Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.


Executive Office of the Mayor
Menu Button

Mayor Bowser Celebrates the Future of Housing in Downtown DC

Thursday, December 15, 2022
Converted Elle Apartments Will Create More Than 160 New Homes in Downtown DC, Housing in Downtown Abatement Program to Support Future Conversions

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) celebrated the future of housing in downtown DC at the conversion ceremony of the old Vanguard building into the new Elle Apartments. The Vanguard building opened in 1965 and, for years, was home to the Peace Corps. The conversion of the building marks a significant step in reimagining the downtown area as a more vibrant mixed-use community, where residents can live, work, and play. At the event, Mayor Bowser also highlighted her Housing in Downtown Abatement Program, which will encourage new residential conversion projects downtown.  

“As we continue our comeback, we are very focused on how we reimagine downtown,” said Mayor Bowser. “We have seen how mixed-use communities are more resilient in the face of adversity. By converting vacant offices into homes, we can put these spaces back to productive use, add much-needed housing, and create a vibrant downtown where people live, work, and play.”  
Expected to open in May 2024, the Elle Apartments will bring 163 residential units and 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail to the downtown area. The building will include a restaurant, rooftop pool, a dog park, and a host of other amenities.  

Currently, 92% of the Central Business District is made up of commercial space versus just 8% for residential. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a number of high office vacancy rates due to remote work and hybrid work trends, creating a new opportunity for the District to convert vacant and underutilized office spaces into new buildings for residential and retail use, including affordable housing units. 

“We have approached our downtown reimagination strategy from three lenses: Change the Space, Fill the Space, and Bring the People,” said Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio. “We know that creating new housing in downtown will lead to a more vibrant neighborhood and 24/7 economy. The Housing in Downtown Abatement Program will incentivize more conversions, and bring about more housing affordability and retail opportunities.” 

The Housing in Downtown Abatement Program will incentivize future residential transformations by providing tax relief for new residential projects in the Central Business District. The program requires projects to include 15% of units to be affordable at 60% of the Median Family Income. DMPED will issue regulations in early 2023 for public comment and a Request for Applications later in the year. Beginning in FY24 through FY26, $2.5 million will be available for this abatement, increasing to $6.8 million in FY27 before increasing by 4% annually.  

Family-owned developer Willco originally constructed the Vanguard building in 1965 as one of DC’s most significant development projects and high-rise office buildings in the neighborhood. In addition, Wilco is leading the redevelopment of the Vanguard building, now among the first to convert its large-scale office space into a residential structure in the Golden Triangle. 

Social Media:
Mayor Bowser Twitter: @MayorBowser
Mayor Bowser Instagram: @Mayor_Bowser
Mayor Bowser Facebook:
Mayor Bowser YouTube: