$43M DC Affordable Community to Open Next Spring

Portner Flats will bring 96 affordable units to the popular U Street Corridor in Northwest, D.C. The project is a public-private partnership between the District, Somerset Development, Jonathan Rose Cos., New Community Partners and other entities.

By Laura Calugar

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is providing $24 million of the total $43.3 million development investment necessary to build Portner Flats, a 96-unit affordable housing project currently underway in Washington, D.C. The team includes Somerset Development, the Jonathan Rose Cos. and New Community Partners. Eric Colbert & Associates is the project architect. Clark Foundations and Clark Concrete perform support of excavation and cast-in-place concrete work, respectively.

Site transformation

The Portner Flats in Washington, D.C.

The Portner Flats in Washington, D.C.

Located at 1440 V St., N.W., Portner Flats is replacing Portner Place, a deteriorated, 48-unit Section 8 development in Ward 1, one block west of the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U streets, N.W. The site is along the vibrant U Street corridor, with convenient access to metro stations and numerous bus lines. While the new property is being built, residents are being temporarily relocated off-site.  

According to Yardi Matrix data, Portner Flats is a fully affordable housing project that includes 23 studios, 25 one-, 36 two- and 12 three-bedroom units. The eight-story building is replacing three affordable housing buildings previously located on the site. The new 110,000-square-foot project will include below-grade parking with 31 spaces, a roof terrace with seating areas, children’s playground, a ground-floor wood deck terrace, a computer center, as well as multi-purpose and exercise rooms. Portner Flats will also include after-school and senior programs, and job training.

“This project is an example of what public-private partnerships can produce when everyone works together to strengthen our community,” said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in a prepared statement.

The new building will house individuals and/or families making 60 percent or less of the area median income. Half of the units will be subsidized by a HUD Section 8 contract, with approximately 70 percent of those units reserved for the families who were temporarily relocated. Porner Flats will double the total number of affordable units available on the site. Residents will be able to move into the new building in March 2018.

Redevelopment financing

One year ago, the District of Columbia Housing Finance issued $27 million in short term DCHFA tax exempt bonds, providing a portion of the funding for the acquisition of Portner Place and construction of Portner Flats. Blaylock Beal Van LLC underwrote and sold the bonds in a publicly offered transaction. In addition, $14.5 million in equity was raised by Boston Financial Investment Management for this development through the syndication of Low Income Housing Tax Credits allocated by DCHFA. Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. underwrote the mortgage and is the permanent lender for the FHA insured transaction. The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development also provided $2.4 million in subordinate financing for this project.

“We believe that finding new, creative ways to finance affordable housing is key to expanding the supply of quality affordable housing in urban areas,” said Eric Price, executive vice president of AFL-CIO HIT. 

Just across from Portner Flats, High Street Residential and Deutsche Asset Management are building 288 market-rate units.

Image courtesy of Eric Colbert & Associates

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