79°Mostly Cloudy

“This luxury apartment project will also feature more than 15,000 square feet of retail in the core of the U Street Corridor”

by Prince Of Petworth July 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm 20 Comments

U Street

Yesterday we learned about the affordable housing component fronting V Street – here’s the project fronting U Street.

From a press release:

“High Street Residential has partnered with Deutsche Asset Management to develop a 288-unit, Class-A, multifamily project, located at 1441 U Street, NW, Washington, D.C. This luxury apartment project will also feature more than 15,000 square feet of retail in the core of the U Street Corridor. Construction is scheduled to commence Q3 2016, with completion in mid-2018.

1441 U Street is located adjacent to the Frank D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs, at a site that was once the home to the now-razed, 48-unit Portner Place Apartments. This site will also contain Portner Flats, a 96-unit affordable housing complex fronting V Street, NW that will be developed concurrently by a joint venture between Somerset Development and Jonathan Rose Companies.

“We are excited about this opportunity to deliver housing and retail opportunities to an incredibly vibrant neighborhood, further adding to the urban streetscape of the U Street Corridor,” said Josh Dix, National Residential Practice Leader of High Street Residential and Principal with Trammell Crow Company. “Equally exciting is the opportunity to help facilitate the creation of market rate and affordable units, in cooperation with Somerset and Rose, at a time when housing affordability continues to be a major issue.”

  • FridayGirl

    The fact that there are more than twice the number of luxury apartments than affordable housing units means I’m taking back any praise I gave this project yesterday. Booo….

    • anon

      Pretty sure that’s how financing affordable housing works, especially in a high demand area. The market rate units generate equity and/or help subsidize the affordable units.

      • FridayGirl

        Yeah, I realize that’s usually how it works — but usually then they’re not… in segregated buildings? I didn’t realize how exactly this was working when I initially read the press release yesterday but now I think the whole thing is just a little weird.

        • textdoc

          I thought the segregated-buildings thing sounded distasteful too… but apparently the residents of the now-razed building _asked_ for it to be that way, so as to retain their sense of community.

        • anon

          the subsidized housing tenants actually preferred to have their own separate entrance, so it wasn’t some rogue developer/dcra decision. but yeah, i agree it’s weird. particularly weird is that 30-40 years after we’ve seen how badly concentrated subsidized housing works, we’re making the same decisions again.

          • FridayGirl

            Oh, well that’s good to know. Thanks anon and textdoc for that info. I remember all the uproar the “poor door” caused a year or so ago in NYC….

          • Anon

            The problems are within neighborhoods, not buildings, from what I can glean from the relative research. Plus, selling rich apartments is kind of hard when the person next to you is paying 20% of what you pay….

    • ExWalbridgeGuy

      Seems churlish to criticize when I think this is the biggest affordable housing development in this neighborhood in recent memory. If you believe inclusionary zoning is a great idea (dubious IMO) your criticism would be better directed at literally … every other project in the city.

      • FridayGirl

        No, it’s just that for some reason yesterday I thought this would be just a large-scale affordable housing development rather than a still-large-scale-but-dwarfed-by-more-luxury-apartments complex.
        Textdoc and anon’s comments above have made me feel better about it, but my initial thoughts about the segregation of the buildings was more a “That doesn’t seem right. Was this someone’s choice? Will the affordable housing units be comparable to the units in the other building?” (Also I thought inclusionary zoning and the requirements were different from affordable housing rents/requirements but this is not the place to get into that…)

        • Matchbok

          Why do you think these buildings are luxury to begin with? Hint, it’s because of the affordable units. In what world would a developer build a building with ~30% basically providing no income for them (the affordable units) and then also build some cheap, non-luxury units?

          Inclusionary zoning makes no sense and forces developers to build high end units and poor units. With nothing for the middle class.

          • Anon

            The developers would build as much “luxury” as they think the market will bare. Your suggestion that this would’ve been “middle class” housing if it weren’t for IZ is very much misguided. (Not here to argue in favor of IZ, though.)

          • James W.

            The problem with thinking the “market” is best positioned to determine capacity is twofold. The first is that, from concept to opening, these projects take years. Today’s market may not be the market five years from now when capacity comes online. Second, cheap financing has – historically, at least – inflated the appetite for development and purchase of housing. That has nothing to do with the actual demand for housing and everything to do with the cost of capital. I cringe everytime someone jumps to the conclusion that the market always knows best.

        • Matchbok


          I didn’t suggest it would be middle class housing, just that it would make the option more economically feasible.


          The “market” does mostly a fine job in regards to housing. The problems exist with people thinking we all have the right to live in the most desirable neighborhoods for 500 dollars a month.

      • flieswithhoney

        It’s actually only replacement units for existing affordable housing that needed to be rehabbed.

    • Blithe

      If I’m reading this correctly, the original building that was razed had 48 units — that I’m assuming were all “affordable”, that have now been replaced by a building with 96 “affordable” units and a 288 unit luxury building. Without getting into more complex arguments and concerns re: housing issues, if there are now twice as many “affordable” units available, and all the people who lived in the original building who want to be housed in the new building can do so, this sounds like a win-win.

  • jno

    Fugly. I thought they updated this to look a tad better?

  • tom

    I agree we need affordable housing. But, I don’t get why so people get upset over market rate housing. These new “luxury” units fill up so clearly the demand is there. Are the developers making money..sure. But, we people to build more housing. Is it a perfect system no. But, is it the most realistic system we have for creating more housing. Would it be nice if somebody came along and started a nonprofit to developing new middle class housing at cost? Yeah, but I don’t see anyone doing that.

    Keep the new “luxury” housing coming as far as I am concerned. More new options means less people fighting over the existing housing stock.

    • tom

      = “But, we (need) people to build more housing.”

    • Blithe

      Some of us get upset not over market rate housing, but about market rate housing replacing and or reducing “affordable” housing — which used to just be called “housing”. Clearly the demand for luxury housing is there. It is just as clear, to me at least, that there is a demand for housing, and a need for housing, by people who aren’t in a position to pay luxury prices, in a city that has changed rapidly to accommodate the apparent wishes of those who can.

    • Anon

      Such organizations do exist – check out Manna for starters – they do great work!


Subscribe to our mailing list