Hill East Boys and Girls Club Development is back on track – Here’s A Rare Look Inside– Photo Essay
By Larry Janezich
Friday afternoon, ANC 6B Commissioner Daniel Ridge and two DMPED Project managers, Dion Townley and Anna Shapiro, led a group of nearby neighbors on a tour of the just-begging-to-be-developed Hill East Boys and Girls Club. Last September, during a Hill East walk-about by the Mayor http://bit.ly/2cl30XW, Bowser pledged to work with CM Allen and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) to move the stalled project forward. A previous effort by the Department of General Services (DGS) to redevelop the building failed owing in large part to unhappiness in the community that the plan did not include mixed housing. That was the direct result of DGS’s standard 25 year lease limitations which precluded private financing, leaving Low Income Tax Credit Housing financing as the only option. Under DMPED, the lease can be much longer; the land for the Hine Development was leased to Eastbanc for 99 years.
Co-Project Manager Anna Shapiro told the group that there are no preconceptions regarding how the building could be repurposed, but, “DMPED is in business of creating jobs, economic development and affordable housing. We need to leverage the economic value to do the renovation.” She added, “If there is historic value we’ll work with Historic Preservation.”
According to CM Charles Allen, the new development scheme will unfold under the provisions of the “OUR Request for Proposals” (RFP) procedure. DMPED anticipates two public meetings – one in late January and one in late February to receive input from the community. DMPED will then write and release an RFP in March or April. After four to six months for review – during which ANC6B would weigh in with its recommendation – DMPED would make a selection.
After the tour, Ridge said he was not wedded to the idea of converting to a housing project and speculated that a community center along the lines of Hill Center would add a lot to the community. Former ANC Commissioner Frances Campbell, long active on this issue, is pressing for the project to be developed into senior and affordable housing, both of which are becoming scarce in Hill East.