Stanton-Eastbanc Gets Mixed Reviews on Revised Hine Drawings – Will File With HPRB for April 28th Review

Councilmember Wells and Former Councilmember Ambrose Turn Out for Hine Meeting

Revised Drawing (upper) 8th Street Residential Building

North End of 8th Street Residential Building

8th and C Looking West

View South on 8th Street

8th Street Residential Building, View from Pennsylvania Avenue

View From Metro Plaza

View North on 7th Street

View South on 7th Street

View of 7th Street Residential Building and Piazza From Eastern Market

view of North Residential from 7th and C Streets

Revised Drawing (upper) of North Residential Building

Heavy Turnout for CHRS Special Meeting on Hine

Stanton-Eastbanc Gets Mixed Reviews on Revised Hine Drawings – Will File With HPRB for April 28th Review

by Larry Janezich

Nearly 100 Restoration Society members and other Capitol Hill residents turned out for the Restoration Society’s general membership meeting on the Hine project.  Councilmember Tommy Wells and former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose were in attendance as were most of the Restoration Society Board members.  ANC Commissioners Ivan Frishberg and Brian Pate were present as well.

Stanton-Eastbanc, the developers, presented new drawings, revised since the last presentation in early March, to address concerns expressed by members of the community and community organizations..

Audience reviews of the new drawings were mixed.

Architect Amy Weinstein gave a PowerPoint tour of the project, listing changes which had occurred since early March:

The number of units in 8th Street Residential Building has gone down by 13 – making the new total 149 instead of 162.

The number of parking spaces is undergoing revision.  The minimum number is 227 and the maximum number has gone from 270 to “To Be Determined.”  Weinstein said additional parking on a second level below grade is being considered.  (As pointed out in a previous emmcablog posting regarding EMCAC voting to reaffirm the Stanton design, the previous maximum of 270 will leave little public parking on weekends after needs of the residents, offices, retail, and some 100 flea market vendors are met.)

Weinstein then moved clockwise around the project starting at 8th and C Streets, listing changes as she went.  .  .

8th Street Residential Building

To break up the long façade, gaps have been introduced to simulate the natural gaps occurring in the blocks to the north of the project.

More variety has been introduced in the façade.

Shakespeare housing has been moved from the north end of the building to south of the building’s lobby.

The roof top swimming pool has been moved to the north end of the building.

The building has been lowered near Pennsylvania Avenue, and the fourth floor structure replaced with rooftop pavilions for the penthouse units.

The 8th Street entrance to the building has been moved north.

Pennsylvania Avenue Office Building

The entrance has been moved to a tall glassed lobby on Pennsylvania Avenue in what was before the entrance to the public courtyard between the two buildings facing the Avenue.  This means that the only access to the courtyard from the street will be from C Street.

The roof line has been altered and the roof top pavilion eliminated.

7th Street Residential Building

There now appears to be no boutique hotel planned for this building.

The entrance has been moved from 7th Street to C Street.

Retail is now planned for the first floor.

The gated entrance to the courtyard will be adjacent to the building’s entrance..

North Residential Building

The building has been narrowed.

The entrance to two ground floor apartments will now face 7th Street.

The lobby and entrance to the building will be on C Street.

The 4th floor will be setback 68 feet from 8th Street.

A question period followed the presentation.  Then audience members were permitted to speak regarding their views on the project.  The major areas of concern expressed by the audience in various forms were as follows:

The aesthetics are inconsistent with the character of the historic district.  This seemed to be the one thing held in common by the greatest number of those present.  8th Street resident Mark Shlien struck a chord with many when he challenged Weinstein to create a building that would be as much her legacy as Eastern Market was for revered market architect Adolph Cluss.  Nearby neighbor Maggie Hall asked for a show of hands which revealed that about one third felt that the drawing showed a vast improvement, about one third thought there had bees some improvement, and one third thought there had been no improvement.  Another neighbor expressed the discomfort of many with the architect’s frequently stated goal of using a “more contemporary way to express Victorian design elements” as being inappropriate in such a large project

The 8th Street residential building is too big. This was voiced by many of those living across the street or nearby, east of the project.  The assertion that density was necessary to justify city expenditures for the Market Metro Station in the name of smart growth was challenged by 8th Street resident Wendy Blair, asking in so many words, why is increased density in a neighborhood which has density enough, such good thing?

