RATIONALE: WARDMAN CONVERSION
Updated: Jul 5, 2021
Prepared by the Wardman Hotel Strategy Team
and the Ward 3 Housing Justice
About the project: The Wardman Hotel Strategy Team (WHST) and the Ward 3 Housing Justice Working Group (W3HJWG) ask Mayor Muriel Bowser to invest public resources to ensure the Wardman Hotel property is converted to affordable housing, to help achieve the goal of 1,990 affordable units in Ward 3 by 2025.
The hotel property is in bankruptcy and for sale this year
DC must find smart ways to spend the influx of federal money for housing
None of the Housing Production Trust Funds $100+ million has been spent on Ward 3 projects
Converting the guest rooms to apartments with up to four bedrooms is relatively easy
Adaptive re-use of the building is sustainable and will retain carbon in the concrete
Conversion will avoid disruption of demolition and create housing faster than new construction
Families and residents with less than 50% MFI, who cannot afford market rate housing, can be accommodated
For-profit development with inclusionary Zoning will deliver only meager numbers of affordable housing units
Affordable housing at the hotel property would begin to address persistent racial inequities identified in the CORE report of the Comprehensive Plan
There is strong community support for affordable housing in Ward 3
None of the annual Housing Production Trust Fund’s $100M+ has been spent on Ward 3 projects
Conversion could provide space for community and nearby school activities and would preserve the green space that Woodley Park neighbors value
Who are we? The Wardman Hotel Strategy Team (WHST) and Ward 3 Housing Justice Working Group (W3HJWG) are grassroots activists allied to promote conversion of the Wardman hotel property to affordable housing. We have met with Woodley Park residents, councilmembers and staff, real estate developers, bankruptcy attorneys, nonprofit organizations, union representatives, and staff from several executive agencies, including DMPED and DHCD.
Working with several highly experienced architects we have developed preliminary concept studies showing the exciting possibilities for the Hotel campus to provide about 500 units of affordable housing including homeownership opportunities, workforce development and business incubation, classroom space and other community amenities fully integrated into the Woodley Park neighborhood using the existing hotel infrastructure.
What will be acquired at the Wardman Hotel site? Through acquisition, the city would gain 16 acres of land plus a building with 1,100 guest rooms, a banquet-sized catering kitchen, ballrooms, and dining and retail spaces. All of these areas can be converted into housing and public amenities for the new and existing neighborhood residents, including childcare, job training programs, athletic facilities, a performing arts theater, and additional classrooms for the adjacent Oyster Adams Bilingual Elementary School.
Is it feasible? Virtually everyone who has seen the concept studies or toured the site has immediately recognized the vast potential of converting this hotel into affordable housing for youth, adults, and multi-generational families. The building’s structural columns and infrastructure (plumbing, HVAC, exhaust, electrical) make it ideal for conversion. While the hotel structure could be enlarged, the completed project would not intrude on the landscaped green space well used by the neighborhood, and huge event spaces for community amenities.
What Do the Woodley Park Neighbors Want? We continue to reach out to Woodley Park neighbors. So far, the neighbors we have contacted support the conversion of the hotel to affordable housing, as they would like to see an increase in affordable housing opportunities for new residents to join their neighborhood. They are also interested in maintaining the green space along Woodley Road as well as adding public amenities for the community, such as additional classroom space for neighborhood schools like the Oyster Adams Bilingual Elementary School.
This is an exciting and rare opportunity to provide substantial affordable housing opportunities in Ward 3. The WHST and W3HJWG request that the Mayor and the Council support city acquisition of the Wardman Hotel property.