Announcements & Blog

Lessons from the Pandemic: Managing the Nation’s Largest Easement Program

By Katie Williams | Jul 26, 2022 | Comments Off on Lessons from the Pandemic: Managing the Nation’s Largest Easement Program

The L’Enfant Trust is the nation’s largest preservation easement-holder, protecting more than 1,150 historic properties and surrounding open space across Washington, D.C. To maintain the integrity of our easement program and continue to protect the rich and varied architectural fabric of DC’s historic streetscapes, we conduct an annual photographic inspection of each of our easemented properties to ensure the properties are in good condition and no exterior changes have been done without review and approval by the Trust.

However, with the hurdles of the pandemic, the Trust could not complete its 2021 inspection as scheduled. After a year off, here’s what we learned after recently completing our 2022 inspection:  

  • Construction back logs slowed down projects. More time working at home allowed many property owners to begin home improvement projects. With so many people opting to begin construction and restoration projects during the pandemic, design, architecture, and construction teams were busy. Often, we found that projects we had approved prior to the pandemic hadn’t been completed, or had completely stalled, by the time of our annual inspection nearly two years later!  
  • Supply chain issues caused many materials (windows, doors, roofing materials, lumber) approved in design to not be available by the time construction began. That meant many architects and property owners had to come back to The L’Enfant Trust for re-approval for a substitute material, manufacturer, etc. We made sure to prioritize review and approval of materials and plans that were re-submitted so our secondary review wouldn’t slow down construction.
  • Send a welcome letter to new property owners. As seen across the country, the pandemic prompted many easemented property owners to sell their homes in the city and move to less populated and more rural areas. With new property owners taking ownership as previous owners moved away, comes the challenge of educating them on the responsibilities of owning an easemented property. Sending a welcome letter to new property owners informs them of the ins & outs of living in a home protected by a conservation easement, when to come to the Trust for project review, and communicating that The L’Enfant Trust can be a helpful resource for advice on preserving and caring for a historic building.  
  • Remind property owners via email & social media of their obligations to owning an easemented property. Reminders on social media and via email can help keep us top-of-mind for property owners. Through our monthly newsletter, we share helpful guidance and tips for property owners considering exterior projects, such as the installation of solar panels, window replacements, or a new paint job. Social media and email can also be a good way to make contact with new property owners interested in learning more about our work and ways they can get involved.
  • Flexibility with property owners. With COVID-19 upending life and the way we live in the city, it’s been important to be flexible with property owners on their plans for renovations, additions or other changes. For example, the Trust worked with many of its commercial building owners to quickly approve plans for covered patio space for outside dining and entertainment so businesses could continue to serve the community during the pandemic. We recognize that our easemented properties are not museum properties — they’re living, breathing historic places that need to adapt to changing times while still maintaining their architectural integrity.   
  • Collaboration is key. Managing property changes, improvements, additions, and window replacements of our more than 1,150 easemented buildings would not be possible without collaboration with DC’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO). HPO is an incredibly helpful resource; alerting us to new building permits filed for easemented properties and corroborating on review of project proposals to easemented buildings in DC’s more than 30 historic districts. 

Despite skipping out on a year of easement inspections due to COVID-19, we ultimately did not see an uptick in the number of easement violations, or severity of violations, compared to years prior. However, we’ve determined from an organizational perspective that it’s best practice for The L’Enfant Trust to conduct an annual inspection on easemented properties to ensure more serious violations do not occur. Continuing the practice of an annual inspection maintains the integrity of our 40+ year nationally recognized program and reestablishes a vital touchpoint with property owners.

For more on owning an easemented property held by The L’Enfant Trust, visit our Property Owner’s Guide. You can also visit our Guides to Preserving Your Historic Exterior on specific issues facing the care of historic properties, such as historic window restoration, solar panel installation, shutter repair, and more.

Interested in donating a conservation easement on your historic property, but not sure where to begin? Visit our “Donating a Conservation Easement” webpage for an overview of the process and its benefits.

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Annual photography inspection shows installation of approved rooftop solar panels on 654 6th Street, NE. Many historic buildings can be great candidates for solar panels.
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Renovations and rear/side addition underway as captured during the annual photography inspection at 2475 Kalorama Road, NW.

