The Former Edmonds School at 9th and D Streets NE Goes Condo – Historic District Structure the Latest to be Repurposed Residential
by Larry Janezich
The former Edmonds School at 901 D Street, NE, is the latest public property located on Capitol Hill slated to be repurposed for residential use. Developer CAS Riegler will convert the 1902 structure to up to 25 living units. An additional three townhouses and a duplex which will provide five living units will also be constructed on the site.
The units will range from 500 square foot one bedroom apartments to 1700 square foot lofted three bedroom units. The three 3500 square foot townhouses will face D Street and be connected to the main building by a bridge. The duplex will face 9th Street. Architectural renderings can be viewed on the CAS Riegler website: http://casriegler.com/edmonds-school/ (These renderings give the north-facing building a frontal southern exposure.)
As a matter of right, the developer can build 23 units in the Edmonds building, given the available square footage. They had hoped to build 25. The four townhouses require city approval by the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment.
The Capitol Hill Restoration Society has signed off on the developer’s request for a Zoning Change and supports the concept plans for both the conversion and the new structures. ANC6A has withheld endorsement of the project subject to an agreement on density (number of apartments/occupants). Concerned about the effect on parking, the ANC voted to limit the total number of units, including those in structures other than the Edmonds building, to 27.
The developer proposed limiting the number of street parking permits to 19, and to place that language in the condo sale documents themselves. But regulation of the number of residential parking permits by this method is unacceptable to the ANC as it is unenforceable. According to ANC6A Chair David Holmes, “ANC6A is in the final stages of negotiations with the developer to regulate the density (number of apartments), which will have the side effect of limiting street parking.”
Edmonds School was closed during the Barry administration and sold to the DC Teacher’s Union Credit Union two decades ago and they have decided to sell the building. The project appears to be the first Capitol Hill project for CAS Reigler. Originally, the developer had planned to have a greater number of smaller units but insistence by the Historic Preservation Review Board on preservation of most of the interior walls forced the developer to scale back the total number. HPRB has scheduled a review of concept drawings for the development on Thursday, November 29th and the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, December 11.
Conversations with neighbors of the Edmonds building revealed that several appeared to prefer the Credit Union to the new development, and that parking remains a major concern. Zoning regulations require 14 parking spaces on site for the number of units in the project, and the developer’s plan accommodates this. Since the developer has satisfied the zoning requirements, future residents of the project – with or without onsite parking – will be eligible to apply for residential street parking permits as well.
Whatever the number of additional street parkers, it is likely to be too many to satisfy some residents, who point out that members of the Way of the Cross Church, directly across the street from the development, are accustomed to using the parking lot of the credit union for services. With those parking spots slated to be removed, an already crowded D Street—which serves as a bus, bike and ambulance route as well—will likely experience even more congestion.