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Developer Plans 155-Unit Senior Living Project East Of The River

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The growing demand for senior housing in D.C. continues to push developers to pursue new projects, with the latest community planned for Ward 7. 

A rendering of The Residences at Kenilworth Park project
A rendering of The Residences at Kenilworth Park project

Kenilworth Avenue Northbridge LLC, a joint venture of Gragg Cardona Partners and The Carding Group, filed an application with the Zoning Commission Thursday for a 155-unit affordable assisted living community on the eastern edge of D.C. 

The site is on the D.C. side of Eastern Avenue, which represents the D.C.-Maryland border, at the intersection with Kenilworth Avenue NE. It is less than a half-mile from the Deanwood Metro station. The currently vacant lot consists of 123K SF of land area. 

The application calls for a five-story, age-restricted assisted living community with 155 rental units, branded as The Residences at Kenilworth Park. The units will all be affordable for households earning up to 60% of area median income. The developer hopes to break ground later this year and deliver the project in early 2021, Gragg Cardona partner Oussama Souadi told Bisnow.

The project would be one of just two affordable assisted-living facilities in Wards 7 and 8, according to the application, and the developer says it intentionally sought out sites in the underserved, East-of-the-River communities. 

"In terms of where assisted living supply is today, there is zero supply currently in both of these wards," Souadi said. "We see that as definitely an unmet need."

The community would include outdoor terraces in front and behind the building, plus balconies on the second through fifth floors. The developer also plans to build a pedestrian boardwalk to connect the property to Anacostia Park and the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. The project would be constructed entirely above ground and would include 49 surface parking spaces. 

The application is signed by Goulston & Storrs attorneys Cary Kadlecek and Lawrence Ferris. Chantilly-based Environments for Health Architecture designed the project. 

D.C.-based Gragg Cardona has partnered on multifamily projects in Columbia Heights, Petworth and Suitland. It is also partnering with Redbrick LMD on the massive St. Elizabeths East development. The Carding Group, based in Bethesda, is also partnering on a 152-unit assisted-living facility with Dantes Partners and Gilbane Development. 

The Residences at Kenilworth Park
The outdoor terrace in the back of The Residences at Kenilworth Park

The Residences at Kenilworth Park is the latest in a string of developments planned near the Deanwood Metro Station. The Warrenton Group is constructing the 150-unit Deanwood Hills affordable building, planning a 183-unit Deanwood Town Center project and an 85-unit redevelopment of the Strand Theater.

Warrenton is also partnering with D.C. on the redevelopment of the Kenilworth Courts public housing community. The project is slated to include 530 units, including replacements for 290 public housing units. 

"It's a unique location," Souadi said. "With the established neighborhood and with Kenilworth Courts, we think there could be some synergies there ... We feel the community amenities are in place today, with the Deanwood Metro, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Kenilworth Avenue itself and the existing community."

The Kenilworth Courts redevelopment was delayed in part because of a zoning appeal filed in February 2017 that was dismissed sixth months later, a hurdle Gragg Cardona is hoping to avoid with its project. The developer did not file a planned-unit development application, the process that has led to frequent zoning appeals. Instead it is pursuing a less strenuous design review process. Additionally, Souadi said the team has made a point to reach out to the community to earn their support. 

"We feel we've done the ground work to make sure the community is fully engaged," he said. "We've listened and done early engagement to make sure we're not designing the project in a vacuum. We hope we've done a good job of that and hope the risk of any disagreements there may be staved off."

The Warrenton Group CEO Warren Williams said the Kenilworth Courts project is expected to break ground in Q3. It will also include a senior housing building with 52 units, he said.

"People are aging in place and senior affordable especially is a niche that needs to be addressed a little bit more," Williams said. "We're doing our part for our seniors at Kenilworth."