Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Groundbreaking for Deauville/Monsenor Romero Apts is Today

Monsenor Romero Apartments - 3145 Mt Pleasant Street NW
Will this be the beginning of the end? After numerous fits and starts, it looks like the sad real-life saga for dozens of residents at 3145 Mt Pleasant Street NW may be about to come to a close. The building formerly known as the Winston or the Deauville was destroyed in an overnight fire on March 13, 2008. The last five+ years has seen inaction, rumors, plans and delays, but virtually no physical changes to the half torn down shell  of a building. The new name for the building is Monsenor Romero Apartments. 

I'd always hoped that the original residents would get a chance to move back in with similar rents, as opposed to totally new construction of condos or apartments with no regard to those displaced by the fire. If your home burned in a fire, wouldn't you want the option to move back into the same space? I would. Even 5 years later, yes.

Very strange that this news came over the national PR news wires. But, that it did yesterday. This article in the Wall Street Journal relays the basics: 

"The National Housing Trust-Enterprise Preservation Corporation (NHT/Enterprise), elected officials, local dignitaries, community leaders and Capital One Bank will celebrate the groundbreaking of the Monsenor Romero apartments on July 2, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

The $19 million Monsenor Romero Apartment project located at 3145 Mount Pleasant Street, N.W. will replace the previous Deauville apartment building that was destroyed by fire in 2008, the most destructive fire in 30 years in Washington, D.C. The building is named in honor of the assassinated El Salvadorian Catholic Church Bishop who was a champion of the poor and spoke out against poverty and social injustice. The new construction of 63 affordable homes will fulfill promises made to residents by city officials that one day they would return to their homes..."

Reportedly, 47 of 63 total units in the new building will be made available to former residents at "lower rental rates." At the time of the fire the Deauville was home to 93 units and had over 200 residents. So, there's a bit of a discrepancy there - 20 fewer units. However the new construction will include some 3 BR units as well as laundry facilities, community space and a computer lab on the basement level. Here's one rendering of the rebuilt structure. And below, floor plans via DCRA and Wiencek + Associates.

2nd floor plans via DCRA.
East and west elevations via DCRA.