Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Riverside Baptist PUD Vetted by ANC

At last Monday’s ANC 6D monthly meeting, PN Hoffman presented their plans for a mixed use development at the site of Riverside Baptist Church, located at 7th Street and Maine Avenue. Plans call for a 7- to 9-story, 164,000 SF rental apartment building on the north end of the site with approximately 170 units, ranging in size from 450 to 1,500 SF. There is space on the ground floor for community-serving uses, such as a daycare center. On the south end of the site along Maine Avenue, a new two-story sanctuary for Riverside will be built. 

Some changes have been made to the design from Geier Brown Renfrow (GBR) Architects and Studios Architecture since the PUD was filed several months ago. The top two floors of the apartment building are now slightly more transparent. The church’s design has also been revised – there is now a richer level of materiality. 

During the presentation, Bao Vuong from PN Hoffman stated what the community benefits are for the project, including the following: 
  • A total of 10% of the Gross Building Area will be set aside as affordable housing at various levels of Area Median Income (AMI): 
  • 2% for up to 50% of AMI 
  • 6% for up to 80% of AMI 
  • 2% for up to 100% of AMI 
  • Along 7th Street, there will be 1,700 SF of private space available for public use with bench seating, landscaping, and a water wall, which will serve as a gateway to The Wharf development to the south.  
  • The intersection of 7th and I streets will be reconfigured and simplified by the removal of the median that currently exists, as well as the addition of more crosswalks and a parking lane on 7th Street. 
  • Residents of the apartment building will not be eligible for Residential Permit Parking (RPP) spaces. 
  • The developer will work with a resident group to determine which neighborhood-serving uses should be placed on the ground floor – $25,000 will be set aside to help subsidize a daycare operator in the space, or other tenant type chosen by the resident group. 
  • In addition, residents have requested that the developer install a dog park within the property to minimize the amount of dogs in the surrounding neighborhood; PN Hoffman is exploring the idea of placing a dog run on the roof of the apartment building. 
After some discussion, the commissioners voted unanimously to support the conceptual public space design, but deferred support of the consolidated PUD until their November meeting. The reason for the delay is that the commissioners would like PN Hoffman to draft a construction management plan for the development since it is located across the street from Jefferson Academy and AppleTree’s temporary home (AppleTree used to have facilities at Riverside and Amidon-Bowen, but moved to trailers on Jefferson’s campus last year). In addition, there was some concern about whether a one-time $25,000 subsidy would be sufficient to allow low-income children to use the proposed daycare facility. The PUD hearing is scheduled with the Zoning Commission on November 30.

Above rendering is of old design, courtesy of PN Hoffman

Saturday, October 24, 2015

St. James Mutual Homes Designated Historic

St. James Mutual Homes is the latest multifamily residential community in Southwest to be designated a historic landmark, following Potomac Place Tower, Harbour Square, Tiber Island, and Capitol Park Tower. The community is a series of 16 garden-style multifamily buildings located east of Channel Square apartments on the 200 block of O Street, P Street and along James Creek Parkway, which was constructed by the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) and its off-shoot, the Washington Sanitary Housing Company (WSHC) in 1937 and 1939 as moderate-income housing. The complex was designed by Appleton Clark in the Colonial Revival style. 

The application for St. James cited eligibility for historic designation in six categories, including: 
  1. Buildings associated with specific events that have made a contribution to the broad patterns of our history. 
  2. Buildings that illustrate the initial development of the apartment movement as it relates to the need for housing, including the introduction of the building type and the specific form seen. 
  3. Buildings that are parts of clusters, corridors, or districts that illustrate the patterns of development of the city. 
  4. Buildings that reflect economic forces, both external and internal, that altered the development of the city. 
  5. Buildings that reflect trends in the attitude toward the stratification or segregation and integration of religious, racial, economic, or other social groups through the building’s residential character, architectural form, and/or location. 
  6. Buildings that are parts of corridors or zones that illustrate changes in zoning and planning trends and specific regulations.
Of the 107 shareholders at St. James, 100 voted in support of pursuing historic designation. The ANC unanimously supported the historic landmark application at their September meeting and the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) staff report recommended approval. The HPRB reviewed the case on Thursday.

