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Mayor Bowser Welcomes Home Portner Flats Families

Thursday, May 10, 2018
Project Creates Mixed-Income Community with 96 Affordable Units, Doubling Amount from Previous Site

(Washington, DC) – Mayor Muriel Bowser today cut the ribbon on the Portner Flats Apartments, a new mixed-income, mixed-use property in the Cardozo/Shaw neighborhood of Ward 1. With the support of DC Government financing, the $43 million-project preserves existing affordable units for original tenants, doubles the amount of affordable housing to 96 units, creates new community services, and increases zoning density to incorporate market rate housing and retail.

“We know that when we add housing units, we make DC more affordable, and when we preserve housing units, we make DC more affordable – this project does both,” said Mayor Bowser. “As the District continues to grow, we will continue making the investments necessary to keep Washington, DC affordable for residents in all eight wards. Today, we are proud to welcome back the original tenants who worked with us to make this fantastic Portner Flats project possible.”

The Portner Flats site once housed Portner Place, a 48-unit, garden-style building created under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program and had suffered from neglect. After the tenants invoked their rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act to purchase the building, it was redeveloped by a joint venture team of Somerset Development Company, New Community Partners, and Jonathan Rose Companies. The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) provided a $2.4 million acquisition loan through the Housing Production Trust Fund, and the DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) issued $27 million in tax exempt bonds and $14.5 million in equity through the syndication of 4-percent low-income housing tax credits.

All residents of the original 48 apartments were provided relocation apartments during the 18-month demolition and construction process as well as a guaranteed return to the new building. With construction complete, more than 75 percent of the original residents are now returning to their brand-new, modern, energy-efficient apartments.

The Portner Flats feature: 

  • ninety-six units of affordable housing—double the amount from the old site—with 48 units at 50 percent of the Median Family Income (MFI, $58,600 in 2018) and the balance at-or-below 60 percent MFI ($70,320 in 2018);
  • a new playground, community garden, community spaces, a computer lab, and a fitness room as well as computer and job training services and after-school and senior programs;
  • a new 288-unit building with market rate housing; and,
  • ground floor retail. 

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the District for the Portner Flats project from its inception,” said Somerset Development Company Principal James Campbell. “Without the unwavering commitment and financing from DHCD, DCHFA, and the Office of Planning, and the Mayor’s office, Portner Flats could not have preserved and expanded affordable housing at Portner.”

Since coming into office, the Bowser Administration has sparked the creation or preservation of more 10,800 affordable units, with another 5,200 in preconstruction. In the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, the Mayor invested more than $1 billion toward making Washington, DC more affordable for residents in all eight wards.