Editorial: The Hine Project: Part 2 – What We Lost and What We Gained

The Hine Development - Looking north from above Pennsylvania Avenue

The Hine Development – Looking north from above Pennsylvania Avenue – Eastern Market is in the upper left hand corner.

Editorial:  The Hine Project: Part 2 – What We Lost and What We Gained

DC as A Developer’s City

by Larry Janezich

On August 14, the DC Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Zoning Commission on the Hine Development, ruling against the petition of the Hine Coalition urging reconsideration of the Zoning order which would permit construction on the site.

On August 28, the group played their last legal card and petitioned for a rehearing before the full nine-member Court.  The group’s attorney, Oliver Hall, advised in a note to the Coalition, that petitions for rehearing are rarely granted and there is no way to know how long that might take.

Here, in summary, is what the residents of the city and the Capitol Hill community lost or will likely lose as the result of the Hine deal between the city and Stanton East Banc (SEB):

  • A junior high school, closed with little or no input solicited from the families Hine was serving at the time or those it might serve in the future, and one that, had it remained open, could have been a key node in the much-needed public middle school revival effort taking place on Capitol Hill, a revival which increases property values, invests in the future of our city, and improves the neighborhood’s quality of life.
  • A reasonably-sized Hine development project compatible with size and scale of the neighborhood and the Capitol Hill Historic District.
  • Much of the weekend flea markets as we know them. Sunday’s flea market manager, Mike Berman, estimates perhaps only one third of his market will fit on the space to be provided on 7th Street during the 27 month construction period.  Given that his market in its current size would not fit on the completed site, Berman says he is actively talking to other venues that can accommodate more of his vendors and considering a permanent relocation to those sites. Significantly, the number one priority of the community in all of the meetings on the Hine project has been preservation of the flea market.
  • Any significant open, recreational, individual, community or green space on the site.
  • Trust in our city’s political process and its bureaucratic and civic institutions.
  • A balanced mixed use project. In February, 20ll, citing a limp economy, SEB announced a re-orientation of the project away from being primarily office space to being primarily high-end residential.  The developer increased the allotment of square footage for residences by 114,021 square feet and upped the number of units by only 8.  This reallocation meant a substantial increase in the average square footage and the price of the residential units, away from affordable and middle class housing and towards luxury, high-end apartments and condos.

Here’s how the Hine Project changed between the developer’s March 1, 2009, Best and Final Offer selected by the Deputy Mayor as the winning bid, and the final Zoning Commission PUD application submitted by Stanton East Banc on November 23, 2011:

Best and Final Offer, 2009        PUD Application, 2011          Change

Total Square Feet            401,648                                   464,276                           +62,630

Retail s.f.                                 48,285                                     46,699                                -1588

Office s.f.                              213,197                                    163,392                            -49,809

Residential s.f.                   140,166                                    254,187                          +114,021

No. Residential Units             150                                          158                                     +8

Parking                                          391                                           260                                  -131

On December 23, 2012, the Office of DC Counsel issued an opinion that the changes did not constitute grounds for re-bid of the project saying that it was within the authority of the Deputy Mayor’s Office to approve them.

So here’s what we end up with:

  • A 90 foot high out-of-scale project, approved at every level of city government, in disregard of the city’s zoning and Historic District standards; in short, a Ballston/Clarendon type development, out of character with the neighborhood.
  • A large complex of mostly very expensive residential units – which will undoubtedly be marketed by Stanton partner Kitty Kaupp and her agent/broker associates at Coldwell Banker, many of whom were the residential “voices” filing individual notes in support of the project while failing to identify their own financial stake in it—and, when Capitol Hill Corner identified it for the city, the city did not care.
  • A likely change in the involvement of the local developer partner of the project – although Anthony Lanier of East Banc says he has never given up management/ownership of a development once completed, Stanton has suggested they might not be an actively involved continuing partner in the long term management of the property.
  • Segregated affordable housing in the North Building which is inferior in design and amenities to the South Building – a fact that casts an ugly pall over the complex, and the neighborhood.
  • A potential upgrade to market value (and hence loss) of the affordable housing units in the North Building after 40 years (the Appeals Court ruling raised questions about this).
  • Community benefits credited to Stanton East Banc but paid for out of the pockets of DC taxpayers, including the reopening of C Street, a 24 child day care center, office space for ANC6B, $75,000 for a nearby playground and $50,000 in improvements to the Metro Plaza.
  • Stanton East Banc control of the newly reopened C Street between 7th and 8th Streets which will be available for vehicle traffic on weekdays (when not used for Hine Development-sponsored street events that impose noise and crowds on the residents of the Hine project as well as existing residential and business neighbors – to its credit, ANC6B has negotiated a voice for itself and the nearby neighbors regarding how the street can be used).
  • A retail plan for the project, the components of which are unclear but Stanton has hinted athigh-end boutique retail.  Some retail – such as the Rodman’s wine and discount gourmet food outlet mentioned by Stanton as a potential tenant – would be in head-to-head competition with neighborhood institutions like Eastern Market or existing 7th Street businesses.  High prices per square foot for leasing retail space will only be affordable for chain outlets or restaurants, contributing to the homogeneity of the neighborhood.  Stanton, meanwhile, given its other ownership of real estate on 7th Street between C Street and Pennsylvania Avenue will monopolize that available retail space, with obvious noncompetitive results.

From an initial developer selection process which invited public participation but was marred by conflict of interest, to the Historic Preservation Board decision rubber stamping the Amy Weinstein plan, to the ANC’s efforts to downsize the project during the Historic Preservation Review and Public Unit Development (PUD) process while being hamstrung both by insufficient information and lack of backing by CM Wells, to a casual – some would say cavalier – Zoning Commission hearing disadvantaged by insufficient information and characterized by indifference on the part of commissioners as well as a willingness to defer to other city agencies, Stanton/East Banc’s proposal for the Hine development has advanced from planning to the verge of construction.

