New 8 Story Building with “56 affordable apartments and 3100 Square Feet of Retail” coming by Shaw Metro

1710 7th Street, NW

From a press release:

“Construction has begun on Channing E. Phillips Homes, 56 much needed affordable apartments with 3100 square feet of street front retail being developed by Lincoln Westmoreland Housing, Inc. immediately adjacent to the Shaw/Howard University Metrorail station in northwest Washington, DC.

The new eight-story building at 1710 7th Street NW was designed by acclaimed architect Shalom Baranes Associates of Washington, DC, representing that firm’s foray into affordable housing design. The 56 apartment homes, which follow Enterprise Green Communities guidelines, will include 28 one-bedroom apartments; 21 two-bedroom apartments; and 7 three-bedroom apartments. Construction is slated for completion by mid-2016 and rental applications will be accepted beginning in January 2016.

The development of this much needed housing is only possible due to the unique four-decade interracial partnership of two D.C.-area United Church of Christ (UCC) churches: Westmoreland Congregational UCC and Lincoln Congregational Temple UCC. The two churches became housing development partners to invest in the Shaw neighborhood in the late sixties when few others would. Their successful development of affordable housing dates back to 1969, when they broke ground on the Lincoln Westmoreland Apartments, a 108-unit, 10-story affordable apartment building now located next door to Channing E. Phillips Homes. The building is currently undergoing a renovation scheduled for completion later this year. Lincoln Westmoreland Housing subsequently provided land for the Shaw-Howard University Metro station infrastructure, which has improved access and economic opportunity for neighborhood residents.

District of Columbia Council Member at-Large Elissa Silverman and Ward 6 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Alex Padro joined Polly Donaldson, director of the Districts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), officials from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, ministers from both congregations, the family of the late Rev. Channing E. Phillips and members of the development team for a unique program at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library, directly across the street from the new building. Officials and team members assembled a giant vertical puzzle depicting the building piece by piece.

“Creating pathways to the middle class includes developing inclusive and diverse communities. To do this we must produce, protect and preserve more affordable housing for residents at all income levels,” said Polly Donaldson, DHCD Director. “The Shaw neighborhood is rich in culture, so being able to revitalize these properties will not only allow the city to preserve the existing 108 affordable units and build 56 new affordable units for DC residents, but make it possible for the neighborhood to maintain its history and character. Projects like these are an example of the positive impact the Mayor’s $100M commitment to affordable housing can have on the city, once those dollars are invested, ” she continued.

“A project such as this is only possible when all of the pieces of the puzzle come together: location, vision, people of good will, financial commitments, great design and stellar execution,” observed Lincoln Westmoreland Housing President David Jacobs. “It’s gratifying that after all of the years of groundwork, these badly needed homes will soon be available to our neighbors who need them,” he added.

“This is a wonderful story of a faith-based initiative leveraging a government investment with private sector funds to produce transit-oriented affordable development,” said Marvin Turner, director of HUD’s DC area field office.

The new building will bear the name of a beloved and avid anti-poverty and civil rights leader who fought for decent housing and social justice for all. Born in 1928, Channing Emery Phillips served as Senior Minister of the historic Lincoln Temple Congregational Church at 11th and R Streets NW in Washington, D.C and was committed to addressing the low-income housing crisis in the Nation’s Capital. In 1967, he began leading the Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit company that became the largest single developer of low-income housing in the Washington metropolitan area during that era. Phillips became a national political figure in 1968, when he was nominated for President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, becoming the first African American nominated at a national convention of a major political party. Phillips died in 1987 at age 59 after a battle with cancer.”

71 Comment

  • More high density low income housing in Shaw? Right by existing public housing with violence problems? #gladididntbuy

    • This reminds me of the giant mistake DC made with developing Columbia Heights. It’s incredible that we take the completely opposite approach as Arlington did, and instead of concentrating market rate housing on top of Metro stations we concentrate affordable housing. So much for tax revenue.

      The city should have picked a less desirable area for the AH units, and instead let market rate apartments be built here. I’m sure that the businesses popping up in Shaw would prefer people with income moving into the area.

      • ??? Have you been to Shaw lately? There are plenty of market-rate units coming online there. What’s the problem with a few dozen workforce housing units?

        • workforce would be fine. drug dealers and criminals less so.

        • I think we know what the “problem” is. Outside of the convention center area. There aren’t the kinds of concentrations of low income housing you find in ColHi.

      • I think the businesses in Shaw will be perfectly fine, considering there are tons of overpriced…I mean…market rate units in the neighborhood.

        • Nothing is overpriced if people are paying for it.

