Black Women Who Paid $75,000 for a DC Apartment Building 40 Years Ago Say It is Now Worth $2 Million

Four decades have passed since they purchased the inconspicuous six-unit building in Northwest Washington DC. Four of the original tenants, all African American women, still live within its walls today, and the building, which was purchased for $75,000 in 1983, is now worth close to $2 million.

They could never have predicted the ownership they would grow to appreciate when they originally purchased the property. While the building’s façade may appear unassuming, it holds a special place in the hearts of these ladies who have faced life’s trials within its walls.

Through family illnesses, babies, neighborhood transformations, and the inexorable march of time, the quartet held to their shared ambition. They established one of the city’s most enduring cooperative living arrangements, a testimony to their tenacity. However, the time has come for them to say goodbye to their cherished house. The eldest, 97 years old, and the others in their 70s have finding the stairs increasingly difficult to climb. Selling the building now allows them to reap the benefits of their decades of meticulous maintenance.

According to the Washington Post, the value of their property has skyrocketed since their initial purchase, with comparable buildings in the Park View neighborhood commanding more than a million dollars now, and some even exceeding two million. TTR Sotheby’s International Realty’s Noelle-Kristine Spencer, who has been aiding the women, will shortly list the property publicly. The bonds these women have formed within these confines, however, are not captured in the list.

Their tale demonstrates the possibility of housing stability and generational wealth when groups and governments emphasize such projects. These ladies are more than simply neighbors; they have raised children together, looked out for one another’s well-being, and shared life’s pleasures and sorrows. They have created something truly wonderful, a testament to perseverance and community.

The four women reminisce about their shared history while sitting in Earlie Hendricks’ flat, where the adventure began in 1971. Joanne Jenkins arrived a year later, followed by Washington and Bettie Perry in 1983. They recall the $89.50 monthly rent and the legal support they received to accomplish their house purchase with fondness. They couldn’t afford a lawyer at the time, so University Legal Services stepped in and assisted them in obtaining city loans to support the purchase and subsequent improvements.

Since then, University Legal Services has moved its concentration from property acquisition to the maintenance and renovation of properties bought with city support. The Executive Director, Jane Brown, describes the women’s facility as a success story that has offered stable accommodation for four decades. She emphasizes that it is their right to choose the best course of action right now.

Selling the building is bittersweet for these women. Their decision was influenced by health concerns as well as the difficulty of navigating the steps. Nonetheless, they are looking forward to reaping the benefits of their years of hard work. They recall long commutes to government offices and constant upkeep as if it were a second job.

They saw the area change from a location distinguished by open drug use and a nightly serenading stranger in the stairs to a peaceful, family-friendly community over the years. However, the alteration has changed their lives within the building. The days of vibrant gatherings in Hendricks’ apartment, where her table was often filled with food and people, are long gone.

As they prepare to leave their beloved house, Hendricks prepares to relocate to a senior housing complex in the city, with Perry accompanying her and Washington hoping to join them later. Jenkins, on the other hand, is looking for a single-story home in Maryland. Their link is intact, and they look forward to new beginnings even as they say goodbye to a home that has been their haven for so long.

Finally, they are guided by the conviction that this transformation will result in a happy ending, though this is a conclusion they are not quite ready to accept.

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