This advance has come by virtue of giveaways and allowances made by the Deputy Mayor’s Office, ineffective regulation and oversight by the city’s agencies and community civic organizations, and a hands-off approach by City Councilmember Tommy Wells, who, over time, received considerable financial support from individuals and corporations affiliated with the Hine Development.

Moreover the Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of the developer of the residents’ appeal of the Zoning Commission decision to approve the height and scale of the project, confirms a practice under which projects that enjoy political favor can move through the city’s approval process without a complete and transparent record, without serious examination and required scrutiny.

Given the record on the Hine project, an alternate and perhaps preferable approach would be to remove all trappings of public input from the development process – because that is what they are – and instead require the councilmember and the mayor to take ownership of the process from start to finish.

As it stands, the record on Hine has underscored the recent reporting of WAMU radio station, where it was listed as one of the examples:  Washington DC truly is a developer’s city. (See here: http://bit.ly/1oHHnzu)

It is noteworthy that in all of the commentary in support of the Hine Development no one is trumpeting a superb design.  The gist of the favorable commentary on Hine seems to be, it’s flawed, but at least it’s better than what is on the site now, and since it will provide density near Metro, that’s good enough.

Recently, CHC has heard some residents say – some grudgingly – “it’s time to move on, let’s just get on with it.”  The residents who launched the appeals process have been labeled obstructionists, and blamed for delaying the project at the cost of some $4 million in lost revenue to the city.  It’s not at all clear that the delay is unwelcome by the developer.  FOIA documents show that financing was not in place when the project closed, which is usually the standard procedure and political intervention allowed the developer to close without it.

If the community has suffered from the delay in the project occasioned by the litigation and if the developers were truly inconvenienced by the delay, and if the city has lost $4 million, it would seem a small price to pay for sending a message to the city and the developers that there is a penalty for riding roughshod over the people who will be most affected by the development when their voices are dismissed or discounted.  Residents have a right to feel duped; the political process has failed them.

The Hine Development is a shabby return on our investment, more reflective of the city’s compromised politics than residents’ longstanding commitment to this great neighborhood.

(Ed. Note:  The Hine Project: Part 1 – How It Happened: DMPED, Stanton/Eastbanc, Local Politics, and Tommy Wells

can be found here – http://bit.ly/1rdjDVQ)


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82 responses to “Editorial: The Hine Project: Part 2 – What We Lost and What We Gained

  1. judyleaver

    thanks for this sobering recap, Larry. So, I’m not alone in feeling ripped off knowing how our unique neighborhood is being “transformed.” (yuppified?)

  2. Anonymous

    Rather misleading title for an completely negative look at this project outcome.

  3. Ben


    I appreciate your postings but:

    1) This is not out of scale for the neighborhood. There are tall commercial buildings on the next block on PA Ave, of roughly similar height. Additionally, PA Ave is a very wide street, reducing the impact of the height. There are very few immediate neighbors to this development.
    2) We need more housing– especially next to the metro stations that we’ve invested tens of billions of dollars in. Zillow notes that the average home price in Washington DC is $468,000 (http://www.zillow.com/washington-dc/home-values/ ). The average price for a home on Capitol Hill — right across the street from a metro station– is significantly more. We need more housing in Washington, DC, if we want families to be able to continue to live in Washington and if we want the region to be competitive (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/25/opinion/paul-krugman-wrong-way-nation.html?_r=0 )
    3) More housing, especially more housing aimed at upper income residents, will expand DC’s tax base, providing more revenue to invest in public education.
    4) Is there any reason the flea market can’t relocate to the park next to the Eastern Market metro station? This seems like an especially plausible option as this park is redeveloped and enhanced over the coming years.
    5) This will provide more ground-floor retail– and thus enhance the vibrancy of Eastern Market and the PA Ave corridor.
    6) ” a Ballston/Clarendon type development, out of character with the neighborhood). –> Ballston/Clarendon have heights of 15-20 floors or more immediately next to their metro-rail stations. This is less than half of that height.
    7) “A large complex of mostly very expensive residential units…” —> Again, if you’re concerned about the high cost of housing, a very serious issue in Washington, one of the solutions is to expand the supply of housing, especially in areas that provide residents the opportunity to live without the expense of owning a vehicle.

    • Craig D'Ooge

      let me get this straight, this new hive of “upper income” housing (3) is a way to address the “high cost of housing?” (7). You should work for that great humanitarian, Donald Trump. Plus, if you can make the leap one way, down, that the Hine project is “roughly similar” in scale and size to the other structures down the street (I assume you mean 600 Pa. SE), then you can make the leap that is is “roughly similar” to the kind of buildings found in Ballston/Clarendon. I’ve never seen “roughly” used in a zoning reg. but that seems to be your standard.

      • Ben

        Yes, Craig. As with almost every other good or service, if you expand supply, it will help moderate prices. This has happened right across I-395 from Capitol Hill at the Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront: http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/navy_yard_cap_riverfront_after_a_rain_delay_the_boomtown_starts_to_deliver/8442 .

        I assume that Eastern Market is not so unique that laws of supply and demand don’t apply there.

      • Craig D'Ooge

        Ben..you must be a realtor. Though I admit what Beverly Hills has done for low income housing is pretty impressive.

      • Ben


        Even the most basic understanding of economics tells you that when you increase the supply of a good or service, it will moderate prices of that good/service. Housing is no different.

