Somerset, in collaboration with the 3500 14th Street, N.W. Tenant Association, completed a historic renovation of the Cavalier Apartments and preserved the affordable rents for all the tenants living there. Mayor Adrian Fenty officiated at the ribbon cutting on April 27, 2009 and the renaming of the Cavalier Apartments to “Hubbard Place” in honor of community leader Leroy Hubbard, whose career was dedicated to rebuilding 14th Street after the civil disorders of 1968.
The building, which was constructed in the late 1920’s and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a nine story mid-rise with 230 apartments along with ground floor retail and office spaces, located just blocks from the new D.C. USA retail complex, Tivoli Theater, and the Columbia Heights metro line. The renovations and the on-site resident services have transformed this once very distressed property into a vibrant new community which is safe and secure, making the property once again an asset to the neighborhood.
Hubbard Place is a model for transforming troubled, publicly assisted housing into decent and safe homes which provide a platform of opportunity for its residents. Through the collaboration of the federal government, the local government, a core of committed residents, the neighboring community and the private sector, a holistic approach has been taken to address the physical, security, social and economic needs of the property and its residents. Somerset and the tenant association collaborated from the beginning of the project on the design, the temporary relocation plan and the development of a program of services tailored to the needs of residents. The renovations included new elevators, the creation of new community spaces and a computer lab, secure access, new kitchen and baths, windows, roof, and all new common areas.
Utilizing tax exempt bonds, low income housing tax credits, Federal historic tax credits and financing from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development and D.C. Housing Authority, Somerset has made major upgrades to the building which have vastly improved the quality of life for the residents. All 230 apartments are subject to a HUD Section 8 rental assistance contract. The improvements included fire and safety code upgrades and implementation of a security plan. In 2012, Somerset contracted with Clark Energy for a new energy and water savings renovation. Renovations included: retrofitting the water fixtures in each unit with lower flow devices, replacing the hot water boiler, and installing new lighting. These retrofits are expected to produce $80,000 in annual savings in less than four years and conserve at least 5 million gallons of water, 15,500 therms of natural gas, and 56,000 kWh of electricity annually.
Three retail and office spaces for local businesses and a non-profit were created on the ground floor: Black Lion Deli and George’s Shoe repair, and the Workforce Investment-Social Entrepreneurship (WISE) program of the Latin America Youth Center. In 2012, WISE moved back to LAYC’s main offices and the owner of Black Lion Deli has expanded to create a local market featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, and Ethiopian Coffee.
Working with the tenant association and an array of partners, Somerset is instituting a broad range of social services. A resident services team on site is responsible for implementing and developing programs and partnerships. The services program is providing a platform of opportunity for residents to enhance their lives which include:
- after school and summer programs
- computer training
- senior programs
- health and wellness
- financial literacy
- social service referrals
- job training, GED study, and job placement
Through an agreement with the D.C. Housing Authority, eight of the seventeen new UFAS (handicapped) units, which were built as part of the redevelopment program, have been reserved for qualified candidates from DCHA’s waiting list. In exchange, eight housing vouchers were awarded to very large families living at Hubbard Place apartments in crowded conditions so that they could find more suitable housing off-site This agreement created a win-win situation for all involved.
Address: 3500 14th St., NW Washington, DC 20010
Number of residential units: 230
Number of retail/office units: 3
Affordability: Project Based Section 8
Awards: “District of Columbia 2012 Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation” from the DC Office of Planning; "Developments of Distinction 2009 Honorable Mention for Financial Innovation" from the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credit Housing.
Construction Costs: $17.5 million
Total Development Costs: $52.5 million
Owner: Cavalier Apartments, LP
Equity Investor: MMA Financial TC Corp.
Lender: MMA Financial TC Corp.
Issuer of Bonds and Tax Credits: DC Housing Finance Agency
Historic Tax Credits: MMA Financial TC Corp.
Subordinate Financing: DC Housing and Community Development and DC Housing Authority
Contractor: Hamel Commercial Inc.
Architect: Kann Partners
Property Management: Eagle Point Management