The Anacostia Historic District in Washington, DC’s Ward 8, east of the Anacostia River, which has experienced years of disinvestment, contains numerous irreplaceable historic buildings that are vacant and suffering from demolition by neglect.
Now the southeast Washington, DC community seemingly is on a roll, with a variety of large-scale condominium, townhouse and commercial real estate projects transforming the landscape.
As Anacostia joins the list of suddenly hot neighborhoods around the District, some residents are concerned that the city is concentrating too heavily on big development and not enough on blighted blocks where many old homes are left to rot.
To address that issue, a local nonprofit is experimenting with a new approach that’s decidedly antithetical to the way redevelopment is unfolding in much of the community.
Rather than tying development to profit, the group is happy to lose money. Rather than thinking big, it is focused on one home at a time.
And rather than build new, it hopes to move the community forward by preserving its past.
Officials at The L’Enfant Trust, a historic preservation organization based near Dupont Circle, bought two blighted properties in the Anacostia Historic District as part of a demonstration project.
The L’Enfant Trust’s Historic Properties Redevelopment Program restores and returns these properties to the historic Anacostia neighborhood, using charitable dollars to meet the gap between rehabilitation costs and current resale prices.