Friday, October 23, 2015

“Build First” Model for Greenleaf Redevelopment Gaining Steam

The ANC voted unanimously on Monday on a resolution, sponsored by 6D-03 commissioner Rachel Reilly Carroll, called “Resolution in Support of Avoiding the Displacement of Public Housing Residents During the Redevelopment of Public Housing Buildings in the Southwest Neighborhood,” which supports a “Build-First” model for Greenleaf’s eventual redevelopment. The resolution urges DCHA, the DC City Council, and the Office of the Mayor to form an Interagency Working Group within the next 30 days to evaluate the feasibility of executing a “Build First” strategy utilizing one or more of the 21 publicly-owned parcels in Southwest identified during OP’s recent Southwest Neighborhood Plan process. In addition, the ANC would like at least one commissioner to serve on the Interagency Working Group and to report on its progress and findings at least once a month to the Greenleaf Neighborhood Advisory Group until redevelopment commences. 

In previous cases across the city where public housing complexes have been redeveloped, current residents were moved to other public housing complexes in the city or given vouchers while redevelopment occurs and once the new housing is built, some of the residents who meet eligibility standards are allowed to return. In the case of Capper Carrollsburg in neighboring Navy Yard which was redeveloped through HUD’s Hope VI program, it’s been about a decade since the old buildings were demolished and many former residents remain displaced. In contrast, a “Build First” model allows development of other parcels in the vicinity of the area to be redeveloped first so residents move only once, then redevelopment can occur. In theory “Build First” a great idea, but in practice it is difficult to implement since there usually isn’t enough land available or the political will to do it. 

The CBCC, along with other neighborhood groups have been working for months on how to implement a “Build First” strategy for Greenleaf, so existing residents are not displaced from Southwest while the public housing complex is redeveloped over the next several years. Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen has also expressed support. As the ANC resolution states, there are 21 publicly-owned sites in Southwest that could potentially be used to help meet this goal. One of the components of Greenleaf is a seniors building on Delaware Avenue and M street, and displacement would be more of a hardship to this population, so the focus has been on finding a site to build a mixed-income seniors building. The Unity Clinic site at Delaware Avenue and I Street has been identified as a potential location for such a complex, combining health services and mixed income seniors housing. While the three-story Unity Clinic building is a historic landmark, there is the potential to build residential on top of and on land adjacent to the clinic. 

Don’t forget there will be a charrette tomorrow afternoon hosted by DCHA regarding Greenleaf’s redevelopment from 1-3pm at Westminster (400 I Street), which is open to the public.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Further Revisions to Capitol Park Tower Addition

Since its last meeting with the Historic Preservation Review Board over the summer, the developers of the Capitol Park Tower addition at 4th and G streets have come up with a revised plan. At the July 30 HPRB meeting, the Board stated the following about the proposed addition: 
The Board found that a new building addition in the proposed location could be compatible, but that revisions were needed to achieve compatibility with the site and existing building. Among its comments, the Board found that the pool pavilion should be retained, the end wings of the new construction should be eliminated, the design and materials of the new building should be restudied, the landscape plan should continue to be refined to closely follow Kiley’s design, the perimeter fence should ideally be eliminated or relocated and simplified, and that any enclosure of the ground level should be with much greater setbacks of the glazing. 

Perseus Realty and UIP took to heart the recommendations of the HPRB and made the following changes after meeting with the Capitol Park Tower tenant association and the ANC: 
  • The existing pool house will remain. 
  • The building mass has been simplified – the eastern and western nubs have been removed. 
  • Metal panels are no longer the dominant skin material of the addition – terracotta and pre-cast panels were added. 
  • The landscaping will more closely resemble Daniel Kiley’s original plan. 
  • The ground floor of the existing building will remain open – no residential units will be added; however, the total number of units in the new building increased from 300 to 330 units. 8% of the units in the new building will be set aside as affordable housing. 

