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Henson Ridge, an oddly Pleasantville-esque neighborhood in Congress Heights, has had a rough rise and fall: It began as an idealistic project meant to give Southeast residents a route to homeownership, but soon struggled with violent crime, leaving buyers the with feeling that they’d been duped.
Seems like that might have had an impact on sales, too. When the Post told the story back in December, 254 of the 320 total houses had sold since they went on the market in 2008. Now, 59 units remain—which means that a total of seven units have sold in the last four months. Even considering the off-season for home sales and the slow real estate market generally, that’s pretty anemic. And you can purchase these units with no money down, generously supported by grants for first-time home-buying local and federal government workers.
When I visited yesterday, the brand-new neighborhood was quiet, with cars pulled up in most driveways. Having come off the streets of Congress Heights, the lavishly staged demonstration unit—the “Fitzgerald” floorplan—seemed like a dream of comfortable affluence, featuring a casino-themed upstairs den complete with fake plastic cocktails on the sidetables. Selling those last 59, however, is going to take more than artfully distressed books.