At this morning’s “March Madness” economic development event, DMPED and other District agencies offered several parcels across the city for development. One such parcel is located in Southwest – the Southwest Branch Library at 900 Wesley Place. The current Southwest Branch Library is a 21,600 SF building with three levels and was built in 1965. A mini-makeover was done in 2011, but funding for an extensive renovation was removed from the budget a few years ago. The library will be replaced with a standalone facility designed to achieve LEED-Silver certification.
The library’s future was hotly debated in 2014 when DMPED, OP and DCPL proposed to move the library to the city-owned NE parcel at Waterfront Station, which would have been part of a mixed use building with residential, retail, and the library. That proposal was shot down by the community in favor of keeping the library at its current location and build a new, standalone library, which the city intends to do.
|Earlier concept for a SW Branch Library on 4th Street.|
As a result, DMPED released a RFP after last year’s “March Madness” event for the Waterfront Station site at 1000 4th Street without the library requirement. Several redevelopment teams responded to the RFP with three of them making the final cut last summer. While a decision was expected back in November, DMPED finally announced today that PN Hoffman’s bid was selected.
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. The proposal was the preferred choice of ANC 6D, which will get to weigh in again once PN Hoffman goes through the second stage PUD process.
The RFP for a design-build contract for the new library will be released this fall. A flyer about the project says the following:
The new Southwest Neighborhood Library will reflect the program and goals of the library and the needs of the District of Columbia residents who use it. The building will incorporate forward-thinking approaches to urban design, architecture, engineering, and environmental technologies in the public realm. The new Southwest Library will be a destination that will attract and support hundreds of users per day, and promote a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood and active street environment.
According to SWBID Director Steve Moore, DCPL will receive $1 million in next year’s budget for planning the new library. There will more than likely be community involvement in that planning process.
Renderings courtesy of DCPL and PN Hoffman