Tenants Partner With Developer to Acquire DC’s Skyland Apartments in $26M Deal

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Enterprise Community Development has acquired the Skyland Apartments, a 224-unit affordable housing project in the Randle Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., for $25.7 million.

The seller was WC Smith, and the deal was executed through the District’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), according to Enterprise Community Development.

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When an apartment rental property in the District is contracted for sale, TOPA allows tenants the right to refuse the sale and, with the help of a third-party developer, buy the building at the contracted sale price. That was done in this case. 

Residents at Skyland Apartment were provided the opportunity to match a third-party contract of sale in late 2019. The tenant association exercised its right to pursue acquisition and launched a process to select a development partner. 

Enterprise Community Development met with residents in February of 2020 to discuss a possible partnership, but the pandemic caused a suspension of TOPA timelines. When the process resumed, the tenant association restarted its competitive process to select a partner, culminating in the selection of Enterprise Community Development.

“As a community, we are grateful for policies like TOPA in the District of Columbia which helped the residents of Skyland Apartments keep our homes and rents affordable,” Nicole Spence, president of the Skyland Tenants Association, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with Enterprise Community Development in developing a livable community that Skyland residents are proud of.”

Originally built in 1939, the property is considered a Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) project. Located at 2333 Skyland Place, east of the Anacostia River in Ward 8, the 24 two-story garden-style and duplex Skyland Apartments consist of one- and two-bedroom duplexes and one-bedroom flats. 

Enterprise Community Development will focus on the property’s redevelopment and rehabilitation efforts in collaboration with residents, according to the company.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with [the tenant association] in creating a vibrant future for Skyland Apartments, one that supports the long-term future of quality, attainable housing in this important and evolving neighborhood within the District,” Brian McLaughlin, president of Enterprise Community Development, said. “As with all our residential properties, we aim to ensure that residents have access to resources and pathways to achieve life goals and foster upward mobility.” 

Enterprise Community Development secured interim acquisition funding from EagleBank and Capital Impact Partners. No terms were disclosed.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.