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18,000 D.C. households waiting

Extensive demolition, renovation changing cityís public housing landscape

(Published April 19, 1999)


Staff Writer

A massive overhaul of the Districtís 11,500 public housing units that has been underway since 1995 is expected to be completed by May 2000. Abandoned and decrepit buildings are being torn down, some land is being sold, new units are being built and existing units are being refurbished.

There are more than 55 public housing sites in Washington, from high-rise apartments to townhouses to single-family homes and dwellings reserved for the handicapped and elderly.

Improvements for each site were determined by court-appointed receiver David Gilmore, who was granted broad authority over the Districtís deeply troubled system in 1995.

Improvements at some sites are mostly cosmetic ó landscaping, new lighting, new driveways, lobby improvements. But other sites need improvements in basic services like plumbing, heating, electricity and security alarms. Some buildings still contain hazardous materials or lack fire safety equipment.

A few sites, such as Frederick Douglass and Stanton Dwellings in Southeast Washington, will be completely torn down and redeveloped as mixed-income rental property with some units for sale to occupants.

When the dust settles, the city will have 5,000 more public housing units than it had five years ago, said Arthur Jones, a spokesman for the D.C. Housing Authority. But they wonít be as densely clustered as they were in years past, he said. The goal is to mix low- and medium-income residents to prevent an over-concentration of poverty. But it is unclear whether tenants will be able to afford to move back into the homes they once inhabited.

In the meantime, thousands of public housing tenants have been forced to leave their homes and move to temporary locations scattered across the city or seek private housing with the assistance of what is known as a "Section 8" government voucher. Some public housing tenants, especially the elderly, complain bitterly about being relocated. According to DCHA, more than 18,000 households are on a waiting list to get into public housing.


Among the DCHA complexes being demolished are Western Mews (25 units at 1800 Capitol Ave.), Ellen Wilson, (134 units at 7th Street and Virginia Avenue SE); Sheridan Terrace (183 units on Sheridan Road SE), Frederick Douglass (302 units on Alabama Avenue SE), Stanton Dwellings (348 units at 1500 Alabama Ave. SE) and Fort Dupont Addition (87 units at 155 Ridge Road SE). DCHA has no plans for the land at Western Mews or Sheridan Terrace. Land at Fort Dupont is being prepared for sale. Frederick Douglass and Stanton Dwellings will be redeveloped into mixed-income rental and ownership housing using federal grant money.

Land under 45 vacant units at Kentucky Courts family dwellings, 340 13th St. SE, is slated for sale to a private developer who would demolish the buildings and build new ones with some financial assistance from DCHA.

Partial Demolition

At Montana Terrace, 1625 Montana Ave. NE, 51 units have been demolished and 66 units will be gutted and rehabilitated. Six units have been rehabilitated and reoccupied. The remaining 60 units are scheduled for completion by the end of this year. Also, 24 garden apartments will be converted into apartments over and under 16 renovated townhouses.

About 279 apartments will be demolished at Arthur Capper, 912 5th St. SE. The land has been sold to the U.S. Marine Corps to build a 300-bed dormitory. The remaining units will get resurfacing on driveways and parking areas, roof repairs, and exterior improvements.

At Highland Addition, 400 Atlantic St. SE, 128 units will be demolished. Redevelopment plans are pending for the remaining units.

Partial demolition is planned at Eastgate Gardens, 4450 G St. SE. Details were not available from DCHA.


Most public housing complexes are scheduled for extensive repair and remodeling without displacing residents.

The 21-unit Colorado Building at 1845 Harvard St. NW will get waterproofing, laundry equipment, a new alarm system, handicapped accessible parking and renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by the end of the summer.

The nearby 23-unit Columbia Road Building will get a new roof by the end of 2000.

The 120-unit Fort Lincoln complex, at 2855 Bladensburg Road NE, will get new elevators and fire alarms, a security system, courtyard improvements, and window and roof work by the end of 2000.

The 279-unit Garfield Terrace Senior Dwellings at 2301 11th St. NW, will get sidewalk, driveway and parking lot improvements, plumbing repairs, balcony replacements and repairs to structural damage.

The 278-unit Greenleaf complex at 201 N St. SW has already received electrical, heating and mechanical upgrades and a playground is scheduled to be built.

The 215-unit Greenleaf Senior dwellings at 1200 Delaware Ave. SW are scheduled for thermostat replacements, exterior fencing, a key-card security gate and building security system, and parking lot resurfacing by the end of this year.

The 193-unit Harvard Towers at 1845 Harvard St. NW are scheduled for roof and elevator replacements and renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by the end of this year.