Below are some additional renderings, designed by WDG Architecture: 

View of courtyard (addition at left).
View south from SW Freeway.

End cap view from 4th Street.
Alternative design for end cap.

The developers will present their revised plans to the HPRB tomorrow afternoon at 1pm. 

Renderings courtesy of Perseus Realty

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ANC Supports PN Hoffman Bid for Waterfront Station Parcel

At last night’s ANC 6D monthly meeting, the commissioners unanimously passed a resolution strongly recommending that DMPED choose the PN Hoffman/AHC proposal for the District-owned NE parcel of Waterfront Station. It was one of three proposals presented during a community meeting on September 10. This proposal was also the one which received overwhelming support in an unscientific poll conducted of SWTLQTC readers over the past month with 83% of the votes cast. The other two proposals were from MRP Realty with Taylor Adams Associates, Blue Skye Development, McCullough Construction, Kettler and HOU; and Republic Properties with the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) and Bozzuto Management.

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 a new private drive on the north end of the site. 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. 

In the resolution, there were four principles which the ANC used to guide their recommendation. Those principles include: 
  • Broadening the amount of affordable housing in Southwest and deepening the number of affordable units at lower AMI levels. 
  • Meet or exceed the amount of retail space that was on the old Waterside Mall footprint. 
  • Create more neighborhood gathering spaces for Southwest residents. 
  • Establish Southwest as a cultural and creative destination. 
Based on these four principles, the resolution stated the PN Hoffman proposal “most completely addressed the hierarchy of needs consistently articulated by ANC 6D over time and supported in the responses of the members of the Southwest Community through the Small Area Plan process.” In addition, the commissioners felt that PN Hoffman has demonstrated a commitment to long-term ownership and community participation through the development process of The Wharf. 

DMPED is likely to make a final decision on which proposal to choose in November. The winning team will then need to take the proposed development through the second stage PUD process (with ANC support) and the DC Council will need to approve the terms of the proposal before any construction can begin.

Renderings courtesy of PN Hoffman

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Wharf Updates

This week brought news that a restaurateur will bring two or three new restaurants to The Wharf, but another operator has chosen to not move forward with plans for one there. The WBJ reported earlier this week that in addition to opening an Asian restaurant serving Filipino cuisine, Cathal Armstrong has a letter of intent to open a distillery and was in discussions to operate a rooftop lounge at the InterContinental Hotel. Although the article didn’t say where the distillery would be located, one is planned at the Municipal Fish Market. The Filipino restaurant and distillery would open in 2018 while the lounge would open by 2017. 

Meanwhile, the WBJ reported later in the week that chef Robert Weidmaier of RW Restaurant Group decided against opening a restaurant at The Wharf. From the article: 
“The RW Restaurant Group made the decision to no longer open a new establishment at The Wharf in 2017 based on the competitive restaurant climate in D.C.,” said [RW Restaurant Group COO Frank] Schull. “Our decision was fully understood and we left on amicable terms.” 
In other Wharf news, the first phase of development was financed with $400 million in construction financing and $145 million in TIF/PILOT bonds, according to a press release. 

Sales began at 525 Water Street condos last month where 30 units were released for sale with prices ranging from the $400s for 1BR units to the $900s for 2BR/Den units. Condo sales at VIO began over the summer – all 25 units in the initial release have been reserved. The next release at VIO won’t occur until sometime in 2016. The sales center for both condo buildings is located at the former Channel Inn at 690 Water Street.

Renderings courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

Saturday, October 10, 2015

SWBID's Inaugural Chairman's Breakfast

SWBID held its inaugural Chairman’s Breakfast event on Wednesday morning at Arena Stage. This was a coming out party of sorts for SWBID, which has been busy behind the scenes getting the organization set up. SWBID's boundaries are roughly from the National Mall to M Street north-south and South Capitol to 15th streets east-west. Several entities are involved with SWBID, including Vornado, GSA, the JBG Companies, Forest City Washington, Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, Boston Properties, MetLife, and others. SWBID's Board of Directors are made up of Geoffrey Griffis, Chair; Jessica Schoen, Vice Chair; David Smith, Vice Chair; Monty Hoffman, Treasurer; and Thomas Cicotello, Secretary.

