ULI Washington News

Building Bridges Across the River: ULI Mini Technical Assistance Panel

Six members from the latest graduating class of Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Regional Land Use Leadership Institute joined the 11th Street Bridge Park for a Mini Technical Assistance Panel (mTAP) to focus on a specific issue facing a local community or organization as part of their nine-month leadership program. With the 11th Street Bridge Park team, the ULI fellows focused on mapping strategies to develop and manage long-term affordable housing in Wards 7 and 8 through the creation of a Community Land Trust (CLT).

The purpose of this mTAP was to develop strategies focused on four key areas – partnership, preservation, policy and advocacy, and financing – to create a CLT that can support the 11st Street Bridge to serve as an anchor for equitable and inclusive growth. With special consideration to the existing housing stock and land use conditions, the team’s goal was to build a road map for the CLT to preserve permanent affordability for residents in the area, include residential and commercial uses, as well as rental and home ownership opportunities.

With the assistance of 11th Street Bridge Park Team’s Scott Kratz, Vice President of Building Bridges Across the River, and Equitable Development Manager Vaughn Perry, the team conducted interviews with affordable housing developers, financial partners, policy experts, and regulators to investigate potential partnerships, preserving small-scale apartment buildings, public policy opportunities and challenges, and the city’s role in the CLT. The team evaluated CLT operations, policy opportunities to leverage, and relevant financing tools applicable to the study area. The team presented their findings to the Douglass Community Land Trust Advisory Committee in May 2018.

The team was asked to address the following key questions per each area of focus, and provided recommendations as follows:

  • Partnership: How should the CLT manage development with multiple partners?
    • Organize a multi-sector approach.
    • Partner more with non-profits.
    • Partner with for-profit developers.
    • Liaison within Mayor’s Office, City Council, DHCD.
    • Work more closely with residents.
    • Develop education, marketing, and promotion strategies.
  • Preservation: What are the steps necessary to preserve small apartment buildings in the impact area? What are the financial tools available to bundle smaller buildings?
    • Monitor progress of the recommendations from the Preservation Strike Force report.
    • Consider acquisition and financing from the DC Preservation Fund.
    • Consider opportunities to leverage the Small Building Preservation and Affordability Program, a small, multi-family loan program for repairs to improve sub-standard housing conditions.
    • Connect with the Housing Production Trust Fund for gap financing, pre-development, rehabilitation, and acquisition needs.
  • Policy & Advocacy: What DC policies exist that can be leveraged, created, or modified to facilitate the efforts of a CLT to preserve affordable housing in the impact area?
    • There are several policies and tools that could be employed to facilitate funding, operations, and general feasibility of the CLT. Local policies and tools include:
      • Ensure that the policy language of the District Opportunity to Purchase Act (DOPA) includes nonprofit eligibility for assignment of properties, and positions the CLT.
      • Utilize the Home Purchase Assistance Program as a source of debt for CLT residents.
      • Explore the potential to incorporate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in acquired properties, and seek approval for ADU’s on properties outside of the residential zones where they are currently permitted.
      • Federal policies and tools include:
      • Designate the CLT as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) to attain direct state and federal funds.
        Collaborate with DHCD to seek allocation of unused HUD funding from sources such as CDBG and HOME.
      • Monitor the final designation and implementation of the Opportunity Zones Program, and work with partners to leverage Opportunity Funds to support the CLT.
  • Financing: What is the District’s role in financing/supporting continued CLT growth and expansion?
    • Create long term joint ventures to preserve strategic alignment.
    • Partner with member institutions of the Federal Home Loan Bank to obtain funding from existing programs, such as: Affordable Housing Program (AHP), Community Investment Program (CIP), and Community Investment Cash Advance Program (CICA)
      Encourage for-profit development partners to explore 20% tax credit for rehabilitating property in the Anacostia Historic District.
    • Leverage Inclusionary Zoning as a stewardship opportunity as development begins.
    • Understand and monitor the requirements of Private Activity Bonds (PABs) so they can be utilized as part of the capital stack.
    • Based on current interest rates and assets held by the CLT, consider debt financing as a straightforward solution to the acquisition and construction of real estate.

As the 11th Street Bridge connects the historic neighborhoods of Anacostia and Capitol Hill, it has great potential to serve as an anchor for inclusive economic opportunity, social connections, environmental sustainability, and building healthier communities. The CLT can help ensure that the park is a driver of inclusive development that provides opportunities for all residents regardless of income and demography.

By Philip Estes, Ian Fisher, Megan Rappolt, Steven Reilly, Jonathan Shartar, and Vrunda Vaghela

You can read more about the mTAP findings and recommendations on ULI’s website: https://washington.uli.org/what-we-do/leadership-institute/

 

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