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The District of Columbia Housing Authority broke ground on the estimated $11 million community building for the Capitol Quarter community, located on 5th Street between K and L streets in Southeast on August 20. The LEED Gold facility should be complete by November 2015.

“This is an event about the community,” said DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman at the ceremony. “We’ve been working with the community on what programs are important for their facility and how you make housing into a viable community.”

“This site will verify all of our work,” Todman said.

Some 475 community members participated in a survey this spring that showed the surrounding neighborhood would benefit from a gym, day care center, multipurpose rooms of varying sizes, and an indoor soft play area. Of those who answered the survey, 86 percent reported living within a half mile of the building.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray thanked DCHA for making the area near the Navy Yard more “economically integrated” and bringing amenities in an area that lacked that diversity before.

“This development will continue that,” he told the crowd of community members. “No other city has used HOPE VI [grants] like this city has.”

One of the largest HOPE VI projects in the nation, Capitol Quarter is the result of DCHA leveraging a $34.9 million grant in 2001 with public and private dollars for a total of more than $581 million to create more than 1,700 rental and homeownership units, office and retail space, and this community center. DCHA committed to rebuilding the 707 affordable units that were previously part of the now demolished Capper/Carrollsburg development. About 270 units remain to be built.

The Capitol Quarter development is part of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s plan, said Marvin Turner, HUD Mid-Atlantic Field Office Director.

“We use housing as a platform to improve people’s quality of life,” he said. The new community building will help “individuals to become neighbors, and neighbors to become united.”

Thomas M. Gallas, vice president of Torti Gallas Urban Inc. the primary developer in Capitol Quarter, credited the community and DCHA for having “a tremendous vision for what this community could be” back when this project began in the 1990s. The transformation of the area is “a result of a collaboration of people over so many years.”

Last modified: 12/30/2014 4:41:09 PM