Saturday, October 06, 2007

St. Martin's Housing Project to Break Ground in February

I am still unhappy with the development and the way Rev Kelly characterizes the neighborhood resistance. I particularly like the holier than thou attitude (pun intended) despite the projects underwriters like GE and Fanny Mae who will receive huge tax deductions for their investments.

To reiterate, I am pro affordable housing. But that housing should be done in a way that doesnt drastically change the neighborhood. Adding 4-500 people in one block is a huge change.

All of that said, the city has made their decision, and my bitching is all for naught. On to the article from dcmud.

After an onerous battle between Bloomingdale (COMMENT: Eckington really) residents and the parish of St. Martins Church, plans are being finalized for groundbreaking on the new 178-unit workforce housing development on 116 T Street, NE, projected for completion in the first quarter of 2010. The apartment complex, totaling 241,000 s.f., is being designed as a Class A apartment building. It will hold 50 junior one bedroom units reserved as public housing for residents earning 30% of the Area Median Income with the remaining 128 units being comprised mostly of two bedroom apartments, available to residents who earn 60% of the Area Median Income. The project should break ground in February of 2008.

Upon completion, the project will serve as “the largest affordable housing project in DC,” said Reverend Michael Kelley, the pastor and leader of the project. “The bad news is that no one else is doing this type of thing,” he added. The reason for a lack of affordable housing developments in the District might be due to the clamor that these types of undertakings tend to cause within the community. St. Martins serves as the perfect example: when some of the neighboring residents discovered what was being constructed on the corner of Summit and T streets, a massive amount of lawyering commenced; they found a way to get an old convent, which would have been destroyed to build the apartment complex, classified a “Historic Building” with the Historical Preservation Society, effectively halting the development process. According to Reverend Kelley, some of the neighbors had a problem with “greed, race and class.”

Most of those community problems have been assuaged thanks to some tricky engineering and cunning design strategies by project architect Grimm & Parker and development manager NorthStar Consultants, who found a way to include the now historic convent (pictured) into the project by moving the massive structure 80 feet eastward. The move will be so astounding that U.K. based documentary program Mega Movers contacted Reverend Kelley to film the convent’s relocation. If the development schedule for the project can coalesce with Mega Movers’ production schedule, St. Martins could appear on the History Channel’s new season of the hit show.

The $41 million project will take the convent, which once served as a housing complex for nuns who taught at the St. Martin’s grade school, and merge it into the design of the apartment building. In 1990, the age-old convent was leased to DC-based Catholic Charities for use as a recovery location for drug-addicted mothers. Then in 2001, Catholic Charities began using the space as subsidized housing for recovering homeless men who needed supportive services and were unable to afford rent at market price. Now, Catholic Charities and St. Martin’s parish have decided that the building, which appears increasingly dilapidated with each passing day, the parking lot and the rest of the property would bode well as affordable housing for struggling adults. According to Reverend Kelley, it fits with the church’s mission – public outreach and social stewardship. Reverend Kelley added, “This speaks volumes about how the Catholic Church is putting Gospel beliefs into practice, or how we say here, taking our faith to the street.”

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's possible to be both reverend and an a-hole. Who woulda thought?

In 30 years when the complex is crime ridden and the neighborhood faces the same issues its been trying to overcome for decades, the "greedy" neighbors will finally be vindicated.

Scenic Artisan said...

still in the hood?

Anonymous said...

I think it's ironic that the reverend is calling the race and class card. Almost everyone living in and around T St NE are African Americans. Almost everyone in and around T St are Middle Class or Lower.

I happen to teach at the school on the property, and it is ridiculous. We are a school that takes the students that DCPS and other schools don't have to accept because of the severity of their disabilities. So, the church is forcing us out of our school because they want to level the hill we are on top of. Who can teach or learn anything when the earth is literally being moved a few feet away?

As for Anonymous: T St NE is already crime ridden. I live in the neighborhood and I'm not allowed by my work to walk home after dark. We have turf wars and shootings. It's livable, but not good. Now it's just going to morph into a slum with more turf wars from the uprooted youth from SW and SE being forced out of their projects.

These condos help noone.

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