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: In 2018, 32 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. In 2019, an online auction of 10 sites is occurring May 10 - May 15.
- Action 2—Supporting Small Business to Spur Homeownership: Participants in the District’s Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program bid on contracts to turn four 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 expanded and preserved green space in four locations in the District.
- Action 5—Seeing a Tiny House in Action: A site in the Deanwood neighborhood of Ward 7 has a tiny home demonstration and community education project in partnership with the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation, featuring a tiny house and a Minim House built by students in the Academy of Construction and Design at IDEA Public Charter School in Northeast DC.
Some activities that occurred after the initial launch of Vacant to Vibrant DC include:
- DHCD held informational meetings for the public on January 9-10, 2018.
- Advertising began in December, 2017 for the first Online auction, 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 followed 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 were 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. The agreement with the partners closed in October 2018. DHCD issued contracts in September 2018 to two CBEs to renovate vacant buildings into affordable housing: Katco was awarded 4404 Foot Street NE, 2805 4th Street NE and 2412 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. H.E.P. was awarded 850 19th Street NE
- DHCD signed four easements on September 21, 2018 with Casey Trees that conserved valuable green space in the District. Signage was posted to identify the sites.
- On September 24, 2018 Mayor Bowser kicked off #RootstoRoofs Housing Week, by unveiling two tiny homes as part of the demonstration project at 1109 50th Place NE.
- On March 26, 2019, during March Madness, DHCD announced a new online auction from May 10 to May 15 2019 that will dispose of 10 properties. A pre-bid meeting was held April 17. The auction site went live for property viewing on April 22 at http://dhcd.alexcooper.com.
- How does bidding occur on the auction properties? Details are available at http://dhcd.alexcooper.com.
- Who develops the properties? That varies depending on who bid on the auction and responded to the CBE procurement.
- Did 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 did CBEs learn about the open procurements? DHCD announced the procurements.
- Is this low income housing? No, it will be affordable and workforce housing. 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].