Rosedale Development Project Approved

Rosedale Project Set for Passage
(The following article appears on the Voice of the Hill web site.http://voiceofthehill.com)

Mayor Anthony Williams' proposal to turn a vacant lot near the Rosedale Recreation Center into mixed-income town houses is making its way through D.C . Council. The three-fourths acre lot at 17th Street, NE, between D and E streets has sat vacant for more than 20 years, negatively impacting the surrounding community, according to the city's Department of Housing and Community Development.

The plan would allow the District to transfer the public parcel to a private developer to build a three-story, 28-unit building. Ten units would be priced for low- and moderate-income buyers, according to the proposal."That's a bad location," said Northeast advisory neighborhood commissioner Mfon Ibangha, whose single-member district contains the site. "Just about everybody knows about that area." Ibangha called the site notorious, and said it's been littered with bottles, syringes and condoms. However, he added it's been better since the city fenced it in.

Last week, Ward 5 Councilman Vincent Orange held a roundtable to determine if the land is surplus. If council finds the site no longer serves the public and approves the plan, the city could transfer the land to Rosedale Redevelopment LLC to build the Rosedale Town Homes.

Ward 6 Councilwoman Sharon Ambrose and the Northeast Capitol Hill advisory neighborhood commission support the proposal."This development continues the revitalization of this community both aesthetically and economically," Ambrose said last year in a letter to the housing and community development department."We understand that zoning variances will be required, and this will provide an additional opportunity for involvement in planning and design," the neighborhood commission stated in a letter of support to the councilwoman."The commission reserves the right to provide further input on traffic management, architectural style, and unit configuration as more detailed plans are developed," the letter states.

The site, appraised last year at $788,000, has contributed to blight and illegal activity and has been used as an illegal dumping ground, a housing and community development representative said at last week's discussion. The letter adds that the proposed project would help keep low- and medium-income residents in the changing neighborhood, create construction jobs for D.C. workers and afford new homeownership opportunities.

As written, the proposal would transfer the land at no upfront cost to the developer in exchange for the affordable units. The housing and community development department would get a $100,000 profit-sharing payment.Rosedale Redevelopment partner IDS DC, Inc.'s experience includes replacing Capitol Hill's Kentucky Courts public housing project with a mixed-income development.

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