The L’Enfant Trust Completes Its First Two Historic Properties Rehabilitations

By Special Contributor posted 10-29-2014 15:07

By Sara K. Hayden

2010 14th Street, SE | Credit: L'Enfant Trust
This 1912 two-story cottage at 2010 14th Street, SE, in Washington, D.C. is the first project of The L'Enfant Trust's Historic Properties Redevelopment program.| Credit: L'Enfant Trust
A few months ago, on a beautiful July morning in Historic Anacostia in Washington, D.C., The L’Enfant Trust joined with neighbors, community leaders, sponsors and preservationists to celebrate the completed rehabilitation of the Trust’s first Historic Properties Redevelopment (HPR) program project. The crowd gathered at 2010 14th Street, SE, to cheer the ribbon-cutting of the fully rehabilitated 1912 cottage-style, wood-frame home that just a year ago was a severely deteriorated, vacant structure used for criminal activities. Speakers at the ceremony included The 1772 Foundation executive director, Mary Anthony; DC state historic preservation officer, David Maloney; DC council member Vincent Orange; and community leaders Charles Wilson and Greta Fuller. New owners have now moved into the house at 14th Street. The Trust will hold a conservation easement in perpetuity to ensure protection of its exterior. This sale also includes a covenant that the home will remain owner-occupied for the first two years. 

The L’Enfant Trust launched its new HPR program—the first of its kind in Washington, D.C., —in early 2013. Through this program, the Trust acquires at-risk historic structures, either by outright purchase or in partnership with others. The Trust rehabilitates these properties, protects them with conservation easements, and sells them. The sale proceeds are “revolved” back into the fund to pay for future historic rehabilitations.

The Trust focuses on projects in neighborhoods where preservation efforts will have the greatest impact on community revitalization. Currently it is concentrating on the Anacostia Historic District in Southeast Washington. Anacostia was one of the first “suburbs” of the nation’s Capital (before its inclusion within the District’s borders). Originally subdivided in 1854 as “Uniontown,” Anacostia experienced more rapid growth post-Civil War, and most of its contributing building stock was constructed between 1880 and 1910. Significantly, abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass lived in his home, Cedar Hill, from 1877 until his death in 1895. Cedar Hill is now a National Historic Site.

 1347 Maple View Place, SE, Washington, DC | Credit: L'Enfant Trust
1347 Maple View Place is located in the Anacostia Historic District. It was recently rehabilitated through the Trust's Historic Properties Redevelopment program. | Credit: L'Enfant Trust
The Trust just completed its second,residential rehabilitation in the Anacostia Historic District—an 1887 modest Queen Anne-style house at 1347 Maple View Place, SE. This blighted property, which is now on the market, was a more challenging project given its extremely deteriorated condition. But even then, it was clear that Maple View Place is a special home worthy of preservation. Architecturally unique, it’s situated on a hill with a clear view of the Capitol and surrounded by lovely homes from the late 19th century.

Both projects exemplify the need for the HPR program here in Washington, D.C. While today the District is experiencing growth and development, it also has a significant number of historic buildings that have suffered from years of disinvestment and are vulnerable to demolition by neglect or shoddy rehabilitations. These types of projects often can’t attract a suitable for-profit developer because the numbers won’t pencil out.

Looking ahead, the Trust is creating a pipeline of next projects that will be important to the continued preservation and restoration of this vibrant neighborhood. The Trust is also exploring partnership opportunities with other organizations and the government to achieve these goals. Finally, it continues to build philanthropic support for its HPR program; to date, it has received generous grants from The 1772 Foundation, cash donations from individuals and in-kind donations from local vendors.

For more information on The L’Enfant Trust, and details about the rehabilitations, please visit our website, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is a web companion to the Fall 2014 issue of Forum Journal "Get Real About Real Estate".

Sara K. Hayden is the director of real estate development at The L’Enfant Trust. She will be at PastForward 2014 as a panelist for "Ask the Experts: Revolving Fund Coaching Session."

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