The North Residential Building is too high.  This heard from the neighbors in the 200 block of 8th Street whose back yards and windows will be looked into from apartment windows.

Safety concerns regarding the entrance to parking. 8th Street resident Marion Connolly warned of the potentially hazardous situations – especially on weekends – that the underground parking entrance near the heavily trafficked 8th and C Streets intersection will create.

Several residents and neighbors gave their unqualified support to the project.

Afterward, the consensus seemed to be that the meeting had been a valuable opportunity to air community views.  CHRS will meet on Tuesday April 19 to approve a letter or comments to HPRB.  That report will be posted on the CHRS website after submission to the HPRB.

The next – and final – public event related to the Hine project will be the ANC6b Special Call meeting on April 26.  The Commission will hear from the developers and the community and then vote on a resolution regarding recommendations to the HPRB for its April 28 review of the project.

Stanton will post the revised Hine School site plans on its website on Thursday, April 7.


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33 responses to “Stanton-Eastbanc Gets Mixed Reviews on Revised Hine Drawings – Will File With HPRB for April 28th Review

  1. Pingback: Morning Links: Potential - Housing Complex - Washington City Paper

  2. Maggie Hall

    It suddenly occurs to me why (as things stand at the moment) we’ve been landed with a building that fails to fit/suit/reflect the neighborhood. The developers have mixed-up their sites. They think they’re designing a place for the other side of the freeway, down along M-Street!

  3. Tom

    Larry, your review of the meeting was fair and accurate. Not necessarily that easy to do with so many moving parts and opinions. Thanks!

  4. Read Scott Martin

    I find it hard to believe Stanton/East Banc can stick around for yet another haircut, and I wouldn’t blame them a bit. The community’s willingness to risk losing the entire development to placate a campaign engineered by half a dozen homeowners (at most) is remarkable. I think the parking lot on the site if the developers walk away will be a great place for a Bolt and Megabus stop, and we will have richly deserved it.

  5. RT

    This building should be MUCH bigger, like originally planned. Please start this process over, without Stanton-Eastbanc. Eastbanc, the better developer, is focused on their large-scale Gtown projects. Stanton just doesn’t know good design, and doesn’t have the financial resources to make this happen.

  6. MJ

    There is literally nothing, NOTHING the developers could do to appease all these stodgy nay-sayers. I say screw them and build the thing exactly as it is. This community has such an abounding sense of entitlement that many ignore the fact that Stanton has been extremely receptive to community critcism and input. It makes me want to buy some historical site on the Hill and threaten to raze it and erect a wal-mart just to take the heat off this project. It’s time to move on, people.

  7. Tom

    MJ and others: it is incorrect and pretty much slanderous to say that “This community has such an abounding sense of entitlement…”

    In fact, most people now support this development, and most of those who still oppose it live adjacent. That is NIMBY, it happens everywhere, and people that see themselves affected are entitled to their views, even if at some point, after trying to deal with those views, the project goes forward.

    “The community,” on the other hand, works very well at moving to near optimal solutions.

    This project (to take the place of a school that shouldn’t be taking up valuable space next to a Metro stop, to add to the tax base, and to provide residences near Metro), is in large part the RESULT of the community’s work with both the city and with Capitol Hill residents. Kudos go to the CHRS and many others for the long hours over many years to get this project to where it is. Whether it goes forward precisely as is, or with additional changes, it will be excellent for the community, and it will be the product of hard work BY the community.

  8. Jasmina Miric

    RT,MJ, RS Martin
    Where do you people live?
    Do you just come to the Hill to work?
    When I bought my home 20 plus years ago this was a nice, qaint hood with some bad spots on it which improved during the years thanks to US the humble owners of a humble but charming residential area. Now, I see it becoming new Adams Morgan mixed in a future with Williamsburg’s empty shells of homes.
    Or, you guys want us to demolish our existing homes and build “new, more contemporary style” dwellings?

  9. MC

    If I wanted Clarendon architecture, I’d live in Clarendon. Victorian architecture means gingerbread, and there isn’t a centimeter of that in these plans. And if people are concerned about curb-cut traffic, then I’m sure it’s no good. It’s practically on top of a Metro, it doesn’t need parking. The size is fine, taller and bigger would be fine too.

  10. There will be plenty of housing, plenty of office space, plenty of shopfront space — from a development with reduced density. The current mammoth development is grotesquely out of scale with the capitol Hill historic district. We ask only for modest reductions in the much, much too great density of existing plans. Yes we need retail for weekday daytime street traffice. But this is Eastbanc , whose Ritz Carleton promised citizens that retail shops would fill four sides of its city block. Those retail shop spaces remained empty for FIVE YEARS after the Ritz Carleton hotel opened). Promises, promises. We want retail. We want residential. We want office. But Eastbanc had better bet its twisted korbels that if it cannot manage to deliver a building of lower mass, any number of other developers can. Mr. Goldstein cited the extensive research, time and planning that has already gone into the (tweaked) plans it has unveiled so far. All that work is peanuts — a drop in the bucket — diddlysquat!! compared to the enormous profit Eastbanc will get — for years and years — after we are dead — and after his development will either ruin or grace Capitol Hill. We are still hoping that Eastbanc will get real.

  11. @Wendy

    “We want retail. We want residential. We want office.”

    If you want retail, you need a market for it – you need people to patronize it – and you need more density. Density is a good thing.

    All of the things that make city life and life on Capitol Hill great are the product of good urban density and mixed use development.

  12. Alex, you want all. We do not want nothing. This is not an all or nothing argument. There will be plenty of people left to shop and buy things with a modest reduction in the overwhelming size of this project.

  13. Maggie Hall

    I think that those of us who objected to the blandness, the enormity, the height etc of the design, and got Stanton back to drawing-board, expected a bit more than indentations in the facades, ‘gaps’ here and there – and the roof-top swimming-pool being moved from one side to another!

  14. Read Scott Martin

    @ Jasmina Miric – If you can be nostalgic about the old days, more power to you. Pennsylvania Avenue not four blocks away occasionally sported live gunfire during rush hour, Kentucky Courts just six blocks west of the Stanton/EastBanc site was the OK Corral most nights. I also enjoy Lincoln Park daily now (and nights too) and that was pretty much taking your life or your sanity in your hands, back in the day. So yeah, it was “spotty” if by that we mean acres of fairly predictable drug crime, theft and occasional terror. In terms of cred, I first rented in 1987 near Potomac Avenue Metro, homeowner on the Hill since 1997, rented on 900 block of C before that.

    @ Everyone – I’d love to see a Victorian design. The Queen died, unfortunately, then so did the masons, plasterers, ironmongers and woodworkers, to say nothing of the American Chestnut forests.

    I will accept bets on how much the increased parking will actually be used, based on the Columbia Heights experiment.

  15. H Street Landlord

    More density and less parking please!

  16. @wendy

    There will be plenty of people left to shop and buy things with a modest reduction in the overwhelming size of this project.

    Why? What’s overwhelming about the density?

    I can at least understand opposing the physical mass of a building or of the aesthetics (despite my disagreements and the inherently subjective nature of such discussions), but why the opposition to the density and the stuff that’s inside? I don’t see anything overwhelming about that at all. If anything (given the location in an urban neighborhood, on top of a Metro station) we should be encouraging more density. Density is good for urban neighborhoods – it helps keep housing affordable by adding supply – it supports retail by adding more customers within walking distance – it diversifies the uses in the area by adding more office space, encouraging usage throughout the day.

    The most fundamental issue is that urban density is a virtuous cycle. Add more density and you make it more possible to live car-free. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s not – you add more people and more stuff and you actually decrease the negative externalities of development. That’s why I’m disappointed to see this characterized solely as a money grab by the developer, because cities thrive on that kind of intensity of land use and density. It is precisely the reason that cities exist – these kinds of agglomerations are beneficial!

