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Construction of Justice Park, affordable apartments with special needs features, underway in Ward 1

Officials at the Justice Park groundbreaking ceremony

NW Corner view of building

SW Corner view of building

Construction is underway for a new five-story, 28-unit apartment building at 1421 Euclid St, NW, that will provide affordable housing specifically designed to accommodate the hard-of-hearing and deaf community.  Mayor Vincent Gray, Council Member Jim Graham and other officials joined Buwa Binitie, managing principal at Dantes Partners LLC, at the site for a groundbreaking ceremony September 20.
The building permit was received in June 2013, and Dantes Partners plans to deliver the completed building in May/June 2014.  "I anticipate the construction of a gorgeous and affordable residential facility in Ward 1," says Graham. 
Mayor Gray lauded the effort for making what he called a sought-after community—Columbia Heights—affordable.  Binitie says the building has been developed for the hard-of-hearing and deaf community who fall within the low-income household designation of between 50 to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI)—about $45,000 to $55,000 per year.  Grimm + Parker Architects developed the project and John Dickinson of Dickinson and Partners , an architectural firm that focuses on special needs programming, is the hard-of-hearing design consultant.
"This is an opportunity for people of modest means to have the means to save more of their income, live close to their work, and have access to public transportation, thereby eliminating the need for a car," says Binitie. The development will have 8 studio apartments, 16 one-bedrooms, 4 two-bedrooms, covered parking, a fitness area, and bike racks as well as a landscaped courtyard.  The Mayor praised the "video-based door buzzers, open floor plans, and alarms with strobe lights," features designed to accommodate the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, in prepared remarks.  

The city awarded the $11.5 million project to Dantes Partners, the Perdomo Group and Capital Construction Enterprises in July 2011. Now, Binitie says, the development is being handled just by Dantes Partners, which hopes to market the apartments five to six months before delivery.
The development sits on a 12,325-square-foot plot of land that previously was the site of Justice Park.  According to Mayor Gray, the decision to create the apartments actually "resulted in the opening of a better and more neighborhood friendly park, located just across the street, thanks to a land swap" between the Office of the Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Department of Parks and Recreation. 

Read more articles by Jeanne Holden.

Jeanne is a freelance journalist with broad experience covering economics, transportation and development issues for clients ranging from consulting firms and think tanks to federal agencies such as the State Department and newsletters such as The Urban Transportation Monitor.  Before freelancing, Jeanne worked as a reporter, writer, and editor for the U.S. Information Agency, a federal agency that supported U.S. foreign policy through educational and information programs.
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