Friday, September 11, 2015

Pitches for Waterfront Station Parcel

Three different visions for the District owned parcel at Waterfront Station were presented last night at a community meeting held by the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development's office (DMPED). All three proposals contain multifamily buildings with unit sizes ranging from studios to 2BRs, ground floor retail, and a new private drive on the north end of the site, which are included in the stage one PUD approval for the site, but each team approached the proposed development differently. The developer teams that presented include: 
  • MRP Realty with Taylor Adams Associates, Blue Skye Development, McCullough Construction, Kettler and HOU 
  • Republic Properties with the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) and Bozzuto Management
  • PN Hoffman with AHC Inc, Paramount Development, E.R. Bacon Development and CityPartners. 
MRP Realty's proposed building, looking southeast on 4th Street.
First up was MRP, which highlighted their commitment to a larger share of affordable housing units than the 30% mandated by new legislation for District-owned land dispositions. Their proposal calls for an 11-story LEED-Silver building designed by MV+A with 421 rental apartment units and 9,000 SF of ground floor retail. Of the 421 units, 168 (or 40%) are affordable – 31 units at up to 30% of Area Median Income (AMI), 95 units at up to 50% of AMI, and 42 units at up to 80% of AMI. In addition, 5% of the affordable units will be designated Permanent Supportive Housing in an effort to get homeless people off the streets. The retail space will be along 4th Street with the main entrance to the building at the corner of 4th Street and a new private drive at the north end of the site. Some target tenants for the retail space include a hardware store, bank, arts space, or other uses currently lacking in the neighborhood. Other commitments include a $175,000 community improvement grant, job training program through HOU, hiring only DC residents for all permanent jobs, and 50% of all contracts going to CBEs. 

Republic Properties' proposed building, looking southeast on 4th Street.
The second team to present was Republic Properties, which decided not to build up to the maximum square footage permitted on the site. Republic’s proposal includes 378 rental apartment units in a LEED-Silver building designed by WDG Architecture and 8,000 SF of retail. Two-story walk-out duplex units with 2BRs designed for families would be built along the new private drive and the northern portion of Wesley Place. Of the 30% set aside as affordable housing, half would be for up to 30% of AMI and the other half for up to 60% of AMI. These affordability levels are not in line with the recently passed DC Council legislation, so Steve Grigg of Republic stated those percentages will change. The courtyard space on the ground floor of the building could potentially be used by the community for events such as movie screenings while the rooftop space with a pool, jogging trail, and BBQ grills would be reserved for building residents. Along the private drive, the developer would allow neighboring Christ United Methodist Church to use the space to park cars on Sundays. In addition, the area could be blocked off on Saturdays for a farmers market or other events. Retail will be along 4th Street with four storefronts at 2,000 SF each. These spaces have been designed for use by community-oriented retailers such as a bike shop, yoga studio, pet supply store, plant/flower shop, or gift/stationery shop. This proposal has the highest parking ratio, with 258 parking spaces, bike racks, Zipcar spaces, and electric car charging stations. A total of 320 construction jobs will be created and 40 permanent jobs – 50% of all jobs will be filled by DC residents. The development team will also work with the Office of Apprenticeship Programs and the DC Apprenticeship Council for job training opportunities for residents. 

PN Hoffman's proposed building, looking southeast on 4th Street.
PN Hoffman’s presentation was unique in that the amount of proposed retail space was more than double the amount proposed by the other teams and prospective retail tenants were announced. The development plan includes 443 rental apartment units, 22,500 SF of community-oriented retail, and a 10,000 SF, 200-seat black box theater, all in a LEED-Gold building designed by Torti Gallas. The 133 units of affordable housing includes 34 units at up to 30% of AMI and 99 units at up to 50% of AMI. Retail would be located on 4th Street, wrapping around to the new private drive. A letter of intent has been signed by Constantine Stavropoulous, the owner of Tryst, Open City, The Diner, and The Coupe to open a diner at the corner of 4th Street and the private drive. Other retail uses such as a daycare center and artist space could be located on the north side of the development along the private drive, which serves as a connector between the Southwest Library branch and the SW Duck Pond. The private drive could be closed off at times for arts-focused events. Forum Theatre would make the return to the District from its current location in Silver Spring to operate the black box theater, which began 12 years ago on H Street NE. The theater would be located on the south side of the site below the courtyard, which would allow the theater space to be without columns. The PN Hoffman team would use the model they implemented to engage the community during The Wharf’s development process with a community benefits group and a construction issues group. During the question and answer period, it was mentioned that a hardware store was not considered by the development team for this project because they are in negotiations to bring one to The Wharf along Maine Avenue.

The public comment period will be open through October 9. For more information on the proposals, the slideshow presentations from last night’s meeting can be found here. Comments can be sent to Marc Bleyer from DMPED, the project director for the Waterfront Station parcel at Bleyer will be at a future ANC 6D meeting to take questions from the commissioners and hear their input on a preferred proposal. A decision will likely be made by DMPED by November. 

Which proposal do you like best? Vote for your favorite using the poll on the left side of the blog home page and/or leave a comment.

Renderings courtesy of MRP Realty, Republic Properties, and PN Hoffman


SWDrew said...

And you had me at diner.

Michael said...

Absolutely! PN Hoffman nailed it!

SWag said...

All of the buildings are VERY unimaginative. I actually like the design of MRP the best, but in terms of programming, PN Hoffman becomes a clear choice.

Unknown said...

2nd proposal I like b/c of the potential for more Zipcars, which we need. Other than the two spots on I and the one spot at the apartment complex on G, that I can recall there aren't many Zipcar spots in the immediate 4th and I area. But PN will most likely win, especially since they're redeveloping the Wharf.

SWDrew said...

I for one gave up my zipcar membership for the convenience of car2go, if you havent checked it out you should!

Unknown said...

I absolutely cannot fit in a smart car lol. Believe me I tried. Got broad shoulders and the whole experience was uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

PNH must be pretty optimistic about the local retail market if they're willing to propose that quantity of retail, in addition to the 300,000 square feet they're building across Maine Avenue. (By comparison, Forest City has been pretty good at leasing up The Yards down the street, but is only including a token 5,000 square feet of retail across the street.)

Zipcar/Enterprise pay pretty good rent for off-street parking spaces. I wonder if any of the local coops/condos have considered renting out spaces for them? said...

Keep the building heights at 8 stories or fewer. Just because the EPA buildings got grandfathered in doesn't mean the whole neighborhood needs to be 11 stories.

Unknown said...

PMHoffman. We need a Diner. Boy does he know our Achilles.

AMK said...

I'm definitely swayed by PN Hoffman's plans for significantly more retail space overall and, in particular, by the possibility of a cool neighborhood diner like The Coupe. However, I do wish that a hardware store was part of their plan as well. The 4th St. retail area seems like a more logical location to me than The Wharf, which seems like it will have a lot more high-end and "destination" type of retail overall.

Does anyone know if there are efforts underway to recruit any new grocery stores to the area? I've been so disappointed in the new Safeway since it opened. So much wasted space in the front. I find the actual grocery selections to be quite limited and underwhelming. I still drive to other neighborhoods to do my shopping.