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Affordable condos in Anacostia officially open

The Buxton

With Mayor Gray in attendance, Friday marks the official opening of the Buxton Condominium, the latest delivery of that rare housing breed – condos within financial reach of people earning $20,000 or $30,000 – to come available in the District.
Located at 1700-1720 W Street SE, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom units at the Buxton are nearly sold out, according to Bill Winston, chief performance officer at Manna, Inc.,

the D.C. affordable-housing developer that is overseeing the project.
“The need is good and the supply is few,” Winston says. “It is very hard to do affordable [housing] in some of the neighborhoods that have been so beautifully developed but have been gentrified in the process.”
In 2013, Manna obtained the abandoned property, thought to have been built in the 1950s, through the District government’s Property Acquisition and Disposition Division (PADD).
“It was a hulking mess,” says Winston. “It had been a rental property that had been in total collapse. It was a safety and security drain in the neighborhood.” Mere blocks away stands the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site at 1411 W Street SE.
Of the Buxton’s 24 units, says Frank Demarais, general manager of Manna’s mortgage-lending arm, ten were earmarked for families earning less than 50 percent of Washington’s Annual Median Income (AMI) of $107,300, or up to $37,000 for a one-person household. The remaining 14 were earmarked for families earning up to 80 percent of AMI, which is up to $59,000 for a one-person household. In households with more than one family member, that annual-income cap increases incrementally.
January through March 2015 is the target Manna has in mind for the first phase of homeowners to move in to the Buxton. The second phase is tentatively set for later in the spring.
Among the amenities the Buxton will feature: parking for every unit; a full-sized washer/dryer and dishwasher in every unit, EnergyStar-rated; covered back porches; and central air-conditioning.
“We upgraded the building envelope so it is much more self-contained and energy- efficient,” Winston adds.
Manna procures and develops properties, provides homeownership and financial literacy seminars to all, advocates for public policies favorable to the continued development of affordable housing and offers competitive mortgages to qualified applicants.
“We are looking for [new] things to do in Wards 7 and 8,” Winston says. “Not that we limit ourselves to Wards 7 and 8, but they are going to gentrify as much as the rest of the city has, and we want to get ahead of the curve.” He added that while Manna had been working on several affordable rental projects in recent months, he had no news regarding other PADD-acquired projects that might result in more condos coming to market. “Some things are pending,” he notes.

Read more articles by Amy Rogers Nazarov.

Amy Rogers Nazarov is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist with more than 25 years experience as a staff reporter and a freelance writer, covering technology, adoption, real estate, and lifestyle topics from food & drink to home organizing. Her byline has appeared in Cooking Light, The Washington Post, Slate, Washingtonian, The Writer, Smithsonian, The Washington Post Express, The Baltimore Examiner, The Sacramento Bee, Cure, The Washington Times, Museum, and many other outlets. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors and tweets at @WordKitchenDC.
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