As published on washingtoncitypaper.com
By 2020, River Terrace could see nearly five dozen units of affordable housing where an empty parking lot now sits, near Benning Road NE.
The Neighborhood Development Company on Tuesday submitted a planned unit development application to the D.C. Zoning Commission, seeking to build a 59-unit multifamily building at 3450 Eads St. NE., including atop what’s currently a public alley. The filing, first picked up by UrbanTurf, indicates that all of the project’s units would be set aside for tenants earning less than 50 percent of the area median income (in 2015, $109,000 for a family of four). The building would contain a total 68,000 square feet within a site measuring 18,000 square feet. At its maximum height, it would be five stories tall, and step down to three stories across from two-story houses to its west.
NDC’s filing notes that the proposed location is desirable because of the expected eastward extension of the D.C. streetcar as well as the eventual redevelopment of the old Pepco station that abuts the Anacostia River behind elevated Metro tracks. (More about the latter here.)
“Approximately 500 feet from the Property, north of Benning Road NE is Pepco’s 77-acre Benning Service Center. The Benning Service Center is the site of the former Benning Power Plant, which was closed in 2012. Pepco continues to maintain a presence at this location, and it’s website indicates that approximately 700 employees work there today. With the closure of the Plant, there are likely to be signifcant economic development opportunities on this site near the Property in the future.”
As for existing public transit, 3450 Eads St. NE is roughly half a mile from the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail station and within a quarter mile of the X1, X2, X3, and X4 Metrobus routes. Between it and Benning Road NE lie vacant and commercial lots; to its east an empty public lot.
NDC’s filing comes as D.C. faces significant affordability challenges, particularly among low-income workers and people of color. This isn’t lost on the developer, which says in its application that “the Project’s creation of additional rental housing supply… is generally viewed as addressing one of the direst needs in the District: affordable housing.” It continues: “The addition of residents to the neighborhood will contribute to the customer base for nearby retail and service establishments, provide ‘eyes on the street’ along a currently vacant stretch of Eads Street NE, and send an important signal of private investment in new development along Benning Road NE east of the Anacostia River.”