Former Residents and City Officials Celebrate Return of Parkway Overlook

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Mayor Muriel Bowser praised former residents for their activism in the rehabilitation of more than 200 units of affordable housing at Parkway Overlook. Photo: John Muller

Two decades before Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White (D), DC Housing Authority Executive Director Tyrone Garrett and members of the local development and faith-based communities gathered on Robinson Place SE to cut the ribbon for more than 200 units of affordable housing, former residents and co-presidents of the Parkway Overlook Tenants Association, Cynthia Eaglin and Rufaro Jenkins, say they were part of a close-knit community.

After a visit by Mayor Anthony Williams in a response to a rash of violence in the early 2000s, the privately owned buildings, tucked behind Suitland Parkway and the east campus of Saint Elizabeths, slowly became abandoned. The last occupants moved out in 2008.

The conception and completion of the DC Housing Authority’s $82.2 million rehabilitation spanned multiple mayoral administrations. It was led by former residents and nearby New Life Ministries on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and Brighter Day Ministries United Methodist Church on 12th Place SE.

Bowser praised the persistence of Eaglin, Jenkins and former tenants who alerted her to the condition of Parkway Overlook while she was serving as Ward 4 councilmember. “I was introduced to the property while talking about a seemingly unrelated Metro issue,” Bowser said. “And that’s how I learned and saw this community vacant and saw the neighborhood around it struggling with this vacant and blighted property.”

Speaking about the importance of increasing the budget for the Housing Production Trust Fund, which contributed more than $20 million for the project, Bowser said,” My administration has made affordable housing a top priority, whether by building it, preserving it or bringing it back to life as at Parkway Overlook. With the right investments, we know we can provide housing that serves families of all sizes to ensure a prosperous and inclusive DC.”

Financing Parkway Overlook
To complete the rehabilitation the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) used several funding sources, including $20.1 million from the Housing Production Trust Fund, administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development; more than $38 million in bond financing from the DC Housing Finance Agency and more than $29.5 million in anticipated equity generated from low-income housing tax credits.

Ribbon cutting last month for the DC Housing Authority’s $82 million redevelopment of the Parkway Overlook housing complex on Robinson Place SE. Photo: John Muller

According to DCHA, Wells Fargo partnered to provide construction and permanent debt financing, as well as assisting with low-income housing tax credits and solar tax-credit equity investment.

“Two things Wells Fargo believes in strongly – improving lives and strengthening communities,” said John A. Allen, of Wells Fargo’s greater Washington, DC, region at last month’s ribbon cutting. “We are proud to partner with others to make affordable housing and economic development a reality in Ward 8. To the new residents of Parkway Overlook, welcome home!”

The DCHA board of commissioners approved using 55 project-based vouchers for Parkway Overlook. The vouchers will provide a subsidy that stays with the building and does not travel with the renter, according to a DCHA release.

Rehabilitation of Parkway Overlook benefited from $5 million the DC Department of Energy & Environment awarded to DCHA for use on its properties across the city, as part of a program aiming to reduce electric bills by 50% in 100,000 low-income households by 2032. The Parkway Overlook project design includes over 2,500 solar panels and battery storage, which will allow the property to continue functioning in the event of an extended power outage. At an estimated cost of $2.7 million, the solar panels, located on rooftops and a solar farm, will generate enough energy to support half of the property’s consumption.

Unit and Community Amenities
Of the 220 fully remodeled affordable housing units of one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans, 167 are family-sized. Seventy units are move-in ready while 150 are planned to become available later this summer; 11 units will be for households at or below 30% of area median income and will be set aside as permanent supportive housing. Parkway Overlook will have 13 handicapped accessible units. All units are outfitted with a washer and dryer, energy-efficient appliances and open-concept kitchens.

A new lounge and study center is supported with a business center with computer access and Wi-Fi connection. Adjacent to the computer lab is a small fitness center with cardiovascular and weight-lifting equipment. Along with two new playgrounds and a multi-sport court, a shuttle service will be available to take residents to and from nearby shopping and destinations.

For more information on the Parkway Overlook, visit www.parkwayoverlook.com/ or call 202-525-6919.