Construction is underway on an apartment building at 15th St. and Rhode Island Ave. NW, where 176 rental dwellings will be provide at market rates.

One of the few non-subsidized apartment buildings to be started in the District, the $7.5 million development is a project of the National Housing Partnership. Rents are expected to range from $380 to $625, not including utilities, for units ranging from efficiencies to two bedrooms.

The brick and reinforced concrete structure is being built by James G. Davis Construction Corp of Rockville from a design by Washington architect Alan J. Lockman Associates. Section 220, HUD-insured construction and permanent loans were placed by Reilly Mortgage Group Inc. of Washington in conjunction with Huntoon, Page Associates Ltd. of New York City.

George W. DeFranceaux, chairman of NHP, said that the partnership is directly involved in the new building three blocks north of its headquarters in order to help meet the shortage of apartments in Washington. He also said that the project is intended to illustrate that construction of miltifamily structures can be feasible under certain circumstances-despite inflation, rising costs and rent controls.

NHP is a private, federally chartered entity created 11 years ago to stimulate the construction of housing for low and moderate income families. A recent review showed that NHP had commitments to participate in 364 projects consisting of more than 50,000 dwelling units in 39 states, plus the District and Puerto Rico.