Former D.C. Public Housing Neighborhood Renovated Into Suburban-Style, Mixed-Use Community

By Erin Brereton, Content ManagerWashington, D.C.–The former site of homebuilder A&R Companies’ new Capitol Gateway development in Washington, D.C. contained affordable townhomes and apartments for families and senior citizens. But the development also was home to some unwelcome residents–crime, drugs and poverty.”It was a rather large site and was infamous,” says A&R founder Theo C. Rodgers. “Public housing has deteriorated all over the country; Washington is no exception.”Enter A&R and development partner the Henson Development Company Inc. (THC), who together have converted one of Washington D.C.’s most notorious urban areas into a new suburban-style neighborhood with rental, for-sale and retail space. The site is located two city blocks from the Capitol Heights Metro Station and adjacent to East Capitol Street, a main point of entry from Maryland’s Prince George’s County, The newly constructed Capitol Gateway community includes nearly 230 duplexes, townhomes and single-family homes, as well as 21,000 square feet of planned retail space, and is part of the HOPE VI federal grant program, designed to replace distressed public housing with improved real estate. A&R received a $30 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to cover social costs, such as relocating families during construction, and development expenses. “We’ve been able to write down the price of rental units into an affordable range for families,” Rodgers says. “We moved the range from people making 40 to 50 percent of the median income up to people making to 80 percent.”Capitol Gateway has 142 for-sale properties and 86 rental residences, including seven handicapped-accessible “grand homes” that contain four units and are fashioned to look like single-family homes.Standard features in each home include granite countertops, 9-foot ceilings, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. In addition, A&R provided off-street parking for almost all the housing units–just one of the touches included to make Capitol Gateway feel less like a city and more like a c