LISC DC loaned Sarah’s Circle $550,000 for predevelopment for the renovation of their existing senior housing property located at 2551 17th Street NW in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. For over 32 years, Sarah’s Circle has been serving very low income senior citizens. In addition to undertaking a thorough modernization, Sarah’s Circle will reconfigure the 34 unit building into 49 units, providing housing for an additional 15 seniors. It is a notable opportunity to add affordable units in one of DC’s most convenient, and yet expensive neighborhoods.
Sarah’s Circle currently provides housing and services for 38 seniors. The average age is 71 and the average income is $17,000 per year. The building was built in 1917 and has undergone piecemeal renovation over time — upgrades of electrical service, installation of new boilers, and roof repair. The building has never undergone a full scale renovation in its 100 year history. The reconfiguration will retain large unit sizes, though smaller than the current footprint, and add some ground floor apartments in the cavernous basement area that is now basically storage space.
The upgrades include all new plumbing, electrical, flooring, doors for the units and accessibility upgrades such as grab bars in the bathrooms. It will also be energy efficient. The ground floor of the property is used as a community center for seniors. Residents and neighbors alike can enjoy a hot lunch daily and breakfast three days a week from the kitchen. The programming in the community center ranges from exercise classes three times a week, to yoga twice a week, to weekly book club, weekly bingo, ongoing arts and crafts and a computer lab with four workstations.
Sarah’s Circle received approval for financing to renovate the property from DHCD through the October 2015 NOFA. DHCD provided Sarah’s Circle with an option of a few different financing structures. They determined that they will pursue a 9% LIHTC deal. The new financing will impose an affordability covenant which will ensure the property’s affordability for the next 40 years. Sarah’s Circle is closing on financing and are to begin construction very soon.