Jubilee Housing to transform Adams Morgan commercial space to affordable housing

Real estate nonprofit Jubilee Housing has closed on a set of commercial spaces in Adams Morgan to convert them to affordable housing.

An affiliate of Jubilee Housing paid $8 million for a quartet of vacant commercial parcels at 2400 Ontario Road NW, where it is set to begin construction on a 52-unit, 60,000-square-foot affordable housing development, one of few such projects to find traction in this part of the city, said Jim Knight, president and CEO of Jubilee Housing.

The project, to be complete at the end of 2024, will feature a penthouse with amenity space, courtyard and fitness center, as well as a working rooftop farm with produce for residents. The purchase was funded in part out of Jubilee’s Justice Housing Partners Fund, intended as a way to quickly finance property acquisition and development when an unexpected purchase becomes possible.

Whiting-Turner Construction, Troutman Pepper, Rosewood Strategies and Montage Development Group are part of the development team for the project, which will be affordable at households at 30%, 40% and 50% of the area’s median family income. Half of the units will be two or three bedrooms and intended for families. The project also holds a portion of units for Jubilee’s reentry housing program. (Washington Business Journal Publisher Alex Orfinger is chairman emeritus of Jubilee’s board.)

The project would also featured an aquaponics farm, designed by Jacksonville, Florida’s FreshMinistries, with a capacity for about 13,000 fruits and vegetables per month, and would be offered at the community kitchen Jubilee is building into its King Emmanuel Baptist Church project next door, with surplus produce to be sold at market, FreshMinistries CEO Robert V. Lee III said in a statement. That’s in addition to $750,000 a year in wages for workers there.

Jubilee Housing Ontario Place

Jim Knight, left, president and CEO of Jubilee Housing, breaks ground on an affordable housing project at 2400 Ontario Place NW with other D.C. officials on Sept. 13.

Jubilee Housing

“Very few things of lasting importance in this life happen without a dream to fuel them,” Knight said in the statement. “Our dream has been simple, albeit elusive — to create a place where families facing the greatest barriers to thriving could build or rebuild their lives in safe and supportive housing with access to fresh food, jobs and services.”

Financing includes United Bank; the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the D.C. Green Bank, the D.C. Housing Authority, the D.C. Housing Finance Agency, the D.C Department of Housing and Community Development, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Red Stone Equity Partners and RiseImpact Capital, plus philanthropic support from half-dozen other foundations and individuals. 

In 2019, D.C. leaders set forth a plan to build 36,000 new housing units, including 12,000 new affordable units — all by 2025. As of the end of August, the District is 85% to target on the overall count and 67% to target on the affordable count. But Ward 1 has only seen 645 new affordable housing units built in that time, D.C. information shows.


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