Washington, D.C.—Community Preservation and Development Corp. (CPDC) and Crawford Edgewood Managers Inc. (CEMI) recently celebrated the grand opening of The Overlook at Oxon Run, a seven-acre, 316-unit inter-generational housing development for low-income seniors and moderate-income workers.
Built on the site of a 12-story, 292-unit Section 8 high-rise, formerly known as Parkside Terrace, the building was rehabilitated and renovated through a partnership between the CPDC, CEMI, the District of Columbia, Union Bank and Capital One Financial Corp.
“When we acquired it, it had been vacated, the Section 8 contract vouchered out on a plan that the city, HUD and the owner at the time had collaborated on. The owner had acquired it through a HUD disposition, and the plan was to redevelop the property in some fashion,” Gerry Joseph, vice president and director of real estate development at CPDC, tells MHN. “When we acquired the property in ’06, it was vacant and the owner had a concept that he didn’t have the resources or capacity to execute. We acquired it in ’06; it took us another year and a half to finalize the plan and financing. We closed on it in late ’07 and completed construction in mid-‘09.”
As Joseph explains, the building sat vacant for two to three years, so CPDC had to “reset the floor plans so everything inside the building is brand-new…and because of that there was a fairly significant cost—$137,000 per unit in hard renovation costs—which was only possible because we had strong support from the district.”
The $73.4 million Overlook at Oxon Run was financed through tax-exempt bonds issued by the DC Housing Finance Agency and purchased by Union Bank and through Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity provided by Capital One Bank. The DC Department of Housing and Community Development provided $21.5 million in gap financing, and the city financed the acquisition of the property using its Site Acquisition Fund Initiative, contributing $1.6 million toward a $4.5 million loan from Enterprise Community Loan Fund.
“We felt that [the building] was structurally sound—it was basically a shell. It was difficult to replicate the level of density there, and if we could come up with a use more appropriate to the building, it could turn what had been an eyesore to an asset,” Joseph tells MHN.
The property is located in the Washington Highlands neighborhood, which is in Southeast D.C. “It’s a neighborhood that has had a high concentration of very low-income people, though there has been some revitalization of some of the properties, most notably a HOPE VI now called Wheeler Creek, completed in 2000, that replaced both a public housing site and a HUD Section 8 high-rise property. And in between Overlook and the first HOPE VI is Wheeler Terrace which our company acquired subsequent of the Overlook and is in the midst of redevelopment,” explains Joseph.
Designed by Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners, Overlook at Oxon Run offers 135 workforce units, reserved for those earning no more than 60 percent AMI, and 181 senior units, reserved for those earning no more than 50 percent AMI. All residences are either one- or two-bedrooms.
“We got great response for what has been done to the façade,” Joseph notes. “It was a large monolith. We enclosed balconies to add square footage inside units and created, through changing the plane of the building and a lot of changes in colors and textures, a dramatic change in the building. And it sits on the hill, so it has an impact on the neighborhood. Our goal was to turn it from what was something that really stuck out as an eyesore and a drain to something that is almost a flagship. Through its colors, it symbolizes a renewal to the neighborhood.”
Floors one through seven are dedicated to seniors, with 5,000 square feet of community space, including a health-care suite, convenience store, hair salon, computer lab, movie room, event room and laundry room, in addition to TV/reading rooms at each level.
The top five floors are reserved for working families with exercise rooms or reading rooms on every floor. All of these apartments have full-size washers and dryers. Many have views of parkland and the nation’s capital.
“The spaces are really defined separately, which we expect over time will begin to merge, but for the launching and repositioning, we felt it was important that seniors felt they had the security of having space,” Joseph notes.
Every apartment at The Overlook has Energy Star appliances and low-flow faucets. All residents will have access to three acres of green space with a walking path, tot lot and outdoor terrace area, a credit union with ATM service and access-controlled parking.
Currently, the property is about 50 percent leased; CPDC hopes to reach 75 percent by the end of the year and 100 percent by the second quarter of 2010.