The 141-unit James Apartments at 1425 N St. NW will get roof repairs, courtyard construction, and security system installation by the end of this year.

The 239-unit James Creek complex at 100 N St. NW will get additional landscaping, new signs and canopies, sewer and drainage improvements, an underground sprinkler system, lighting, repairs to concrete and expansion of the management office by the end of this year.

The 271-unit Judiciary House at 461 H St. NW will get a new parking garage door, a new security system, and a rear courtyard by the end of 2000.

The 169-unit Kelly Miller complex at 234 W St. NW received asbestos removal, plumbing repairs, and a new fire alarm system.

The 118-unit Kentucky Courts senior dwellings, 340 13th St. SE, are scheduled for unspecified improvements by the end of 1999.

The 124-unit LeDroit apartments at 234 W St. NW got asbestos removal, a new playground, plumbing repairs and a new fire alarm system.

The 13-unit Ontario at 1845 Harvard St. NW received waterproofing and mechanical repairs.

The 174-unit Park Morton at 617 Morton St. NW got mechanical, heating and mechanical upgrades, resurfacing of sidewalks, courtyards, alleyways and parking areas, and gutter and fence repairs.

The 126-unit Syphax Gardens complex at 501 Half St. SW received a new playground and heating system improvements.

The privately managed 343-unit Claridge Towers apartments at 1221 M St. NW got a new roof and fire alarm system.

The privately managed 160-unit Regency House at 5201 Connecticut Ave. NW is scheduled for a new roof by the end of 2000.

The privately managed 247-unit Sibley Plaza at 1140 North Capitol St. has received balcony replacements, new fire doors and trash compactor, exterior fencing, parking and common area renovations, and plumbing repairs.

The 28-unit Sursum Corda complex at 1140 North Capitol St. will get new landscaping, increased lighting and new pavement on walkways and parking areas by the end of 1999.

The 297-unit Arthur Capper Senior Dwellings at 601 L. St. SE will get a cooling tower, boiler room renovations, new water pipes, exhaust fans and lobby renovations by this fall.

The 432-unit Barry Farms townhouse development at 1230 Sumner Road SE will get general landscaping and new windows, doors, floors and cabinets in individual units by this fall.

The 60-unit Carroll Apartments at 601 L. St. SE will get overall modernization. Details were unavailable.

The 314-unit Carrolsburg Dwellings at 400 L St. SE will get roof replacements, canopies and parking lots by fall 1999.

The 20-unit Elvans Road complex at 1230 Sumner Road SE got door improvements, water filtration, and drain and gutter replacements.

The 208-unit Highland Dwellings complex at 400 Atlantic St. SE will get new boilers and repairs to vacant units by the end of 2000.

The 20-unit Villager Apartments at 2313 Ainger Place SE got mechanical system upgrades.

The 12-unit Wade Apartments at 1230 Sumner Road SE got get general landscaping and new windows, doors, floors and cabinets in individual units.

The 234-unit Woodland Terrace complex at 2313 Ainger Pl. SE will get asbestos removal, new windows, boiler room improvements, exterior door replacements, and rehabilitation of 13 vacant units by fall 1999.

The 158-unit privately managed Hopkins Apartments at 1430 L St. SE received security and mechanical improvements, elevator repairs, and boiler and trash compactor repairs.

The 352-unit Potomac Gardens at 1225 G St. SE will get security and electrical upgrades, a fire alarm system, baseboard radiator replacements, and renovations to boiler room and trash compactor by 2000.

The 274-unit Benning Terrace at 4450 G. St. SE will get new roofs, gutters and downspouts, new windows and new exterior doors by 2000.

The 320-unit Capitol View Plaza at 5901 East Capitol St. SE will get general landscaping and new windows, doors, floors and cabinets in individual units by 2000.

The 577-unit East Capitol Dwellings at 5725 East Capitol St. SE will get plumbing and sewer improvements, roof repair, exterior improvements and soil erosion abatement pending a complete needs assessment.

The 114-unit Fort Dupont at 155 Ridge Road SE will get new roofs and fire alarms and vacant units will be rehabilitated.

The 308-unit Langston Terrace at 2101 G. St. SE will get new boilers, lights and roofs by fall of 1999.

The 440-unit Lincoln Heights at 400 50th St. NE received a new playground, repairs to fire alarm system, fire extinguishers, and renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The 190-unit Richardson Dwellings at 260 54th St. NE will get new stairs and exterior fences, guardrails on dumpsters, and playground and sidewalk construction.

The 200-unit Stoddert Terrace at 155 Ridge Road SE will get mechanical and electrical system upgrades, emergency electrical generators, heating and exhaust system improvements and boiler, pipe and sewer drain replacements.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator