Housing Complex

Federal Money Trickles Down to Petworth

Webster Gardens, about to get a facelift. (Enterprise Community Partners)

Webster Gardens, about to get a facelift. (Enterprise Community Partners)

Some feel-good news for Friday, hey? So, there’s a building up on Webster Street in Petworth that has been looking for money to renovate for several years now. Enterprise Community Partners, a national group that’s doing good work to preserve affordable housing east of the river, gave them a small pre-development loan a few years ago to get started, but tight credit markets made finding the rest of the money impossible.

Last October, the Obama administration announced that it would be helping out state housing finance agencies with their liquidity problems, and this January, D.C. was awarded $193 million under the program. Last month, D.C. became the first housing finance agency in the country to close a multi-deal transaction using the federal dollars, patching together $55.8 million in construction costs for three rental buildings in the district.

The 52-unit Webster Gardens, which was built in 1921 as the first garden-style apartment building in the city, will now be the first building in the city—and therefore the country!—to move forward using money that started with legislation all the way back in 2008. The project breaks ground on Monday afternoon, with some city brass and maybe Eleanor Holmes Norton. Expect warm fuzzies.

UPDATE, Saturday 7:20 a.m.: If Mayor Fenty shows up, he'll have had a groundbreaking day. On Monday morning, he's also scheduled to bust out the shovels on another affordable housing project that's gotten federal help: William C. Smith Co.'s Sheridan Terrace in Anacostia, financed through the department of Housing and Urban Development.