Details Emerge on CAS Riegler Plan for NY Pizza Site on Pennsylvania Ave SE

Schematic showing massing of proposed mixed use project for 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Schematic showing massing of proposed mixed use project for 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Details Emerge on CAS Riegler Plan for NY Pizza Site on Pennsylvania Ave SE

by Larry Janezich

The developers of the NY Pizza Site at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, met with some 20 nearby residents Thursday night to discuss plans for development of the site and to get initial feedback from the community.

The developer is CAS Riegler, a DC focused development company with some 18 developments under its belt, many in DC Historic Districts.  CAS Riegler principal Kevin Riegler told attendees that the company wants to build a quality project that they will “own forever.”

Although the building is not yet in the design stage, Riegler said they are committed to respecting the character of the neighborhood, even though the site lies outside the Historic District.

The company will seek a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the project, meaning they will seek a change in zoning to increase the density and height beyond what would otherwise be permitted in exchange for community amenities.  The amenities will be negotiated by ANC6B after consultation with and on behalf of the community.  Currently, 50 feet is the maximum building height for the site.

Other details of the project revealed Thursday night are as follows:

70 feet high

180,000 square feet

6 floors of 150 – 180 apartments – the mix of 1 and 2 or more bedrooms has not been determined

3 – 5 first floor retail spaces designed to appeal to local retailers – “hopefully food and beverage”

50 parking spaces

It will be 15 – 24 months before ground is broken

Construction will take 18 – 24 months.

The developers say they are “acutely aware” of what happened in the Hine PUD, and want to avoid that.  To that end, they have offered to meet residents “in a coffee shop or at your kitchen table” to address their concerns.

According to the developer, Thursday night’s power point presentation will be available shortly on the firm’s website, here:  Those who cannot attend may comment on the project at the firm’s website, here:  http://casriegler.com/projects/1401penn

Interested parties may also comment on the project at this site.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Details Emerge on CAS Riegler Plan for NY Pizza Site on Pennsylvania Ave SE

  1. Kristi Walseth

    50 Parking spaces for 150-180 apartments and retail? I understand Metro is right across the street, but let’s get real.

    • YIMBY

      Yes, Ma’am, let get real. This intersection offers access to metro, bus, circulator, capitol bike share, and car share. As well, most amenities are accessible by foot, ie grocery stores, nightlife, maybe even work.

      Living here without a car is really easy. This building will attract mostly car-less renters as it’s in a prime location for that demographic. New residents are not going to want to jockey for a space in the neighborhood and take up your parking. The fact that the Harris Teeter and Safeway (surface level) parking lots are always empty speaks to this point.

      Let’s curb the histrionics and allow for positive development on an underused lot..

      • anon

        yes – let’s curb the histrionics:

        “This building will attract mostly car-less renters as it’s in a prime location for that demographic”. based on what evidence? the developer has only indicated apartments, not whether or not they will be condo vs rental

        “most amenities are accessible by foot, ie grocery stores, nightlife, maybe even work” sure there’s a grocery store, food and drink nearby and a Metro stop, but that’s a stretch to suggest that an urban dweller has it all at this location.

        “The fact that the Harris Teeter and Safeway (surface level) parking lots are always empty speaks to this point.” Is this a fact? There are off-peak hours where parking is readily available, but it’s relatively full during peak business hours. Lots of people drive there, even from the Hill.

    • E. Masquinongy

      Agree that this is a good spot for a ‘parking light’ development, but 50 spaces for 150-180 apartments + retail is probably parking *too* light.

      • GTC

        Agreed that living DC without a car is relatively easy, but how many people will want to live here without a car? I live within a couple of blocks of a metro station and everyone on my street, myself included, owns a car (a few have two). 50 spaces is way too light. Is there any evidence that these developments really do attract people who don’t own cars? Developers all seem to make this claim, but what is the reality once everyone moves in?

  2. Paxton

    I could see that working for apartments but good point re retail. There is not much street parking there and there is competition for spaces with people going into Harris Teeter and other nearby businesses.

    A big challenge in making this trade-off is that digging parking basements gets VERY expensive VERY quickly. Each new level down is something like double the one before/above.

    All in all, glad that that section of the PA Ave is getting developed regardless of parking scarcity. Greater density means greater diversity and more support for retail.

  3. Agreed on the concerns with parking, lets not minimize them…nor overreact to them. I am a former professional urban planner and large scale real estate project planner, and have worked on DC based projects. I also live within a block of this site. Based on my experience, no matter how accessible the area around a project is, it is highly unlikely to curb car ownership. It will certainly curb car usage, but unlikely to curb car ownership. The variable in car ownership largely depends on existing car ownership status/behaviors, like are they moving in from the burbs with a car, or are they moving from DuPont and don’t have a car? Specifically giving up a car based on a rental apartment location (temporary moment in your life) is a big stretch argument in the psychology of how people interact with their physical surroundings. Now, are the developers within their rights to develop this project with such light parking, absolutely, given their proximity to metro, required parking ratios are lighter here than in areas further from metro. I have no issue with this project, in concept, I’ll wait to reserve opinions until we get further than a massing study, as its just that, physical massing, not specific project planning. Until then though, while this is a good thing for our neighborhood generally, lets all be diligent in protecting the livability of our area and not make unfounded excuses to justify actions of the developer…that is unless you are a mole on this board for the developer…