A Plan to Save Historic DC Homes from Desperate Developers

Often noted for its legacy of slavery, a significant part of Washington, D.C.’s historic sites are also some of its most coveted real estate and are more likely to attract developers and investors. In 1900, there were only about 4,000 housing units in the Boyers Historic District. By 1962, 8,914. Today, more than 16,000 units are in operation and there are several hundred more on the drawing board.

But the historic homes, businesses and spaces of the district are endangered and deteriorating, due in part to neglect and in part to commercial developers eyeing them for new construction. Historic preservationists hope to halt this trend by adopting a resolution that would save the district’s buildings and landmarks from developers’ bulldozers.

The “Home Right Around the Corner” plan would require developers to set aside 15 percent of their units in neighborhoods with a history of historic preservation for affordable housing. The zoning would also allow for community gardens and space for historical organizations.

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