Mayor Bowser On Hine, DC General, and Potomac Gardens

Mayor Bowser pays courtesy call to ANC6B. Tuesday night.  ANC6B  Commissioners, (L-R) Nick Burger, Chander Jayaraman, Denise Krepp, and Diane Hoskins.

Mayor Bowser pays courtesy call to ANC6B. Tuesday night. ANC6B Commissioners, (L-R) Nick Burger, Chander Jayaraman, Denise Krepp, and Diane Hoskins.

Mayor Bowser On Hine, DC General, and Potomac Gardens

by Larry Janezich

Mayor Bowser made a courtesy call on ACN6B Tuesday night to comment on her appointments and priorities.

When the Q&A began, the first question came from Marci Hilt, representing those Capitol Hill residents who have consistently shown the greatest concern regarding the Hine project.

Hilt referred to a previous public statement by Bowser during an Economic Development Committee hearing when Bowser said that Hine “should not have happened the way it did.”  Hilt said that “We now have proof” that EastBanc does not qualify for LIHTC funding for the affordable housing included in the Hine project.  She told Bowser, “You have stopped the Franklin School (another EastBanc project). “The Hine development stinks,” she said, “and you still have the power to stop it.”

Bowser said that she was concerned about how to better integrate the affordable housing into the project, but noted that she had also said, “This project is so far along it’s difficult to restart it.  It’s been through the PUD process and [the] courts,” adding, “My view is to move ahead.”

Bowser also responded to questions from ANC6B Commissioners.

On Commissioner Brian Flahaven’s question on how she planned to address the issue of the homeless shelter at DC General, she said it was her view that it should be closed, that “It is too big to be used as an emergency shelter.” She said she has tasked the new head of Department of Human Services Laura Green Zeilinger with closing DC General and dealing with long term issues leading to homelessness.

On Commissioner Daniel Chao’s question about the quality of life issues at Potomac Gardens, Bowser said that the DC Housing Authority has done a walk-through, and though Potomac Gardens ”is not scheduled for a vast make over” she acknowledged that her administration needs to insure regular renovation.

The Mayor also said that the success of the initial Donatelli-Blue Skye mixed use project on Reservation 13 will determine the future of the Reservation.  She said she would look to Councilmember Allen for recommendations on providing support for middle schools, stated that it is important to get the street project car project done well and had ordered a review of the street car project – and that the cars would not begin running until after the system’s safety is assured.  Bowser also accepted Commissioner Denise Krepp’s invitation to attend the opening of the new CAG building on 15th street “when the building is completed at the end of this year.”


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12 responses to “Mayor Bowser On Hine, DC General, and Potomac Gardens

  1. Maggie Hall

    Good for Marci Hilt having the guts to confront the Mayor over Hine. It is outrageous that the Mayor stops the Franklin School project (and its much needed injection of arts and culture into DC via its unique museum concept) but feels it’s too late to put the brakes on Hine. Of course the former would not produce anything close to the income for the city that Hine will….talk about what is wrong with the powers-that-be in this, the capital, city of the USA!

  2. Yes, that’s what we need more of. Political leaders who will ride in after an election and change everything, undo court decisions, ignore elections, respond immediately to every last letter the losing lawyer writes, throw babies out with bath water and focus on what matters most – the past. What about a few leaders who only listened to some of the people, or considered some of the facts. Yes, we definitely need more leaders like that all over the place. BTW, Marci is incorrect that there is “proof” of anything. Just because Oliver Hall writes on a piece of paper does not make it proof. In fact, even if you agree with his ends, you would have to agree his track for making winning arguments is a little lacking. But I am sure he would make a great AG is Ralph can make another successful run at it.

    • Pete

      By the way, the article mentions that Marci Hilt “represent[s] those Capitol Hill residents who have consistently shown the greatest concern regarding the Hine project.” Great, but those residents, as a vocal minority, have completely hijacked the process for too long. And they lost time and time again.

      Most residents want the development. The recent ANC elections once again confirm this. Marci and her small group should stop doing what is the equivalent of filibustering– this is not Congress. Get over it. Move on. And let the rest of us live in peace.

      • Maggie Hall

        What most of us want is the original development that was signed-off on by the community and passed by the Council – only for Stanton to alter the plans and for the Council to ignore the way in which the plans had been grossly changed. The emphasis being on “grossly”….

  3. ET

    I think bringing the cancellation of the Franklin School project into the Hine discussion is a bit suspect. From my understanding the Franklin project doesn’t have even remotely close to the money it needed to get a real start and given the economy who knows when that would happen. If/when it ever got started I am not sure of its eventual success (remember the long standing and much respected Corcran couldn’t survive) and the city would still have to decided about what to do about the place. This city has plenty of attractions art, culture and otherwise. I don’t love it being turned over to private developers for high end condo/commercial – not that we have heard that is going to happen – but that says nothing about the project was on the table. Frankly if the project was going nowhere it should be stopped.

    As for Hine, a lot of people on both sides of this have spent a hell of a lot of money and there are contracts and legal agreements that come into play. The city has decided – a long time ago – that it wants a project that maximizes a primo spot and giving into any hesitations they may feel is a bill the city doesn’t want to pay -particularly since it isn’t like everyone is opposed to the project.

    Personally I don’t have thoughts either pro or con regarding this particular project, I will say I am glad it seems to be moving forward for no other reason all the back and forth trying to stop it has been most annoying and the shell of the school with and a parking lot is NOT a good use of that space. Yes I like Eastern Market and weekend activities and construction is going to be a bear, but whatever project was going to go on there was always going to do that and it wasn’t going to stay like that forever just so that the flea market could have a big space for crafters and importers.

    • anon

      My bigger concern with Franklin is that it already went through an RFP process and was selected through a fair competitive process. What does that say about the process if it can be overturned through political whim?

  4. Amity

    Getting correct information about the true parameters of the Hine deal has taken us taxpayers a long, long time. Politicians and developer hid all the key details. Ivan Frishberg has not read the pages of lawyer Oliver Hall’s letter to HUD, containing info obtained through yet another FOIA, that the segregated units in the North Building were segregated because that way Stanton-Eastbanc could qualify for very, very large subsidies and rebates (citizen and government paid) for affordable housing. Had the true count of all affordable units in the project been counted honestly, it qualified for no subsidy. The DC Zoning Commission was not given this information because no one knew it until now. Mayor Bowser, still leaning upon her proposed (but never passed) Transparency legislation (“this-Hine-rottenness-would-have-been-known-if-I’d-been-Mayor) — although Council Member Bowser knew it all, held hearings, and did — and still does — nothing. Was it the campaign funds given her by Stanton-Eastbanc? Frishberg wants to move on. Puleeze — enough already– let’s not dwell on Ivan’s own dereliction of duty. Ivan is an honorable man. So are they all — all honorable men.

    • Amity, once again facts not really a consideration in your post. I did read Hall’s letter long before commenting on this and I read the point by point response from the Hine attorney too. Both are an interesting read and probably essential reading for anyone thinking of forming an opinion based on the article Larry wrote.

      This is not a legal proceeding and I don’t know that the IG process is, but it is complete fiction to say that the letter from Hall represents Proof. It is an argument, one that is highly contested. You have some right and ability to say things that are not true in an anonymous post, I guess that is the standard here. But because you say it, or Oliver Hall writes it does not make it “proof”. If you want to make this personal, have the decency to do it with your full name and in public. Have the personal integrity to be willing to say these things to me in person over a coffee.

      Otherwise your lack of transparency and integrity is not just hypocritical, it is really doing a disservice to your cause and further alienating any sympathy there is or was for concerns about the size of the development.

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