The Homestead Apartments located at 812 Jefferson Street NW in DC’s Brightwood neighborhood will be getting a $13 million makeover. The new 45 unit apartment building, slated to be finished in the summer of 2017, will be restricted to residents earning 60 percent of the area median income as well as 10 market-rate homes.
The renovated apartments will include electrical and elevator upgrades, new kitchen cabinetry, roofing, and windows. Plumbing, bathrooms, and the HVAC system will also be improved and the completed building will have a laundry room, parking garage, and courtyard with a patio and picnic area.
LISC DC provided a $100,000 earnest money deposit loan to the Jefferson Homestead People United Tenant Association to serve as an earnest money deposit as they sought to pursue their rights under the District’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).
In order to preserve their property the tenant association assigned their purchase rights under TOPA to Hampstead Partners, a national for-profit affordable housing developer, and Ray Nix, a locally based development consultant.
In January 2016, LISC DC provided the tenant association a $4.75 million loan to acquire their apartment building. On September 23, 2016, groundbreaking began at the site. This would not have happened had it not been for the resilence of the residents who fought hard to maintain their place in a changing city that is becoming more and more unaffordable for low income residents.
The residents were guided by the Latino Economic Development Corporation, which has a contract to support tenant associations. The initial concern was that the owner submitted a hardship petition to raise rents, ostensibly to increase the potential sales price of the building. Having fended of that effort, the tenant association was eager to pursue their TOPA rights when the property was listed for sale. They hired an attorney from the DC Tenants Rights Center.
The tenants are committed to affordable housing in principle and in general, not just keeping their own rent low. They especially want to protect rents paid by their senior citizen neighbors. Hampstead Partners plans to utilize tax credits and bond financing in order to renovate the property and keep it affordable going forward.