          • Please see “Tulip Mania,” “Michael MIlkin,” and “2007 Housing Bubble.”

          • We are talking about the rental market are we not? And realistically, it’s a hell of a lot more difficult to get a mortgage today than in 2007.

          • Eponymous – the difference here is that rental prices, not just housing (asset) prices, are insane. If people are willing to pay that much for the use of an apartment – ie, when appreciation actually hurts them – then duponter is probably right. One of the characteristics of bubbles is that prices and rents become unhinged. Not sure that’s the case in shaw.

          • Tulip mania was a craze based on futures of a perishable commodity; not exactly the same principle, but yes…prices won’t rise forever.

      • You do know that the “projects” in Columbia Heights ( between 13-14-Harvard- Columbia) were there before Metro came in?

        I’m not advocating for supported housing at prime Metro locations – just urging people to understand the situation.

    • I know. Not a great idea. Are they renovating Westmoreland? They’ve put up signs calling them “luxury” units…which I assumed meant they were planning to do some serious upgrades. But who knows…

    • Wow so let’s get this straight. All you people on this thread are worried about “concentrated poverty” and “drug dealers” because 56 families making under SIXTY THOUSAND A YEAR might move into some $1,200+ apartments!?

      If you want to live in a place where you’re only surrounded by white people in your tax bracket who are obsessed with what the neighbors are doing to their property values, they already made it – it’s called the suburbs. Maybe you need to look into it!

      • dude, dc’s suburbs are some of the most ethnically diverse places in the country. and that’s a good thing. also, you can’t pretend that crime doesn’t radiate from low-income housing in dc, so it’s a legitimate concern. i definitely agree that dc needs to do more to ensure that we retain people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, but don’t be obtuse.

  • valentina

    Hopefully these will actually be affordable, $1300+ is not affordable housing.

    • $1300 is incredibly affordable, especially considering that it’s sitting right next to the Metro in a rapidly-improving area.

      • valentina

        Umm, $1300 is not affordable for low income families. Are you serious?

      • Of course depending on how low-income 1300 while isn’t super expensive isn’t exactly “incredibly affordable”.

    • Where is this $1300 figure coming from? I don’t see it in the press release.

    • Actually, if you’re on a housing voucher $1300 should be doable for a 1BR according to the reimbursement rates posted on the DCHA’s web site.

      • I know someone living in a 3br in the Columbia Heights area for 1000 … of course they have a DCHA housing voucher tho (which are very hard to get).

    • The units are all reserved for households earning 60% or less of area median income. According to the DC Dept of Housing and Community Development web-site, the 2012 rent limits for these units would be $1,209 for a one-bedroom unit, $1,450 for a two-bedroom unit, and $1,677 for a three-bedroom unit. 2012 seem to be the most recent information DHCD posted. Income limits depend on family size, also posted for 2012. (

    • The units are all reserved for households earning 60% or less of area median income. According to the DC Dept of Housing and Community Development web-site, the 2012 rent limits for these units would be $1,209 for a one-bedroom unit, $1,450 for a two-bedroom unit, and $1,677 for a three-bedroom unit. 2012 seem to be the most recent information DHCD posted.

    • Eh, my one-bedroom rental is a little more than that, and I’ve had a couple of section 8 (“housing choice”) tenants in it. Sure, it’s more than the HUD guidelines (which are insanely low for DC), but they could afford the slight extra outlay, and enjoyed living in a nicer place than they could get within the guidelines. HOWEVER, I will comment on the piss-poor conditions anyone not spending a boatload on housing expect in this city. Even self-pay tenants in my properties have asked me questions like “can I run the washer and dryer at the same time?” “does the dishwasher *actually* work, like, won’t flood the apartment if I try to use it?” “do all the windows open?” and “will I trip a breaker if I try to vacuum and do laundry at the same time?”
      C’mon, landlords, you can do better than this. That people are asking me these questions means that most of you don’t care to get licensed or if your tenants die in a fire. If you can’t afford to provide a decent, safe, fully functional home, just sell it to someone who will…property values are high, you’ll probably make out without risking anyone’s life in sub-par, unlicensed shitholes…

  • More housing . . . yay!

    Developed by Lincoln Westmoreland Housing, Inc. . . . doh!

  • I’m surprised they didn’t make this a mixed-income development rather than an all-affordable one… I thought the latest thinking was that it’s more effective to have a community with a mix of incomes, rather than one of concentrated poverty.

    • It’s next door to low income housing that was converted to mixed income.

      • Perhaps, but it sounds like this will still be an 8-story building of concentrated poverty.
        (I was thinking of “community” more in the small-scale sense of a building, rather than the large-scale sense of a neighborhood.)