      • Ben

        Craig– no, I am not a realtor. I am just a Washington resident who wants to be able to own a home (preferably within walking distance of a metro-rail station) at some point, The average home price in Washington is $465,000. We desperately need more housing– especially if we want the DC region to be competitive and if we want this city to be an area where more than just the affluent can afford to live.

  4. Michael

    My only real concern with the Hine site redevelopment is the possibility of a Rodman’s. I’m in favor of more retail, but I don’t see how Rodman’s is providing a service that’s not already available. We have Eastern Market, there are 2 CVS locations within walking distance, a Harris Teeter & Safeway already open on the Hill, and new options are already in progress in Navy Yard.

    Nonetheless, I still have to travel all of the way to Metro Center or Pentagon City to purchase a pair of socks.

  5. Vernon


    There’s something odd with the residential numbers. As reported, the average residential unit square footage went from 934 (in 2009) to 1608 (in 2011).

    Is that possible, 1608 sq. ft. per unit average? Would probably be the largest in the District.

  6. zephyr61

    Thank you for your excellent reporting. The process was scandalous and the project is indeed rip off. It capitalizes on the desirability of the neighborhood, while destroying the very things that make it appealing – its village scale, independent character and weekend market. This is predatory development.

    • Andrea Rosen

      That’s the way of developers: Kill the goose that laid the golden egg until all the interesting places in this city are sanitized. Great cities don’t operate this way.

      • Ben

        The way to kill the goose that laid the golden egg is to continue to oppose new housing so we reach a point where only the very affluent can afford to live in Washington.

      • Andrea Rosen

        That would be because most of what’s being built is affordable? The real solution to affordable housing is for people to live all over the city, not just in the most “desirable” enclaves. That’s where the building is going on, and by my lights, it’s not even remotely affordable.

      • Ben


        First, housing should not be spread all around the city. Housing, especially the densest housing, should be concentrated next to the metro-rail stations and bus routes, where people will have a reduced need to own a car and a reduced need for parking. We’ve invested tens of billions of dollars in our metro-rail station– next to the stations is exactly where infill housing should be built. This will reduce traffice, reduce demand for parking, and make Washington both more liveable and more walkable.

        Second, smart growth advocates have been trying to get the DC Office of Planning to update the zoning review process to allow for things like accessory dwellings, which would allow for more housing across Washington but I suspect many of the same people who are opposing the Hine development also oppose this change as well.

      • Anon

        This is not the place to counter self-styled “smart” growth policies. Suffice it to say that there already is housing all over the city. What we need are viable transportation options everywhere people live, rather like government has provided in another low-built city called Paris. (And they have lots of large parks there, too!) Dense development around the relatively few Metro stations just leads to excess profits for developers–you know, the people who butter your bread.

      • anon

        glad they’ve solved the dilemna of where 96 affluent households will reside. And this must be the only mass transit corridor in the entire city for the amount of hot air spewed by the supporters of bigger dummer solutions.

        Why isn’t there as much enthusiasm for developing Res 13, which shares most of the mass transit features as EM (minus 90x N/S bus)? That’s a wasted opportunity. This is mostly the $$ home seekers

        Signed smart growth supporter

  7. Jon

    I love the spurious argument that not being agreed with equals not being heard. Hine was discussed in countless public meetings and the process I witnessed first-hand resulted in changes, both good and bad. Of course, that didn’t apply to every comment, nor should it.

    However, the most disingenuous thing is that what isn’t being said is that the Hine Coalition got what they initially wanted- delay. Delay was, and appears to still be, a goal. If not, withdraw the en banc request and let the community benefit by moving forward.

    • Bobbi Krengel

      As a member of the Hine Coalition, I can assure you that delay has never been the goal, nor has it even been welcomed. Nor has schadenfreude. The goal has always been the highest and best development possible. The two most important desires expressed in the community visioning sessions were adequate public space to continue the viability of the flea markets and respectful scale and design. Neither of those apply to the proposed project.

      • Jon

        Your assurance doesn’t change the facts. One of the primary petitioners stated the following while soliciting support for the initial appeal:

        “My reason for doing this is that I have learned that this could be one last possible step that might work to delay the Hine development until more public support against it and the “smart growth” fad that threatens the neighborhood around Eastern Market can be martialed – again not an easy undertaking.”

        So, mission accomplished. It is time to move on.

        By the way, that was March 2013 -nearly 18 months later nothing has changed except the same tiny group is still pushing for yet more delay while the greater community suffers.

      • Bobbi Krengel

        The push is not for delay, but for daylight.

  8. Craig D'Ooge

    Is anyone else bothered by the conflict of interest in the ANC6B getting a meeting space in this deal? Are they paying for it, or are they going to be accepting this little kickback for playing ball, as ANC6C has done for years with its very cozy free rent relationship with the Heritage Foundation, whose requests for zoning variances they have consistently supported? This is how it is all done. Bit by bit. This is how community views are packaged and managed and ultimately ignored in an elaborately choreographed charade.

    • Ben

      Strange, I thought it was the continual threat of historic preservation and endless zoning reviews to delay projects was the way things are done.

  9. anon

    On the north residential building — rather than a ‘poor door’ this is more like servant quarters out back. Did SEB accede on this issue to make the finishings comparable to its more luxe southern neighbors? I was under the impression that they did, but it still feels kind of ‘poor door’ to this neutral observer.

    • Hill Feller

      Oh, honestly, Anon. Servant’s quarters? Really? This is subsidized housing in a premier location in a premier neighborhood for which the primary criterion is –not making as much money as your neighbors.

