Cardinal Donald Wuerl pointed to the rain and wind as biblical symbols of the Holy Spirit’s blessing during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new senior housing development in Rockville on Tuesday afternoon. Although the weather probably was not the best for construction, Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, thanked God that building finally was underway.
“We’re going to ask God [to] continue to shower down blessing on us,” he said.
The development, called Victory Court, is a project of Victory Housing, the Archdiocese of Washington’s housing development arm. Jim Brown, president of Victory Housing, said his organization sees hundreds of applications for its affordable senior housing in the Washington, D.C., metro area.
“The need for affordable seniors’ housing is dramatic and growing,” he said.
Brown said another developer had been eyeing the site where Victory Court will be built for multi-family housing. When the developer found that the proposed project would put too much strain on schools and rush-hour traffic, Victory Housing stepped in and suggested senior housing.
The development will be bordered by Maryland Avenue and Fleet and Monroe streets, and be within walking distance of Rockville Town Square. Victory Housing is leasing the land from the county.
Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said at the groundbreaking ceremony she hopes the development’s proximity to city hall will encourage residents to get involved in civic life.
“This building, this institution, is going to be another way of saying, ‘Come on to Rockville to retire, if you don’t do anything else,’” she said.
Victory Court will include 86 apartments, with rents varying from $841 to $1,805 per month, Brown said.
Some of the property’s neighbors opposed the development because of concerns about its height and population density, and they challenged the project in court. A Montgomery County Circuit Court allowed the project to go forward in a 2010 decision.
However, Brown said the opposition was not representative of most area residents.
“Yes, there was some opposition, but we had an awful lot of support from the community, as well,” he said.