On the heels of the $9.5 million grant received from HUD
last week to help kick-start the second phase of Capitol Quarter
townhouses, the DC Housing Authority and the city are working on a plan to to help pay more of the start-up costs associated with phase 3 of the redevelopment of Capper/Carrollsburg
, in which four mixed-income apartment buildings
will someday be constructed on blocks surrounding Canal Park
. (See my Capper map
for details and locations of these various phases.)
This infrastructure work would be some as-yet-undetermined combination of underground work on the Second Street blocks, the relocation of the DPW operations at New Jersey and K and demolition of that block, and the construction of I Street between Second and New Jersey. These projects were originally expected to be funded by the sale of unrated municipal bonds, but the current Economic Difficulties have made those sorts of bonds all but extinct, and additional attempts to secure loans from banks for the money have been fruitless as well.
Now, a bill is expected to be introduced
at Tuesday's city council session amending the 2006 Capper PILOT law
to allow for bonds to be issued, guaranteed by the CFO's office (and thereby able to reflect the city's rating on the bond markets), which would be "supported" by real estate tax revenues being collected from various existing TIF projects in the city. If the expected timeline of council approval is met, the bonds--totalling somewhere in the neighborhood of $28 million--could be issued by the end of 2009.
(But don't look out your window on Jan. 1, 2010 expecting to see the trash transfer station's smokestack being smacked by a wrecking ball--they still have to find somewhere for the DPW operations to relocate to, which I'm guessing is more difficult than finding somewhere to move a bunch of schoolbuses, and everyone knows how long that took.)
The proceeds won't all be used for construction, since there are loans to be repaid and other high-finance maneuvers that are well above my level of understanding. But this influx of funding, along with the HUD grant
, would give Capper's redevelopment a push forward at a time when few projects are seeing any sort of progress, and would get the money-hungry city closer to being able to start reeling in the property taxes from all these blocks that aren't currently generating any revenue.