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Vacant to Vibrant DC

The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) placed approximately half of the over 90 sites currently in its Property Acquisition and Disposition Division (PADD) inventory in some form of disposition between January 2015 and December 2017. On December 15, 2017, a five-point Vacant to Vibrant DC initiative was launched to transform the balance of that inventory into vibrant and productive solutions, such as workforce housing and creative green space, and spur economic development.

The Five Action Points of Vacant to Vibrant DC

  • Action 1—Auctioning Off to Gain Affordability: Thirty-three sites located in neighborhoods such as Bellvue (Ward 8), Carver/Langston (Ward 5), Deanwood (Ward 7), and Park View (Ward 1) were auctioned by Alex Cooper Auctioneers to produce approximately 50 workforce housing units.
  • Action 2—Supporting Small Business to Spur Homeownership: Participants in the District’s Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program will bid on contracts to turn up to eight sites, located in neighborhoods that include Anacostia (Ward 8) and Deanwood (Ward 7), into workforce housing.
  • Action 3—Building Homes Through HIP: The Housing Investment Platform, an innovative program from the DC Housing Financing Agency (DCHFA) will turn two sites in Anacostia (Ward 8) and Carver/Langston (Ward 5), into affordable housing.
  • Action 4—Expanding Green Space: This partnership with Casey Trees will expand and preserve green space in Ward 8.
  • Action 5—Seeing a Tiny House in Action: One site will house a tiny home demonstration and community education project in partnership with the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation, featuring the Minim House built by students in the Academy of Construction and Design at IDEA Public Charter School in Northeast DC.

Next Steps

Some activities that occurred after the launch of Vacant to Vibrant DC include:

  • DHCD held informational meetings for the public on January 9-10, 2018.
  • Online auction advertising began in December, a pre-bid meeting was held January 16, 2018, and the auction took place January 18-23, 2018.
    • Several initial administrative steps were fulfilled by the winning bidders after the auction ended, to include submitting deposits and signing PADD auction purchase and sale agreements.
    • Next, the bidders will follow DHCD’s usual property disposition process, which included post-bid briefings on February 27 and March 1, 2018 with DHCD and other District government agencies.
    • There will be public hearings on April 4 and April 5, 2018 DC Council review, and design review of affordable housing development plans.
  • HIP issued its request for qualifications (RFQ) seeking partners to build the housing units on December 11, 2017; the RFQ closed on January 5, 2018 and announced H2 Design Build and H.E.P Construction as the final developer partners.

Common Questions

  • How did bidding occur on the auction properties? Details are available at http://dhcd.alexcooper.com.
  • Who is developing the properties? That will vary depending on who bids on the auction and responds to the CBE procurement. 
  • Do I have to be a CBE if I am a contractor and want to participate in the procurement? Yes, visit https://dslbd.dc.gov/service/cbe-program-history for information on the District’s CBE program.
  • How do CBEs learn about the open procurements? DHCD will be announcing the procurements.
  • Is this low income housing? No, it will be the workforce housing (between 80 percent and 120 percent of the Area Median Income), like our public servants. First-time homebuyers will be prioritized. Homebuyers will have access to DHCD’s home purchase assistance programs.
  • How do I get one of the homes? Development partners can choose to submit a marketing plan for DHCD approval or use DHCD’s existing inclusionary zoning process.
  • How will I learn about the homeownership opportunities? Information will be on DHCD”s website and DCHousingSearch.org.
  • How do I ask specific questions about the Vacant to Vibrant DC process? Please send an email to [email protected]

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