It may not surprise anyone who’s been watching the glacial movement of the massive Capper/Carrollsburg HOPE VI development site near the ballpark, but the District of Columbia Housing Authority is making it official: This month, they’ll be asking the Zoning Commission for another two-year extension to file new building permits. That means that the residential towers that were supposed to be under construction this year would have until 2013 to get started (a great diagram of what’s been built and what’s planned here).
According to DCHA consultant David Cortiella, who broke the news to residents of 400 M Street earlier this week, the problem is the same as always: financing. Though the Council approved the issuance of $55 million in bonds last winter, the market only allowed the sale of $29 million, which will pay for the infrastructure for Canal Park, breaking ground at the end of the summer.
The other five planned residential buildings, as well as the long hoped-for community center, were supposed to be funded in part by property taxes on a total of 730,000 square feet of office space in two buildings at 250 M Street and 600 M Street. But with the glut of space in the area, neither materialized.
“But for not being able to build the two commercial buildings, we would have had this built already,” Cortiella told ANC 6D in mid-June.
Even with the extension, nothing is certain. Cortiella laid out three ways in which the residential buildings could move forward: Somehow, the office market could pick up enough to get the planned office buildings built, generating enough profits to plow into public housing. More bonds could be issued. Or someone could buy the empty land slated for the office buildings, which had been valued at between $6 and $8 million.
“Who knows, we’re just playing with ideas,” he said. Looks like the Nationals won’t be losing any of their spare parking lots any time soon.