Washington, DC (STL.News) Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated the opening of the Todd A. Lee Senior Residences at Kennedy Street, a 38-unit, all-affordable senior community located in the Brightwood Park neighborhood of Ward 4. All 38 apartments are for residents who are 55 or older and earn no more than 50 percent of the area median income.
“The Todd A. Lee Senior Residences embody our DC values and represent the importance of having safe and affordable homes for our seniors to age in place, in the communities they know and love,” said Mayor Bowser. “Todd’s legacy will live on through the many families he helped stay in DC, through the innovative programs he created, and now through these beautiful homes for our seniors.”
The Todd A. Lee Senior Residences are a result of a solicitation to transform vacant land into affordable housing by the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) who also provided a $7.4 million loan from the Housing Production Trust Fund. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) also granted $150,000 to go toward the development of the ground floor retail space. On February 14, 2020, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) issued $8.2 million in tax exempt bonds and underwrote $5.6 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity for the acquisition and construction of the Todd A. Lee Senior Residences at Kennedy Street.
“During his tenure as DCHFA’s leader, Todd A. Lee worked diligently to ensure DC’s housing programs assisted our residents and that all Washingtonians had access to affordable housing when they needed it, especially our seniors,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “These 38 residential units are a fitting tribute to him and get us closer to achieving Mayor Bowser’s goal of 36,000 new homes, 12,000 of them affordable by 2025.”
The Todd A. Lee Senior Residences have one efficiency apartment and 37 one-bedroom apartments. On the ground floor there is more than 1,000 square feet of retail space and an additional 1,700 square feet of common area space, including a lobby, cybercafé, management office, fitness center, and bike storage. All units have individually controlled HVAC systems and environmentally friendly features that meet the Enterprise Green Communities Program, and laundry facilities are available on each floor.
“This project was under review by DCHFA during Todd’s tenure and I know firsthand that he was excited about the opportunity it would afford seniors to age in place in this neighborhood that is undergoing tremendous change. The entire staff of DCHFA and I are proud to carry on Todd’s legacy and see the delivery of housing that is healthy, beautiful and affordable, while bearing the name of our dear friend, Todd A. Lee,” stated Christopher E. Donald, DCHFA Executive Director/CEO.
The Mayor was joined at today’s ribbon cutting by the project development team comprised of Dantes Partners, Gilbane Development Company, and H Street Community Development Corporation.
“This development stands as a reminder of Todd’s legacy and his vision for Ward 4 and the District. It is with great honor to have completed one of his project goals and bestow the name of my friend and colleague upon it,” said Buwa Binitie, Managing Principal at Dantes Partners and Chairman of DCHFA’s Board of Directors.
“Gilbane is honored to leave a legacy for Todd A. Lee, which will memorialize his enduring leadership in the affordable housing industry,” said Blaise Rastello, Development Director for Gilbane Development Company. “Under Todd A. Lee’s and now Christopher Donald’s leadership, we are grateful for our partners at HFA, DHCD, Dantes Partners, and H Street CDC to create 38 affordable homes for the District’s seniors.”
At the event, Mayor Bowser also announced the re-opening of applications for the Oramenta Newsome Predevelopment Loan Program that launched in 2018 to help nonprofits and limited equity cooperatives fund predevelopment activities and move their affordable housing projects forward. Ten affordable housing projects benefited from the first round of these loans and $2 million will again be used to cover soft costs incurred in the predevelopment stage by recipients. To submit an application or learn more, please go to dhcd.dc.gov/oramenta-newsome-nonprofit-development-fund.
Mayor Bowser also announced her pilot initiative to help faith-based institutions evaluate how they can use their land assets to help the District achieve its housing goals. The pilot program will afford places of worship grants up to $50,000 to conduct the necessary studies and planning in partnership with development consultants providing technical assistance to take that leap of faith to build more housing in the District. Applications for this program will open in September 2021.
“Like with the transformation of our own vacant property into affordable housing, we’re asking our partners to think creatively about their own assets for affordable housing,” said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson. “And along with this ask, we’re providing resources because we know this is what it will take to reach our goals.”
The Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Proposal includes a historic $400 million investment in the District’s Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF), bringing the Mayor’s investment into the HPTF to $1 billion since 2015.