In a rare instance of renters exercising their rights under D.C.’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, the District has launched a $13-million rehabilitation of a majority-affordable housing dwelling in Ward 4’s Brightwood Park.
Built in 1939, the four-story Homestead Apartments at 812 Jefferson St. NW will get top-to-bottom improvements and preserve 45 units as affordable for families earning up to 60 percent of the area median income, according to the city. Although 10 other units will rent for market rate, the entire building will get infrastructure upgrades, remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, and a new, energy-efficient HVAC system, as well as a parking garage and rear outdoor patio. The Hampstead Group and UrbanMatters Development Partners will oversee refurbishment.
More than 10 years ago, Homestead residents began fighting to stop the building’s landlord from raising rents. In 2014, the complex was put up for sale, but the tenants formed an association and were assisted by the Latino Economic Development Corporation in the TOPA process. They purchased the apartments and soon after chose Hampstead and UrbanMatters to redevelop it with an eye toward making the old facility more sustainable.
“The Homestead Apartments will help protect the affordability of Brightwood Park for long-time residents, strengthening our community by ensuring it is able to remain economically diverse,” Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd said in a statement.
A mix of public and private financing supports the project. That includes $5 million from the District’s Housing Production Trust Fund, $6.5. million in bonds, and almost $2 million in federal low-income housing tax credits.
The rehabilitation is expected to be finished by next June.