The history of Barry Farm is rich and inspiring, telling a story of perseverance and success in the face of great odds. In 1867, former slaves and Civil War refugees started purchasing lots in the area and started building homes, making Barry Farm the first African-American homeowner community in the country. More recent events haven’t been kind to Barry Farm, and since 1954, the majority of property is owned by the D.C. Housing Authority, which maintains 432 units of public housing. However, Barry Farm is scheduled for redevelopment as part of the New Communities Initiative, to integrate the neighborhood with the rest of D.C. and the already sprawling Anacostia nearby.
Time for a Make-Over
Barry Farm is one of the few D.C. communities left aside, as multi-billion development projects swept through the city, transforming one neighborhood after the other. However, the strategic plan for revitalization of Barry Farm fleshed out and approved in 2006 is finally about to bring fruit. The New Communities Initiative aims to transform the public housing projects into a modern urban development, consisting of mixed-income units with plenty of residential, office and retail space.
The framework dictates the replacement of residential units one-for-one, at the same time constructing an additional 900 market rate residential units, along with 30,000 square feet of commercial space, attracting retailers and providing local entrepreneurs with the infrastructure needed for developing a business.
Catering to the Needs of the Community
Along with the redevelopment of properties, community amenities and infrastructure improvements have been planned to provide Barry Farm with everything necessary for a vibrant and comfortable life. The first results are already here, with the Excel Academy Public Charter School opened in 2008 and the 22,000 square-foot Barry Farm Recreation Center delivered early in 2015, boasting state-of-the-art sports fields, meeting rooms, as well as game and recreation spaces, and even an indoor swimming pool.
The redevelopment plan for Barry Farm shows great promise, and new economic and real estate opportunities are sure to come. With the transformation of the real estate market and improved community infrastructure, private investment is likely to follow. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Barry Farm become the grounds for booming development, much like was previously seen in Columbia Heights.
Potential SF of Barry Farm redevelopment - 1.5M
SF of new retail planned for Barry Farm - 30,000
SF new recreation center - 22,000
Source : Neighborhood Profiles: 2014 Edition. (2014, February 17). Washington, DC Economic Partnership, Retrieved from http://www.wdcep.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/np14_final_lowres.pdf