A sea change in Near Southeast
By Jacqueline Dupree,
Near Southeast, the neighborhood around Nationals Park, has undergone a near-total makeover during the past five years, and the new census numbers highlight how dramatically the area has changed.
With 2,757 residents in 2010, Near Southeast gained just over 800 residents from a decade earlier, accounting for almost 10 percent of the population growth in Ward 6.
The neighborhood, which is bounded by the Southeast Freeway, South Capitol Street and the Anacostia River, was a different place in 2000. It had 1,954 residents, 95 percent of them African American. Most lived in the Capper/Carrollsburg public housing developments. But after a large grant was obtained in 2001 to revitalize the complex, the neighborhood emptied out. By late 2005, only one apartment building, for low-income seniors, remained, along with a smattering of private homes.
But since 2006, the area has seen a boom in construction. Eight apartment buildings and the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouse development were built and are almost entirely occupied.
The racial makeup has changed substantially as well, with African Americans now only 31 percent of the neighborhood’s population. Fifty-six percent of the residents are now white, and Asians make up just over 5 percent. The Hispanic population remains small, but has increased, from 25 to 153 residents.
The age of the neighborhood has shifted as well, with only 5 percent of the current residents being under age 18, compared with 31 percent 10 years ago.
When numbers related to income levels are eventually released, it’s expected that the changes in those profiles will be equally dramatic, with such a pronounced shift from a population nearly all in public housing to a neighborhood where market-rate townhouses sell for $700,000 and up and studio apartments rent for well over $1,500 a month.
And the changes are by no means over. The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District has estimated that the population had reached 3,300 by the end of 2010, and says the neighborhood will have 9,000 housing units by the time the area’s transformation is complete.
Dupree lives in Ward 6 and blogs about Near Southeast at http://www.jdland.com.