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Sweet new digs. (Lydia DePillis)

A long-decrepit apartment complex was formally reborn yesterday, as top D.C. housing officials welcomed 28 families to the Williston Apartments just south of Howard University, an area still pockmarked with falling-down buildings.

The 1940s-era structures had gone into serious disrepair through the 1990s, when the belonged to a non-profit tax credit partnership called the Capitol City Housing Corpoation. It had gotten a mortgage from the National Capitol Housing Authority—the pre-home rule iteration of the District of Columbia Housing Authority—and in 2005, the group’s aging boardmembers asked that the city take over the property by foreclosure. It’s not often that a project falls into the District’s lap so easily.

There were 13 families in it when renovations started in October 2008 (see ugly before photos here), using $3.5 million from DCHA and $500,000 from DHCD. About that many had already moved back in when DCHA director Adrianne Todman, DHCD director Leila Finucane Edmonds, and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham cut the ribbon yesterday. They may be back soon: Behind the Williston, the 160-unit Kelly Miller apartments are getting an $8 million DCHA upgrade.