Frager’s Rebuild – Expected by 2017 – Will Include Nearly 40 Residential Units
By Larry Janezich
Roadside Development, who will rebuild the Frager’s site, told about 70 residents last night that the project would include 38-39 residential units in addition to the hardware store, and will possibly include other retail and/or office space. The builder will stay within the 50 foot matter of right height which zoning regulations permit. The company is committed to preserving the façade of the original store. If all goes well, the project would see completion in the spring of 2017, though a more modern Frager’s could reopen ahead of other parts of the project. Update: Frager’s owner John Weintraub said during the meeting that the temporary garden center in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue on property owned by Larry Quillian was indeed only temporary. Space for a garden center is likely to be incorporated in the new project.
The company is in the preliminary stages of considering market analysis and design options and last night’s meeting was the first of what could be a several seeking community input as the project moves forward. Elements of the project which are still undecided include the layout, size, and location of the residential units; whether they will be rentals or condos; space for retail beyond Frager’s; and even the number of stories for the project. One location for residential units being looked at, said Richard Lake of Roadside, is the space between the pizza carryout and the east end of the former Frager’s building – Roadside prefers to separate the residential and retail components of its projects.
Hill East resident Pat Taylor, representing Capitol Hill Village, made a pitch for units that would be 1.5 bedrooms and larger to accommodate Capitol Hill residents who want to age in place. Lake said the residential units would be built for multiple markets and said of Roadside, “We’re not micro unit developers.” In response to a question, he said that there would be no public financing involved in the project and that the company will adhere to city Inclusionary Zoning requirements for any residential project over ten units. Inclusionary Zoning regulations require a developer of a project this size to set aside 10% of the residential units for affordable housing. That would mean pricing those units for households making 50% or 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). In DC, that’s about $50,000 and $78,000, respectively for a family of three.
Attendees at the meeting raised several concerns related to increase density, notably the effect on parking and traffic. Some nearby neighbors raised concerns about increased massing, including privacy, views, and light. Some raised concerns about trash, rodents, and deliveries.
Lake told the crowd that Roadside is not looking for any variances and will provide parking as required by code. He envisions a highly energy efficient, bicycle friendly project and said that charging stations for electric cars are under consideration.
Moving forward will progress involve two transactions. Roadside has not acquired the site yet and Lake said it is unusual for them to hold a public meeting before buying the property. The property is still owned by John Weintraub and Roadside hopes to close on the purchase next spring. Weintraub will get a long term lease to re-open the hardware store.