The L’Enfant Trust Awarded Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

By Katie Williams | May 3, 2022 | Comments Off on The L’Enfant Trust Awarded Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

The L’Enfant Trust (“Trust”) is pleased to announce the award of a generous grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (“CAH”) in the amount of $20,290.00

The grant supports the Trust’s committed rental expenses during the CAH’s Fiscal Year 2022 (October 2021 – September 2022). The generous support from CAH will help alleviate the burden of financial costs incurred during the pandemic and allow our nonprofit organization greater financial flexibility as we focus our efforts on the upcoming historic rehabilitation of 1220 Maple View Place, SE (“Big Green”) in Historic Anacostia into two family-size units of three bedrooms each that will be sold as affordable housing.

We’re grateful to CAH for their support of our work and for their unparalleled support of arts and humanities programming across the District, particularly as many nonprofit organizations continue to rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAH is an independent agency in the District of Columbia government that evaluates and initiates action on matters relating to the arts and humanities and encourages programs and the development of programs that promote progress in the arts and humanities. As the designated state arts agency for the District of Columbia, CAH is supported primarily through District government funds and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Please email info@lenfant.org with any questions related to this funding announcement.

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Trust’s Former Rehabilitation Project, “Little Green”, Up for Sale for the First Time in 8 Years!

By Katie Williams | Apr 14, 2022 | Comments Off on Trust’s Former Rehabilitation Project, “Little Green”, Up for Sale for the First Time in 8 Years!

1347 Maple View Place, SE (“Little Green”), one of The L’Enfant Trust’s former rehabilitation projects in Historic Anacostia, is now for sale for the first time in eight years since we first sold it in 2014. 1347 Maple View Place, SE was a long vacant, two-story, Queen-Anne style house in the Anacostia Historic District on the verge of demolition by neglect before the Trust’s restoration of the house. Built between 1887 and 1894, 1347 Maple View Place, SE stands at the top of the street with a direct view of the United States Capitol.

The wood frame house features a cross-gable roof with an exaggerated overhanging eave that creates a covered front porch. Other distinct features of the house are the original, reeded, drop siding, decorative window dressings, front bay window and louvered ventilator. Tour this historic gem at the open house hosted by Compass Real Estate Saturday, April 16, 2022 from 1-3 pm.

You can view the listing for more details and a virtual tour.

Pomfret Foundation Awards Historic Preservation Grants. The 1772 Foundation Announces Twenty-five Grant Recipients.

By Jennifer Cassell | Feb 28, 2022 | Comments Off on Pomfret Foundation Awards Historic Preservation Grants. The 1772 Foundation Announces Twenty-five Grant Recipients.

MEDIA CONTACT – Mary Anthony, The 1772 Foundation, maryanthony@1772foundation.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – FEBRUARY 25, 2022

POMFRET, CONNECTICUT – The 1772 Foundation, based in Pomfret, Connecticut, plays a leading role in promoting historic properties redevelopment programs (HPRPs), also known as revolving funds, nationwide. At its quarterly meeting, its trustees awarded HPRP grants totaling $1,078,000. Individual grants ranged in amount from $8,000 (for a feasibility study) to $100,000. In Massachusetts, New Bedford’s Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) received $75,000 and Historic Boston Incorporated received $50,000. The National Preservation Partners Network, based in Woburn, received $20,000 to create a revolving fund resource guide.

Other HPRP grant recipients were Cincinnati Preservation Association in Cincinnati, Ohio ($55,000), Cleveland Restoration Society in Cleveland, Ohio ($35,000), Columbus Landmarks in Columbus, Ohio ($50,000), Cornerstones, Inc. in Chattanooga, Tennessee ($15,000), Fairmount Park Conservancy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ($30,000), Galveston Historical Foundation in Galveston, Texas ($30,000), The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in Atlanta, Georgia ($50,000), Historic Augusta Incorporated in Augusta, Georgia ($35,000), Historic Macon Foundation in Macon, Georgia ($75,000), Historic Richmond in Richmond, Virginia ($50,000), Historic Wilmington Foundation Inc. in Wilmington, North Carolina ($35,000), The L’Enfant Trust in Washington, DC ($65,000), Meridian Architectural Trust in Meridian, Mississippi ($8,000), National Main Street Center in Chicago, Illinois ($100,000), New Bern Preservation Foundation in New Bern, North Carolina ($20,000), New York City Historic Properties Fund ($50,000), Partners for Sacred Places in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ($40,000), Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana ($75,000), Preserve Montana in Helena, Montana ($35,000), Restore Mobile in Mobile, Alabama ($25,000), Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation in Saratoga Springs, New York ($35,000), and Sheridan Community Land Trust in Sheridan, Wyoming ($20,000).

