The District government has agreed to pay $1,095,000 to lease a Northwest Washington apartment building for one year to use as a "transition house" for 70 young working adults seeking to become independent of city assistance, a deal that amounts to paying $1,303 a month rent for each efficiency or dormitory unit.
Under terms of the city's contract with the Jildar Corp., the owner of the boarded building at 1009 11th St. NW, the District will also have to pay utility costs for the eight-story building, estimated at $60,000 a year, as well as undetermined maintenance expenses.
By contrast, furnished one-bedroom apartments, with a view of Rock Creek Park, are currently being offered at the Woodner apartment building, at 3636 16th St. NW, for $990 a month, including living and dining room furniture, linens, a fully equipped kitchen, a color television with satellite TV reception, and utilities.
At Georgetown Mews, at 1111 30th St. NW, a furnished studio apartment can be rented for $1,000 a month, $1,225 with maid service.
"I think it's a fair price," Social Services Commissioner Audrey Rowe said of the District's rent for the 11th Street building, noting that the city will also have offices for the transition program, a cafeteria and a kitchen at the site. In addition, Rowe said the building may be used for other social service programs.
"To me, to get a hold of a building where I can do a variety of things is preferable to scattered site housing or group homes," she said.
Under Rowe's plan, 58 foster-care wards and persons coming out of the juvenile justice system would be housed in furnished dormitory rooms for 90 to 120 days while they learn to cope with life outside an institution. Another 12 units, furnished efficiencies equipped with kitchen facilities, would house single mothers and their children.
All the young adults in the program, expected to start June 1, would have to be employed and they would pay rent on a sliding scale based on their income. City counselors would provide therapy and training for the 19- to-24-year-olds while they live at the facility.
Rowe said the city's contract with Jildar, a development firm at 440 Rhode Island Ave. NW, calls for the company to rehabilitate the building to city specifications. The firm has estimated the work may cost $1.4 million, according to Farouk Hosein, a social services contract officer.
In addition to the first-year lease, Rowe said the city has an option to extend it for four additional years, pending annual congressional approval of the transition program. She said the second-year rent would be $958,125 and $821,250 in each of the three succeeding years, for a five-year total of $4,516,875. The five-year total would reduce the rental cost to an average of $1,075 for each unit.
"My contract officer [Hosein] told me it was a good rent," Rowe said. Hosein described the lease as "very reasonable."
One real estate official, who declined to be identified but is familiar with downtown leasing arrangements, said the city "could spend a lot less money to get comparable surroundings for those people . . . in a building that is not as deteriorated. You ought to be able to renovate it and spend a whole lot less than $1,300 a month" for each unit.
Rowe said James P. Chandler Sr., Jildar's board chairman, first approached her about leasing the building last June at the height of public concern over the large number of court-ordered evictions that were being carried out at the time by the U.S. Marshals Service.
"Chandler came in and said he'd be interested in providing an emergency family shelter," Rowe said. "I happened to go by that building and thought it would be interesting" for use in the transition program.
Chandler's wife, Elizabeth T. Chandler, who is president of Jildar, said she conducted the negotiations with the city over the lease but declined to answer other questions about it. CAPTION: Picture 1, City "transition house"-1009 11th St. NW; Rent-Equal to $1303 a month for furnished one-room unit; Amenities-some units have kitchens; Picture 2, The Woodner-3636 16th St. NW; Rent-$990 a month for furnished one-bedroom; Amenities-Rock Creek Park view, equipped kitchen, linens, color TV with satellite reception and utilities; Picture 3, Georgetown Mews-1111 30th St. NW; Rent-$1000 a month for furnished studio; Amenities-Georgetown location; maid service available.