Washington D.C. Real Estate Development

New Program to Turn 50 Vacant D.C. Sites into Workforce Housing or Greenspace

A new initiative from Mayor Bowser launched Dec. 15 aims to turn around some of the District’s vacant spaces. According to a press release, Vacant to Vibrant D.C. will turn vacant spaces into around 70 workforce housing units, community spaces, and space to grow small businesses.

The 50 sites they plan to turn around will come from the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Property Acquisition and Disposition Division, the announcement said.

“In 2015, the Bowser Administration inherited over 90 vacant and blighted sites — and we heard loud and clear that residents wanted us to find creative and productive solutions for the sites,” Department of Housing and Community Development Director Polly Donaldson said. “Since then, we made significant progress, with over half of those sites being in some form of disposition. Vacant to Vibrant D.C. will clear out the balance of our inventory, and fulfills a promise I made to Mayor Bowser and District residents last spring to move all remaining sites into some form of productive use.”

The plan will use three approaches to disposition. First, more than 30 of the sites will be auctioned to become around 50 workforce housing units, the press release noted. Those sites are in Bellvue, Carver/Langston, Deanwood, and Park View. The auction will be conducted online by Alex Cooper Auctioneers in mid-January.

Up to an additional eight sites in neighborhoods including Anacostia and Deanwood will go up for bid specifically by those in the D.C. Certified Business Enterprise program, and will also become workforce housing units, the press release said. Two more sites — one in Anacostia, the other in Carver/Langston — will go through the D.C. Housing Finance Agency’s Housing Investment Platform and will produce 10 more workforce housing units.

Perhaps the most notable transformation will come in the form of a demonstration project on tiny home construction, the press release said. The remaining spaces will go toward preserving and expanding outdoor greenspaces in Ward 8.

“Through Vacant to Vibrant DC we are making good on our commitment to get more Washingtonians on pathways to the middle class,” Mayor Bowser said. “This effort is about so much more than just taking a vacant space and transforming it into something new – it’s about building more homes for our residents, creating new green spaces, and spurring economic growth in every corner of our city.”

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