Monthly Archives: April 2011

ANC6b Supports Community Information Hub Project on Eastern Market Metro Plaza – Adopts Language Urging Landscaping Upgrade

ANC6b Supports Community Information Hub Project on Eastern Market Metro Plaz

Adopts Language Urging Landscaping Upgrade

by Larry Janezich

Last night at ANC6b’s regular monthly meeting the commission voted to send a letter of support to DDOT supporting the construction of the new Info Hub.  The concept is the brain child of Chuck Burger and the so-called “Sign Tigers,” a group representing BRMS and CHAMPS who distribute information to visitors to the Eastern Market Metro Plaza most weekends.  The all weather Info Hub would replace the tent under which personnel have been operating.  An image of the structure is available elsewhere on this blog (click the “Metro Plaza” tag).

Burger told a group of residents on Monday night that the project could be completed by this coming October.

There was some discussion at last night’s meeting regarding language proposed by Commissioner Ivan Frishberg, supporting upgraded landscaping for the plaza to take place in conjunction with the Info Hub project.  The landscaping language met opposition from Commissioners Garrison, Oldenburg, and Metzger who urged that the community be consulted before any landscaping changes are made.

Underlying this discussion was the now-dormant and misnomered “Town Square” plan to  create a new traffic pattern through and around Metro Plaza.  The issue is controversial in the community.  Supporters and opponents seem to take the view that any change in the current Plaza has implications for the resurrection of the plan which has been pushed by Barracks Row Main Street and Capitol Hill Restoration Society, among others.

The Commission eventually voted for the language by a five to three vote.

Those voting for:  Glick, Frishberg, Green, Pate, Critchfield.

Those opposed:  Garrison, Oldenburg, Metzger

Absent:  Campbell, Flahavin

The text of the letter is below.

April 13, 2011

Damon Harvey

Policy Planning and Sustainability Administration


2000 – 14th Street NW

Washington DC 20009

Dear Damon:

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B at a properly noticed, regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, voted X –Y to support the proposed Community Information Hub to be constructed on the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.

The Commission authorized this letter to the DC Department of Transportation to express ANC 6B’s support for allocating $180,000 for project from the Performance Parking Pilot fund and for the proposed management of the operations of the facility by the Capitol Hill BID.  The Commission also wishes to express its support for the proposed “Mutatio” design for the information center.

In addition to support for this project, ANC 6B also asks DDOT to give serious consideration to much needed upgrading of the landscaping on the Eastern Market Metro.  Timing such improvements so that they are done when the new information center is completed would enhance the success of the new facility.

Thank you for DDOT’s encouragement of this important project for the Capitol Hill community.


Neil Glick


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How the Hine Project Has Changed Over Time – Councilmember Wells Says Developers Constrained by City

How the Hine Project Has Changed Over Time

Councilmember Wells Says Developers Constrained by City

by Larry Janezich

At an April 6 meeting between Councilmember Tommy Wells and two community organizations striving to reduce the height and mass of the Hine project, Wells outlined the economic factors which drive the current size of the project and limit the possibility of significant changes.

Questioned whether – if the community feels strongly about changes – it is possible to send the agreement with the developer back to the city for review, Wells noted that any substantive change to the “Term Sheet” requires action by Council and that it is unlikely the city will back off on certain requirements which it is interested in having the developer provide as “public amenities.”

The “Term Sheet for the Disposition of Hine” is a signed agreement between Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Valerie Santos and Stanton/Eastbanc.  It specifies the anticipated square footage for the project’s residential, retail, and office space.  It is less specific about the parking, saying only that the developers will provide below grade parking necessary to support the project.  In addition, the Term Sheet lists several “public amenities” – though it does not call them that. These public amenities are what the city expects the developer to do for the city as a condition for proceeding with the project.

