Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Week Ahead….and ‘Stanton and Greene’ née Pour House Opens Thursday

The Former Pour House Opens as Stanton and Greene on Thursday

Stanton and Greene – the Former Pour House at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE – Opens Thursday

First Floor Interior

First Floor Interior

The Bar and Front Seating Section, Second Floor

The Bar and Front Seating Section, Second Floor

Design Lead and Beuchert's Co-founder August Paro Gives S-G a Name

Design Lead and Beuchert’s Co-founder August Paro Gives S-G a Name

The Week Ahead….and ‘Stanton and Greene’ née Pour House Opens Thursday

by Larry Janezich

Stanton and Greene at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue SE – Capitol Hill’s newest cocktail venue –  officially opens next Thursday with full service, though co-owner Jared Rager allows that a soft opening will begin on Monday with a limited menu.

The main attractions:  20th century cocktails, lots of space, classic American food, and an early 19th century-inspired interior design which pays homage to the to the historical character of the neighborhood.

A team comprised of principals from three other popular Pennsylvania Avenue food and drink venues are involved in launching Stanton and Greene.  Co-owners Rager and Elias Hengst also own Sonoma.  Design Lead August Parco owns Beuchert’s.  Erik Holzherr of Wisdom designs the signature cocktails.

The bar’s name salutes Stanton Park – named after Lincoln Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and the subject of its most prominent feature – the statue of Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene.

The Week Ahead…

Monday, March 9

The less-than-transparent ANC6D meets 7:00pm at a new location: 200 I Street, SE.

As usual, the agenda is “still in formation.”

Tuesday, Marcy 10

ANC6B meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

Presentation:  Nuisance Properties Overview: Rashee Kumar, Neighborhood and Victim Services Section, DC Office of the Attorney General

The Ugly Mug Dining Saloon, 723 8th Street SE, substantial change request for expansion of second floor and addition of 144 seats, changing total capacity to 242, ABC Board protest hearing – Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

Surroundings – 1023 East Capitol Street SE, appeal from October 29, 2014, decision by Zoning Administrator, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to issue Certificate of Occupancy to allow first-floor retail establishment in R-4 District, BZA hearing – Tuesday, March 17, 2015

1220 Potomac Avenue SE, variance from minimum number of required parking spaces to construct eight-unit apartment building.  BZA hearing – Tuesday, March 31, 2015: Letter commenting on Eastern Branch Building redevelopment proposals.

Letter commenting on Eastern Branch Building redevelopment proposals

Tuesday, March 10

PSA 104 meets 7:00pm at J.O. Wilson Elementary School, 660 K Street, NE.

Tuesday, March 10

Working While Pregnant and Parenting: Know Your Rights Presentation – 6:30 pm, Southeast Library, 403 7th Street, SE.  Washington Lawyers’ Committee.  Topics covered will include rights under District of Columbia and federal law with respect to family and sick leave, as well as other protections for pregnant women and working mothers.

Wednesday, March 11

Barracks Row Main Street Annual Meeting Party, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Verizon Wireless Zone, 703 8th Street, SE.

Appetizer buffet by Banana Cafe, Cava Mezze, Matchbox, Trattoria Alberto, Yes! Organic Market, and District Doughnut. Beverages by Chat’s Liquors.  The reception is free of charge. All friends of Barracks Row Main Street are invited to attend.

Thursday, March 12

ANC6A meets at 7:00pm at Miner Elementary, 601 Fifteenth Street, NE

Among items on the agenda

Presentations:  MPD First District Commander Jeff Brown.

Presentation:  Monument Academy Public Charter School – new tenant for Gibbs Building.

Letter to DME/DGS re public input process for deeming city building surplus and releasing them for use by charter schools.

Letter to Mayor/DDOT requesting continued commitment to completion of streetcar line through downtown.

