Eastern Market Board Reaffirms Support of Stanton – Move Comes Amid Community Criticism of Plan
by Larry Janezich
At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC), the committee reached back in history 17 months and resurrected its July 10, 2009, letter to the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Planning in which EMCAC endorsed Stanton Development’s plan for the Hine site. The committee then proceeded to reaffirm its endorsement of their July 10, 2009, position. The reasoning behind the move was uncertain.
EMCAC Chair Donna Sheeder, explained that EMCAC’s support for the Stanton plan was based specifically on the fact that it met two criteria important to Eastern Market. First, the plan provides shared underground parking on weekends and evenings for Eastern Market patrons and for neighborhood bars and restaurants. Second, the plan accommodates the flea market and “allows it a little room to grow.” “The plans are undergoing change, but the basic plan is still relevant,” she said.
Committee Member Barbara Eck, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society’s representative to EMCAC, made the motion that EMCAC reaffirm its support for the reasons stated.
Questioned whether the amount of parking has changed, EMCAC Board member Monte Edwards, also on the Board of the Restoration Society, explained that the number of parking spaces has been reduced because the amount of office space has been reduced. He also said it was his understanding that 8 – 10 parking spaces above ground would be provided to accommodate delivery vans of weekend vendors. He went on to say that there had been no significant changes that would alter the plan in-so-far as the market was concerned. He later corrected the record, saying that there has been a significant change that would benefit the market – the moving of the interior plaza public space to a splayed piazza opening out on 7th and C Streets pointing toward Eastern Market. This would better accommodate the weekend vendors, and was an improvement in his view.
Chuck Burger, the third EMCAC Board member who is also a member of the Restoration Society Board, reiterated that this action would affirm EMCAC’s support of the 2009 letter and noted that much deep discussion remained on Hine, including parking and massing – “there are still serious issues out there.”
Brian Pate, ANC6b’s representative to EMCAC noted that there had been significant changes to the project, especially concerning utilization, scale, and massing.
Actually, according to Stanton’s website, the project has changed in significant ways. For one thing, it has become 30 percent smaller and has become reoriented toward high end residences.
August 2009 February 2011 March 2011
Sq ft Residence 144,594 244,074 237,750
Sq ft Office 212,000 150,156 156,200
Sq ft Retail 52,772 39,700 41,200
Sq ft Parking/Service 144,000 123,444 123,444
Total 642,366 557,374 447,280
As of now, Stanton plans a total of 270 parking spaces, with 138 allotted for residences. The remainder would be shared by offices, retail, Eastern Market patrons, and restaurant patrons. It is unclear is how much parking would cost and whether a limited amount of free time for Market, retail, or restaurant patrons would be allowed. Another open question is what impact a hotel would have on the number of available spaces if Stanton is successful in attracting a hotel client for the building on the Southeast corner of 7th and C Streets. There was no discussion of these points by the committee during the meeting.
When the vote came, it was 7 for the motion, 0 against the motion, and 1 abstention.
Those voting for the motion:
Councilmember Tommy Wells’ office is drafting legislation to provide for a new Eastern Market Authority to replace EMCAC. That Authority could be in place by next fall. Wells recently explained to ANC6b that the new Market Authority is necessary, given the way the current legislation is structured, and given the fact that the city wants out of managing the Market. “We are faced with the prospect of going back to the way we had – with a (private) market manager and a governing board with no authority.”