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Portner Place project will add 50 units of affordable apts and hundreds of market-rate units to U St

Preliminary rendering for the new Portner Place building fronting U St

Portner Place, a residential development in the U Street Historic District, is tentatively scheduled to begin construction on one of its two buildings in 2015 and open in late 2016. The second building tentatively begins construction in 2016 and opens in 2018.

“We are going through the approval process now,” says Jim Campbell, principal at Somerset Development Company, which is partnering with New Community Partners, Jonathan Rose Companies and the Rose Green Cities Fund on the project.

“We hope to submit plans to the planning and zoning commission by the end of the month,” he says of the estimated $140 million project. The Historic Preservation Review Board, which looked at the project as it falls within the U Street Historic District, gave its stamp of approval to the project March 27.

Located at 1441 to 1449 U Street NW, the project involves the demolition of the existing Portner Place building, then construction on the 1.1-acre lot of two separate buildings that will share common amenities like an underground parking garage and an interior courtyard.

 “We are using the strength of the market to help subsidize the affordable housing,” says Campbell.

For the present, Campbell refers to the two buildings as U and V because of the orientation of the lot.

The V building, located on V Street, will begin construction in 2015.  It is eight stories high and will have 90 to 100 affordable housing units, more than doubling the 48 units in the Portner Place Apartments it is replacing. The families who have been living in the apartments will be relocated during construction, then return to the building upon its completion.

“We’ve been working hand in hand with the Portner Place Tenant Association” on the project, says Campbell. “They have been our partners on this since 2008.”

The U building, located on U Street, will begin construction in 2016. It will be 11 stories high and will have 250 to 270 market-rate units. There will be retail, possibly a restaurant, on the ground floor. Campbell says there will be a few studios but mostly one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Read more articles by Barbara Pash.

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