Thursday, March 12

Developer CAS Riegler hosts Community meeting regarding the major condo/retail mixed use project scheduled for the current NY Pizza site at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, (first reported by CHC here:  http://bit.ly/1DCqmKW) 

All Month Long – Yoga Sunday at SE Library

Every Sunday afternoon in March, the Southeast Library will be offering a free yoga class at 1:30 pm. This class is appropriate for beginners – bring a yoga mat.

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Barracks Row ‘Frame of Mine’ Likely Next Victim of the Appetite for Restaurants

Frame of Mine Next to Go?

Frame of Mine Next to Go?

Barracks Row ‘Frame of Mine’ Likely Next Victim of the Appetite for Restaurants

Retail on 8th Street Continues to Succumb to Food and Drink Venues

by Larry Janezich

Frame of Mine’s lease on its space at 522 8th Street, SE, will not be renewed when it expires in September, according to sources.  Building owner Larry Quillian is reportedly seeking a restaurant to occupy the space.  If Qullian’s quest is successful, it will be the second popular retail space on 8th Street to be displaced by a food and drink establishment so far this year.  Earlier this month, restaurateur Aaron Silverman announced plans to open a companion restaurant to Rose’s Luxury in the space next door to Rose’s, currently occupied by Homebody.

Frame of Mine, a family owned retail shop on Barrack Row since 1982, hopes to stay on 8th Street, but so far has not found a location to serve its needs.  Barracks Row Main Street is working with owner Cissy Webb find the right space for the business to move to at the end of their lease.

Quillian owns other properties nearby, including Mr. Henry’s and the vacant lots surrounding 1230 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, currently leased to Frager’s for their temporary garden and landscaping business.  Frager’s closed their temporary location across from Eastern Market last month, after the Hine project got the go ahead from federal court and the developer announced remediation of the building would begin in March.

Also the owner of the controversial “Shotgun House,” Quillian has jousted with the city for decades over his desire to raze the structure at 1229 E Street, SE.  The structure – a darling of preservationists – apparently stands in the way of development of the lots currently leased to Frager’s.  Last June, ANC6B reluctantly endorsed the concept of a raze permit for the Shotgun House after expressing unhappiness with Quillian who bought the property in 1985 and, in the eyes of the ANC and many in the community, connived to raze the property for redevelopment using “demolition by neglect.”  See CHC posting here:  http://bit.ly/1qAicMC

The Shotgun House

The Shotgun House

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ANC Committee Nixes 100% Affordable Housing for Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Club, Eastern Branch Building, 261 17th Street, SE

Boys and Girls Club, Eastern Branch Building, 261 17th Street, SE

ANC Committee Nixes 100% Affordable Housing for Boys and Girls Club

Wants DGS to Issue a New More Flexible Request for Proposals

by Larry Janezich

Last night, ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted to send a letter to the Department of General Services, the Mayor, and City Council members flatly opposing the agency settling on a development proposal from Dantes Partners/Menkiti Group to convert Hill East’s former Boys and Girls Club to 100% affordable housing units for seniors.  The draft letter, crafted by Commissioner Denise Krepp on behalf of the ANC, states in part:

“We are opposed to DGS settling on the Dantes Partners/Menkiti Group proposal.  We respectfully request that the current RFP be amended and re-issued with an extended lease period and that DGS work far more closely with ANC 6B to address neighbor concerns with the property.”

The letter states that the ANC had hoped the DGS would relax terms of the original Request for Proposals in connection with a call for Best and Final Offers (BAFOs) to allow the two bidding developers to “better address resident concerns.”  Instead, the letter says, “DGS further tightened the terms of the flawed RFP, including doubling-down on the 25-year lease restriction.”  The result was that the call for BAFOs eliminated a proposal for market rate housing put forward by Century Associates which many in the community favored over the Dantes/Menkiti 100% affordable housing proposal – though it was clear that the same percentage of the community preferred a mixed income project over either of the two bids proffered.

