We recently celebrated the rehabilitation of Atlantic Apartment Homes in Ward 8 of Washington, D.C. – nearly 300 family-sized units now with expanded community services, as well as the largest community solar project in the District.
Formerly known as Atlantic Gardens and Atlantic Terrace, Atlantic Apartment Homes is near and dear to my heart. We purchased the property in 1982 and it was WinnCompanies’ first entry into a market that was – and still is – in desperate need of quality affordable housing.
I like to think of myself as forward-looking, but when I first acquired these properties in 1982, I could not envision the clean, efficient energy technologies that reduce resident utility expenses with high-efficiency appliances and equipment, improve indoor air quality with cutting-edge ventilation equipment and even harness power from the sun to generate energy to operate our communities.
The 651 kW community renewable energy facility we have installed at the property is the largest system of its kind in D.C. Even more uniquely, the renewable energy produced by the solar system will directly benefit eligible low-income residents of the nation’s capital for free. The solar at Atlantic Terrace is expected to reduce nearly 160 households’ utility bills by $500 per year at no cost to the recipient.
It's no secret that fixed-income households spend a much higher percentage of their income on energy costs; before our modernization effort, these homes used approximately 30% more energy than a typical, code-compliant home. Today, the apartments use 15% less energy, meaning that residents have begun to see their energy costs cut nearly in half.
When we take on an occupied rehabilitation of a property we own, we not only try to improve the physical characteristics of the community, using materials, systems and finishes that are durable, easy-to-maintain and sustainable. We also seek to address the needs of residents and the greater community across a myriad of outcome areas including employment, education, health and economic mobility.
This project brought a new learning center, expanded community room and upgraded playground. Security systems were enhanced, and laundry facilities were modernized. Accessibility at the site was also improved, with 10 new fully-accessible units and four new visually/hearing-impaired-accessible apartments.
Last but not least, the financing we have put in place will guarantee the affordable nature of the properties for at least 40 more years through an extension of the current Housing Assistance Payment contract and the use of Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and monies from the DC Housing Production Trust Fund.
The project brought me a happy sense of déjà vu because we are renewing and revitalizing the commitment I made to these communities 35 years ago. We are writing a new chapter in a great story. It’s a story about stepping up to the plate and keeping your promises, even when that may be hard, because it’s the right thing to do for people who need affordable, quality places to live.