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Mission First completes renovations of NE DC apartments

Dahlgreen Courts after renovation

The long renovation of Dahlgreen Courts, a two-building apartment complex in Brookland, is 100 percent occupied and nearly finished, save for some "finishing touches" on basement community space, Mission First Housing Development Corp.'s Elizabeth Askew confirms. An official ribbon-cutting will take place in a few months.

During the economic downturn, Dahlgreen Courts was "falling apart...there were a lot of issues around security in the building," Askew says. Only a third of the units were occupied.

But when the owner of the buildings planned to sell, the remaining residents rallied, Askew says. They contacted the Harrison Institute at Georgetown Law, which contacted Mission First, which matched the other offer on the property.

In 2011, development finally started, with no residents displaced in the meantime.

"It worked well for us when we bought the building that it was only partially occupied," Askew says. "We were able to empty out one building at a time," moving residents from one side to the other while work was being done.

Where possible, the new units retained their old finishings--cabinets, hardwood floors, and so on. "I think everyone that saw the residences is excited" about how nice they look now, Askew says.

Under the deal the tenants struck with Mission First, the existing residents pay 30 percent of their income towards rent. The remainder are reserved for individuals and families making less than 60 percent of area median income.

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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