Thursday, October 02, 2014

WCP | Is the City to Blame for Anacostia’s Vacant Properties?

Anyone with an interest in community development should take a moment to read this very informative article by Aaron Wiener. A very thoughtful and informative read. 

Go HERE to read the full article.  

By the agency’s count, DHCD owns 36 properties in the Historic Anacostia area, most of which are vacant or blighted and in need of substantial rehabilitation. (Out of about 550 total buildings in the historic district, approximately 10 are listed as blighted in a data set released by the city earlier this year.) Some are high profile, like the Good Hope storefronts and the Big K site on Martin Luther King that’s slated to become a major mixed-use development but has been held up by historic preservation concerns. Others are single-family houses scattered through the neighborhood that DHCD acquired after they fell behind on taxes or repairs but has yet to fix up or sell to private owners. Walking or driving around the neighborhood, it feels like you can’t go a block without encountering a “Department of Housing and Community Development: No Trespassing or Dumping” sign. 
DHCD isn’t the only city agency with vacant sites in Anacostia. The Department of General Services controls the vacant lot that wraps around DHCD’s headquarters at the corner of Martin Luther King and Good Hope. That space is designated for the future rebuilt Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, but only after it moves from its current U Street NW location as part of the proposed D.C. United stadium deal being negotiated by the city administrator’s office—a process that could leave the Anacostia lot vacant for years to come. 
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development controls the burned-out three-storefront facade across the street at 1909-1913 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, which the office calls “a gateway into Anacostia and the community’s retail district.” DMPED and the D.C. Housing Authority removed the property’s collapsed roof and interior walls in 2008 in an effort to stabilize it, and it’s sat vacant since. Last December, DMPED issued a solicitation for developers interested in rebuilding there. Responses were due in March, and only one developer submitted a proposal. Evidently it wasn’t perfect, because DMPED aimed to select a developer this summer but still hasn’t awarded the rights. (A DMPED spokeswoman declined to say which company responded.)


Anonymous said...

Great article!

i heart newcomb said...

The comments were super thoughtful and informative too! Way to tell it like it is, neighbors!