The 1772 Foundation was named in honor of its first restoration project, Liberty Hall in Union, NJ, which was built in 1772 and is the ancestral home of the Livingston and Kean families. The late Stewart B. Kean was the original benefactor of The 1772 Foundation. The 1772 Foundation works to ensure the safe passage of our historic buildings and farmland to future generations. More information about The 1772 Foundation may be found at  www.1772foundation.org.

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Black History Month Program Selects Historic Georgetown For Documentary Viewing of What Happened 2 Chocolate City

By Jennifer Cassell | Feb 20, 2020 | Comments Off on Black History Month Program Selects Historic Georgetown For Documentary Viewing of What Happened 2 Chocolate City

Media Advisory For Immediate Release February 18, 2020 Contact: info@partypoliticsus.com | 202-421-5859

Party Politics US and hosts have selected a Georgetown location to show the documentary film, directed by Mignotae Kebede, What Happened 2 Chocolate City. The film will be shown to a limited audience at 6pm on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at the private L2 Lounge in Cady’s Alley, Georgetown. Joe Clair, morning host for WPGC’s morning drive show will moderate the conversation following the film. 

“Georgetown has a rich history where Blacks were displaced by gentrification and the history is often forgotten. We see that happening today with yet another wave of gentrification displacing another generation of Black Washingtonians due to low wages, high rise buildings and exorbitant rents. It’s another form of discrimination.” Atiba Madyun, President of Party Politics US said. 

The feature length documentary explores the rise and decline of one of America’s most prominent Black communities. Told through the lens of 3 generations of Black Washingtonians, John, Mike and Zarina, the film tracks four waves of Black displacement in the nation’s capital. 

“When I moved here from California 10 years ago, I thought DC was a rich black city often referred to as Chocolate City. I quickly realized this wasn’t true. After college, my work in SE DC with young African American boys and girls made me reflect on my life in DC as a Black “gentrifier.” I came to realize that people are not only being displaced, Black culture and its rich history of the city is too. My film is a message for natives, transplants and government.” Mignotae Kebede, director of What Happened 2 Chocolate City

“The L’Enfant Trust is happy to partner with Party Politics US and director, Mignotae Kebede to show a valuable part of DC history and encourage everyone to be a part of protecting, preserving the history of Black Washington.” Lauren McHale, President and CEO of the L’Enfant Trust. 

To see the trailer for What Happened 2 Chocolate City visit https://youtu.be/z89PeSWWxZI 

About the Film What Happened 2 Chocolate City is a feature length documentary, exploring the rise and decline of one of our nation’s most prominent Black communities through the narrative of three individuals. John, Mike, and Zarina, each represent a generational experience many Black Washingtonians faced over the past century. 

Director, Mignotae Kebede is a native Californian and graduate of The George Washington University (GWU) dedicated to exploring the intersections between creative expression and social change. Working with African American boys and young men east of the Anacostia River, she developed the concept for the forthcoming film. 

Party Politics US creates fun programs to amplify unheard voices by engaging people around topics like politics, religion, tribalism, culture and history to craft solutions. Visit www.partypoliticsus.com to learn more. 

The L’Enfant Trust’s mission is to preserve and revitalize Washington D.C.’s neighborhoods through programs that connect residents to their collective history, protect the city’s architectural heritage and reactivate neglected properties within their communities.

1/10/20 Historic Anacostia Houses Update

By Jennifer Cassell | Jan 10, 2020 | Comments Off on 1/10/20 Historic Anacostia Houses Update

Progress is evident at the three properties that are under active construction! We anticipate being able to list 1518 W Street, SE (2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths) for sale this spring, followed by 1326 Valley Place, SE (4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths) and 1648 U Street, SE (4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths) in late spring/early summer. There will be maximum income restrictions (not to exceed 120% Median Family Income) as well as minimum household size eligibility requirements to ensure that the properties are serving as homes for moderate-income families in the community.

1518 W Street, SE

The exterior has been painted and interior drywall has been installed. We have restored power which will allow the floors to be laid next.

1326 Valley Place, SE

Interior framing is in place and windows have been installed.

1648 U Street, SE

The rear has been rebuilt (reusing the historic brick to face the new foundation) and new framing is in place. The juxtaposition with the historic material in these photos is striking!

8/2/19 Historic Anacostia Houses Update

By Jennifer Cassell | Aug 2, 2019 | Comments Off on 8/2/19 Historic Anacostia Houses Update

Work is underway!

Thomas Archer Contracting has begun the work at 1326 Valley Place, SE and 1518 W Street, SE, and is poised to commence at 1648 U Street, SE once a series of zoning issues have been resolved. We anticipate completing the projects early in 2020, barring major road bumps.

