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Paying Tribute: Developer H.R. Crawford: Critical to Washington Highlands and CPDC Redevelopments

With the passing of developer H.R. Crawford, CPDC weighs in on his contribution to redevelopment and affordable housing in Southeast D.C.

H.R. Crawford, former DC Councilman and real estate developer known for taking on controversial redevelopment of public housing complexes in low-income communities, recently died at the age of 78.

Crawford’s death comes at a time when the Washington Highlands neighborhood—an area where Crawford focused much of his real estate development efforts (and where CPDC owns seven communities)—has been very much transformed, according to CPDC Chairman Emeritus Conrad Egan.

“The successful and lasting resurrection in Washington Highlands was made possible by many partners including Crawford and the vision, leadership, persistence and funding of HUD and DC’s Department of Public Housing and Community Development,” Egan said.

Once among Washington’s most prominent black leaders in real estate management, in 1973 Crawford was appointed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as Assistant Secretary for Housing Management by President Richard Nixon—a role that made him one of the highest-ranking African American officials in the federal agency and propelled him to national attention.

During his tenure at HUD Crawford advocated tearing down and then rebuilding the nation’s most run-down public housing communities. He remained active in housing issues throughout his tenure as a D.C. Council Member from 1980 to 1992.

In 2010, CPDC partnered with Crawford for the purchase of The Overlook at Oxon Run (previously Parkside Terrace) from Crawford and revitalized the property into a vibrant mixed-income development including 135 Low Income Housing Tax Credit units for families and 181 Section 8 units for very low- income seniors.

Today, The Overlook continues to thrive in Ward 8 as home to a rich network of senior services and the future home of an innovative new Makers Space.

Revitalization of the Ward 8 Washington Highlands neighborhood was also assisted by CPDC’s other investments in the area, including the rehabilitation of Wheeler Terrace and the acquisition and continuous improvement of Arbor View.

To learn more about the life and career on H.R. Crawford see the Washington Business Journal or Washington Post.

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