D.C. said it has closed on financing that will bring affordable housing and commercial businesses to a historically significant area of the city.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development said construction is expected to start in September at Barry Farm, which will include a mixed-use building that will have 108 units of affordable rental housing for those 55 years old and above, as well as 5,000 square feet of commercial space. It will be called The Asberry and will be located on 1200 Sumner Road Southeast, across from the Barry Farm Recreation Center.

“This redevelopment has been years in the making and as we get closer to shovels in the ground, we are investing in the past and the promise of the Barry Farm community and we are committed to delivering not just new housing, but new opportunity,” Bowser said in a statement.

The area was established in 1867 for formerly enslaved African Americans to own land and create a self-sustaining community. By the early 2000s, the neighborhood deteriorated and it became a candidate for redevelopment under the New Communities Initiative Project, according to Greater Greater Washington.

NCI is a program that aims to revitalize severely distressed subsidized housing and redevelop neighborhoods into “vibrant mixed-income communities.” It’s funded through bond financing.

Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio called the closing of financing a “significant milestone of the revitalization of Barry Farm” in a statement.

He said D.C. has invested $43 million to revitalize the area through the NCI for the redevelopment of the first phase, which covers infrastructure, predevelopment and vertical construction costs, a news release said.

Rodger Brown, the managing director of Real Estate Development at the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), echoed Falcicchio, saying the closing was a “significant milestone” for the area and its residents.

As of 2019, all residents had been relocated, and Barry Farm has been demolished, except for the five buildings that the Historic Preservation Review Board landmarked. But not before the D.C. Court of Appeals halted the demolition in 2018, after a group of residents filed a lawsuit fearing they would lose their subsidized housing amid rampant gentrification in the District, The Washington Post reported.

The District of Columbia Housing Authority had sought and obtained approval to demolish Barry Farm and relocate residents in 2015; that was after the Zoning Commission, in 2014, approved a development that “would enable a project exceeding the allowable density,” Greater Greater Washington reported.

Once completed, the new redevelopment will include at least 900 new affordable rental and for-sale housing units, of which 380 will be public housing replacement units, a news release said. Phase One of the redevelopment is scheduled to be completed in 2024, and the entire Barry Farm redevelopment is scheduled for completion in 2030.

A new online exhibit, part of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, explores the District’s historic Barry Farms-Hillsdale neighborhood and its role in the civil rights struggle.

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