        • I agree that concentrated poverty is a general problem in American cities, and I’m frankly sick and tired of WOTP neighborhoods not pulling their weight in terms of providing affordable housing.
          But, like it or not, we need affordable housing – people who work in lower-paying occupations, which represent most of the fastest-growing job categories, have to live somewhere. It’s not desirable or sustainable to have them commute from Harper’s Ferry. Given the HUNDREDS of market-rate units coming to Shaw in the next 5 years, there’s still going to be a big net loss of affordable housing in the neighborhood. 56 units aren’t going to change that.

    • 100% affordable units are often easier to finance through Low income housing tax credits. A 50/50 split of low income and market and next to impossible to finance.

  • They’ve been trying for years to rent out some of the units in the (adjacent) Lincoln Westmoreland II development (see “Heritage at Shaw Station”), but I don’t think (m?)any of those units have been rented, presumably because hardly anyone wants to live in the center of a huge housing project. Now they’re taking the literal best land in the area and devoting it more more low-income housing. The whole area around that metro entrance is essentially a dead zone, looks like they aim to keep it that way.

    • ^^THIS^^ I really am not feeling very optimistic about the next few years of DC leadership. I don’t know if it’s complete incompetence or greed, but it’s truly bewildering.

      • Please explain how you associate building affordable housing as greed. I genuinely do not follow your train of thought.

        • It was more a general comment about the other developments also happening *COUGHMICMILLANCOUGH* that has been a clusterfuck of greed. The fact they’re not making this mixed use, or picking an area is just incompetence.

          • Wolkoff, is that you? I mean, anyone who says that people aren’t renting in Shaw because of something that hasn’t happened yet and isn’t even that close to it…
            I unapologetically smell a rat…

          • Also, this IS mixed-use, just not mixed-income. Go back and read more carefully, there’s ground-floor retail.

          • Oh, this does sound a lot like Wolkoff…. what a utter nutter.

          • Not Wolfolk, and I like the idea of developing McMillan in some capacity, just not without some better traffic/infrastructure plan than “oh you know…the streetcar…and….stuff..”

    • I think the idea of mixed income development has taken a hit after the fiasco of the what went on around New York and North Capitol Avenues east of New Jersey Avenue. The city worked with developers to understandably move out tenants and tear down some of the worse public housing in the city, with promises that they would rebuild mixed income developments and (some) residents could return (ones without criminal records). Everyone jumped on board and agree to be moved out and here we are years and years later and those lots are empty parking lots. The SaVerna is the only building to go up and while it looks decent, I’m curious how many non-affordable housing tenants there are, if any.

      That said, it is still the right idea. Aggregation of poverty is never a good thing if you’re trying to reduce crime.

      • Is it the same sort of situation though? Will these units be replacing others?

        It’s frustrating – the walk from the metro can already get sketchy already at night, this definitely WILL NOT help.

        • No, what I meant here is simply the desire for mixed income housing that the developers in the other location thought might be there is probably not. Then they tried to vastly reduce the amount of low income housing in the development plans and it all fell apart. There’s a pretty interesting article not too long ago in WaPo about it and there is a fascinating interview of an elderly woman still waiting for her spot back in NW. It’s pretty sad.

      • 2m across the street is one of the most amazing buildings I have been in DC and its 30% affordable with units reserved for people using vouchers. A lot of the low income tenents used to live in Temple Courts which was torn down. (that was never public housing by the way. Privately held, mainly voucher tenents. Sursum Corda is also a privatley owned coop)>

        • Right, but these plans were not for 30% affordable and that is actually somewhat more common in terms of a mix (and supports my point that it is a good thing) versus a building being entirely affordable housing. The SaVerna actually looks pretty nice, but I have a feeling it is more lower income than mixed income than what the plans were for it originally. And you are right about Temple Courts. I think the article I referred to referenced it as housing projects, which I associate as public housing, but it may very well have been private. Sursum Corda was also supposed to be part of that deal and they apparently backed out (smart of them really). I found the article:

          Horrible how those families have been treated. Such prime real estate too. I keep wondering if Sursum owners will ever cave and sell to developers. I suppose if as the person below mentions that the title of the land requires on low-income housing ever be built (which, what?) then probably not. It’s shameful how terrible that deal went, but not surprising I suppose.

      • I think the situation around Sursum Corda was that someone discovered on the title of the land from HUD that only low-income housing could ever be built there.

        This was after the building was knocked down. As for why they’ve chosen a parking lot over another low-income building, I”m sure politics and economics have both played a role.

