Preserving Affordable Housing in Brightwood

Thanks to the Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), 59 families in Brightwood did not face displacement when their landlord decided to sell the apartment building where they live. In May of 2015, CPDC, a premier real estate developer, purchased Fort Stevens Place Apartments, a multi-family building in the rapidly gentrifying Brightwood Park neighborhood.

The building was almost fully occupied, as residents who live there love calling the place home, despite the building needing considerable upgrades.  Twenty-five percent of the residents have lived in the building for five or more years, and 25% are elderly residents who want to continue to age in place there. Under DC’s TOPA (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act), the residents of Fort Stevens Place Apartments assigned their rights to CPDC, because they trusted CPDC to renovate the building, bringing it up to code, safety, and efficiency standards, and most importantly, to keep their homes affordable.

For nearly 20 years, CPDC has focused its efforts on acquiring, redeveloping, and operating affordable housing for low and moderate income individuals and families, and has gained the reputation of providing residents with high-quality services.  LISC has partnered with CPDC on several projects, including this one – we provided CPDC with a $500,000 predevelopment loan. Our loan supported costs associated with finishing design and securing permits, as well as due diligence related to the LIHTC closing.

As individual apartments were being renovated, tenants who resided in those apartments were temporarily housed in an apartment building (also owned by CPDC) nearby, so that they were able to continue to have access to their neighborhood’s amenities, including easy access to transit, schools, parks, and recreational facilities. On average, residents were relocated for 8 weeks, and when they returned they came home to new bathrooms, upgraded kitchens (electrical stoves, microwaves, sleek cabinetry, etc.), new light fixtures, new windows, new flooring, new blinds, and new air conditioning units.

Throughout the building, there were upgrades made to the plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems, as well as energy efficient upgrades such as the 3,000 square feet of solar panels on its roof. The mailroom was relocated to the rear of the building, next to the ADA accessible ramp.  The laundry room has new washers and dryers, flooring, and paint, and is also ADA accessible.  The 4 story building has an elevator, which is rare for apartment buildings in the surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, CPDC added a new on-site management office, a new community room, and resident services space.

LISC has invested over $40 million in Brightwood, including nine other apartment properties and cooperatives, preserving and maintaining long-term affordable housing for over 500 households and many future low and moderate-income households. Together with our partners, by continuously investing in this neighborhood where a third of all residents earn less than $35,000, LISC is ensuring that both long-term residents and newcomers can afford to live in this area. Later this fall, CPDC will host a Ribbon Cutting event, and we’ll be sure to be there to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated Fort Stevens Place Apartments.