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Affordable Renewal: Breaking Ground At Capitol Quarter

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[All photos by Gerry Suchy]

"Today is a day of miracles," said D.C. Housing Authority Director Adrianne Todman. That may be an overstatement, but the groundbreaking of The Lofts at Capitol Quarter was certainly a milestone. For starters, it's the first project in the city where the D.C. Housing Authority has acted as a co-developer. Even projects in which the government agency has been heavily involved have had other companies or beneficiaries flexing the creative and financial muscle. The MetroTowns at Parkside, for instance, was the vision of late Verizon Center magnate, Abe Pollin.

Additionally, the thirty-nine affordable apartments in this new building is another step toward replacing the 707 affordable units from the Capper/Carrollsburg buildings that had been demolished. Todman stated that those old apartments "did not allow [the occupants] to live a life of dignity."

The decision to make this building mixed income was definitely intentional and Mayor Vince Gray and Councilman Tommy Wells each spoke to the importance of making D.C. a realistic place to live for the people who make up the city's foundation. Gray recognized that this was no grand "Mission Accomplished" and said that there would need to be eight or nine more projects like this one in order to finally bring back all of the 707 demolished units that the city promised to replace. But when some of the elderly former residents came back to help with the site's groundbreaking, it was a heartwarming moment.