      The people paying market rents are the servants here: they are serving those in subsidized housing by making up some or all of the money the developer lost in having to provide that housing.

      Scrap this whole baroque rent control process at once and bring forth a market-oriented solution focused on increasing supply and diversity of housing stock implemented immediately. Bring on the accessory dwellings! Bring on more basement apartments! Bring on more housing stock of all kinds throughout the city and especially around metro stations!


      • Jon

        Exactly. A location one block from a metro, with a view of Eastern Market, and on a courtyard/plaza. How dare they subject people to such squalor.

      • anon

        amen — as long as they’re compatible with a designated historic district. Sadly there is much to dislike in the Hine development and it’s incompatability only scratches the surface of its deficiencies, and it goes much further than the scale.

        The whole point of mixed development affordable housing is to integrate with market rate housing and NOT segregate it (ie housing projects). But this won’t really serve “the poor” anyway. It will be young single professionals as first time buyers who barely meet the income threshold and will rapidly exceed it (Kitty’s played this game and she knows how to find the “right” buyers). That and the market housing will be totally useless for increasing overall affordability. It vaguely sounds like a nice political gesture but it’s an empty promise.

  10. Marci Hilt

    This is what I want for the Hine Development: A reasonably-sized Hine development project compatible with size and scale of the neighborhood and the Capitol Hill Historic District. It is too bad more folks don’t care about the lack of transparency and the way the city caved to the developer on this project. The political process has failed us. Bravo to you Larry, for pulling all the facts together. Thank you!

    • anon

      a lot of the chearleaders for this SEB mess are not residents of the Hill or the historic district. They think access to Metro/mass transit overrides every other legitimate community interest.

      • Ben


        So, only the residents who live immediately next to the Hine development are allowed to have an opinion of this? That reminds me of something… what is the five letter word I am looking for?

    • anon

      I never said only immediate neighbors — I’m strictly talking about the greater good of the community — the ones most impacted. not the ones who just soapbox and have a far lesser stake. there’s nothing NIMBY about that

  11. Michael

    There’s a simple solution to Hill Feller’s concern about insufficient density and everyone else’s concern about the size and scale of Hine.

    Allow all of the surrounding rowhouses to build “pop-ups.” Most pop-ups will be able to accommodate 2 families instead of 1, and their additional height will make Hine’s height appear much more in line with its environs.

    • Hill Feller

      That’s certainly an option. As is increasing the number of accessory dwellings and having basic design guidelines rather than draconian keep every last of splinter of every building regulations. There are lots of ways to increase supply. Why try just one approach?

  12. One point you raised above caught my eye. I’m surprised that Stanton Eastbanc argued for a conversion of office space to residential given the economic conditions. The exact opposite argument was put forth by EYA (Terry Eakin specifically) to DMPED (Neil Albert specifically, who coincidentally now works for Holland & Knight, the law firm hired by DMPED and VMP for this project). In an email between the two, Mr. Eakin cited the ‘great recession’ as justification for the inclusion of a ‘large new medical office building’ in the project. This in turn allowed the project to bring on Trammell Crow and all the clout that comes with that company. So it would appear he argued the exact opposite case to DMPED in order to make changes to the project, which, like Hine, were also readily accepted by DMPED.

    I always like reading what you have to write on this project. I never have the time to follow the Hine project closely so I opt instead to rely on your postings. As I’ve mentioned before, this project moved ahead almost exactly as the McMillan project is right now, both in how opponent and proponent positions are being characterized along with how the city justifies the project and dismisses the clear density disparity.

    To some comment in this chain, personally I understand this mantra that more housing will beget cheaper housing but there’s absolutely no support for such a statement. Nor is there support indicating that more housing will drop rental costs. If everything newly built prices above existing market prices (either for purchase or rental) then how will this problem be rectified short of a housing market meltdown?

    I’m glad you all went through the process of challenging the city but sad to hear it wasn’t successful in the end. It’s tough to be stonewalled by your own elected representatives and their respective appointees. I cannot believe more wasn’t made of the FOIA material showing the developer pushed for the project to move ahead in advance of Bowser’s oversight hearing. For your sake, I hope this project isn’t ultimately as bad as people think.

    • Ben


      Really, absolutely no support that an increase supply in housing will lead to a reduction in the cost of housing? No support at all?

      “Now, an oversupply of new apartments is taking hold. The growth in rental prices is slowing, developers are canceling or scaling back projects, and more landlords are concentrating on lower-priced rental units to compete with the glut of high-priced apartments expected to hit the market over the next three years.”


      “The high rents reflect current demand, but the coming wave of new apartments in the neighborhood and rest of the city will likely change the market in the near future.

      Grant Montgomery, Senior Vice President of research firm Delta Associates, estimates that rents in the region will decline by 5 percent in the coming year and 2-3 percent the next. Capitol Riverfront is already seeing rents decline. Rents fell 2.6 percent in the neighborhood over the last twelve months, compared to 0.2 percent in the District as a whole.”


    • Hill Feller

      “If everything newly built prices above existing market prices (either for purchase or rental) then how will this problem be rectified short of a housing market meltdown?”

      I don’t think anything being sold right now is “above existing market prices.” If the buyer and the seller agree on the price without outside interference, then that’s the market price. In fact, it’s exactly the market price.

      You may be asking, “If everything being built is above the median / mean price, how will high housing prices be solved?”

      Well, they won’t be solved in the new Hine building…but the people moving into the new Hine building will vacate their previous housing stock (which is probably not as nice) and landlords / sellers will be forced to accept what people with slightly less purchasing power can afford.

      The beneficiaries, in other words, are not necessarily the people moving into Hine but the people moving into where the people moving into Hine moved out of.

