Judging New(ish) Homes/Development


There are a couple of blocks in South East, not too far from Eastern Market, that has a wild new development. A friend of mine said that she believes it is a mixed income development.


Does anyone know the story behind these homes? The pictures don’t do them great justice, but I thought it looked awesome.


25 Comment

  • it a mixed use project that should be the model for ALL mixed use low rise developments in this city.

  • Mixed use isn’t going to cure anything that troubles this city….

  • They’re pretty cool looking. I wouldn’t mind living there.

  • I guess the one thing missing is porches.

  • Where’s the commercial area? Is it mixed use, or only mixed income?

  • the commercial area(s) are only a couple blocks away: Barracks Row is one block away, Penn Ave is about 4 blocks .. navy yard stuff is also about 4 blocks.

  • I live nearby and really like these homes. (And it’s mixed income, by the way, not mixed use.) The architects did a nice job of updating the traditional styles of the homes around Capitol Hill for this newish development. They’re obviously new, but they fit in with the area. I think it’s the same developer that was selected to redevelop the Hines School site–across the street from the Eastern Market metro–which makes me think they’ll do a good job there, too, of making the new buildings fit in.

  • these are great

  • Looks like Duany Plater-Zyberk/New Urbanism stuff (Seaside, FL, etc.), only sans porches as Anonymous pointed out.

  • “Less than 10 years ago, the 134-unit Ellen Wilson Dwellings public housing development in southeast Washington, D.C., stood abandoned and resembled a war zone. Poor maintenance and lax management had turned the development into a slum, …prostitutes, drug dealers, and squatters moved into the abandoned property. Neighbors of the site complained of street robberies, car theft, and panhandling.

    DCHA demolished the project, clearing the way for development of the Townhomes on Capitol Hill, recipient of a recent Award of Excellence from the Urban Land Institute.”

    Sadly, how long before these social architects’ good intentions fail and history repeats itself at this same location ?

  • As @MWanzer and @Anonymous said, these are a HOPE VI development from the late 1990’s. The Ellen Wilson homes were one of the city’s more notorious housing projects, and were razed to make way for this development. It is mixed income in the sense that former Ellen Wilson homes residents were guaranteed a spot, and there are quotas for the number of units available at different income bands (<50% of region's median income, 50-100% median income, 100-150% median income, etc).

    My partner and I lived here for several years, and there are a couple interesting things about this development:

    –Instead of building a bunch of cookie cutter houses, which would have been cheaper, the architects built several different types of houses, with different layouts, facades, etc. On Eye Street, there are at least 10 different types of houses. Even details like the font of the house numbers changes from one to the next, so it looks more like an organically developed street rather than another housing project. The architects won some pretty big awards for this design, even though it is a little Disney-ish.

    –There are a few houses that are owned outright by individuals (fee simple), but the vast majority of units are owned in a funny co-op structure that gives everyone, regardless of income, shares in the development. I believe this was intended to expand the feeling of homeownership to lower income people.

    –This development has been around for about 10 years, and is doing very well. It is a great mix of young professionals, retired folks, urban poor, and everything in between. After living there several years, I would call HOPE VI an unqualified success.

    The ongoing townhouse development south of the freeway by EYA is another HOPE VI project replacing the old Capper-Carrollsburg homes. I think this is one of the last in the country, as the GOP decided this little experiment wasn't worth the effort and defunded the program early in the 2000's. There is controversy about how successful it is for the housing project residents, as there's a serious time lag between the project being razed and the new development opening (where are people supposed to live for the years in the meantime?). But overall, this was a great idea that I hope gets resurrected at some point in the future.

    • There has to be much more than a “feeling of homeownership”.

      Nobody washes a rental car.

      Without a hard earned individual equity, there isn’t individual maintenance over the long term.

      Easy come easy go, “cause if I ain’t got nothing I earned, I ain’t got nothing to lose”.

  • I am geeting a very Old Europe village vibe here. I like.

  • When these houses and units were initially offered for sale it was the low income units that were the hard sell. Many people who qualified to buy them assumed that because they were so nice the units were out of their price range (which they were not.)

    Does anyone remember the former prison camp type housing project that was there before?

  • I like this development. They did a nice job with the scope and style.

    They also seem to have (at least from the outside) a nice neighborhood with an (annual?) sidewalk sale for the entire development.

  • I want this model for Potomac Gardens. Sadly the Hope VI program was largely gutted.

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