July 7th of 2014 marked the passing of DCCH's President & CEO for over 26 years, Mr. Robert L. Moore. He oversaw the rise of an entire community by organizing and leading a variety of community improvement collaborations that included non-profit organizations, for-profit entities and neighborhood civic improvement organizations that worked together to promote inclusive revitalization in a variety of housing and economic development projects.
In May of 2015, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights was awarded a Facade Improvement grant from the DC Department of Housing and Community Development to renovate storefronts on the 2600 block of Georgia Avenue, NW. Directly across the street from Howard University, the block consists of long-term businesses that range from restaurants, barber shops and salons, and a convenience store. They have shown themselves to be functional and lasting, and this initiative is designed to enhance the appearance of existing stores to attract new customers and retain existing clients.
Through DCCH's partnerships with Grid Properties, the Gotham Organization, and Mr. John Searles III, the DC USA retail complex opened in March of 2008. Located on 14th & Irving Streets NW, it brought the first urban Target to DC as well as job opportunities for local residents. With approximately 500,000 square feet, the complex provides not only Columbia Heights residents, but all of DC, with a more diverse and close place to shop and eat.
Although many big retail stores – Target, Best Buy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Payless - just to name a few, have located in DC USA, 15,000 square feet is reserved for small, local businesses because it is imperative to DCCH that small businesses remain in Columbia Heights, for they are the corner stone of the community and have provided jobs and services to DC residents.
DCCH's Business Development division is currently working with entrepreneurs who are interested in locating their business in DC USA. If you are a local/neighborhood business interested in locating in DC USA, please contact DCCH's Business Development division at (202) 483-4986.
On November 23rd of 2015, in memory of Mr. Robert L. Moore, Grid Properties and the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights dedicated a plaque in the atrium of DCUSA. In attendance were family, friends, and the Ward 1 Councilmember, Brianne Nadeau.
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Since 1984, the mission of DCCH has been to lead, plan, coordinate and execute neighborhood revitalization activities that benefit low- and moderate-income households in Washington, DC.
DCCH seeks to achieve this by increasing commercial, business and housing developments for all persons but has a particular focus on opportunities for socially or economically disadvantaged persons.
Contact us with acquisition or partnership opportunities.
Each year, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights volunteers and provides food to community members in need for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a day of service for which we are always seeking more volunteers and sponsors. If you are interested in participating in the future, please contact our office.
DCCH's Business Development Division offers support services and technical assistance designed to expand the capacities of small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Columbia Heights area. DCCH initiatives have generated increased employment, scores of small business success stories, and fiscal investment in major retail development projects.
The DCCH Business Development division aims to assist small businesses by:
1. Monitoring and relaying to businesses the needs and wants of the community through surveys and meetings with Columbia Heights residents.
2. Assessing marketing opportunities and target markets.
3. Improving the facades of local businesses.
4. Assisting entrepreneurs with their business model design.
5. Focusing on community revitalization.
6. Working to nurture a dynamic economic climate for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs.
7. Helping to find funding for businesses.
For more information on the Business Development division call us at (202) 483-4986.
In January of 2016, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights moved into its new office at 2604 GEORGIA AVENUE NW. We are excited about the opportunity to assist residents and business owners along this historic corridor.
Once farmland on the estate of the Holmead family(called "Pleasant Plains"), Columbia Heights was part of Washington County, District of Columbia (within the District but outside the borders of the city of Washington; the souther edge of Columbia Heights is Florida Avenue, which was originally called "Boundary Street" because it formed the norther boundary of the Federal City). Construction of Columbia College began there in 1822. The area began developing as a suburb of Washington soon after the Civil War when horse-drawn streetcars delivered residents of the neighborhood to downtown.
On September 12th of 2015, the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights participated in the annual Columbia Heights Day. During the festivities, DCCH conducted an informal Columbia Heights Needs Assessment to better align its initiatives with the needs of the community.
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In January of 2015, the Board of Directors for the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights welcomed Mr. André Byers as the Corporation’s President and Chief Executive Officer, recruiting him from the District Government’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development, where he served as a Director.
At the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development, Byers negotiated and closed real estate deals across the City utilizing various private and public funding sources. He also supported established businesses and startups in underserved neighborhoods as Director of the City’s Great Streets Initiative where he managed its Tax Increment Finance program and created its Small Business Capital Improvement Grant. As the Director of Great Streets, Byers aggressively expanded the Initiative in two years – multiplying its grant funding by five (5x) and increasing the number of qualifying corridors from 1 to 11 without incident or waste.
Byers also brings to the position his experiences as an entrepreneur and a college professor. Byers has started his own small businesses, including a real estate company that continues to own and manage commercial and residential properties in DC. And, as an angel investor, he has invested equity in small businesses that continue to post solid performances and returns. At Howard University, Byers serves as an Adjunct Professor of Urban Policy and Development where he teaches undergraduate, economic development courses with a particular focus on community development.
No stranger to the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, Byers once served as the Corporation’s Director of Business Development under the leadership and mentorship of the late Robert L. Moore.
It was in response to the community’s unease about drugs, crime and unaffordable housing that the Nehemiah Group was formed. As a collaboration of local nonprofits (listed below), the Nehemiah Group produced 48 cooperatives and town homes and built eighteen thousand square feet of community serving retail space coined the Nehemiah Retail Center.
The efforts of the Nehemiah Group helped revitalize the once destroyed Columbia Heights and gave the residents the retail and residential options they desired. Over 25 permanent jobs were created because of this redevelopment effort at the intersection of 14th and Belmont Streets, NW.
The Nehemiah Group was composed of:
*The Development Corporation of Columbia Heights
*The Benjamin Banneker Development Corporation
*CHANGE – All Souls Housing Corporation
*The Community of Hope
*Ministries United to Support Community Leadership Endeavors
*People Using Legal Services Effectively
*Washington Innercity Self Help
*ARCH Housing Corporation
The Nehemiah Group received support from the following organizations: The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, The Washington Area Housing Partnership, The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, PEPCO, and the lending community.
The collaboration of these groups represented an unprecedented joint venture of non-profit development organizations, private lenders, and corporations. It was the first demonstration of non-profit developers engaging in coordinated, multi-site, comprehensive neighborhood development in the District of Columbia.
The Nehemiah Group is a 1997 recipient of the Fannie Mae Foundations’ Maxwell Award of Excellence.
Behind DC USA sits a row of functioning, well-managed eateries, shops and small bodegas. They are known for good hospitality and even better authentic ethnic cuisine. Their goods and services have been staples in the ColumbiaHeights community for decades as they had shown themselves to be lasting businesses despite years of poor public lighting, poor trash management and dilapidated buildings.
In 2007, the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) partnered with the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights (DCCH) and the businesses on the 1400 block of Park Road NW to transform the block by drastically renovating the storefront facades.
In addition to improved facades, the business owners on Park Road formed the Coalition of Park Road Businesses (CPRB) and together, with DCCH, successfully fought for Park Road's inclusion in the Columbia Heights Public Realm. As a result, Park Road received from the City decorated brick sidewalks, new and improved street lighting, and better trash can placement.
The Park Road Facade Improvement Project was completed in 2009.