      Hyper-hyper-localizing prices is not the right way to think about how an increase in housing supply lowers costs.

      • Ben


        Really, absolutely no support that an increase supply in housing will lead to a reduction in the cost of housing? No support at all?

        “Now, an oversupply of new apartments is taking hold. The growth in rental prices is slowing, developers are canceling or scaling back projects, and more landlords are concentrating on lower-priced rental units to compete with the glut of high-priced apartments expected to hit the market over the next three years.”


        “The high rents reflect current demand, but the coming wave of new apartments in the neighborhood and rest of the city will likely change the market in the near future.

        Grant Montgomery, Senior Vice President of research firm Delta Associates, estimates that rents in the region will decline by 5 percent in the coming year and 2-3 percent the next. Capitol Riverfront is already seeing rents decline. Rents fell 2.6 percent in the neighborhood over the last twelve months, compared to 0.2 percent in the District as a whole.”


      • anon

        rents couldn’t possibly decline because the neighborhood is far from built out? or a glut of homogenous new apartments? or simply overpriced for in relation to rental market demand for a half built neighborhood.

        Taking one sliver of the region’s market projections from a single WSJ article is just a weak argument. The article also focuses on the regional housing picture, not DC specific, much less SE/SW Waterfront.

  13. Calvin H. Gurley

    Mr. Ben, it appears from your one sided (D.C. Urban Turf) comments that you have no regards for tradition in the community. This “Yankee” manifest destiny dealing needs to travel up 95 North – back to New York City.

    Response to your numbered statements which are far from the true reality of the District:
    2) More housing is needed for the “working class” District resident who surely was not on the mind of the developer’s producing high income units.

    3) Upper class income renters don’t desire or are expected to pay more or increased taxes. Additionally, upper class income taxes will not be enough to help one, single school improve.

    How about demanding that the City Council and Mayor re-instate their promise – that a percentage of D.C. Lottery revenues are given to our public school as practiced by Maryland, Virginia and other state lotteries.

    4) It is not easy to move from a traditional location…have some compassion for the little guy.

    5) What study are you referring to that recommends the need for more enhance vibrancy at Hine Jr. High School’s market area?

    This is not the time. The residents and the community of Capitol Hill are not in the mood for your explanation into why they need to accept this set-back and slap in the face.

    The Hine Jr. High’s run-away project would never have had a chance to re-invent the landscape of Charleston, South Carolina and surrounding communities

    Life has a way of working out crooked things…especially for the guy who was wronged.

    Calvin H. Gurley
    2014 At-Large Candidate

    • Anon

      Yikes. If “be more like South Carolina” is a plank in your campaign platform (presumably next to the one where you insult “Yankees”?) you may as well pack it in now.

    • Yankee

      This is a joke right?

    • Ken Melo

      I’ve seen the design and I think it’s beautiful. Moreover I can’t wait for construction to start so that the Eastern market neighborhood can move forward.

      As for metro park – again the design is beautiful and an upgrade is definitely needed to meet the needs of the growing number of families moving to the neighborhood. Not to mention it’s going to more than double the size of the library.

  14. Susan Fariss

    So is the result of this development a significant decrease in the area allocated for the weekend flea market, and the strong possibility that flea market may be relocated? This would be the greatest loss, in my opinion, in this development. The Eastern Market weekend flea market is a significant draw to the Hill and benefits the businesses around the market. And it is a major addition in quality of life for Hill residents, as well as a plus for the real estate values on the Hill. A sad, sad day, if this is true.

    • Bobbi Krengel

      Yes, its a complicated domino effect. Opinions supported by studies of Eastern Market by the Project for Public Spaces in 2008 indicate that the Eastern Market itself might not survive without the supporting context of a market district that includes the farmers’, artists’, and flea markets, plus the surrounding small scale shops and cafes. The flea markets need a critical mass of size to be viable, as do the others. Without this synergistic organic ecosystem, Eastern Market is likely to go the way of many other municipal markets–death by loss of habitat–becoming relics ripe for repurposing, rather than the beating heart, soul, and anchor of the neighborhood. Look at what happened at Georgetown [Dean and Deluca] and “City Market at O”.
      The neighbors knew this instinctively, and that is why the number one priority that emerged from all the sham visioning sessions and charade charrettes in the two years preceding the RFP was that the project include adequate open public space to continue the flea markets. Those early plans all did that [plus the second priority–sensitive scale and design], but each iteration lopped off a little more open space, as the placebo public processes gave way to the rubber stamping of the backroom pay-to-play deal.
      A sad day, indeed.

      • The joys of living in DC. Backroom politics and sliding money and favors under the table, all to the detriment of the citizens of DC.

      • Neutral observer

        If space for the flea markets was the clear top community priority, this unfortunately did not remain a major part of opposition strategy as the process moved forward. Instead there were so many priorities that things just devolved to the point that one could conclude that opponents of the project would never be satisfied. For example, one of the neighborhood groups, EMMCA, emphasized these priorities in 2009:

        1.Maintain the existing pattern of residences and businesses,
        2.Include the lowest maximum number of parking spaces permitted by law,
        3.Retain the human scale exemplified by Eastern Market,
        4.Provide open space for the weekend Flea Market and community gathering,
        5.Ensure that fifty percent (50%) of the developed space is for not-for-profit organizations,
        6.Consider including a boutique-style hotel that would encourage commerce without increasing the number of cars in the area.

