The couple went above and beyond the number of affordable units required to participate in D.C.’s Vacant to Vibrant program, an initiative to encourage the development of empty lots.
“It makes us feel good to help others get a break,” Jeter said. “We are 100 percent affordable housing. Although the city mandated 50 percent of the building be at the affordable housing rate, we elected to price the entire building affordable to make it possible for more people who live in the community to be able to purchase.”
Tanisha Smith and Berchel Douglas, who have been renting an apartment across the street for five years, said they couldn’t believe their good luck when they saw the for-sale sign go up.
Douglas and Smith are D.C. natives — Douglas, 31, from Northeast and Smith, 30, from about a mile away in Southeast. They were ready to buy but couldn’t find anything they could afford. “We couldn’t believe it, for the price, our dreams are coming true,” said Smith, a day-care center assistant director.
The Benn is south of East Capitol Street between Benning Road and Texas Avenue. There are two units on each level, from the basement to the third floor. The basement units are partially above ground with big windows to let in natural light. Each unit is about 1,000 square feet, with two or three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Six units have been reserved with deposits, and two are available, according to real estate broker and listing agent Cher Castillo.
Part of the property was bought through the Vacant to Vibrant program. Chavis, who is still a teacher, is also a co-owner of New District Development, the company that bought and developed the land. The project was designed by Freelance Development, which is owned by Jeter.
“We have wanted to develop a building for some time,” Jeter said. “We expected to find a dilapidated building and gut it. We could not find one in our budget, but did find the land. Terry bid on the [Vacant to Vibrant] land and acquired the adjacent lot, and we were off.”
Chavis and Jeter describe the building as garden-style, with a Casablanca-white brick exterior. They expect delivery of the units this month.
Smith said she likes the quiet, residential neighborhood in Ward 7. “It’s very familiar,” she said. “When I walk out of my apartment, I know my neighbors. I went to high school with their kids.” That familiarity comes in handy when “the young kids make some ruckus,” she said. “I tell them: ‘I saw you out there. I’m going to talk to your mom.’ ”
Smith also appreciates the opportunity to invest in a home at a relatively young age and start building equity. “It’s very sentimental to me,” she said, “to be able to stay within the same neighborhood where I grew up, and have something to offer my children when they come.”
Nearby: From the neighborhood, it is about a seven-minute drive to Fort Dupont Park and a 15-minute drive to Anacostia Park, both National Park Service properties. It is less than two miles from the planned Market 7 food hall, which will have Black-owned businesses. It is about a 13-minute drive to Eastern Market (and Trader Joe’s, Smith’s supermarket of choice).
Schools: Plummer Elementary, Kelly Miller Middle, H.D. Woodson High
Transit: The Benn is a short walk from the Benning Road Metro station, on the Blue and Silver lines. Metro buses run along Benning Road, Texas Avenue, C Street and East Capitol Street SE, all within walking distance.
4442 B St. SE, Washington, D.C.
Prices for the eight condos range from $299,000 to $385,000.
Developer: New District Development
Features: The units have double-hung, energy-efficient windows and energy-efficient heating and air conditioning. Floors are solid white oak. Kitchens have stainless-steel appliances by Frigidaire, recessed lighting, island pendant lights, and gold-toned fixtures by Delta. Cabinets are classic white Shaker-style. Countertops are engineered quartz. The bathrooms have floating vanities with Glacier Bay faucets and marble floors. Each unit has a laundry room with a full-size washer and dryer by Whirlpool. The residences have lavender-painted stucco balconies with Trex composite decking. Windows are trimmed in black metal, and exterior light fixtures are black metal.
Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 2 or 3/ 2
Homeowners association fees: $270 a month, including water, common-area maintenance, trash and recycling services, and snow removal
Contact: Cher Castillo, associate broker, McEnearney Associates, 202-270-0767