    • Thanks to Alex Padro and his ANC minions who have hoisted more poverty North of Rhode Island Avenue, while vacating all affordable units down in his back yard, south of Rhode Island Avenue, to make way for their luxury O Street Market units.

    • My conclusion of the expiration/loss of Section 8 Project Funds (for what was formerly Lincoln Westmoreland II, and is now “Heritage at Shaw” — and IS NOT related to the Lincoln Westmoreland I expansion/new building) is that the owners deployed this strategy to clear off the property and will sell in the near-term for millions and millions, for dense, multifamily housing.

      • ASD- Correct, the new apartments are not related to the adjacent LWII, aka Heritage at Shaw Station. However, my point was that there is already such a concentration of low-income housing in that block that it has become highly unappealing to market-rate buyers. And while on one side of the block (Heritage) they’re trying unsuccessfully to get market-rate residents in on formerly AH land, on the other side of the block they’re successfully preventing market-rate residents from moving in on valuable land (which they could achieve if they built a market-rate high-rise on that land), and gifted the Heritage at Shaw Station unsellable apartments to those who otherwise would have gotten the new units. It’s an absurd arbitrage opportunity that’s being wasted due to the odd desire to build affordable housing in the most market-inefficient possible.

  • Sounds pretty stupid. Would have made a lot more sense to make it a mixed income building, so that the area could develop a higher tax base, while still providing some affordable units. This is prime real estate- what’s the point of creating all low income housing right next to the metro? It’s a wasted opportunity.

    • This is Alex Padro’s electioneering for his future office seeking: not in his back yard, but “concentrate poverty in highrises (which have been proven as a complete failure from the Great Society programs” “away from his backyard” in some of the most desirable land in the city.

  • Don’t forget the Old Hebrew Home on Spring Road, where the City, Brianne Nadeau, and our illustrious mayor are planning on building 150+ affordable with only 10% (give or take) market rate units.
    The opportunist nature of these decisions by politicians betrays the fact that concentrating poverty is never a good thing.
    When will we ever learn?

  • Great idea. Let’s restrict the density of row house neighborhoods, stop conversion of SFH to multiple units, and build more high density subsidized housing. Sounds like a great way to further segregate our city. Is that Bowser’s goal?

  • So, in this thread, like so many I’ve read, you all don’t want low-income housing anywhere near you, in almost any form (low-income senior housing seems to get a pass, but that’s a rare exception). You all want predominantly market-rate housing everywhere, with only a small portion of units set aside for low-income folks, and, if you had your preference, at 80% AMI.
    Yet, every time I open my neighborhood list-serv or go to a neighborhood meeting, all anyone can talk about is how housing is too expensive and we need to provide more low-income housing. A re-development of a 100% low-income community in my neighborhood was bullied into including MORE than 20% low-income housing, but then the list-serv turned around and blanket objected to another entity trying to build a private (100% on their own dime) low-income apartment complex, and then turned around again and bitched that a new townhome community was “too expensive for locals to afford.”
    So, tell me, what do you want? Do you want a lot of affordable housing, or almost none at all? Do you want developers to exceed their low-income unit requirements, or seek waivers so they don’t have to include any? Do you want low-income people to continue to flee the city, or do you want them to have options to stay? Right now, you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. Make a decision, and let me know what it is…

    • They want affordable housing for themselves, with no poor people in it. And with great coffee shops and restaurants nearby, and a dog park, and maybe a cool record shop too. And no poor people.

      • Better yet, a dog park on the roof of their “luxury” building so that you don’t have to interact with the poor people that live around you.

        • But only if the nearby coffee shops and restaurants are also affordable, or can be bullied into providing a discount for neighborhood residents so “others” can make up the difference between what they paid for their pate and what it cost to make it…

    • Why do you assume the audience is the same? My only beef is concentrated poverty. As for percentages, whatever it takes to reduce crime. I’m sorry, but look around. There are pockets in the city where crime is generally higher and it tends to be where there is also a higher concentration of poverty. And property crimes tend to be higher in neighborhoods that border those areas.

      I think people like the idea of providing affordable housing, but are not comfortable with it nearby if it means a concentration of poverty in such a way that crime increases. Besides, it does very little to lift anyone out of poverty. I want politicians to figure out what the right solution is and implement policies to promote that.

      Someone above mentioned the 2M building. I know a lot of the newer buildings like that have low income requirements. Is it enough? I don’t know. Unlikely. But that model certainly seems preferable to me than shoving low income people into one building. But you’re right, maybe we should ask whether or why we think we need to preserve any particular amount of low income housing in the city. Or what the right amount is? Perhaps people are better off not living in the city in concentrated poverty. But to answer your question, I think it simply boils down to safety. People feel less safe around low income housing. Period.

