With the determination to totally revitalize Shaw, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser attended a wall breaking ceremony this Friday for Shaw’s historic Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association, Inc. (Phyllis Wheatley YWCA) building. Located at the corner of 9th Street NW and Rhode Island Avenue NW, the facility will undergo a $17 million that will preserve 84 permanent, supportive, and affordable housing units for low-income women. According to a press release, the building’s current residents will not see their rents increase. The developer for the project is Dantes Partners.
The wall breaking ceremony was one of six events that Bowser attended that day as part of an event, titled “Scissors and Shovels.” The five other events included a ribbon cutting at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Commons (36 affordable units at 5010 Southern Avenue SE), a groundbreaking for Archer Park (190 affordable units at 13th Street SSE and Mississippi Avenue SE), a ribbon cutting for Turning Natural Juice Bar (2025 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE), a groundbreaking on the $17 million renovation and expansion of the Kenilworth Recreation Center and outdoor pool (1300 44th Street NE), and a ribbon cutting for Sala Thai (4020 Minnesota Avenue NE).
The Phillis Wheatley YWCA building was built in 1920 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was named after Phillis Wheatley, who is cited as the first black woman professional poet and writer in the United States by Henry Louis Gates’s publication, Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America’s Second Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Fathers. The renovation of the building received funding from the D.C. Housing Authority, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, D.C. Department of Energy and Environment, D.C. Department of Human Services, D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility, Wells Fargo, Amalgamated Bank, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH).
Take a look at some of the photos taken at the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA wall breaking ceremony below: