Sunday, June 25, 2017

PUD for The Bard to be Revised

One year after withdrawing their Planned Unit Development (PUD) application for The Bard, Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) and Erkiletian Development, the team behind the redevelopment of the Southeastern University site at 501 I Street, are trying again to get their project approved by the Zoning Commission. The original PUD was withdrawn after the District Office of Planning recommended a set-down hearing not be scheduled for the project since the proposal was inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan or the Southwest Neighborhood Plan.

The newest development proposal for The Bard, presented at the June 22 community meeting, reduces density by more than a third from the previous design to a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 2.89 and shortens the height to a four-story building with a penthouse level set back 11 feet on all sides. In addition, the number of apartments has been reduced to 112 units, with 27 of them set aside for use by STC as actors’ and fellow housing. The design of the main building will be in the shape of the letter C and the annex building on the north side of the site will no longer have a ground level connection to the main building. However, an underground connection will remain. Shalom Baranes Associates has designed the project. 

On the ground floor of the main building, there is space set aside for Shakespeare’s administrative offices and seven actors’ housing units, as well as the lobby of the rental apartment building and amenity space. The entrance to Shakespeare’s portion of the building will be located off a courtyard facing 6th Street. A water feature and landscaping will fill out the courtyard. Meanwhile, the lobby entrance to the rental apartment building will be along I Street. Shakespeare will have its costume design shop and rehearsal space in the basement level along with a 39-space parking garage (17 spaces would be used by STC) and storage for 70 bicycles. Floors two through four of the building will contain 75 rental apartments and an additional 10 units will be located on the penthouse level. Each of the penthouse units will have private terraces. The annex building on the north side of the site will contain five duplex units for fellows and 15 additional actors’ apartments on the upper three floors. 

Despite the reduction in density and height from previous versions of the plan, the development team is still requesting a zoning change to accommodate the project, which has been a sticking point with the surrounding neighbors who live in townhomes. There has been strong opposition to the project from those who live closest to the site – one went as far as creating a blog to vent her frustration with the development process. A group of neighbors have collected more than $20,000 to hire an attorney to oppose the project as it goes through the PUD process. They also engaged a firm to design an alternative development plan for the site. During the community meeting, neighbor after neighbor stated their preference for no changes to zoning for the site and for the developer to build townhomes instead. A petition was circulated around the room to present to the Zoning Commission, maintaining the current zoning for the site, which is R-3. The current zoning permits matter-of-right development of single-family residential uses (including detached, semi-detached, and row dwellings). Over the course of the meeting, several signatures were secured. 

Former design of the building, looking northeast

The development team intends to file a revised PUD within the next month and will work with the community in the coming months to try to reach a compromise. The attorney who was leading the meeting did not want to “put words in the mouth of the Office of Planning,” but intimated their support for the revised proposal. It should be an interesting next few months in Southwest...

Photos of renderings provided by Shalom Baranes Associates

Friday, June 16, 2017

Lottery on June 22 for Affordable District Wharf Apartments - Sign up Today!

Today is the last day to sign up online to be entered into the lottery for the affordable units available at Incanto and The Channel apartments. There are 47 affordable units available at Incanto and 153 at The Channel, each at different affordability levels, including 30% and 60% Area Median Income (AMI), and workforce (100% and 120% AMI). The lottery will be held on June 22.

Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

Community Meeting Planned for The Bard

About a year after withdrawing their PUD application, the developers of The Bard at 6th and I streets are preparing to submit a revised application. A community meeting is planned on Thursday, June 22 at 7pm at Amidon-Bowen Elementary (401 I Street). The project's latest design, which is now five stories tall, will be revealed at the meeting.

Old rendering courtesy of Shalom Baranes Associates

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Designs for Final Phase of District Wharf Filed with City

As expected, Hoffman Madison Waterfront submitted a stage two Planned Unit Development (PUD) application in May for the third phase of development at District Wharf and details are now available. Back in March, representatives from the development team indicated that they would be submitting an application for Parcels 6 – 10, as well as three water buildings, parks and piers. One major change from what was approved during the stage one PUD process for the entire project is the addition of hotel use to Parcel 8. Originally, only residential and office uses were approved for the parcel, either with ground floor retail. Below is a description of each of the parcels and public spaces in the final phase of development. 

