Affordable housing project in D.C. underway

It was one of his final wishes. For many years, Abe Pollin – the late owner of the Washington Wizards, Mystics and Capitals – had a vision for building affordable housing for working class families in the District.

On Thursday, that dream was fulfilled as his son, Robert Pollin, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and other community leaders celebrated with a ribbon cutting outside Metrotowns at Parkside in Northeast D.C.

“This is a great moment for me. Very emotional,” said Pollin. “Because my father was very, very dedicated and committed to this project, literally to the day he died.”

Pollin said – even on his death bed – his father was working on this affordable housing project. “In my eulogy, I said, ‘Dad, I'm going to make this happen.’”

Phase one of construction is now complete. Meanwhile, site work on phase two is underway.

In a city where homes sold – on average – for more than $500,000 last year, these three bedroom townhomes start in the mid-200s.

Enterprise Homes President and C.E.O Chickie Grayson said, “It’s a fabulous home. It's really unbelieveable. I think it's going to be the hottest selling development in D.C.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony, at times, felt more like a wake. Speakers touched on Abe Pollin's legacy, building the Verizon Center and reinvigorating downtown D.C.

Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans told the crowd, “Abe Pollin more than any individual is responsible for the resurgance of D.C. I can say that hands down!”

But Robert Pollin said, while his dad was proud of his success, he also felt conflicted about the rise in property values around the Verizon Center.

“Because he was concerned about working people in this city having decent places to live,” said Robert. “Having great communities. Having the same opportunities. So this was something he believed in.”

Enterprise has sold 50% of the homes in phase one. The selection process is first come, first served, with units for sale and for rent. Some buyers must meet qualifying conditions.

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