      • 56 units is actually a pretty small building in the grand scheme of things, and it’s surrounded by a ton of relatively to insanely expensive market-rate stuff, and it’s not clear to me that most of the housing won’t be at 80% AMI, which, in case you don’t know, is almost $70K for a family of 4 (even 50% AMI is over $50K!). As noted below, that’s not a crack-head who plays video games all day, that’s a teacher, firefighter, mid-level retail manager, etc. I don’t see this as causing any kind of massive crime spike in a dense, diverse neighborhood.
        The specific audience is only partially the same between here and the list-serv, as far as I can tell (the mention of specific projects and certain rhetorical and writing styles leads me to believe that there is at least some cross-posting), but the general “audience” is identical: people who talk out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to affordable housing. Always needs to be on someone else’s dime, in someone else’s neighborhood, except for their housing, which should never see a rent/property tax increase forever and ever, amen. Is that every single person commenting here and there? Well, not here…but if I wrote what I did above on my neighborhood list-serv, even leaving out the minor and prime-time-allowed “bad word,” it would be deleted in a heartbeat. There, you go with the popular opinion (which was neatly and hilariously stated by JCM and JMF), or your posts never see the light of day.
        Are there problems with the low-income housing policies we currently have? Sure, but people conflate all kinds of things that aren’t related. “WOTP isn’t pulling their weight!” Go look at permit pulls for new construction around the city, and let me know what percent of new multi-family construction is west of the park? I’ll wait here while you go find the obvious answer. Now, come back and maybe we can discuss whether getting affordable units into existing buildings might help geographically diversify the options for low-income residents, and how that might be achieved. But that’s not the legislation we have now, so stop with the nonsense! (just an example among many)

    • JoDa,

      Thanks so much for being the voice of reason and common sense. Some people say they don’t want affordable housing built near or next to them, but they also don’t want affordable housing built near other affordable housing units. So are they saying they don’t want affordable housing anywhere? It would seem to me that if you don’t want it near you then you wouldn’t care if it was built where other affordable units already are. And do they even know what affordable housing means? It seems that when the words “affordable housing” are mentioned all some people envision is “LaQuisha and her 6 fatherless kids.” They don’t see a teacher, a firefighter, a police officer, a plumber or electrician. I remember when the Justice Park Apartments were being built, so many people had a fit because all they could see was more poor people moving into Columbia Heights. Now that it’s built and the residents have moved in you don’t hear a peep out of the residents or the people who complained. And remember, those apartments on 14th between Euclid and Girard were already there when you got there. These are the people who survived the 1980’s crack wars with all the crime, shootings, police actions, etc. They stayed because they loved the neighborhood and now all some people can talk about how those apartment buildings are bringing down the neighborhood. Some people say they want to live in a diverse neighborhood but it seems like diversity means a doctor living next door to an investment banker who lives next to a lawyer. No where in that equation is a single father with two little boys who’s working as a Honda mechanic. By they way, Honda mechanics make over $80 an hour. I also think that the bad old days of run-down, un-kept public housing are long gone and never to return. With the internet, Facebook, investigative news and TV, public housing residents have more ways of keeping landlords and government officials informed and in check on problem tenants and needed repairs. You can’t live in public housing if you have a criminal record so that’s stopped a lot of trouble in some of developments. Washington belongs to the rich, middle class and the poor.

  • Is there a rendering of the building?

  • What is meant by “affordable”? Is it 80% of the median? 60%? It’s an important bit of information that has been left off the announcement.

    • It is 60%. The article I linked above your comment notes that.

      • No need for the shot across the bow. Your link wasn’t yet showing when I asked my question.

    • From the Washington Post article linked above:

      They also stopped by the soon-to-be Channing Phillips apartments on Seventh Street NW. Construction started Wednesday on 56 units of affordable housing for people who make no more than 60 percent of the median income — about $65,830 in the District — between 2009 and 2013.

    • From the perspective of the neighborhood, there’s not much different between 60% and 80% of the median. LIH is LIH.

      • If 60% is $65,830, that is hardly poverty wages.

      • HaileUnlikely

        There are a few poorly-managed low-income housing clusterf*cks in DC that lead everybody to view it negatively. I can show you several low-income apartments in Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant that virtually nobody knows are low-income. At least one of them routinely has to turn away lots of ineligible higher would-be applicants who prance on into the leasing office hoping to score an apartment there without realizing that it is income-restricted. Fearing that the new low-income building in your neighborhood is going to be like Park Morton or Sursum Corda is about as rational as fearing that the new white homeowner in the neighborhood is going to be another John Wayne Gacy.

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