        And then in 2011, EMMCA emphasized these points in its testimony to the ANC and the HPRB:
        1. Height is our biggest concern. We ask ANC-6B and HPRB to enforce height limits endorsed two years ago by ANC-6B, especially in residential areas. The height limits (item 11) adopted June 30, 2009 by ANC-6B as criteria for choosing a developer at their June 30, 2009 special call meeting insist on “[r]estricting building heights to 60 feet along Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 40 feet along 8th and C Streets SE, and 50 feet along 7th Street SE.”
        2. We urge ANC-6B and HPRB to challenge this developer to showcase architectural design and urban planning creativity in what is one of the most prominent neighborhoods of our nation’s capital.
        3. There should be no retail on D Street, on historic grounds. L’Enfant developed his plan for 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue before he ever began drafting the L’Enfant plan…
        4. We recommend ANC-6B and HPRB enforce Guidelines for New Construction in an Historic District in the Historic Landmark and Historic District Act of 1978.
        5. [T]his site should continue to provide services to children, especially educational services.

        And then during the PUD process:
        No cash settlements from the developers
        Lowest Permitted Parking
        Aesthetics – pushing for better design
        Height on 8th Street
        Green/public space
        Education component
        No Retail on D Street and 8th Street

      • Bobbi Krengel

        Here is a link to the testimony of the Capitol Hill Coalition for Sensible Development: http://tinyclip.tv/322b4c83

      • Bobbi is conveniently grabbing on to the markets as yet another hook of opposition to Hine. An opposition which has devolved to failed lawsuits, delay and an inability to consider any other world view or move on.

        As for the markets, the reality is that the space will be reduced but not by portions that would spell the certain death that Bobbi has predicted (not just for the Flea markets but actually Eastern Market is going to suffer “death by loss of habitat”). The plaza space that is C Street + will be retained for market use as well as a significant amount of parking space below grade so that the vending space will not have cars and trucks on it. Also, 7th street that will be closed during construction on the weekends will be used by the flea markets during the interim and that arrangement could continue after construction is complete. Additionally, the entire area from the natatorium to PA Ave is now part of a designated market area under the control of Eastern Market.

        The Flea Markets are part of this and the two entities that operate the flea markets have contracts for that.

        Yes it will change. No it won’t suffer death by plague, starvation or anything else so dramatic.

        Convenient fact #2 that Bobbi and others conveniently neglect is that at the end of the day after a hard negotiation, the two flea market operators supported the Hine proposal before the Zoning Commission.

    • anon

      If the external vendors are as important as Bobbi Krengel suggests, why are the inside vendors actively seeking to end the flea market presence on 7th street so they can have additional parking spaces? I’m neither explicitly for the project as currently designed or against it, but anecdotal evidence provided by Bobbi Krengel, who by all indications is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that was rejected by the Court in its entirety and has accomplished nothing other than to delay project for over a year, do not trump facts. Perhaps now that their lawsuit has failed, and in line with their stated goal of saving the flea market, the plaintiffs can turn their attention to asking the Eastern Market vendors why they are trying to kick the flea market off of 7th street?

      • Andrea Rosen

        Is it an outsized sense of self-importance that prompts people to post anonymously? Or are they afraid readers will know which axe they’re grinding when they report anecdotal evidence as “facts”?

      • Bobbi Krengel

        Its very complicated. [http://www.pps.org/] Just because the various markets share a symbiotic relationship doesn’t mean there isn’t conflict. And its not the flea markets that occupy 7th Street, but the artists’ market. The inside vendors of Eastern Market believe that when the street was open to traffic and parking that they sold more groceries, because many locals brought their cars to the market. Now, as soon as people’s arms are full, they stop buying. And during peach/tomato/corn season, its easy to reach that point quickly.

        The various markets represents hundreds of small businesses which are vital to a healthy local economy. Those dollars spent at small local businesses continue to circulate in the community almost indefinitely, as opposed to those spent at large chain stores, which are sucked permanently out of the local economy.

        The flea markets want desperately to stay in this local small scale market district that complements and supports them, but without the space to accommodate their needs, will be forced to move to elsewhere.

      • anon

        nothing wrong with posting “anon” — this poster is different than my earlier posts. There are many legitimate reasons for people to withhold their real identity, even more so for a divisive project within our community. As long as everyone keeps it reasonably respectful and on point. It doesn’t imply any axe to grind.

        I for one support the original vision of the project and some elements of the design but I’ve grown dismayed with how badly it’s veered off course from its stated goals and the questionable backroom deals between DMPED and developers.

        Just don’t assume it’s one poster

      • anon

        because the inside vendors are out of touch with reality and think they drive the entire “Eastern Market” experience rather than the external vendors/flea markets. They’d probably fight against bike racks if they thought it would cost them a parking space or two.

      • Anon

        My question to Bobbi and other Hine plaintiffs, which may not have been clear, is why the willingness to fight in the name of “preserving the existing fabric of the neighborhood neighborhood” when the preservation involves eliminating a proposed building that one finds subjectively objectionable, but no interest in doing the same with respect to preserving the flea market? It seems as though the flea market is as much a part of the fabric of the neighborhood as anything, is it not? This seems like NIMBYism at its worst – “I hate tall buildings in my backyard so I will file a lawsuit, but I don’t care to buy framed mirrors at the flea market so the vendors can sort that out themselves.”

    • Ben

      Again, is there any reason the weekend flea market can relocated to the expanded and modernized Eastern Market metro plaza or the median of Pennsylvania Ave?

