The Parkside neighborhood in Northeast DC was once described in the national media as a “filthy broken down slum” and “the largest open air drug market in the East Coast.” Parkside epitomized the decline of urban neighborhoods in the 1980s – far from the community vision of the original African American architect and developer Albert Cassell. In 1985, Telesis embarked on its first neighborhood transformation working with residents and other key partners to restore safety and create positive change in the rebuilding of their community.
Telesis created a master plan for the neighborhood and, through structuring a complex mix of public and private financing, carried out a renovation of 653 apartments (renamed “Paradise at Parkside”). On-site residential police presence was established following the Japanese Koban model of police officers residing and working in the community. Over 100 residents were employed in the reconstruction of their neighborhood. The redevelopment included a community center with a computer lab, health care center, and day care. Today, Paradise at Parkside is experiencing a new cycle of restoration to continue as a model in urban revitalization. The Parkside neighborhood has been designated a Promise Neighborhood by the US Department of Education.