In April 2010, Somerset and its joint venture non-profit partner, THC Affordable Housing, Inc. (THCAH), along with the Webster Garden Tenants Association, acquired Webster Gardens, a 52 unit apartment complex located in Ward 4 — one block from the Armed Forces Retirement Home (Old Soldiers Home). Mayor Adrian Fenty, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and other dignitaries presided at the groundbreaking ceremony. The development team had the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places and completed a major renovation of the property in May 2011, restoring the historic character of the property and preserving the affordable rents. Built in 1921, Webster Gardens is one of the earliest garden apartments in the District of Columbia, designed by the noted Washington architect, Robert F. Beresford.
In cooperation with the DC Housing Authority, the property is providing Permanent Supportive Housing for 16 formerly homeless families who have successfully graduated from transitional housing programs. On-site resident services provided by Housing Up assure their successful tenancies in this workforce housing complex.
The redevelopment of Webster Gardens preserved the affordability of the property for a range of family incomes, provided upgrades in the infrastructure and safety standards, provided new landscaping and lighting, and common spaces. In meeting the City’s building green environmental standards, all environmental hazards were remediated and energy efficiency was vastly improved. New community spaces, a computer lab and an on-site management office were built to provide spaces for resident services.
The financing for the acquisition and redevelopment were provided by DC Housing Finance Agency’s New Issue Bond Program sponsored by the U.S. Treasury with credit enhancement from Freddie Mac. Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. was the syndicator of the Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits, and Bank of America was the construction lender. The DC Department of Community Development provided a loan through the federal TCAP (Tax Credit Assistance Program) and the DC Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF). The DC Housing Authority provided a capital grant through its Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP) and is providing rent subsidy in support of 16 families on site.