There are three kinds of amenities:  1) amenities provided to the city and required by the city in the Term Sheet, 2) amenities provided by the developer as the result of informal dialogue with the community as a way to garner public support prior to the PUD process, but outside the Term Sheet, and 3) amenities made as concessions by the developer to the community as the result of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process.  The latter can be alterations in building structure but sometimes take other forms, like the addition of a desired function or use, the improvement of a nearby community space, or, sometimes, by awarding a cash settlement.

Several amenities are already specified in the Term Sheet.  Two of the most significant amenities specified are 1) affordable housing, half of which is to be reserved for the elderly, and 2) Reconstruction of C Street, SE.  Both of these come at considerable long term and short term expense to the developer, and must be supported economically by the rest of the project.  According to Wells, these are considerations which drive the massing and density which must be enough to offset the additional expenses incurred by the developer in fulfilling the city’s requirements.

In the community discussion, massing and density are often used interchangeably, though they are different concepts.  Wells undertook to explain why it is difficult to reduce massing – and the complex set of economic relationships between amenities and a profitable real estate venture.  .

Affordable Housing

The Term Sheet states that “subject to the PUD process …it is anticipated that the North Parcel will contain:

28 apartments (probably one bedroom) – available for rent to individuals or families with a current (2010) income of $62,100 – 14 of these for persons 55 or older

5 apartments (probably one bedroom) available for rent to individuals with a current (2010) income of $31,050 – 3 of these for persons 55 or older

10 units (likely one bedroom) available for purchase at income levels required under the DC’s Inclusionary Zoning Act, (50% AMI 2010 = $51,750 and 80% AMI 2010 = $82,800).

The city sets maximum rents and purchase price for these affordable units and this will come at the expense of the developer – the difference in profitability having to be made up elsewhere in the project, even though Stanton/Eastbanc will receive federal tax credits for constructing these units.  Reportedly, Capitol Hill Village representatives are disappointed that these units are so small.

Reconstruction of C Street, SE

The city is also requiring the developer to reopen C Street.  “The Developer shall construct, at its sole cost and expense, a street in the closed portion of the 700 block of C Street, S.E.”  This is strongly supported by the Office of Planning and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society.  Office of Planning is reportedly seizing every opportunity to restore the original L’Enfant plan.  For the nearby neighbors on C, 7th, and 8th Street, the reopening seems likely to be only an source of aggravating noise, traffic, and pollution.

In addition to these two amenities the Term Sheet specifies two other significant amenities which the developer is required to satisfy.


The Term Sheet states only that the project will contain below grade parking necessary to support the project.  At the last presentation on April 5, project architect Amy Weinstein said the developers are considering adding additional parking on a second below grade level.  Wells told those attending the meeting that he is “conflicted about the amount of parking we need the developer to provide.  If you know you are going to find parking, you’re more likely to drive to Eastern Market,” thus creating increased traffic and overflow parking issues.  This puts Wells at odds with Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, which recently reaffirmed its support of the Stanton development concept, based in part on the basis of the public parking for the market.

Green Building.

The city requires the project to be built in accordance with the city’s Green Building Act of 2006.  This is important to many but not often mentioned in public discussions as being an amenity to the larger community.

Amenities provided by the developer as the result of informal dialogue with the community as a way to garner public support prior to the PUD process but outside the Term Sheet:

Public Space Improvements


The Hine project’s large interior courtyard has been described as community space in earlier presentations by the developer, and seemed likely to serve that purpose when it was possible to walk through the courtyard from Pennsylvania Avenue to C Street.  A design change revealed on April 5 makes it less useable as public space since a new lobby entrance to the project’s office building will prevent access from Pennsylvania Avenue.  The only access to it would be through a gated entrance on C Street.  Wells asked, “if the courtyard is not open to the community, what’s the point?  It seems to me it should be negotiable.”


A means of providing for the continuation of the weekend flea market has wide support in the community and was part of the reason EMCAC recently reaffirmed its support of the Stanton development.  This provision is not specified in the Term Sheet.  Stanton/Eastbanc’s recent recasting of a public plaza with a fountain between the north ends of the 7th and 8th Street residential buildings – added at the request of neighbors – into the splayed piazza opening up the west end of C street where it intersects 7th Street, disappointed some of the neighbors.  Neighbors also raised concerns that in time, the piazza splayed out toward the Market could become something else, less attuned to neighborhood requirements and more attuned to commercial usage.

Wells said that the degree to which the piazza is an amenity to the community depends on how it is viewed and used; suggesting that as a site for strolling and gathering in the European sense it would in fact be an amenity to many.

Residential space

This is the target in the PUD negotiations for the most vocal critics of the current plan, the residents of 8th Street, who object to the height and massing of the Hine Project’s 8th Street residential building and the assignment of retail to the ground floor of the north residential building.

The project’s residential space has gone up by 92,156 square feet since August of 2009 to 237,750.  The term sheet anticipates 144,594 square feet of residential space.  In February of 2011, Stanton/Eastbanc announced that it was increasing the amount of residential space since the non-profit International Relief Development (IRD) had dropped out of the project.  The Term Sheet allowed for 65,000 square feet to be used for a hotel as an alternative to the office space.  Instead, when IRD dropped out leaving 62,000 extra square feet of office space and when the hotel did not materialize, that 65,000 square feet plus another 28,156 square feet of space taken from office and retail was reallocated to residential.  The change will have to be approved by the city council.

Office Space

Office space has taken the biggest hit in the downsizing, going down from a Term Sheet estimate of 211,999 square feet of office space in the August 2009 proposal to the current proposed 160,200 square feet – a difference of 51,799 square feet.  Wells listed office space as one of the items on the term sheet that is “a lot more negotiable.”  There are several reasons why this might be so.  Office space might sit empty for a long period, depending on demand and the economy.  In addition, office space will require continuing, on-going management as opposed to residential condo space which can be turned over to a condo association, leaving the developer free of that responsibility.

Retail Space

Retail space has gone down by 7,500 square feet, from an estimated 49,200 square feet in the August 2009 plan to 41,700 today.  Wells stated that “people in the community are expecting more retail.”  Wells held out the possibility that the amount of retail was one of the things that could be negotiated.  He noted that “generally, a developer will make more money on housing than retail. Retail is not the highest return on the property.  Housing is hot now.   I’m not fully convinced they’re (Stanton/Eastbanc) more excited about retail.”

According to a source knowledgeable about Capitol Hill commercial corridor leases, rates are currently climbing for commercial retail space.  Commercial space can lease for up to $42 a square foot.  Retail space can go for as high as $50 a square foot.  A 1000 square foot store could cost anywhere between $45,000 and $52,000 a year – or at least $3,750 a month.  Leases for space in larger commercial buildings have additional costs involved which may vary the rent by up to 20 percent.

The Economics

This is what all of this adds up to:  Wells said that the number of square feet of a project is determined by a formula for the project after calculating what the developer has to provide in amenities like affordable housing, C Street reopening, plaza, public space, parking, etc.  The rest of the development has to fund these.  Balancing these expenditures with anticipated profit is how the developer figures out how large the project has to be, assuming a certain return per square foot.  Wells affirmed that the City Council was responsible for the oversight hearing of the Lease Development Agreement with the developer and had expectations about what a fair profit for the developer would be.  “I have no reason not to believe the city didn’t do due diligence on the Hine project, just as with any other project in the city.”  But, as an audience member pointed out, that that was for a previous and much different version of the project.

Wells pushed those seeking changes in the project toward the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process which will unfold next year, where the impact of proposed changes on the economic viability of the project could be more easily determined.  This will involve public hearings where the public and community groups can testify before city officials regarding the project and negotiate with the developer for amenities.

