The District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) recently issued $39 million in bond financing for the preservation of Wah Luck House Apartments.
The residents exercised their rights under the D.C. Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act to acquire the 153-unit building in Chinatown. The project is being redeveloped in partnership with the National Foundation for Affordable Housing Solutions.
An important source of housing in the neighborhood, the 10-story apartment building serves residents with incomes at 60% of the area median income or less.
“Chinatown is one of the District’s most vibrant neighborhoods, bustling with entertainment and retail developments. The cost of living in this neighborhood has risen along with its number of amenities,” says Todd A. Lee, DCHFA’s executive director and CEO. “Preserving affordable housing at Wah Luck House will allow its many senior residents to age in place in the neighborhood that they call home at rental rates within their fixed incomes.”
In addition to DCHFA’s financing, the $77.3 million project is being funded with $24 million in low-income housing tax credit equity through an investment by Wells Fargo.
As part of the rehabilitation, the kitchens and bathrooms in each apartment are being renovated. In addition, the roof is being replaced, and the first floor is being reconfigured to include a doctor’s clinic, a business center, and expanded community restrooms that will include a bathing/shower room. The management office and security room are also be renovated.
The building is fully occupied, and none of the residents will be displaced as a result of the renovations, according to DCHFA. The developer plans to conduct a tenant-in-place rehab, where tenants leave their units during the day and return to their home at night. Residents will have access to furnished hospitality suites when work is being done in their units.
DCHFA issues tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds to lower the developers’ costs of acquiring, constructing, and rehabilitating rental housing. The agency offers private for-profit and nonprofit developers low-cost predevelopment, construction, and permanent financing that supports the new construction, acquisition, and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing in the District.