On July 28, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, District Mayor Adrian Fenty, City Councilman Jack Evans and members of the D.C. Housing Authority joined the First Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church Housing Corporation for a groundbreaking ceremony at Gibson Plaza in Northwest Washington, D.C.
According to information provided by the DC Housing Authority, the Gibson Plaza Apartments were constructed in 1973 by the First Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church and named after its pastor and community activist Ernest R. Gibson. The church sought to fund a complete renovation of the aging building while maintaining it as affordable housing in the gentrifying neighborhood around the DC Convention Center.
The DC Housing Authority is providing $6.8 million in capital funds and also will provide an operating subsidy for 73 units. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development is guaranteeing a $22 million low-interest loan and awarded Gibson $2.1 million Recovery Act Green Retrofit Program grant to do substantial “green” rehabilitation.
The rehabilitation will create dozens of quality jobs in the DC area, while transforming Gibson Plaza from an aging 1970s inefficient structure into a LEED certified building with, among other improvements, a new handicapped accessible elevator, Energy Star roof and windows, and an energy efficient HVAC system.