According to Gary Petersen, Chair of the Restoration Society’s Planning and Zoning Committee, “for zoning purposes, we need a complete set of drawings that shows the façade, shadow studies, detailed traffic analysis, and elevations.  In the PUD process, everything is on the table.  We are not limited by what they (the developers) propose.  We can bring up stuff – tinker.”


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The Week Ahead

The Week Ahead:

Monday, April 11

New Eastern Market Governing Authority

Councilmember Tommy Wells will discuss the process regarding new legislation to establish a new governing authority for Eastern Market.

7:00pm, The Corner Store, 9th and South Carolina Avenue, SE

New Info Hub for Eastern Market Metro Plaza

“Sign Tiger” spokesman Chuck Burger  regarding the new Information Hub planned for the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.

6:30 pm, The Corner Store, 9th and South Carolina Avenue, SE

Tuesday, April 12

ANC6b Meeting

Watch for:

Commissioner Ivan Frishberg’s update on the Hine Process during Commission Announcements

A letter from the ANC to the Alcohol Beverage Review Board (ABRB) supporting a request for longer operating hours by Acqua Al 2

A presentation from Councilmember Tommy Wells regarding the process for establishing a new governing authority for Eastern Market The report of the Taskforce that Wells appointed to make recommendations regarding a new authority may be posted on Wells’ website as early as Wednesday, April 13.

7:00pm, The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, 522 7th Street, SE

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Wells: “Opportunity to Change Hine Project Mass and Height Has Not Passed” – 8th Street Neighbors List Top Priorities

Wells:  “Opportunity to Change Hine Project Mass and Height Has Not Passed” – 8th Street Neighbors List Top Priorities

by Larry Janezich

On Wednesday night, 25 nearby 8th Street neighbors of the Hine Project met with Councilmember Tommy Wells in Eastern Market’s North Hall to list their priorities for the Hine Project.  This comes as Stanton-Eastbanc seeks Historic Preservation Review Board approval of their plan for the project.  .

The five top priorities listed are as follows:

1) Keep 8th Street free of retail, 2) limit residential buildings to R4 zoning and 40 foot heights, 3) limit the north building to residential use only, 4) protect resident’s National Environment Policy Act compliance rights regarding noise studies and other environmental impacts, and 5) provide an opportunity for wider community engagement, including construction of a three-dimensional model (in community context) that can be put on public view for comment and questions.

Much of the discussion concerned the changing size and mass of the project.  Wells assured the audience that the opportunity for revisiting those issues had not passed and stressed that the PUD process is the place to begin that conversation.  That PUD process is not likely to start until 2012.

The “Development Program” section of the Term Sheet for the Disposition of Hine which specifies criteria for residential space, office space, retail space and parking states, “Throughout the PUD process, changes in the Development Program may be made with the consent of the District.”

The “Schedule of Performance” from the Term Sheet is as follows:

PUD Submission:  May 2011 (ed. note: now looks unlikely before of 2012)

Closing:  July 2012

Commencement of Construction:  September 2012

Completion of Construction:  September 2014

The term sheet states that the “Schedule of Performance” with estimated dates may be amended and extended with the approval of the city.  It seems certain that the request for delay in PUD Submission will occur, with a resulting push-back in the other performance dates.


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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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JCR Companies To Acquire and Renovate Capitol Hill Restaurant Venue – 301 Massachusetts Avenue NE Houses The White Tiger


Before (lower) and After Proposed Renovations

JCR Companies To Acquire and Renovate Capitol Hill Restaurant Venue – 301 Massachusetts Avenue NE Houses The White Tiger

by Larry Janezich

JCR Companies, a full service real estate investment, leasing and asset management firm based in DC, expects to close on the property at 301 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, within a month.  Joe Reger, founder and Managing Partner, has major renovations planned for the corner, which he termed “the nicest patio in the city.”  Since 1966, the building has been at times, the home of a dry cleaner, a bar called “The Man In The Green Hat,” a Thai Restaurant, and its current tenant, “The White Tiger.”