Nicholas Rodriguez and Eleasha Gamble sing a duet from 
Arena's hit production of Oklahoma! to start the program.
There were many statistics about SWBID shared at the event, including the following: 
  • SWBID, at 851 acres is the largest BID geographically in the District – for comparison, the Downtown BID contains 639 acres. 
  • 5 hotels, 2 museums, 3 churches, 21 residential projects with 1,200 units, and a new public library are in the development pipeline within SWBID. 
  • 19K people live within a mile of Arena Stage. 
  • 60K people work in the BID; by 2018 that number will increase to 69K. 
  • There are 959 hotel rooms in SWBID; by January 2018 the number of rooms will double. 
  • There are 21M SF of office space in SWBID; GSA owns or leases 15M SF. 
  • 39K people use L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, more than Union Station. 
  • 110K people came to see the SW Waterfront fireworks show at this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. 
  • The Museum of the Bible, which is opening at 4th and D streets in 2017, expects 3 million visitors during its first year of operations. 

The five goals of SWBID are the following: 
  1. Implement a Clean Streets program. 
  2. Partner with District and Federal agencies to make the area more walkable. 
  3. Work with cultural and hospitality partners to keep occupancy levels high. 
  4. Direct the launch of the SW Ecodistrict. 
  5. Make the area a safe and great location for business and an attractive location for residents to live.

A certificate was awarded to SW resident Terrence Williams.
SWBID organized a test clean up of 4th Street last month, but in the coming weeks, the cleaning crew will be in uniform doing regular clean ups around the BID. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Boat Home Tour Tomorrow!

Stadium News

Last week, the District government filed to take two acres by eminent domain at Buzzard Point to make way for a new soccer stadium for DC United after the city failed to come to an agreement over the value of the land owned by Akridge. According to the Washington Business Journal, the District deposited $21.1 million with DC Superior Court, the value determined by an appraisal done in January 2014 as a part of a proposed land swap with the Reeves Center. However, Akridge contends that the land is worth the same as the amount the city paid for other parcels in the stadium footprint – valued at $36.6 million. From the article: 
“The public purpose for which District of Columbia hereby takes the Property is for the construction and operation of a soccer stadium complex, including a stadium and facilities functionally related and subordinate thereto, and the accompanying infrastructure including parking, office, and transportation facilities, in order to promote the recreation, entertainment and enjoyment of the public,” according to court documents filed by the Office of the Attorney General. 
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that the design of the new stadium at 2nd and R streets is progressing. From the article: 
The design specifics need to be finalized in the next six weeks. Seating capacity is not set yet. Groundbreaking is targeted for next summer. The project could be completed in as few as 14-16 months, plenty of buffer to ensure grand opening at the start of the 2018 season.
Rendering courtesy of DC United 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Greenleaf Charrette Rescheduled

The Greenleaf charrette that was planned for September and postponed has been rescheduled for Saturday, October 24. At this meeting, the public will learn about the latest news regarding the redevelopment of the sprawling public housing complex, which includes the Greenleaf seniors building and mid-rise building on the south side of M Street and Greenleaf Gardens Extension on the north side of M Street. In addition, participants will work with planners to draft the project guidelines of the redevelopment. 

This is one of a series of meetings that the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) will be holding where the community can participate in redevelopment planning for Greenleaf. CHA hired HR&A Advisors and other firms to develop a feasible redevelopment plan for Greenleaf, which will be completed by the end of 2015. Once the plan is adopted, then DCHA will work with a private developer to bring the plan for a mixed income community to fruition. The meeting will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church (located at 400 I Street) from 1-3pm.