Ward 3 Affordable Housing Advocates: Mayor Bowser, Arrange Meeting with Wardman Owners
Ward 3 Housing Justice | Wardman Hotel Strategy Team
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2021
Contact: Gail Sonnemann, 202-286-0845, firstname.lastname@example.org
Affordable housing advocates in Ward 3 call on DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to pick up the phone and arrange for Carmel Partners, the new owners of the Wardman Hotel, to meet face-to-face with the advocates to set conditions for attaining maximum affordable housing on the site. Since January 2021 the Wardman Hotel Strategy Team (WHST) and Ward 3 Housing Justice (W3HJ), with allied city organizations and neighbors, have urged the mayor to invest city resources and CARES Act funds to ensure the city controlled the outcome on this premiere site and to ensure that there is a significant amount of affordable and mixed-income housing.
The Bowser Administration is on board verbally for affordable housing at the Wardman. On May 26 2021, in response to calls for the city to purchase the Wardman, Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio wrote that we “share the desire to add more residential uses to the site … . Therefore, our approach will be to [work with the eventual owner to] set the conditions and express our desire to maximize the residential potential of the site with an emphasis on affordable housing and attainable, middle income housing.”
W3HJ and WHST welcome DM Falcicchio’s statement and that of our Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh’s promise to do “everything we can'' to bring affordable housing to the Wardman. She did try to arrange the Carmel/advocates meeting, but was told to wait 30 days for a meeting while viewing their project on their website Wardmanparkproject.info.
There was Council support for buying the Wardman when it was in bankruptcy. On February 16, 2021, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5) urged Mayor Bowser to include at least $140 million in her budget for city purchase of the Wardman . McDuffie said, “Converting the Wardman into affordable housing is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the city should not let slip away.”
“A true commitment to housing equity from the Mayor would mean far more than setting goals and then providing no vision or funding to reach them,” said Margaret Dwyer, of W3HJ. “It would mean allocating new resources to make a significant increase in mixed income affordable housing, across 0-80% MFI and throughout all eight wards. A true commitment to housing equity would mean that those who work in the city can afford to rent or buy near their place of work in any ward, including Ward 3. That would require a creative mix of public and nonprofit funding, as well as leadership and vision to make it happen. We are sure Mayor Bowser can meet this challenge.”
The time to act is now, W3HJ and the WHST ask Mayor Bowser to both contact Carmel Partners and to push well beyond the current mechanisms of matter-of-right/PUD/IZ that to date have failed to produce the affordable housing the city needs.”
* * * * * * *