Plans Revealed for 45 High End Residential Units Near Capitol Hill Safeway
Jerry’s Custom Automotive Center To Be Transformed
by Larry Janezich
At last night’s ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee, Sean Ruppert of OPaL LLC revealed plans for a 45 unit mixed residential project comprised of townhouses, condos, flats and a carriage house for the site at 1309-1323 E Street, SE, currently occupied by an auto repair shop and its associated warehouse. The Capitol Hill Safeway is at the east end of the block. Watkins field is across the street at the west end. Since the site is currently zoned for industrial use, a Planned Unit Development application will have to be filed. The developer anticipates a stepped back project, 45 to 52 feet high, comprised of 30 three-bedroom townhomes, eight flats, six lofts, and a carriage house, with one level of underground parking providing one space per unit. Ten percent of the units – five in this case – will be designated affordable under inclusionary zoning regulations. As shown in the accompanying images, the plan features a “courtyard promenade” for pedestrians and community interaction.
Ruppert told the Committee that the site’s two parcels are under contract and the company is in a 30 day study period. If all goes well, he hopes to file the PUD application in 30 – 60 days. The units will be large, with townhouses 2200 to 1700 square feet and ranging in price from $1.1 to $1.3 million. The two bedroom flats will be marketed from $850,000 to $950,000, and the one bedrooms from $150 to $250,000.
Last night’s presentation to the committee was billed as “informational” to brief the ANC on the company’s plans. Ruppert said he had reached out to some 30 nearby neighbors and had met with them to inform them of the project.
Since OPaL will seek a PUD to change the zoning from industrial to residential multifamily zoning, the company will be required to provide amenities and benefits to the community to compensate for the increased density the project will bring. Ruppert asked the ANC for suggestions what form the benefits and amenities might take, offering – for example –to upgrade a park or engage in some similar undertaking which would benefit the community.
The plan would not take advantage of the full height permitted on the site as a matter of right – which Ruppert said was 60 feet. The plans distributed to the committee were described as an early preliminary concept. As neighbors who follow community development already know, early renditions can change considerably as they move through the PUD process before a final version is laid before the Zoning Commission for a PUD hearing. Since the project lies outside the Capitol Hill Historic District, it will not be subject to review by the Historic Planning Office.
Ruppert pointed to another OPaL project located in Shaw – Naylor Court Stables – which also features a “courtyard promenade” as a successful project completed by his company.