  17. John

    This is really pretty bad. I don’t know what anyone would expect from Amy Weinstein other then a dull, thudding, mess. Talent is not her long suit, working bureaucracies is her metier. Eastbanc knows better which causes me to believe her hiring in the first place was some quid pro quo a la HPRB.

    The neighbors are right to be concerned unless they want a big chunk of one of their main thoroughfares to resemble the hulking, ugly, uninviting, dead, yellow bricked (and mostly empty and unsold) catastrophes Weinstein’s husband perpetrated on Mass Ave.

    I say, start over, Weinstein will never get this right.

  18. BK

    Disappointing! Aesthetically, it’s another piece of Uglyculture (Wash. Post, Mar 24, 1981). Architecturally, its uninteresting, dull and formulaic. I really think we could do a lot better.

  19. Current rents are sky high all around the Eastern Market Metro. Right now, small businesses cannot afford to stay in this neighborhood. Only established, large chains can afford these rents. Workers in the restaurants and shops must already live far away, and come in by metro. More buyers, more people, will bring higher rents. More money for Kitty Kaupp. National chains do not pour money back into the local neighborhoods — their profits go to wall street banks. The local “character” is a golden egg — after years of struggling, barracks row has made it — grasping landlords along 8th Street SE notwithstanding. A modest increase in retail will help during weekdays. An increase in the number of office workers will also help. But we do not need the greedy demographic supplied by Eastbanc. We already fulfill the needed population around this Metro stop. Planners were thinking of many other Metro stops where development is needed greatly. For Eastern Market Metro area, more is less.

  20. Read Scott Martin

    @ John @ site administrator What does someone’s spouse have to do with this again?

  21. Christine McCoy

    This STILL looks like the buildings they just took down in SW. Cold, Soviet style, 70s = UGLY! It’s actually worse than the school building. Why so flat/featureless? The building that affronts Penn is perhaps the worst part…and the thing everyone will see as they come up from the metro…YUCK! Disappointed to say the least!

  22. Eric

    Y’all Hill-folk against this overwhelmingly tiny project are spoiled brats. The city is a-changing for the better and it WILL continue doing so (even in yer own Godforsakin backyard) without you.

  23. Eric

    Many apologies, I meant to write “Godforsaken” rather than my sacrilegious “Godforsakin”.

  24. @Wendy

    Rents are sky high – probably because the supply of potential retail space is restricted. Adding more supply to meet demand is the solution you seek if you want to lower rents.

    The local character may be a golden egg, but that character also creates demand. If you keep creating demand without adding new supply, you’re going to see prices go up. This is basic economics.

    Greed has nothing to do with it. A dislike for greed is fine, but that dislike doesn’t change the basic nature of supply and demand.

  25. Smart growth does not for a minute mean limitless expansion.

  26. LLH

    MJ you are nut , youn’t have to buy a property in the historic district and ATTEMPT to tear it down and build a monstrocity like the Hine project, Larry a hill resident did that on Penn Ave and after more then a dozen years all he has is not even a hole in the ground for which he pays taxes, and a shogun house boarded up which he can’t sell to show fotr His stupitity, I and many others spent time and money including the restoration society to prevent him from ruining a neighboorhood and making money, he always said he is doing it so his children will benefit after he is dead, well we will have to see after he dies if he was right. You can do the same thing and you will get the same results, we will fight you, and Stanton for years to keep our neoghboorhood friendly, but not like DuPont Circle, or other neighboorhods we don’t like to live in, if you do why not move there and be happy rather then live in an area like ours. By the way Georgetown refused a Metro stop because they did not want the city to use that excuse to change their neighborhood. Did we make a mistake? and should we not correct our error? NO eight story buildings n an R 4 zone or anywhere on Capitol Hill.

