Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, boutique development firm Dantes Partners has made its mark on the affordable housing scene in the District of Columbia.

Buwa Binitie

In 2015, the firm broke ground on four developments with 198 units serving families, seniors, and low-income individuals and acquired one development with 84 units in the District of Columbia.

“2015 was a very strong year for us, and we sure hope to continue that momentum. Given the transactions in the pipeline, we are seeing a very good mix of new construction and preservation,” says Buwa Binitie, managing principal of Dantes Partners. “As much as we love to create new, we are also very sensitive to the decaying conditions of existing housing, so whatever we can do to avert that, we are 100% on board.”

Dantes started its first permanent supportive housing development last year in partnership with the Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), an almost 100-year-old historically black organization serving women in transition.

The $17 million rehab will create 84 affordable units for the building’s population of low-income and vulnerable women. The building’s current residents will be able to remain in their homes and not be displaced during the rehab. Thanks to the DC Pace program, which provides financing for energy retrofits, the renovated building will include solar panels and upgraded energy and water fixtures to help the property run more efficiently. The Phyllis Wheatley YWCA is slated for completion this fall.

The firm also has ambitious goals for the coming year. It is looking to identify and secure sites for its pipeline to reach its goal of creating or preserving 1,000 units of affordable housing over the next five years.

“Happy to say that [as of late February] we’ve identified close to over 900 units throughout the District,” says Binitie. “We are currently in execution mode in terms of securing entitlements and necessary financing.”

The firm also is expanding its footprint outside of the District of Columbia. Earlier this year, Dantes Partners was awarded a transaction in southern Virginia.