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Barry Farms Development set to break ground!



For the longest time, not much progress was being made with the long discussed Barry Farms redevelopment. That is about to change starting this September:



DC To Begin First Phase of Barry Farm Affordable Housing Redevelopment

Mayor Approves $34 Million Bond for Construction To Start in September

By Katherine Hamilton CoStar News August 18, 2022 | 2:48 P.M.

After roughly a decade of planning and some controversy, the District of Columbia has secured financing to begin construction on its planned 900-unit Barry Farm, starting with a 108-unit affordable housing development.

Barry Farm is a historic neighborhood in Southeast D.C. that was originally established in 1867 as the first homeownership community in Washington for formerly enslaved Black residents. The site fell into disrepair by the early 2000s, but the district's current initiative aims to “return Barry Farm back to its roots of African American ownership,” according to a Wednesday announcement from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office.

This first phase, expected to start in September, is slated to include 108 units of affordable rental housing for seniors over 55 and approximately 5,000 square feet of commercial space. It’s dubbed The Asberry and will be located at 1200 Sumner Road SE across from the Barry Farm recreation center.

Financing announced Wednesday will pave the way for construction to begin this fall. The mayor approved a $34 million multifamily housing mortgage revenue bond for The Asberry, per her announcement. Additionally, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, which oversees the city’s economic development efforts, has invested roughly $43 million in funding for the project’s first phase. The majority of that financing has gone toward predevelopment and initial infrastructure costs, but $14.5 million is allotted to go directly toward The Asberry’s construction.

Barry Farm is part of the city’s New Communities Initiative, a fund to redevelop “severely distressed” subsidized housing projects. It’s been in the works for more than nine years and has faced backlash from groups such as the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association, causing the developers to cut back their plans.

Preservation of Affordable Housing, a Boston-based nonprofit organization that was selected in 2013 to co-develop the project with the D.C. Housing Authority, is currently forecasting at least 700 rental and 200 for-sale units at the site, all of which will be affordable. They are also planning about 40,000 square feet of retail and a 2.4-acre park.

This is a downsizing of the original plans, which called for 1,100 units and 50,000 square feet, according to a 2014 report by the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association. In 2018, the association successfully appealed the zoning commission’s approval of the plans, citing concerns about relocating the then-current residents at Barry Farm. Additionally, five of the buildings at Barry Farm were granted historic landmark status, protecting them from demolition and forcing the developers to reduce their scope. POAH and the Housing Authority completed the relocation of all Barry Farm residents in 2019 and demolished the existing buildings, except for the five with landmark status.

The Asberry’s construction is expected to finish in early 2024, according to the mayor’s statement, with the entire development due for completion in 2030.


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