Hill East redevelopment lands $70M in financing, breaks ground

A 100-unit permanent supportive housing development atop the Stadium-Armory Metro station is moving ahead.

The team of Donatelli Development and Blue Skye Development have closed on $70 million in financing needed for the project, to be called The Ethel, which will include a new plaza and 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail to connect the Metro station to the new site.

Construction work is getting underway, and the developers say the building will be done in late 2022.

The financing package includes a $52.5 million construction loan from EagleBank through the D.C. Housing Financing Agency’s risk share program, as well as $17.5 million in tax credit equity from PNC Bank, issued by the Department of Housing and Community Development. JLL helped arrange the financing.

D.C. officials have previously said the goal is to move women currently living at a homeless shelter elsewhere on the property into these 100 units, which the District is further subsidizing with a $47 million contract to ensure those homes can be available for people at no cost.

GTM Architects is the project’s designer and McCullough Construction, the builder. When complete, Kettler Management will serve as property manager. The D.C. Housing Authority will issue vouchers for residents so the property stays exclusively in the permanent supportive housing program, which combines affordable housing with support services to help the chronically unhoused.

John Falcicchio, the District’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, called the project “a step in the right direction.” The D.C. Department of General Services has been involved in the project’s design and development, part of a larger goal to see 12,000 affordable housing units constructed in the District by 2025.

“Through impactful projects like this, we’re leveling the playing field and creating more equitable opportunities for every resident to live and thrive in the city,” Scottie Irving, president and CEO of Blue Skye, said in a statement.

The development complements a mixed-use building the joint venture previously developed at the intersection of 19th and C streets SE, and they’re looking for more — as one team competing to develop the next phases of Reservation 13, the 67-acre property formerly home to D.C. General Hospital. Their plan there includes a five-building, 907-unit development that would sit directly adjacent to this site.

The Ethel is named for Ethel Kennedy, a human rights advocate and Robert F. Kennedy’s widow. DMPED specifically asked respondents to find some way to honor RFK, hoping to someday pair a redeveloped Reservation 13 with the nearby stadium site, should the city ever gain control of it from the federal government.