How Did They Do It? Excellence in Affordable (and Green!) Housing

Channing E. Phillips Homes is an Enterprise Green Communities-certified development featuring 56 affordable apartments and 3,300 square feet of street-level retail. The 58,000 square foot community serves residents earning 60 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), offering one- to three-bedroom units to accommodate a variety of household sizes.

The design concept drivers were to provide high quality design within a strict budget and to create units more typical of market-rate buildings. To meet budget constraints without compromising the quality of resident apartments, the façade was the primary target for savings. The design team paired economical Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) panels with metal sunshades and a corrugated metal cornice to create a refined urban aesthetic. Residents enjoy high quality finishes, in-unit washers and dryers, energy efficient lighting and appliances, and floor-to-ceiling glass in many units.

The massing and articulation of façades at higher floors present a bold vernacular facing directly towards the U.S. Capitol. The orientation signals an embrace of the Federal government, which helped make the project possible. Visually connecting the neighborhood to the Federal core was intended to emphasize the importance of collaboration between private developers and public entities.

The community is named for the late Channing E. Phillips, a civil rights leader who made history as the first African-American placed in nomination for the U.S. Presidency. The Reverend Phillips also led Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s Presidential campaign in 1968, taught at Howard University, and was President of D.C.’s largest affordable housing developer in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Channing E. Phillips Homes is the culmination of a more than four-decades-old vision for the property led by an interracial partnership of two D.C.-area congregations: Lincoln Congregational Temple United Church of Christ (UCC) – where Phillips was a Minister – and Westmoreland Congregational UCC. These congregations formed Lincoln-Westmoreland Housing (LWH) following the unrest and destruction of parts of the Shaw neighborhood in 1968, with a vision of rebuilding the community and providing much needed affordable housing.

LWH built an adjacent property, Lincoln Westmoreland Apartments, in the early 1970s and continued to operate and improve it during a time when few others would invest in the neighborhood. LWH furthered its support of the Shaw community by donating land to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) for the Shaw-Howard University transit station infrastructure. LWH’s investment and persistence in the neighborhood has paid dividends including significant appreciation of the first asset, enabling them to “double-down” by subsidizing the new construction of Channing E. Phillips Homes with $10 million in soft debt.

Project Team

Architect/Designer: Shalom Baranes Associates

Builder: Hamel Builders

Developer: KeyUrban

Landscape Architect/Desinger: Wiles Mensch


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