DGS, for its part, subsequently dismissed concerns raised by Commissioner Krepp after the BAFO’s had been made public.  In an email which read, in part, “. . .while the ANC is an advisory body, it does not participate in the deliberative process. The ANC’s role is certainly to provide comments to which the District is obligated to give “great weight” to decisions affecting its boundaries, but this is limited to areas that directly affect the ANC and its constituents, such as advising on the appropriateness of a facility, whether it supports the health and well-being of a community, and does not run counter to or disrupt community goals.”  It appeared to some observers that the statement reflected the long history of dismissiveness with which city agencies have treated the ANCs.

Commissioner Brian Flahaven, Chair of the ANC’s Hill East Task Force, called the response, “absurd” – saying that there is “no way the community is not affected” and that the ANC does not have the ability to “opine and weigh in.”  Flahaven said that the community has a 30 day period to respond to the BAFO, before DGS awards the bid and urged that a new modified RFP be issued because the “original RFP was flawed, because the community was left with only one choice, and because DGS did not provide flexibility in the RFP when it had an opportunity to do so.”

The Committee subsequently voted 11 – 0 – 1 to send the letter to the full ANC for consideration at its meeting next week with a recommendation of support.  Commissioner Oldenburg was the one abstention.  Oldenburg did not respond to an email asking her why she abstained.

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First Look at Rose’s Luxury’s Sliding Glass Roof

Rendering of Rose's Luxury's Proposed Enclosed Roof Deck with Sliding Glass Roof.  The Closer Image Shows the Roof in the Open Position.  The other Image Shows It Closed.

Rendering of the  Rear of Rose’s Luxury and Proposed Enclosed Roof Deck with Sliding Glass Roof. The Near Image Shows the Roof in the Open Position. The Far Image Shows It Closed.

Owner and Chef Aaron Silverman Tells ANC6B's Planning and Zoning Committee of His Plans for Rose's Luxury.

Owner and Chef Aaron Silverman Tells ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee of His Plans for Rose’s Luxury.

First Look at Rose’s Luxury’s Sliding Glass Roof

Owner’s Presentation to ANC Committee Prompts Squabble Over Process

by Larry Janezich

Rose’s Luxury owner and chef Aaron Silverman presented his plans for enclosing his roof top dining area complete with a sliding glass roof to ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee last night.

Silverman told the Committee that the plans had already been approved at the staff level by the Historical Preservation Office (HPO), which came as a surprise to the Committee since the plans had not been submitted to them for their review.  Oldenburg characterized the proceeding as “bizarre.”

The presentation was described as a “courtesy” by ANC6B Chair Kirsten Oldenburg at last week’s Executive Committee meeting where it was placed on Tuesday night’s agenda.  Last night, Oldenburg told the Committee “Maybe we made errors in how we processed this.”  She said it had been handled at the Single Member District level, implying that it was the responsibility of the appropriate Single Member District commissioner to request the issue be placed on the ANC’s agenda.  The entire west side of Barracks Row where Rose’s Luxury resides is represented by Commissioner James Loots, who was not present at tonight’s meeting.

Commissioner Chander Jayaraman said he was troubled that the sliding glass roof for Rose’s Luxury had not received the same scrutiny as the controversial sliding glass roof for The Ugly Mug.  See here:  http://bit.ly/17gR4hY

Resident Member Ivan Frishberg sought clarification about the intent of the Executive Committee in putting the presentation on the agenda tonight and said he thought the Committee should be proactive in weighing in on the issue.

Oldenburg offered to call HPO the next day and ask what the status of the Historic Preservation case is and determine whether the case should go through the regular approval process. Frishberg said that the Committee should decide now – either recommend that the ANC review the case or say “this is done.”  Commissioner Chao wondered whether the ANC is setting a precedent by how it handles this case, noting the ANC may have more cases like this.

Chair Nick Burger said, “We are setting a precedent.  HPO should have sent us the case, but we’ve got to decide this tonight.” (See * below)

Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk summed up what came to be the consensus of the Committee, saying, “I don’t think we need to take action tonight.  This was a courtesy presentation and Rose’s Luxury and the Ugly Mug are two entirely different situations – apples and oranges.”

With that, the hour being late, the Committee threw up its collective hands and agreed no action would be taken when the full ANC6B meets next Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Silverman announced he would open a second Barracks Row restaurant in the space next to Rose’s – that space currently occupied by the popular quirky art, gift, and notions shop, “Homebody.”   Open weekdays only, and in a departure from SOP at Silverman’s yet unnamed new place will take reservations and feature a $100 price fixe menu.

*Editor’s note:  Committee chair Nick Burger subsequently clarified what his thinking and intent had been, as follows:

” …you have me quoted as saying, “We are setting a precedent. HPO should have sent us the case, but we’ve got to decide this tonight.” I’d appreciate it if you would review your notes/recording for that part of the meeting, because I don’t believe I said that sentence. I’m not all that personally concerned about being misquoted, but in this case I think it’s important because I don’t believe (and didn’t believe at last night’s meeting) that the Committee was ‘setting a precedent.’ I’m also not sure HPO should have sent us the case, and I don’t recall saying so–I think that was an open question and part of the discussion.
I did think we needed to decide the issue of how to handle Rose’s informational presentation that evening, so while I don’t think the quote you used is accurate, the last part captures my view correctly. But I also commented at the end of the discussion that I looked forward to Commissioner Oldenburg exploring the issue further with HP, so my view was that we were addressing the issue before us, not something more general. “

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Understanding “Affordable” Housing: the Cases of​ Hine and the Boys and Girls Club

Understanding “Affordable” Housing: the Cases of​ Hine and the Boys and Girls Club

by Larry Janezich

Affordable housing can mean any number of things, from workforce housing (affordable to those who live on what Mayor Bowser sometimes calls a “regular salary”) to low income housing.  It does not necessarily ​mean​ ​housing subsidized by the government.​

Inclusionary Zoning​ (IZ)​​, for example, places the onus on the developer to find a way to fund affordable housing.  I​Z​ requires new or substantially rehabilitated multiunit housing projects of 10 or more units to contain 10% affordable housing (often in exchange for increased density)​, defined as affordable to those who make 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) or less​.  ​Recent legislation stipulates that if new construction or rehabilitation is on city land declared surplus, the project must contain 30% affordable housing.

In contrast to privately financed affordable housing, in two prospective​ Capitol Hill projects​ – Hine and the Boys and Girls Club – a​ subsidy is being made available directly through the federal government’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC)​.​

LIHTC housing is for residents with income up to 60% Area Median Income (AMI).

​DC uses an​ AMI ​of ​$107,500​, which includes some surrounding wealthy counties in its calculation.  Actual median income from just the District is closer to $60,000.

The Hine project’s North Building​ has exclusively ​LIHTC units​ as does the current proposal to develop the Boys and Girls Club.​  Both LIHTC applications have been put forward by the firm of Dantes Partners, run by Buwa Binitie, a former member of the DC Housing Finance Agency Board which approves LIHTC eligibility.​

The Hine project will include a total of 158 residential units.

The North Building will have 34 units funded by LIHTC, designated “affordable” and reserved for seniors (29 units at 60% Area Median Income (AMI) and 5 units at 30% AMI).  The maximum income for those eligible to rent one of the 29 units is $45,150 for a one person household and $51,600 for a two person household.  The maximum income for those eligible to rent one of the five units would be $25,058.

The South Building of the Hine Project has 124 units, some​ of which will be “affordable” under Inclusionary Zoning.  Occupancy of these units will be limited to singles with a maximum income of $60,200, couples with a maximum income of $68,000, and three person households with a maximum income of $77,000.  A lottery is held among eligible applicants for occupancy or purchase of these units.

The current proposal for development of the Boys and Girls Club would provide 49 affordable units which will be reserved for seniors, and constructed with LIHTC funds.  46 of the units are reserved for single seniors with a maximum income of about $45,150, or couples (assuming a couple could live in these small units) with a maximum income of about $51,600.  To be eligible for the remaining three units, the maximum income for a one person household would be $25,058.

