Dantes Partners Wins Battle for Justice Park
Dantes Partners is doing well with District properties lately. The seven-year-old developer–which appears to have no website–has a piece of the Hine School redevelopment, Vida Senior Center in Brightwood, the West End properties, and a 44-unit residential bulding on Chapin Street. They even served as development consultant on the Peaceoholics' ill-starred project at 1300 Congress Street. The connections may help: Dantes principal Buwa Binitie formerly managed the New Communities Initiative for the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and currently serves on the board of the D.C. Housing Finance Agency.
Today, the Mayor's office announced that Dantes Partners, along with a team including Capital Construction Enterprises and the Perdomo Group, won the right to develop Justice Park on the 1400 block of Euclid Street. Collectively known as Euclid Community Partners, they won out over three other proposals, using mostly the selling point of affordable housing: The $11.5 million building's 37 rental units will all be priced between 30 and 60 percent of area median income. At a photo op this afternoon, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Valerie Santos made sure to plug the Mayor Adrian Fenty's commitment to affordable housing, which he's taken a beating over lately.
In addition, the development team will contribute to ongoing maintenance at the empty lot across the street, slated to become a community garden. Omar Karim's Banneker Ventures had been chosen for the $750,000 project, but ran into some muck when Banneker's contracts came under question this winter. According to a spokeswoman from the Mayor's office, Banneker and partner Regan Associates are still on the job, which is now out to bid for an architect.
The Justice Park building is expected to break ground in 2012, after more community engagement to refine the design. Local community associations have already provided positive feedback, and ANC 1B gave it the thumbs up a few months ago, says Chair Gail Anderson Holness. She didn't have a lot to say when Housing Complex asked her why the Dantes proposal won out, though.
"It was because they had a better offering, and they were more in tune with what the community wanted," Holness said. She also mentioned the high level of affordability the project offered. "We’re one of the most diverse communities in the city, and we want to keep it that way."