Work Begins On DC Transit-Oriented Apartments

Urban Atlantic and A&R Development Corp. have broken ground on a transit-oriented mixed-use development.

Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Washington, D.C.–Urban Atlantic and A&R Development Corp. have broken ground on a transit-oriented mixed-use development at the Rhode Island Metro Station in northeast Washington D.C. The developers say that the $107 million project is the first in the United States to combine HUD multifamily financing with New Markets tax credit equity. Other financing sources for the project include the District of Columbia, US Bank, the Low Income Investment Fund and Mid-City Community CDE, an affiliate of Urban Atlantic.

The development includes 274 apartments, 70,000 square feet of street-level retail and a new Metro commuter garage for the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) awarded rights to the 8.5-acre site in 2001 to the joint venture through competitive-bid solicitation. Funds from the long-term lease of the property will be contributed to WMATA’s Transit Investment Infrastructure Fund to assist local governments with improvements to the Metrobus and Metrorail system.

Rhode Island Station will offer various amenities, including a business center, clubhouse, pool, fitness center, fire-pit and outdoor lounging areas. Two private garages will be built along with the garage for Metro commuters. The commuter garage is slated to open in the summer of 2011, with the residential and retail parts of the development opening in the spring of 2012.

“The housing is targeted at a broad market sector and offers flexibility for a variety of household sizes, including singles, couples, roommates and small families,” Vicki Davis, president of Urban Atlantic, tells MHN. The goal of the project, she adds, is to create a 24/7 town center in the heart of the Rhode Island Avenue corridor on Metro’s Red Line.

The market-rate apartments will be priced to attract households earning from the high $30,000s to over $120,000 a year. Twenty percent of the development will be affordable units, without any housing subsidies.

“Large nearby employers include the Washington Hospital Center complex with over 13,000 employees, Catholic, Howard, and Gallaudet Universities with over 27,000 employees, and the NOMA business district, which has over 2 million square feet of office space and which houses many federal agencies,” notes Davis. “Many of these employees, faculty, and students are a target market for the Rhode Island Station rental apartments.”

The development’s retail space will be adjacent to a Home Depot/Giant Foods-anchored shopping center, and sport a mix of national and local restaurants, neighborhood convenience stores, and a satellite office of the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles. The developers are reserving 10 percent of the retail space for local businesses to ensure that community retailers will be represented in the retail mix.