The District’s executive and legislative branches do not see eye to eye on how to bring run-down, city-owned properties back into good use.
Amid a rash of bills considered Tuesday, local lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that would permit a D.C.-based nonprofit to take ownership of, and rehab, four such homes in Anacostia. The two-story houses, situated in the neighborhood’s historic district, have remained derelict for years, even as investment in east of the river communities has gradually flowed in. One recent marker of that paradigm shift: Busboys and Poets will soon open a location on a central stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, where a furniture store used to be.
Neighbors have long bemoaned the sorry state of the four homes, especially because they are managed by the District government. The Department of Housing and Community Development holds them in a portfolio administered by the agency’s Property Acquisition and Disposition Division, or PADD, whose mission is to ensure blighted and vacant houses become livable again. PADD oversees more than 160 properties, just under half of which are in Ward 8, and more than a dozen of which are within the Anacostia Historic District.
On October 6, 2016 The L’Enfant Trust testified before DC Council’s Committee of Housing and Community Development on proposed legislation, B21-0837, the “Historic Preservation of Derelict District Properties Act of 2016.”
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8A that represents neighborhoods East of the River, including Historic Anacostia, unanimously supported B21-0837, the “Historic Preservation of Derelict District Properties Act of 2016” at its October 4, 2016 meeting. To read ANC 8A’s letter to DC Council’s Committee on Housing and Community Development, click here.
WUSA 9 interviews residents of Historic Anacostia and The L’Enfant Trust on a plan to help revitalize four vacant homes.
Washington’s ABC7 reports on the proposed bill that would allow the DC government to give four blighted houses it owns in Anacostia to The L’Enfant Trust.
2016 AWARDEE – $100,000 FROM THE 1772 FOUNDATION
With this generous award in hand, and the Trust’s completion of its first two rehabilitation projects we invite our city’s agencies – who own or control deteriorating properties in historic Anacostia – to join us in taking action to reclaim these historic assets and to honor the protected status that city preservation laws bestowed on them.
Anacostia has a rich history and its historic district boasts some of Washington’s oldest buildings, but disinvestment in Anacostia over several decades has left many of its historic buildings in very poor shape. They are eyesores in the community, pose safety concerns, serve as magnets for criminal activity and drain city resources. So far there has not been an effective mechanism in place to rehabilitate them and return them to the community, leaving the impression in the community and beyond that the city is doing nothing and is purposely allowing the deterioration to get to the point of no return.
Allowing historic buildings to fall down is not an option for a city that respects its past.
To view press release, click here.
Want to see how other preservation non-profits help cities around the country address their vacant blighted historic properties? Watch here >
The L’Enfant Trust’s Historic Properties Redevelopment Program Receives 2015 Preservation Award
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – On Wednesday, May 6th, the D.C. Office of Planning’s (OP) Historic Preservation Office and the DC Preservation League presented the winners of the Annual District of Columbia Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall.
“Washington boasts an astounding number of protected historic resources including more than 730 individual landmarks and over 25,000 protected buildings within 58 historic districts. As a result, historic preservation has a tremendously positive impact on the economic vitality and livability of our nation’s capital,” said Rebecca Miller, Executive Director of DCPL. “The District of Columbia Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation highlights exceptional projects for their rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of a structure while maintaining its historic character, or program that has an educational impact on the public.”
Awardees include a homeowner project on Capitol Hill, outreach and education by residents, creative design and construction projects in all four wards of the city, the District’s first Historic Properties Redevelopment Program, stewardship of one of Washington’s privately held mansions, recognition of efforts at Saint Elizabeths and the lifetime achievement of one of Washington’s most ardent historic preservation advocates. “Since 2003, the District government has honored over 170 outstanding projects, programs and individuals for exemplary work and commitment to historic preservation in Washington, D.C. This year’s awards recognize more than 40 individuals, businesses, District agencies and local organizations”, noted David Maloney, State Historic Preservation Officer.
Complete List of 2014 Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation Winners:
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
- Northeast Neighborhood Library, 330 7th Street, NE: Rehabilitation of a District-owned neighborhood library. District of Columbia Public Library; Bell Architects; Vines Architecture, Inc.; Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
- Clara Barton Apartment and Missing Soldiers Office, 437 7th Street NW: Restoration, rehabilitation and interpretation of a mid-19th century commercial building that served as Clara Barton’s apartment and Mission Soldiers Office. U.S. General Services Administration; National Museum of Civil War Medicine; OLBN, Inc.; Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC; Andrea G. Mones, AIC – Building Knowledge; EverGreene Architectural Arts; Oak Grove Restoration Company; Daniel W. Mattausch, American Gaslight Gallery/Upton Studios
- House of Lebanon/Margaret Murray Washington School, 27 O Street NW: Adaptive reuse of a former DC Public School building as 82 units of affordable senior housing. Mission First Housing Group; UrbanMatters Development Partners; Mount Lebanon Community DC; Cunningham|Quill Architects; EHT Traceries; Hamel Builders, Inc.
- Mekane Hiwot Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church/Old Fire Engine Company: 26 (Langdon Firehouse), 2715 22nd Street NE: Adaptive reuse of an historic firehouse for use as a church.
Mekane Hiwot Medhane Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; Benyam Zerihun, Architect; 4A Contracting Services, LLC
- Nash Residence, 300 Adolf Cluss Court SE: Adaptive reuse of a 1921 warehouse alley building into a private residence. Carl E. Nash and Undine Nash; Nelson Architects; Asset Construction Services
- The George Washington University Museum/The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street NW: Renovation and reuse of the Woodhull House with a new addition. The design of the addition respects the unique character of the historic building, while creating a 21st century museum complex. The George Washington University; The Textile Museum; Hartman-Cox Architects; Tishman Construction-An AECOM Company
- R-I-S-E Demonstration Center, 2730 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE: Adaptive reuse of the historic St. Elizabeths East Chapel to create an interim hub and community gathering space. Saint Elizabeth’s East, DC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development; Cunningham/Quill Architects: DC Dept. of General Services: GCS, Inc.
- The L’Enfant Trust – Historic Properties Redevelopment Program: The rehabilitation and return to the Anacostia community two long blighted, vacant single family homes in the Anacostia Historic District. Award accepted by Board of Trustees and Staff of The L’Enfant Trust. Completed Projects: 1347 Maple View Place, SE and 2010 14th Street, SE.
- Belmont Mansion–Eastern Star International Headquarters: 1618 New Hampshire Avenue NW: Recognition of efforts to preserve this grand Washington mansion.
The General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star; Wagner Roofing; Collins Elevator Service, Inc.; Paul Dolinsky
- A Grand Avenue Revival: Massachusetts Avenue Landscape History and Design Guide: Recognition of the production of an education booklet that describes the landscape history and design guide for Massachusetts Avenue. Restore Mass Ave; Cutting Edge Design; Gill Fishman Associates
VOLUNTEERISM AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
- Thomas W. Bower: Recognition of volunteer efforts in preservation advocacy.
- Charles H. LeeDecker: Recognition of community involvement and the District of Columbia’s understanding of Archaeology.
INDIVIDUAL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
- Sally Lichtenstein Berk: For more than 30 years of contributions towards the preservation and protection of Washington’s architectural and cultural resources.