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Mayor Bowser Moves the District One Step Closer to Using DOPA to Preserve Affordable Housing for DC Residents

Friday, May 3, 2019
After a Decade-Long Wait, Mayor Bowser Announces List of 40 Pre-Qualified Developers That Can Purchase Properties on District’s Behalf

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that her Administration is one step closer to using its authority under the District Opportunity to Purchase Act (DOPA) to preserve more affordable housing for Washingtonians. The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has released a list of 40 pre-qualified developers to which the Mayor may assign the District’s purchase right.

“Our housing goals are bold and ambitious, and to meet them, we know we have to use every tool available and seize every opportunity to preserve quality, affordable housing for our residents. By moving forward with DOPA, we’re able to do both,” said Mayor Bowser. “Now that we have DOPA regulations in place and an impressive list of pre-qualified developers, we can finally begin using this long-awaited and much-needed tool.”

The DOPA law was enacted in 2008 and requires rental property owners to provide the District with the opportunity to purchase housing accommodations consisting of five or more rental units, as long as at least 25 percent are deemed affordable. DOPA allows the District to purchase at-risk or problem affordable housing properties that an owner is offering for sale to other potential buyers, but only after the tenants have been unable or have chosen not to exercise their Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) rights within the prescribed timelines.

Final rules that became effective in November 2018 provide that the Mayor may assign the District’s purchase right to a developer. The developer list resulted from a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) issued by DHCD in November. The developers had to show demonstrated commitment and successful experience in preserving affordable housing in the District.

“As her first term started, Mayor Bowser convened the DC Housing Preservation Strike Force, which developed an action to include the implementation of DOPA,” said DHCD Director Polly Donaldson, who also chaired the Mayor’s Strike Force. “At the end of her first term, we finalized regulations—after a 10 year wait—and issued the developer-assignee RFQ. Now, as her second term begins, we’ve finalized the developer list and will start using DOPA as another tool in the Mayor’s toolbox of innovative affordable housing strategies.”

Under DOPA, which generally runs parallel to TOPA, the District government reviews sale offers for properties with five or more units, and subsequent DOPA notices, to determine if the property likely qualifies for DOPA as well as the District’s interest in exercising its opportunity to purchase. If the Mayor submits a Statement of Interest to the seller and tenants of DOPA-eligible properties, DHCD will also issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) that pre-qualified developers will respond to. If DHCD receives acceptable responses, it will select the most qualified proposal but will only publicly announce the results if the tenants have been unable or have chosen not to exercise their TOPA rights. If this occurs, the developer-assignee has a limited time in which to negotiate a purchase agreement under DOPA.

The list of DOPA pre-qualified developers includes:

  1. AHC Inc.
  2. Banneker Ventures
  3. Bernstein Management
  4. CIH Property
  5. Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC)
  6. Dantes Partners
  7. Edmonson & Gallagher Property Services
  8. Equity Plus
  9. EYA Homes
  10. Fairstead Affordable
  11. Housing Up Development
  12. Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners
  13. Key Urban/Lincoln Westmoreland Housing
  14. Linden Property Group
  15. MANNA
  16. MED Developers
  17. Marshall Heights Community Development Organization
  18. Montgomery Housing Partnership
  19. Mi Casa
  20. Michaels Development Company
  21. National Caucus and Center on Black Aging Housing Development Corporation of the District of Columbia (NCBA - HDC)
  22. Neighborhood Development Company
  23. NHP Foundation
  24. NHT Communities
  25. Northern Real Estate Ventures
  26. NOVO Properties
  27. Non-profit Community Development Corporation of Washington D.C. Inc. (NPCDC)
  28. Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
  29. Rosewood Strategies
  30. Solid Properties
  31. SOME
  32. Somerset Development
  33. Standard Communities
  34. The Community Builders, Inc.
  35. Telesis Corporation
  36. TK Holdings
  37. Urban Investment Partners (UIP)
  38. Wesley Housing Development Corporation
  39. Washington Housing Conservancy
  40. WINN Development

Bowser Administration’s Commitment to Affordable Housing

Since 2015, the Bowser Administration has delivered 7,200 units of affordable housing using a variety of local and federal funding resources, including an unprecedented annual investment of $100 million into the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF). At the start of her second term, Mayor Bowser set a bold goal to deliver an additional 36,000 units of housing—including at least 12,000 units of affordable housing—by 2025. In addition, the Mayor has called on the entire region to work together to produce 240,000 additional housing units.

In the Mayor’s recently released Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal, she increased the annual investment in the HPTF by 30 percent, to $130 million; increased her investment in the Housing Preservation Fund from $10 million to $15 million, which will yield an additional $45 million in private investment; and created a new $20 million Workforce Housing Fund to provide more affordable housing for middle-income workers – such as teachers, first responders, social workers – in the District.