How are residents selected for “affordable” housing?

The selection process is handled by a property management company that developers routinely hire to manage affordable housing projects.  The availability of the units and associated income limits is advertised, prospective tenants apply, and the management company selects tenants based on the same criteria any tenant must meet with the goal of providing stable long term occupancy.

For previous posts on the Boys and Girls Club Development, see here:  http://bit.ly/1DvMw1W and http://bit.ly/1KXZYxd

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The Week Ahead…Ugly Mug – Rose’s Luxury

Eastern Market North Hall, circa 3:00pm, Sunday, March 1

Eastern Market North Hall, circa 3:00pm, Sunday, March 1

The Week Ahead…Ugly Mug – Rose’s Luxury

by Larry Janezich

Monday, March 2

ANC6C ABL Committee meets at 7:00pm at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center, 700 Second Street, NE

Among items on the agenda:

New licenses for Addis Restaurant, 707 H Street, NE

New license for Union Kitchen/Bertie’s Market, 538 Third Street, NE

Monday, March 2

CHRS Historic Preservation Committee meets 6:30pm at Kirby House, 420 10th Street, SE.

Tuesday, March 3

ANC6E meets at 7:00pm, at Shaw Library, 7th and R Street, NW

Tuesday, March 3

ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee will meet at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE

Among items on the agenda:

146 13th Street SE, concept/rooftop addition

P&C Market, 1023 East Capitol Street, SE appeal from decision by Zoning Administrator, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to issue Certificate of Occupancy to allow first-floor retail establishment in R-4 District

1220 Potomac Avenue, SE, variance from minimum number of required parking spaces to construct eight-unit apartment building in R-5-B District

Comments on Eastern Branch Building redevelopment proposals

Rose’s Luxury, 717 8th Street, SE, informational presentation regarding proposed retractable roof for existing roof patio

Tuesday, March 3

ANC6C Parks and Events Committee meets at 7:00pm, Kaiser Permanente Capitol Medical Center, 700 2nd Street, NE

Among items on the agenda:

Reservation 84 redesign

Dog Parks

Peace Corps Commemorative

Tuesday, March 3

North Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association meets at 7:30pm at Maury Elementary School, 13th and Constitution, NE

Tuesday, March 3

Capitol Hill Cluster School hosts a reception to toast the new arts wing at Stuart-Hobson Middle School, 4:00pm – 7:00pm at Stuart Hobson, 410 E Street, NE.  Music, and drama performances and light refreshments.  All invited.

Wednesday, March 4

ANC6B Transportation Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

Department of Public Works parking enforcement

District Department of Transportation response regarding ANC 6B request for crosswalks on 11th Street, SE

Wednesday, March 4

ANC6C Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Committee meets at 7:00pm Kaiser Permanente Capitol Medical Center, 700 2nd Street, NE

Among items on the agenda:

411 H Street, NE– Application of Guggan Datta/Masala Dosa, LLC, for a special exception to establish a fast food restaurant in two existing row dwellings.

1250 4th Street, NE (Union Market Development) –  Revised application of 1250 4th St. EDENS LLC for the consolidated review and approval of a Planned Unit Development and Map Amendment for the property known as 1270 4th St. NE.  The related Map Amendment proposes to rezone the site (approx. 67,200sf) from the C-M-1 to C-3-C. The project includes a “cut through” for Neal Place from 4th to future 3rd Street, NE.

Thursday, March 5

ANC6B ABC Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

On the agenda:

The Ugly Mug Dining Saloon, 723 8th Street SE, substantial change request for expansion of second floor & addition of seats, ABC Board protest hearing – Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thursday, March 5

ANC6C Transportation and Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm Kaiser Permanente Capitol Medical Center, 700 2nd Street, NE

Agenda not available at press time.

Thursday, March 5

PSA 107 meets at 7:00pm, Southeast Library

Thursday, March 5

CHRS Zoning Committee meets at 7:30pm, at Kirby House, 420 10th Street, SE.

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