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New life for long-stalled apartment building in Anacostia

The future Bowen Apartments, 2620 Bowen Rd SE

Floor plans

Floor plans

Neighborhood Development Company is planning a 41-unit apartment building on a vacant lot near Barry Farm in Southeast, picking up where the lot's previous owner, a registered nurse who envisioned a building for senior citizens, left off.

Shilda Frost-Labule purchased the lot at 2620 Bowen Rd SE over a decade ago, according to city records, and a proposal for a 37-unit, affordable senior building was approved by D.C.'s Board of Zoning Adjustment back in 2007. Since then, it's unclear what stalled the project this long but the property remains a vacant lot. (Affordable housing financing is notoriously difficult, as can be seen by the many other slow-to-market affordable projects in the area--affordable housing developers deliver about a tenth of the units that market-rate developers can in the same time.)

At any rate, Neighborhood Development Company, the contract purchaser of the property and the developer of a number of projects throughout the city), has received Board of Zoning Adjustment approval to go ahead with a slightly modified version of Frost-Labule's plans. The building now has 41 apartment units, 36 one-bedrooms, three two-bedrooms, and two three-bedrooms. It's still going to be reserved for low-income tenants, in this case those making up to 55% of the area median income, though it's no longer reserved for seniors only. 

NDC had sought BZA approval to build approximately half of the otherwise required parking spaces; the lot is within walking distance of the Anacostia metro station. 

As part of the BZA's approval of the project NDC has agreed to provide 21 bike parking spaces and install a flat-screen TV in the building's lobby that will show real-time Metro information.

NDC was not immediately available to comment on the project's timeline now that it's been approved by the BZA.

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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