Hine Update: Attorney Oliver Hall Files FOIA for Details of Hine Disposition
EastBanc Applies for Raze Permit from Historic Preservation Office
by Larry Janezich
Oliver Hall, the attorney for the group of Capitol Hill residents who are appealing the decision of the Zoning Commission on the Hine development, last week filed a FOIA with the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) to determine the final details concerning the transfer of the Hine site to developers Stanton-EastBanc (SEB). A copy of the letter – which takes DMPED to task for its lack of transparency on the transfer of the property to the developer – will be posted on Capitol Hill Corner later this week.
The details of the deal are specified in the Land Disposition and Development Agreement (LDDA), which among other things reveals the degree to which district taxpayers are subsidizing the Hine project. The subsidy comes in the form of a discounted price for the prime building site compared to the actual market value of the site.
The draft version of the LDDA dated June 10, 2010, shows a substantial subsidy for the developers – the difference between the LDDA value of the property at $50 a square foot and the market value of close to $300 a square foot. It is unclear what changes – if any – were made in the final version of the LDDA, which has not been made public. Capitol Hill Corner asked DMPED Hine Project Manager Corey Lee if the final LDDA and the conveyance agreement signed on July 12 are public, and if not, when they would be. Mr. Lee did not respond to the email requests.
A recent five part WAMU/NPR investigative series on the relationship between campaign contributions by private developers and the awarding of taxpayer-subsidized DC real estate deals states that the SEB team contributed $194,045 to DC political campaigns and subsequently was granted the $44.7 million Hine site for $21.8 million – an apparent $22.9 million subsidy. The figures are from the second part of the WAMU series titled “Deals for Developers” and can be found here: http://apps.npr.org/deals-for-developers-wamu/
The signing of the lease for the main parcel and sale of the affordable housing portion of the Hine site, officials say, will allow the developer to move forward with the project. Since, financing for the mixed use project will likely be delayed until the resolution of the appeal of the Zoning Commission’s decision to the District Court of Appeals, transfer of the property will allow the developer to proceed with the asbestos abatement part of the demolition process. That abatement was originally scheduled to begin in early July. It is unclear whether actual demolition will begin before the court appeal is decided. A court hearing on the appeal has been scheduled for mid-September.
On July 25, the Historic Preservation Office/Office of Planning released the HPO Raze Report with copies of recently filed Raze Permit Applications. The report reveals that on July 1, 2013, Matthew Harris, who lists his email address and address of the company filing the request as EastBanc’s, filed a Raze Permit Application for 335 8th Street, SE, the Hine site. Raze permit applications recently submitted to the Historic Preservation Office for administrative clearances are filed on the HPO website at the following abbreviated URL: http://tinyurl.com/3erfa7y
under “Related Documents”. HPO provides this general public announcement because of the frequent neighborhood interest in raze applications.