MVT Spotlight: Buwa Binitie and Capitol Vista

Buwa Binitie of Dantes Partners filed plans in March for a key MVT site at 888 New Jersey Avenue, NW. The site’s constraining triangular shape is seen as an opportunity rather than a limitation by this development team (click here to view renderings). We asked Buwa to tell us more.

MVT CID: How did Dantes Partners become interested in this DC-owned site?

Buwa Binitie: I first heard about this site at an Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) “March Madness” event highlighting upcoming public-private development opportunities and thought to myself, “This is the perfect site to develop 100 percent affordable workforce housing.” With more than 4,000 units in the pipeline between MVT and NOMA, these 104 units of affordable workforce housing will be a drop in the bucket. I realized that fact alone would differentiate our proposal from others. I also thought this neighborhood allows for an opportunity for the building to be iconic. I hope we have been able to achieve this with our modern take on the Flatiron Building in New York City.

MVT CID: Tell us about your interest in developing affordable housing and your rise as a developer in DC.

Buwa Binitie: My interest in developing affordable housing stems from the fact that when I was a young professional I was paying more than 50 percent of my income in rent and was always afraid that I was a paycheck away from being homeless. Developing affordable housing is truly a dream come true for me because I get to help others like myself that want quality, safe and beautiful housing to call home, for rents they can actually afford.

MVT CID: This triangular site might be daunting to many people but you, with architect Grimm + Parker Architecture, have chosen to approach it as an iconic project. Tell us about the design aesthetic.

Buwa Binitie: The design approach is one that we knew from day one had to draw inspiration from the Flatiron Building. Ashish Mayer from Grimm + Parker had a similar idea to create a modern iconic landmark that people would be able to draw inspiration from in the future. Ashish refers to the project as his canvas and I believe that as a team we are making a work of art that will still be affordable to DC’s workforce. We’ve done our best to balance design with prudent business decisions to ensure long term affordability.

MVT CID: Where might we find you dining in the MVT?

Buwa Binitie: RPM – love their food and great ambience.

MVT CID: Thank you!