      • Bobbi Krengel

        I love how this is all about me, but wait–am I being accused of both not caring enough about the flea market and over-caring to the point of hysteria? Thank you, this is great.
        I have been shopping the inside, outside, farmers’, artists’, and flea markets loyally since 1988.
        I attended every single pre-RFP visioning session, and put all my dots on the “space for the flea market” board. I figured that, with a Comprehensive Plan and clear zoning regulations in place, plus historic district protections and HPRB review, sensitive scale and design were guaranteed, and I would go all in for saving the flea market. We did not yet know that there would eventually be a private sale of the north parcel at fire-sale prices, segregation of the affordable housing units, or the privatization of a L’Enfant street–those were unthinkable.
        I also attended the January 2008 meeting in the Hine auditorium where the Project for Public Spaces’ analysis of the market commissioned by CHRS was presented. That analysis and much of PPS’s content discusses the importance of market districts, or habitat of municipal fresh food markets. http://www.pps.org/
        Those early designs from all 11 bona fide proposals obeyed those overwhelming community demands to provide adequate open public space for the flea markets. It didn’t become an issue until after the pay to play choice was crowned, and various “refinements” shrank that space a little each time until it was barely a wide place in the PRIVATELY HELD road–no longer a public space at all.
        Only then was it clear that the flea markets were in danger. I conferred at length with Mike and Carole, managers of the Saturday and Sunday flea markets, signed the “Save the flea Market” petition, sent it everyone I know, put a “Save the Flea Market” yard sign in my front yard, and wore my “Save the Flea Market” button constantly, including while testifying before the Zoning Commission.
        Because this fatal shrinkage and privatization of public space intended in part for use by the flea market was so critical, I dropped other considerations, such as the segregation and inferiority of the affordable housing, from my written and oral testimony, in order to concentrate on size, scale, and viability of the markets. http://tinyclip.tv/322b4c83

        Yes, one could technically say “the two flea market operators supported the Hine proposal before the Zoning Commission”. They said yes in a shotgun wedding to their new landlord as part of a negotiated agreement in a last-ditch attempt to save their dozens of small businesses.

        But I guess for some people there still isn’t enough content in our objections to cause them to conclude that all we are after is delay, and schadenfreude over the costs.

      • Anon

        Bobbi, you made it all about you when you and a handful of others decided to file a lawsuit “on behalf of” the thousands of other area homeowners, myself included, whose own subjective views on the project differ from your own, did you not?

    • Kimberly Astor

      BS. The flea market does nothing to increase home values, it might help bring in additional revenue for the shopkeepers at the market, who by the way, mostly live in Virginia and Maryland.

  15. Bobbi Krengel

    Indeed. Eastbanc, Stanton Development and other developers have been throwing money at politicians for years, placing their shills on boards and commissions, and ghostwriting city officials’ staff reports, expert studies and legislation, and when it was their turn to cash in, they went for everything they could get, and DMPED gave it to them.
    At Hine, not only the actual zoning regulations but the foundational principles of zoning itself–that everybody should play by the same set of rules– were violated. Spot zoning is the antithesis of zoning principles–when one property gets something that nobody else gets. They got twice the height of everybody else because DMPED backed them on it, and HPO answers to OP who answers to DMPED and they towed the company line, and the politically appointed ZC didn’t want to be the only one who couldn’t see the emperor’s new clothes. Nor does the DCCA, which understands the chaos it would cause if it were to admit that the emperor has no clothes.

  16. Jon

    Neutral Observer,
    Exactly right. EMMCA stated those objectives in 2009 and reaffirmed them in 2013 as part of the Hine Coalition.

    This is copied and pasted from the “Talking Points” memo they distributed:

    “We are particularly concerned about the PUD’s excessive size and height and the negative impact it will have on the historic character of our community.

    The PUD will top out at seven stories and 94.5 feet – more than twice the height of the historic row houses and other buildings surrounding it – and will tower over everything in the vicinity.

    Remarkably, however, the Zoning Commission approved Stanton-EastBanc’s PUD without even addressing this extreme disparity in height, despite the Comprehensive Plan’s express requirement that developments in historic districts ‘shall be consistent with the height and density of contributing buildings in the district.’

    It’s just too big.”

    It is a longer document but that is the gist of it.

    It is worth repeating this:

    One of the primary petitioners stated the following while soliciting support for the initial appeal:

    “My reason for doing this is that I have learned that this could be one last possible step that might work to delay the Hine development until more public support against it and the “smart growth” fad that threatens the neighborhood around Eastern Market can be martialed – again not an easy undertaking.”

    If you want to read the entire strategy the City Paper wrote a detailed article – look for the name Oliver Hall (the lawyer for EMMCA and the Hine Coalition).

    • And in all of that one has to notice that there is no mention from EMMCA about affordable housing or how benefit and amenity costs are structured. The principal objection was height. The other issues now being used to hold up the project and delay it for no real purpose are just legal tactics being employed with no apparent objective other than because they can.

      The most outrageous part of Larry’s editorial above is when he says that maybe the $4m a year price tag for delay born by the City is worth it as the price for sending a message. A poorly defined message that most in the neighborhood do not support. But it is not Larry’s money, nor the Hine Coalition’s money, nor EMMCA’s money, so under those terms it is very cheap for them to send this message.

      • anon

        So the City takes no blame

        You disagree with the lawsuit. The judge denied their motion. That doesn’t automatically translate to an unmerited suit as you seem to suggest. The City could have done a MUCH better job of addressing some of these concerns in re-zoning, as well as allowing daylight rather than backroom deals. That’s on the City, not EMMCA.

        Unlike the plantiffs, I’m largely resigned to the project. I can still dislike the process and results. It’s amazing how much changed between what the public supported and what SEB ultimately decided to build. Why even bother soliciting that input if it’s just going to be overwritten behind closed doors after the fact?

  17. A) it is absurd to say that this was all done behind closed doors and input was not incorporated. For those that attended hundreds of meetings and saw lots of changes (for better or worse) it is just insulting to characterize it like this.

