Plans Revealed for 45 High End Residential Units Near Capitol Hill Safeway

Jerry's Custom Automotive Center To Become High End Residential Project

Jerry’s Custom Automotive Center To Become High End Residential Project

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.

Site Map and Layout

Site Map and Layout (click to enlarge)

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.

Courtyard Promenade

Courtyard Promenade

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.

View to the Southwest

View to the Southwest


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9 responses to “Plans Revealed for 45 High End Residential Units Near Capitol Hill Safeway

  1. Wow, that should increase the neighborhood population by about 100 citizens. From the prices they gave you, it sounds like all the “affordable” units are going to be one-bedrooms. I hope they can be persuaded to let some poor families into the neighborhood instead of just poor single people.

  2. Craig D'Ooge

    Forgot the guard towers and exercise yard.

    • Jill Snapp

      agree Craig…looks institutional…bye quaint Jerrys….”promenade”….really.

    • anon

      The initial conceptual plan is more appealing than the renderings. I’m sure they’ll eventually release one of those cartoon architectural rendering programs to display some hipsters, dog walkers, and generic white people.

  3. Corey H.

    Love it. That’s such a big square with large alleys. I’m happy to see the development here. Also good to see a high-end project rather than some of the cheaper flips/pops/new construction. And I like to think of these first plans as more of an opening bid in a negotiation with the zoning Commission/ANC/Neighbors.

    A couple of points:

    1) This project provides way more parking than is required. Another counter point to those arguing against reducing parking minimums. If the demand is there. If the market is there. Developers will provide parking.

    2) I’m as pro-height and pro-development as they come, but they really should follow the guidelines of the R-4 zone they’re going to border. And that means taking the heights down to 40 feet including the penthouses.

    3) The site is currently C-M-1. It only allows for 40 feet of light industrial against Ruppert’s assertion of 60 feet. And it allows for zero residential so the existing zoning really isn’t relevant to any discussion

    • anon

      Agreed — at that price point the developer would be hard pressed to satisfy new construction buyers without sufficient parking either included or available for sale. These aren’t micro units in Dupont or Blagden Alley.

  4. ET

    Between this place and the one that is on I and 11th, the Hill will have 2 less places for people to take their cars for repair. Wonder how long it is before Capitol Hill Auto on Independence is gone.

    This place is not on the same side of the block as the Safeway. This is right next to the temporary Fragers. Isn’t there a Bowie’s Trash facility right there as well or has that moved?

  5. E. Masquinongy

    Like what I see so far.

    With all the new building down Pennsylvania Ave, this site along with many others nearby, have long been ripe for redevelopment. Within a block, E Street has at least two other projects underway, so this job is not surprising.

    The big question is, what is in store for the International Graduate University?