The re-zoning and pre-construction planning for 1220 Maple View Place, SE is beginning this summer. We hope to submit plans for permits this fall.

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1326 Valley Place, SE
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1518 W Street, SE

1772 Foundation Grant Awarded!

By Jennifer Cassell | Feb 14, 2019 | Comments Off on 1772 Foundation Grant Awarded!

The L’Enfant Trust just received a $65,000 grant from The 1772 Foundation to rebuild the foundation at 1518 W Street, SE! We could not be more grateful for this grant or for their continued support and partnership.

On initial survey, 1518 W Street, SE seemed to be the best of the four city-owned properties that were transferred to The L’Enfant Trust’s HPRP last year, but as it turns out, the foundation is shallow and is constructed of only a single wythe of brick with a few brick piers on three sides of the house. The existing foundation is inadequate by today’s building code and, in addition, one portion of the foundation has buckled and is no longer supporting the house. Due to these conditions, extensive rebuilding and reinforcement of the brick foundation will be required to make the house safe to inhabit. Because of the high cost of rehabilitation projects like these, and the Trust’s commitment to selling them as income-capped housing for moderate income buyers, the budgets for all four properties are very tight, and this discovery threatened all of them. The plan for the foundation is to pour new reinforced concrete walls behind the original brick walls, tie the walls together, and install structural beams and columns to support the floors above.

These projects would not be possible without the ongoing generosity of The 1772 Foundation. Read their press release here.

1772

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1518 W Street, SE

We’re Hiring!

By Jennifer Cassell | Nov 30, 2018 | Comments Off on We’re Hiring!

Historic Preservation Specialist 

SUPERVISOR: President

STATUS: Full-time; Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm.

SALARY: Salaried

POSITION SUMMARY

Manage the conservation easement program of The L’Enfant Trust. The Historic Preservation Specialist is responsible for administrating the Trust’s 1,144 conservation easements and assisting with other Trust activities.  Provide support for the Trust’s Historic Properties Redevelopment Program (HPRP), which is currently rehabilitating four properties in the Anacostia Historic District.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Under the direction of the President/CEO:

  • Review rehabilitation/restoration proposals for exterior changes to easemented properties
  • Issue letters to property owners for approved projects
  • Prepare written notices to all easemented property owners annually
  • Provide guidance to architects, contractors, consultants and property owners on historic preservation standards and local preservation regulations
  • Provide technical assistance information on historic building materials, restoration treatments and tools, and new preservation technologies
  • Perform on-site property inspections and review annual photography
  • Maintain Filemaker database and property files
  • Respond to easement donation inquiries and oversee donations
  • Work with government agencies and perform tasks related to permitting for HPRP projects
  • Research building histories
  • Create content for various social media platforms and monthly newsletter

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation or related field
  • Strong analytical, organizational and prioritization skills
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively
  • Proficiency in computer skills (Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, Publisher)
  • Superior writing skills including communication via electronic media
  • Keen understanding of confidentiality standards and practices
  • Familiarity with social media, including Facebook and Twitter

Salary is commensurate with experience and education and will include benefits. Small, friendly office located near public transportation (Red Line Metro) in downtown Dupont Circle.

Please send cover letter and resume to info@lenfant.org

Attention: Ananda Bagiackas, Operations Manager

No telephone calls please.

5/30/18: Sales Guidelines for Four Historic Anacostia Properties

By Jennifer Cassell | May 30, 2018 | Comments Off on 5/30/18: Sales Guidelines for Four Historic Anacostia Properties

To comply with our Disposition Agreement with DC Department of Housing and Community Development, The L’Enfant Trust will use the following guidelines for the sale of the properties:

    • The properties will be listed on the market as traditional sales with Affordability Requirements to ensure that income and Maximum Sales Price caps limit purchasers to those with Family Median Incomes at or below 120%.
    • Income and Maximum Sales Price caps will follow the most recent matrix outlined on the DC Department of Housing and Community Development website, based on figures published by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Family size and the number of bedrooms in each unit affect these caps.
    • Each purchaser will be required to have their household income verified by a Certifying  Authority.  Further information and details about obtaining the necessary Certification of Income will be outlined closer to the completion of the rehabilitation projects, and well in advance of the listing of the properties.
    • All sales will comply with the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977.

 

Additional Resources:

Affordable Housing Matrix

Home Purchase Assistance Program

Employer Assisted Housing Program for District government employees

 

 

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