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Allen Chapel to unveil new affordable housing in Southeast Washington

Rendering of the new 91-unit affordable senior living facility

Allen Chapel AME Church will unveil the first phase of its senior housing project March 10 in Washington’s Naylor Gardens neighborhood. The 91-unit development, named Roundtree Residences, will have its ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 10, 15 months after breaking ground.

Located at 2515 Alabama Ave., SE, the structure features a health and fitness center, and a lounge and coffee area, among other multi-purpose spaces.

"The market showed that there’s a great need for quality affordable housing in our community," says LaRuby May, executive director for Vision of Victory CDC, about the new building. May’s development company is one of many that participated in the public-private venture valued at more than $15 million.

She adds the total project entails a total of 150 units, the remainder of which will be completed in a second phase when funding is secured.

Roundtree comprises the fifth project in the Washington metro area for Enterprise Community Partners, a faith-based non-profit that provides capital and legal assistance.

"This for us is another success story," says David Bowers, the organization’s vice president. "[This] is a great example of a house of worship really taking an act or role in trying to… provide real tangible benefits for the community at large."

Bowers says building affordable housing can be difficult in Washington’s high-priced real estate market, but in many cases houses of worship like Allen Chapel can be the solution, since they own land that is undeveloped or underdeveloped. 

"In a lot of cases that land is debt-free or it has minimal debt," he says. That reduces costs and allows religious institutions to set flexible prices. “[It's] a great example of getting a lot of the affordable housing to work in town.”

Read more articles by Luis Velarde.

Luis Velarde writes about business, investments, real estate, and urban development. His work has appeared in the BBC World Service, Voice of America and others.
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