Preservation Board Approves Last Components of Hine Development – Concerns Raised About Weekend Market
by Larry Janezich
While declaring there are still issues to be addressed, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) voted 6-0 on Thursday to approve the Hine project’s 7th Street Residential Building (now called the “Plaza Building”) where the developers still hope to site a hotel, and the North Residential Building, which has low and moderate income housing in addition to retail. The Board also signed off on the landscaping plan but raised a final hurdle, reserving judgment on the Plaza design in an effort to assure that a larger segment of the weekend flea market survives the redevelopment.
Members of the Board cited concerns of community organizations regarding the developer’s plans to accommodate only half of the up to 150 vendors which constitute the Saturday and Sunday markets. Carol Wright, flea market owner, testified that the weekend markets had been “100% behind Stanton Development as the choice for the developer of the Hine site, until this week” when they learned of the plan to change accommodation of the flea market to 68 tents instead of the 120 – 150 currently in use.
Project Architect Amy Weinstein noted that space for the flea market was lost when the developers were left with the east end of the Plaza was left as the only viable alternative for an entrance to the underground parking garage once objections by the Department of Transportation and 8th Street neighbors were raised to locating it elsewhere. She suggested that since ownership of Metro Plaza has been transferred to the city government, there was no legal barrier to having half the weekend market locate on the Metro Plaza.
Chair Catherine Buell, who said she frequents the weekend market, suggested that the Board should not take a position on the Plaza until a conversation has occurred about the size of the weekend markets. She said that HPRB would host a meeting on the use of public space which would involve Councilmember Wells’ office, the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Department of Transportation, the development team and other project stakeholders.
At the hearing, Commissioner Ivan Frishberg presented ANC 6B’s recommendations regarding the buildings and plaza design under consideration. Commissioner Brian Pate followed by presenting ANC 6B’s position on the entire HPRB process, expressing disappointment with 8th and D Street building and the short timelines for public input in particular.
The Historic Preservation Office staff was charged with compiling a list of recommendations Board members had for the developer regarding continuing design work that needs to be done. A partial list of those suggestions is as follows:
Plaza Building – façade design elements needs more study
North Residential Building – rear view of the North Residential Building needs more study as does the entrance to the building
The building at 8th and D needs serious design work
The mechanical penthouse on the 7th Street Office Building needs additional consideration
Landscaping water features on the Plaza need refinement to make them year-round features
The developer hopes to send drawings to the Zoning Board to begin the Public Unit Development process by December. That process, which will offer another round of opportunities for public input, could take up to eight months.