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Is this the new face of mixed-income housing?

  |  November 13, 2014

There’s a dire need for affordable housing in the District, and at least among commercial real estate folks, a craving for cutting-edge architecture in this height-restrained city.

That the two would meet on a District-owned site just a half-block from NPR’s brand new headquarters in NoMa — well, it’s not necessarily a combination many would have expected. Nonetheless, that’s just the case as nonprofit Community Solutions and residential developer McCormack Baron Salazar have begun construction on a 124-unit multifamily project at 1005 N. Capitol St. NE catering to homeless veterans and others making less than the area’s median income.

Community Solutions and McCormack Baron Salazar began site work on the project about six weeks ago and celebrated the ceremonial groundbreaking of the planned John and Jill Ker Conway Residence on Monday. The project, named after the late World War II veteran and his wife, is slated to include 60 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans and another 64 affordable and low-income units. Community Solutions lead consultant Chapman Todd told me the idea was to help chip away against a shortage of affordable housing in the District and to help combat a stigma that those types of projects are an aesthetically sore fit for the surrounding community.

“This is a very important part of what we’re trying to do, to do something that’s iconic, to do something that will change people’s minds about what projects like this look and feel like, something that exceeds people’s expectations,” Todd said. “I am hopeful that there are more and more requests and focus on affordable housing that we and others in the community will be able to do.”