIHTCs for the construction of 108 affordable apartment homes and two market-rate units.
“Mayor Bowser was the first to set housing goals by ward, and DCHFA is committed to helping the city reach those goals,” said Christopher E. Donald, Executive Director/CEO, DCHFA. “Ward 2 has seen significant market-rate residential development, so this community will ensure residents at various income levels can live in healthy, beautiful and affordable housing right here in the Shaw neighborhood.”
“With the goal of using District land for the maximum public good, this collaborative effort showcases the commitment and passion of everyone who worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition,” said Buwa Binitie, Managing Principal, Dantes Partners. “The successful closing of Parcel 42 is the result of a labor of love to produce the optimal submission that showed our vision for the historic Shaw neighborhood in delivering market equivalent affordable housing on this landmark site.”
Additional financing for Parcel 42 comes from a $15.6 million loan from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. The fund is a more than $2 billion commitment to preserve and create more than 20,000 affordable housing units in the Arlington/Washington, DC metropolitan area, Washington state’s Puget Sound region, and Nashville, Tennessee.
“As a proud resident of the District of Columbia, I am so happy the Amazon Housing Equity Fund will help bring more affordable housing to the Shaw community,” said Catherine Buell, Director of the fund. “We applaud the District’s dedication to working with the community to find innovative and inclusive solutions. The people who live here have waited patiently for many years for the right project that includes affordable housing options for families across the income spectrum. We are proud to serve as a partner to help both the community and city make this beautiful commitment a reality.”

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