D.C. At-Large council member Anita Bonds (D) also attended the ribbon cutting ceremony in Ward 5 on June 8.

The H Street Community Development Corporation (HSCDC) and the Edmondson and Gallagher Property Services (E&G Group) held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony June 8 for the Barrow Milestone Residential, an affordable housing unit. Located in Ward 5, Barrow Milestone represents a success story in reconstituting formerly abandoned or vacant sites into mixed-use and affordable housing structures.

Named for former HSCDC Executive Director William ‘Bill’ Barrow III, the property costs an estimated $32 million to construct and features state-of-the-art amenities including LED energy efficient lighting.

For Barrow, who joined other guests including D.C. Council members Anita Bonds (D-At-large); Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5); and Todd Lee, acting executive director, D.C. Housing Finance Agency, the naming was surreal.

D.C. Council member Kenyon McDuffie (D) attended a ribbon cutting ceremony of the Barrow Milestone Residential development in his ward on June 8.

“A lot of people have to wait until they are no longer here to have such an honor bestowed upon them, so this is really special,” Barrow told about 150 ceremony attendees. “There is a lot of thanks to go around especially when you go around and look at the beauty of this property. It stands as a shining example of the great partnerships dedicated to a singular goal of affordable housing.”

Kenneth J. Brewer, executive director of H Street Community Development Corporation (HSCDC), told the AFRO that the Barrow Milestone development offers Washingtonians an opportunity to not only live in quality, affordable housing, but to also maintain their current neighborhood diversity for generations to come. “We want to ensure that as the children in Ward 5 grow into adults, they have an option of remaining in the District instead of moving into the suburbs surrounding D.C. because they have been priced out of affordable living,” he said. “Barrow Milestone represents what can be achieved when the city makes a commitment to improve the living conditions of all residents regardless of their income.”

Principles of the H Street Community Development Corporation (HSCDC) and the Edmondson and Gallagher Property Services (E&G Group) cut the ribbon June 8 on Barrow Milestone Residential, a newly created affordable housing development. (Photo by Shantella Sherman)

McDuffie said the complex, located on the east side of 4th Street, between Rhode Island Avenue and Bryant Street, Northeast, should help reinvigorate the neighborhood.”I am overwhelmed at the delivery of these 116 affordable units because they are all affordable, and based on their quality, will encourage more development in the immediate area,” McDuffie said. “Better retailers are attracted to the population density of the area and with new restaurants and the Metro just blocks away, the community has all the necessary elements for growth.”

Milton Norman, a College Park, Maryland resident who works as a janitor near the new development, told the AFRO that the city’s investment in bringing both new businesses and affordable housing to the Rhode Island Avenue area made him hopeful of moving back into the city. “Before now, I could only afford to live in comfort outside of the city and this area was real sketchy and unsafe for a while, but that is changing,” Norman said. “Based on what I’ve seen just from the Metro down to 4th Street is enough to make me consider moving back across the D.C.-Maryland line.”

At the ceremony Bonds called Barrow Milestone a “model for affordable housing success and perseverance,” that could not have been achieved without proper financial incentives. “With dedicated finances and incentives to developers, it was possible to create these wonderful units at a lease rate to tenants of $1,100 or less without supplemental capital. Let’s do more of this,” she said.

Barrow Milestone is within a five-minute walk of the Rhode Island Metro Station and in close proximity to the Washington Hospital Center, Catholic University, and downtown.