To Wardman Owner: Answer Requests for More Affordable Housing
Updated: Jul 4, 2022
Wardman Hotel Strategy Team
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 23, 2022
Contact: Gail Sonnemann, 202-286-0845, firstname.lastname@example.org
The owner of the former Wardman Hotel in Woodley Park, Carmel Partners, refused to entertain requests from housing advocates to provide more affordable/workforce housing in their redevelopment of the site. This refusal to discuss additional affordable housing at this point was made at a virtual meeting of the Woodley Park Community Association (WPCA) on March 17. Carmel stated its intent to offer the minimum 8% of the project for affordable rents (required through inclusionary zoning), and 92% luxury units for “going rate” rents. ANC 3C which represents Woodley Park has recommended that 35% of the units be affordable. Carmel did say they might consider city financial assistance for more affordable units at some future date.
This meeting of the WPCA was held in response to concerns raised by the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) when on Feb. 24 it deferred action on Carmel’s project. The HPRB pointed to evidence of a lack of full community engagement about the project.
Carmel was asked about the status of the proposal from Northwest Opportunity Partners (NWOP) Community Development Corporation to renovate the Wardman annex building on Calvert Street for 100 affordable housing units. Carmel did not respond and instead deferred to Meg Maguire, NWOP chair who said: “The annex building is a sturdy structure that begs to be sustainably reused and converted into homes for families who work here but can’t afford to live here. We call on Carmel to go beyond the minimum and be a good corporate citizen and donate the annex for hotel-to-housing conversion.”
Responding to questions from the community and from the Wardman Hotel Strategy Team (WHST), Carmel said they are not interested in including commercial use, such as the grocery store neighbors desire. Carmel said there could be no public passage between or through the proposed buildings or between the new buildings and adjacent residential buildings to the east and west. Carmel said they would talk to Oyster Adams Elementary School which needs additional space.
Wardman Hotel Strategy Team and other housing advocates will continue to press city officials and candidates for more affordable housing at the Wardman. A March 5 letter to Mayor Bowser urged her to implement a Large Tract Review for this 9.5 acre site, and to use the city’s budget surplus and tools, including possible eminent domain, to make the Wardman redevelopment a national model of affordable housing and community development.
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