Historic Phyllis Wheatley YWCA completes $17M renovation

Historic Phyllis Wheatley YWCA completes $17M renovation

A ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place on June 23 to celebrate a revitalized facility and Shaw neighborhood


Less than two years after breaking ground, the Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association, Inc. (Phyllis Wheatley YWCA) will be celebrating the completion of a $17 million renovation in Washington, D.C.’s historic Shaw neighborhood. Eighty-four permanent, supportive and affordable housing units for low-income women have been preserved and modernized. Located at the corner of 9th Street NW and Rhode Island Avenue NW, Mayor Muriel Bowser will be leading the celebration along with the board of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, Dantes Partners, staff, and community and business supporters.

Dantes Partners assisted the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA in seeing the project from planning to end. The firm provided counsel and innovative financing solutions to the Phyllis Wheatley’s plan to renovate. The renovation of the building received funding from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, D.C. Housing Authority, 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.

Buwa Binitie, managing partner of Dantes Partners, praises the hard work of a collaborative committed to renovating the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA.

“I’m excited to have achieved this major milestone with a group of dedicated government officials, architects, contractors and everyone who played a major role in bringing this project to fruition,” said Binitie.

The facility is named after Phillis Wheatley, who has been cited as the first black woman professional poet and writer in the United States. Organized on May 5, 1905 by Rosetta Lawson with two rented rooms in Southeast D.C., the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA would ultimately expand to its current location in 1920. Designed by African American architect, Albert Irvin Cassell, the Phillis Wheatley YWCA building was completed in 1920 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The last renovation of the facility took place in 2000, and cost the organization a little over $3 million.

“The Phyllis Wheatley YWCA represents over a century of independence for the thousands of women and girls who have been residents, received services and made lifelong friendships. This renovation will enable thousands more to live safely and sustainably as they create new lives,” said Patricia L. Plummer, president of the board of directors.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 901 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. The public is invited to the ceremony and to tour the facilities. RSVP ywcarsvp@reidrodell.com to reserve a space.