Plans Unveiled for Goldstar’s 41 Unit Condo Project at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
by Larry Janezich
Monday night, more than 30 Capitol Hill residents gathered at Wisdom, the cool funky Pennsylvania Avenue SE, bar to see Goldstar Group’s plans and renderings for the 41 unit residential building at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. The project will be exclusively residential.
Eric May, Senior Vice President of Goldstar, told the group that the 41 units are “99% certain to be condos” – unless there is a drastic change in the market that would make conversion to apartments necessary. The units will be mixed, largely one bedroom but with a few two bedroom or bedroom and den units. Five of the units will be “affordable” under the District’s definition; two will be sold at 50% AMI and three at 80% AMI. Eligibility for subsidized housing programs is often determined by area median income (AMI).
May said he “did not know yet” how much the units would sell for, noting that it would be 16 months before the building is ready for occupancy. He declined to state the “broad range” of pricing Goldstar had assumed in designing the project.
The build will rise to 44 of the allowable 50 foot height, and will be built largely as a matter or right, with one zoning issue that will require a request for relief and bring the project before ANC6B and the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). The issue is parking: the building will provide the minimum amount of parking required but to do so the developer will need to seek relief from a city regulation limiting the number of spaces in the underground garage which can be designated for compact cars. Goldstar wants to have a larger proportion of the 21 spaces be designated for compact cars than the current regulations otherwise allow. ANC6B Commissioner Brian Flahaven was on hand and explained in response to a question, that it would be virtually impossible to limit building residents’ eligibility for residential parking permits once the developers provide the minimum number of parking spaces for a project this size.
Although there is no retail in the building, May noted that he expected a symbiotic relationship to develop between the Goldstar residential project and the Douglas Development office/retail project currently under construction at 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, next to Wisdom.
Chris Regan, project manager from Douglas Development, was on hand and told the attendees that his building would be finished by the end of January, and while they do not yet have tenants, there is “lots of interest.” He mentioned retail, restaurant and office.
Rob McClennan, representing Bonstra/Haresign Architects, said that his firm specialized in “contextual modernist” structures and that the building the firm designed for the site would enter into a “dialogue with the surrounding environment” of houses, shops, and stores. A strong selling point for the building will be a trellised 750 foot square foot roof deck that will afford views of the river and up Pennsylvania Avenue.
May said that he expects to start applying for permits in about two weeks. The permitting process will take some four months, followed by an equal amount of time for zoning relief. Environmental issues from a gas station which previously occupied the location will require removal of five feet of contaminated soil from the site. Given those issues, May said construction could start as soon as next March and take 12 months to complete.