    B) No one is saying that any of us have to be fully happy with this. I certainly am not. There are design and massing issues we did not win on. I would guess that the range is wide and looks something like the typical bell curve.

    But if you were to draw the curve on the question of whether to continue the delay, I would guess the the overwhelming majority in the neighborhood on all sides of the issue would say it is time to move on. Certainly that includes the neighbors who were opposed to the project before the zoning commission and yet are still part of the construction management process.

    On the other hand, EMMCA and its three leaders (two of whom are running for the ANC) and the 12 other individuals who decided to continue on with the appeal made an active decision to not move on and to use every opportunity to draw this out.

    I think that is highly regrettable, serves no practical purpose and only costs the City more money.

    • anon

      So where’s Folger? Or the offices for foundations? Or boutique hotel? Or for that matter the MIXED INCOME housing rather than segregated housing? What’s the benefit to the community that’s not paid by the community? Should we be grateful to get C St back when the City doesn’t even gain full control of it? Face it — you whiffed Ivan. This is a big dumb typical DC mixed use development unworthy of the great neighborhood surrounding it.

      One person’s “baseless” is another’s just cause. I don’t fault EMCCA for fighting this and they should move on when they’ve exhausted their legal recourse or decide it’s not worth fighting any more. I hope some of its members gain representation on the ANC. I’d vote for them if I could

      • Neutral observer

        “What’s the benefit to the community that’s not paid by the community?”
        It is hard to see the logic behind this complaint, which the court also found baseless. The benefit to the community is that the project includes something that the developers would not have had to include under the existing zoning. The fact that the developers convinced the City to compensate them may mean that the City negotiated a bad deal when it sold the property – I don’t disagree with that – but it doesn’t change the fact that from a zoning perspective there is a benefit that the zoning board can consider as a tradeoff for exceeding the zoning limits in other respects, which is how the PUD process works. The focus on who is “paying for” the benefit is simply misplaced.

    • anon

      “Certainly that includes the neighbors who were opposed to the project before the zoning commission and yet are still part of the construction management process.”

      and I would conflate being part of the “construction management process” as any kind of support. They’re resigned to it and looking to safeguard the structural integrity of their homes, the quality of the air they breath, and cope with inevitibly massive disruption to their abiltiy to enjoy peace within their homes.

      • anon

        duh “would not”

      • You know “anon” I work with real neighbors with real names, many many of whom were absolutely opposed before the zoning commission and I can find only a handful who think there is merit to this continued nonsense of a lawsuit. The fact that most in the construction process just want to move on is actually reflective of what I believe is broader community sentiment, not as you are suggesting some trade off by being engaged in the process.

  18. Valerie

    Ah, but there is the rub in that comment above:

    “No one is saying that any of us have to be fully happy with this.”

    Yes, that is true–but only partly. For when a public space is taken out of the public domain, as it was here, that act requires high scrutiny and some measure of public happiness. While there were public meetings and public discussions, in the end what is being done is not exactly fulfilling any larger identified public purpose, whether aesthetically (enough said), economically (affordable housing, more retail), or functionally (more parking, flea market, open area, control of C street in that block, etc.).

    It is indeed a lost opportunity–although that opportunity was hardly lost *because* of anyone’s objections in meetings or in court! It was lost *despite* those things, mainly by the very people who are charged with safeguarding the public trust. Many thanks to Larry for his reporting on this.

  19. E. Masquinongy

    Bottom line, the officials charged with representing the public interest, so that this project met its stated goals — the ANC, Tommy Wells — failed us. But it is time to move on.

    There is an election, and time to vote accordingly.

    • If the ANC was such a failure on this then why did every commissioner that supported the final agreement get reelected. Andy why is it that every new commissioner elected have that same position. Again, just because you feel failed by people doesn’t mean it is actually so.

      • E. Masquinongy

        Mr Frishberg, you know very well why: the election was two years ago, and many (most) ANC candidates ran unopposed. Back in 2012, it was just becoming clear to many of us that this deal was going bad, before we changed our mind about the ANC performance in this matter. Of course, the W6 council seat is a four year term; Mr Wells was elected back when this deal looked good for the community.

        It is a risky thing to fire one’s representative, when involved in a project of this importance. There is no guarantee the the new rep will be better than the old one. The voters hesitated in making changes.

        Congratulations on your retirement, you can know join the rest of of on the sidelines.

  20. Jon

    While it is now convenient to talk about the candidates running unopposed, like so many comments made in this thread, it just isn’t accurate. However, at least you rationally and correctly state that it is time to move on.

    Only 3 seats weren’t opposed.

    Both ANC Commissioners whose SMDs cover the Hine site were opposed by candidates who, primarily, ran on the “Anti-Hine”, “Right Size Hine”, Anti-Wells Platform…and both challengers lost.


    It is time to move on but not to a new batch of single issue candidates who have a misguided view of what ‘their’ community wants.

  21. Kimberly Astor

    All this sums up to a few neighbors on eighth street upset about scale because it will block their sunlight. I went to just about every board meeting and they would briefly discuss how unfortunate it was that the developer was segregating affordable house from the up-scale units.

    Then for the remaining 55 minutes the discussion turned to the height of the building and how it was going to block their precious sunlight. I’ve seen the design and I think it’s beautiful. Moreover I can’t wait for construction to start so that the Eastern market neighborhood can move forward.

    Now everyone’s complaining about the redeveloped plans for the metro park. Again the design is beautiful and an upgrade is definitely needed to meet the demand of the growing number of families moving to the neighborhood. Not to mention it’s going to more than double the size of the library. Yet the same few people within the community want to block progress.