Historic Townhouse/Frame Shop Near Eastern Market Likely To House New Restaurant
by Larry Janezich
Last night, at ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, Capitol Hill developer Ken Golding presented plans to re-develop the Sheehy house at 317 7th Street, SE, across the street from the Hine Project. The plans propose turning the former frame shop and residence into a restaurant, though Golding expressed hope that a retail client could be found. Given the likely rent for a small property in that prime location, the odds would seem to favor a restaurant as a likely occupant and Golding admitted as much, saying “there are not as many retailers as there used to be.” Golding presented the planned changes in connection with a Historic Preservation Application which he hopes to take before the Historic Preservation Review Board at its next meeting.
The plans call for demolishing the single story structure at the rear of the building, adding a two story attachment with a new emergency exit stairway in back, and replacing windows and second story French doors on the 7th Street façade. Golding, a partner in Stanton Development which is developing the Hine project, was representing a new entity developing the Sheehy house – 317 7th Street LLC – comprised of himself and his two sons. Stanton Development owns numerous properties on the block, including several fronting Pennsylvania Avenue.
Commissioner Ivan Frishberg said he had no problem with the Historic Preservation request, but raised concerns regarding the lack of an enclosed trash facility, citing the burgeoning rat and rodent problem plaguing neighborhoods which have restaurants. Commissioner Dave Garrison urged Golding to anticipate problems and deal with them in advance, emphasizing that rats are a huge problem in the neighborhood. He noted, “Residents back up on the alley – they will be all over you like a blanket.”
The Historic Preservation application was a late-breaking item placed on the committee’s agenda after the ANC’s Executive Committee meeting on June 24. Commissioner Brian Flahaven said that this was the result of the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) notifying the ANC of the Historic Preservation application after the Executive Committee had met, and that consideration on short notice was necessary to allow the application to be come before HPRB at its next meeting.
While the addition of a late breaking item to the agenda is not unusual, the fact that this project is in the middle of one of Capitol Hill’s most important retail corridors and that it could appear on the ANC’s agenda on short notice means that ANC review will take place with limited neighborhood input. Indeed, in contrast to homeowners for whom historic preservation applications require extensive documentation and consultation with neighbors, the ANC Commissioners posed no questions regarding neighborhood review to Golding. In response to a question regarding opportunities for community input last night, Frishberg suggested that local media could publicize the project before the ANC6B meeting next Tuesday. To that end, the developer initially agreed to forward digital plans to Capitol Hill Corner (the plans are a matter of public record once they are submitted to the ANC – as they were last night). Subsequently, the developer informed CHC that “we are doing some tweaks to the plans in line with comments (at the meeting) and will have something by middle of next week.” CHC took this to mean the plans would be shared after the ANC6B meeting next Tuesday and obtained a copy of the provisional plans submitted last night.
The committee voted 10 – 0 to take “no position,” referring the application to the full ANC without recommendation. Frishberg urged the developer to consider all options regarding a trash enclosure and to work with the Department of Health and the BZA toward that end.
The Sheehy house came on the market listed at $875,000 this spring. The listing agent was Kitty Kaupp of Coldwell Bankers and Stanton Development. Since 1967, it had been “The Frame Up” – the studio, shop, art gallery, and home of prolific artist Richard Sheehy. Sheehy died in February, 2014.