Columbia Heights Village
CASHC was formed in 1975 by All Souls Church Unitarian Non-profit Housing Corporation (an arm of All Souls Church Unitarian) and Change Economic Development Corporation, representing a local social service organization, CHANGE, to obtain federal funds to develop affordable housing on land devastated by the1968 DC civil disruptions following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
CASHC collaborated with Metro Development Corporation and ZPZ Joint Venture to form 14th Street Associates to develop Columbia Heights Village (CHV), a 406-unit affordable housing complex on seven (7) acres of prime real estate in the Columbia Heights neighborhood controlled by DC’s Redevelopment Land Agency.
At that time, the Columbia Heights neighborhood was not going through the “gentrification” process it is undergoing today, perhaps some foresighted individuals predicted what is happening now, but it’s doubtful any of the founders of CASHC, also the “grandfathers and grandmothers” of CHV, could have predicted the extent of the “gentrification” process and the resultant increase in value of the 406 unit CHV affordable housing community.
CASHC represented the “community interest” stakeholder and was responsible for developing management policies within the federal regulations for Section 236 properties. The other two partners were the general managers responsible for financing and development. Subsequent to construction of the complex, the 14th Street Associates sold its financial interest to Lend Lease Corporation. CASHC continued its community oversight function and management of the property by the Edgewood Management Corporation.
When the original financing arrangements for Columbia Heights Village matured in 2001, CASHC collaborated with Clark Realty Capital and Boston Financial (a Lend Lease successor) to use Low Income Housing Tax Credits to finance the property. In this arrangement, CASHC formed a new wholly owned for-profit entity Change All Souls Development, Inc. (CASDI). The new partnership Clark (89%) and CASDI (11%) became the General Managing Partner. Clark was responsible for management of the property and CASDI had major responsibility as the Community General Partner for resident services.
As part of a refinancing of the property in 2012 to get better interest rates, $5 million was set aside for improvements the residents wanted in the property, including a new 1st-floor community space. The residents now have over 5000 sq. ft. of modern space to accommodate community and social events and includes computer work stations and a community kitchen area.
Written into the partnership agreement with Clark Realty were provisions to allow CASDI and the CHV Tenants Association to buy the Clark interest when tax credit financing matured in 2017. The CHV Tenants Association could buy 39% of Clark’s 89% interest for $100, and CASDI had the right to buy out the rest of Clark interests at market rate. In addition, CASHC had a right of first refusal in case any other buyers for the property came along.
As the tax credit maturity date approached, CASHC conducted a search process for a suitable partner to replace Clark. In 2016, with the help of the CHV Tenants Association, CASHC selected the non-profit NHP Foundation to become the new partner. By the end of 2017, the Clark buyout was executed and a restructured partnership was put in place with the NHP Foundation the managing partner with 50% interest, the CHV Tenants Association with 25% interest and significant approval rights in the property, and CASHC entities retaining the remaining 25% interest. With the new partnership in place, the affordability provisions for this property are assured into the foreseeable future. When the current mortgage on the CHV property matures in 2022, there will be an opportunity for refinancing in a way to bring about significant rehabilitation of the current property and possible development of additional affordable housing. This “Landmark” fully implements the vision CASHC’s “grandmothers and grandfathers” had many years ago of CHV residents having a “seat at the table” where they live and conduct their daily affairs.
Other CASHC development work include two projects designed to help upgrade the Columbia Heights neighborhood by selling units at market rate. A small apartment house in the 2800 block of 15th Street NW was redeveloped into 6 condominiums in the late 1980s. Town houses on University Place NW were redeveloped into 12 condominium units in the late 1990s. The CASHC partner on at least one of these units was the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights. After the sale of the properties, CASHC had no remaining financial interest or continuing responsibility for these two projects.
CASHC provided a low interest $150,000 loan to Jubilee Housing to support them in their pre-development to preserve an apartment known as The Maycroft, a property if not preserved for affordable rental housing in this “Hot” DC market would surely have been “gentrified” for higher income wage earners.
Volunteers and participants of the Winter Tournament of Games in 2013