The Washington Post had a story this morning on the slow, and incredibly delayed redevelopment of Temple Court in Washington, D.C.’s NoMa neighborhood. Temple Court was slated to be redeveloped to a mixed income development under the Anthony Williams administration.
The redevelopment has had a number of problems – many of which led to the failure of the Urban Renewal Programs of the 1950s and 1960s. The land has restrictions on it that limited the type of housing that could be built, but the city didn’t know that before starting demolition. The private developers could not secure financing for the project’s subsidized housing – meaning that what has been built is largely market rate housing and the remainder of the site sits as an underutilized parking lot.
Redevelopment can work, but planners need to get into the details and work with developers and the community to create a viable plan that can be built quickly – before any residents are “temporarily” relocated. Then during construction, strong project management is vital to keep things on track. If not, projects will look all too much like failed redevelopments of earlier generations.