  27. Good Riddance

    It’s a shame to see this development moving in this direction. In a city with limited land and increasing population (thankfully), it’s shocking that people are opposing dense development near Metro stations. I understand some people want a more surburban lifestyle – that’s your right – I just don’t understand why those people won’t go TO the suburbs. You live in a City. You made that choice.
    I don’t know why people thinking the Hill is more progressive than Tenley or Cleveland Park ….it’s got the same NIMBYs.
    I’m leaving the Hill for more density, more shops, more restaurants. I’ll miss some of the quaintness here, but I want to live in …(gasp)…. a City!!!!

  28. GG

    I see little chance of this development becoming more like a new Adams Morgan, Dupont, or any other neighborhood. The form of the neighborhood is in the character of its citizens, not a single site. So i respect any close neighbors hesitance to the project’s size. But, for a neighborhood in the center of a city lacking in space and increasing in population it would be foolish to not aim for higher density, ESPECIALLY considering the opportunities provided by such a site (ie metro, market, etc.). Re: the design, I haven’t seen a new development in DC that has had striking architecture since I’ve been alive. its EXPENSIVE.
    In regards to Eastbanc’s Ritz project retail taking a few years to bloom, it takes all development some time to be successful. I also don’t think you can compare one Weinstein to another, two distinct styles, and Amy’s work is very impressive.
    Also, as to Georgetown’s motives to prevent a metro stop; I am not so sure it was their hesitance to change the urban form (look at below M street, and East of Wisc along M) as to their not wanting certain demographics having such easy access to the neighborhood.

  29. NG

    Aesthetically uninteresting and totally lacking in charm. A huge disappointment. I wasn’t at the meeting but I’ll add my voice to the chorus of those who agreed with 8th Street resident Mark Shlien that this development should be equal to Eastern Market in terms of design appeal. Something creative and contemporary that plays off the neighborhood, whereas what we see here is about as unimaginative as it gets. Why, why, why?

  30. Tom

    Notwithstanding that the project has been through several reiterations, and that the latest downsizing, by reducing revenues, will also reduce the budget for aesthetics, I would agree with NG and Mark Stein that such a highly visible and important project should create an outstanding aesthetic statement. Ideally, I’d want to add back a few residential units so that more funds could be put into making such a statement. Each of us has his or her “perfect” project, and few will be exactly the same….so the final shape of the project will reflect what is politically the most “do-able.”

  31. Peter

    I would never have imagined that I would prefer the 60s (?) architecture of the Hines school over what is being proposed. Why? Because the school building has identity and a sort of character–even if it’s not something most of us like. The new design has nothing of the sort. It’s shocking that something so non-descript could emerge after (presumably) all that effort. Can we have a proper design competition and get some talent involved? How did we manage to get architecture on the other (Pan Quotidien) side of 7th that is so much better?
    Also, we don’t need so much parking here..

  32. James

    Some here seem to be ill-informed. The development, since the proposal in 2009, has increased in size. Not decreased as the developers would like you to think. In 2009 it had 60,000 sqft in residential. Now, it has 230,000 sqft in residential.

    The Above Ground sqft was 427,000 now it is 435,000. This is bigger. Not smaller. There has been no haircut. No loss of budget for aesthetics. What you are seeing is exactly what the developers want on the site. A massive, soul-less complex.

    I want this development to move into Eastern Market but not in its current form. I think retail should be restricted to Pennsylvania and 7th Street. The mass should move away from the residential on 8th and be relocated on the commercial 7th Street where it seems to be more appropriate.

    Also, the developers have now confirmed that the interior courtyard will not be accessible to outsiders so that big green space now provides no public benefit. As a result, it should be reduced so the overall mass/height of the building can be reduced without affecting total number of units.

    Aesthetically speaking I think a lot of work should be done to make this project an impressive one for decades to come. More in tune with the neighborhood. As it looks right now it will be [out]dated before construction completes. It will be as timeless as beige toilets and blue refrigerators.

  33. C

    I agree with MJ’s assessment. I live a block north of the Hine School and I’m worried the developers will eventually throw up their hands in disgust and walk away from the project. I wouldn’t blame them.

    On the plus side, the homeless guy that has set up residence at the Hine won’t have to leave any time soon.