Parcel 6 & 7 

These parcels are located to the east of 7th Street Park and will contain an approximately 539,000 SF office building, including about 34,000 SF of ground floor retail. The building was designed by SHoP Architects and will rise 10 stories to a height of 130 feet. As designed, the building will be contemporary in style with two glass towers connected by a “belt-level” on the second floor. The second level will contain office space as well as a large oval opening called the Oculus. On the ground level, there will be a north-south pedestrian connection between Maine Avenue and Wharf Street. In addition, an east-west service corridor will provide loading access for the building and allow for ground floor retail on all four sides of each office tower and along the service and pedestrian corridors. Two winter gardens will be incorporated into the design – one on the northwest corner facing 7th Street Park and the other on the south side facing Wharf Street. 

Parcel 8

ODA has designed the Parcel 8 building, which will include about 26,000 SF of ground floor retail, 79,000 SF dedicated for a 116-key hotel, and 266,000 SF for a residential building with 235 units (115 will be market-rate units). The remaining 120 units will be reserved at different levels of affordability, including 30% of Area Median Income (AMI), 60% of AMI, and workforce housing. Parcel 8 is designed in a U shape with the open portion of the building facing the Washington Channel. On the north and east “bars” of the building, residential uses will be built, while the hotel will occupy the west “bar.” The east “bar” will be set back at each floor to provide terraces for residents while the west “bar” will do the opposite so each successive floor will cantilever over the lower floor. A covered alley will run in the middle of the building on the first floor, allowing pedestrian and vehicular access, as well as providing for retail entrances on four sides of the building. The design of the building will allow for a large landscaped courtyard facing Wharf Street and the Washington Channel, containing a pool and other amenities for the residential building. The hotel and residential lobbies will be accessed from Wharf Street and will be located on the ground level. 

Parcel 9 

Designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects, Parcel 9 will contain an 82-unit condominium building with about 16,000 SF of ground floor retail. All of the units in the condo building will be market-rate. Its positioning gives the building great visibility for travelers coming west on M Street and due to its proposed height of 130 feet, it will be the tallest building on the east side of District Wharf so boat passengers will see it as they travel north on the Washington Channel. The building is also next to M Street Landing, one of the larger planned open spaces in the Southwest Waterfront redevelopment. There is a curve to the building, which complements the design of Arena Stage located just to the north. 

Parcel 10

Parcel 10 steps down in height from the other parcels in this phase to 60 feet. Designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, the building is planned as an office building with about 60,100 SF of space and 16,200 SF of ground floor retail. Seat steps will be built onto the podium of the building to allow for views down Wharf Street. 

Water Buildings

In addition to the five parcels, there are three water buildings planned for a variety of uses. Water Building 1 will be located adjacent to Parcels 6/7 with a maximum height of 34 feet containing 11,900 SF of space dedicated to retail and maritime uses. 

Water Building 2 will be located on the Wharf promenade next to Parcel 9. It too will be two stories tall with a maximum height of 34 feet. Retail/service uses will be located on both floors of the building, but terraces will be incorporated on the second floor to afford views of the Washington Channel and District Wharf. 

Meanwhile, Water Building 3 is located to the east of Parcel 10. This building will be slightly taller than the others at 38 feet and will contain about 5,000 SF for use by the live-aboards at Gangplank Marina. 

Interspersed throughout the promenade in the final phase of development are kiosks. From the PUD application: 
These outdoor kiosk structures are intended to serve as incubator spaces for small local businesses to try out their retail concepts on a low-risk basis. If successful, the kiosk operators will have an opportunity to move indoors, into one of the spaces reserved throughout of the redevelopment project for unique and local business enterprises. 
New marina docks will be constructed for the live-aboards at the Gangplank Marina. Other open spaces planned include M Street Landing, The Grove, The Terrace, and The Mews. If approved by the Zoning Commission, construction on the last phase of development at District Wharf could start in 2018. Meanwhile, the first phase of development is scheduled to open starting in October and the smaller second phase (including improvements to the Municipal Fish Market and Parcel 1 will be completed by next spring.