Reger intends to move quickly to clean up the property, expanding the serving space by erecting glass enclosures on the Third Street side of the property and a retractable awning on the Massachusetts Avenue side.  In addition, the façade will receive a face lift, with new windows, moving of the main entrance to the corner, and a white wooden screen panel to shield mechanics on the roof.  The outdoor enclosures will help protect Third Street neighbors from noise from the outdoor dining on the Massachusetts Avenue side.  Reger is considering installation of a refrigerated trash room to placate unhappy neighbors concerned about trash.  When finished, it appears the corner will have a distinct European café feel to it. 

Reger brought his plan before the Restoration Society’s Historic Preservation Committee on Monday night.  Since the property is in the Capitol Hill Historic District, exterior renovations must come before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) via the Capitol Hill Restoration Society and the ANC   In the open part of the meeting, committee members seemed enthusiastic about the proposed changes.  Subsequently, the Committee went into secret session to consider their recommendations regarding whether the changes are in keeping with the compatibility of the Historic District.  CHRS’ Historic Preservation Committee is chaired by Nancy Metzger, who City Paper reported is the Mayor’s pick to fill a slot on the HPRB. 

If there are no unexpected roadblocks, Reger expects to have the renovations done by next spring.  He thinks it will be possible for The White Tiger to remain open during the renovations depending on the season. 

JCR is involved in other food and beverage outlets, including ACKC, the 14th Street Wine and Chocolate Bar; also, the company recently closed on a Chipotle’s in Old Town, Alexandria. 

Reger’s past experience includes stints as Vice President of Acquisitions for McCaffery Interests, Inc., and Acquisition Director for Next Realty.  JCR operates in Washington, San Francisco, Chicago, and South Florida.  In Washington, JCR targets “irreplaceable” real estate acquisitions in the $2 – $50 million range.


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Stanton-Eastbanc to Unveil New Hine Drawings Tuesday Night – ANC To Have the Community’s Last Word on Hine Project

Stanton-Eastbanc to Unveil New Hine Drawings Tuesday Night

ANC To Have the Community’s Last Word on Hine Project

by Larry Janezich

Stanton-Eastbanc will reveal their final changes to the concept drawings for the Hine Project at the Capitol Hill Restoration Society’s (CHRS) Special Membership Meeting on the Hine site.  The meeting will include a Q&A with Stanton-Eastbanc on their proposed plans and a request for comments from CHRS members and the public.  The event will be free and open to the public and will be on Tuesday, April 5, from 6:45pm – 8:30pm, at Maury elementary school at 13th and Constitution Avenue, NE (entrance on 13th Street)

Stanton partner Kitty Kaupp has confirmed that new drawings will address some of the concerns raised by the ANC and the community in reaction to prior presentations in early March.

Thereafter, the process will unfold as follows:

April 13 – ANC6b will circulate a draft response to the latest design concept among ANC commissioners.

April 19 – The ANC6b draft response will be made public and widely disseminated for public feedback.

April 19 – CHRS Board meeting – vote on recommendations likely.

April 20 – CHRS files its recommendation with HPRB and it becomes public..

April 26 – ANC6b holds Special Call Meeting to hear a presentation from Stanton-Eastbanc, and to consider and vote on a resolution of recommendation regarding Stanton-Eastbanc’s design concept.

April  22 – The Historic Preservation Office (HPO) staff report in which the staff evaluates the Hine project’s neighborhood compatibility will be available on line.

April 28 – The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) considers Stanton-Eastbanc’s design concept and reviews the site plan, overall architectural direction, height, and mass.  It will not review construction detailing at this stage. The developers will make a presentation, and HPRB will hear from the ANC, community organizations and individuals, and parties in favor and opposed.  HPRB will deliberate openly – and ask questions, then vote on a motion or series of motions based on the HPO staff recommendations in the report.

As a final note, the Office of Planning does not believe that the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts has any jurisdiction over the Hine project.

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