First Look at Plans for Development of Capitol Hill’s Buchanan School/IGU Site
40 Townhomes and 41 Condos Planned for Site
by Larry Janezich
Tuesday night, Insight Property Group Partner Sarah Davidson met with some 40 Capitol Hill residents to discuss Insight’s plan for redevelopment of the 2.13 acre site currently occupied by the former Buchanan School and the International Graduate University. The plan calls for 81 residences – 40 townhomes priced around $1 million, and 41 condos priced between $300 thousand and $1 million.
Using the illustration above for orientation, and starting in the lower right, the large structure represents the two oldest structures on the site dating to 1895 and 1921. These will be combined into one building by razing the interstitial structure and replacing it with a new entry way and elevators. The condos will reside in the combined structure and will range in size from studio to three bedrooms, providing options for singles as well as larger families who desire a one level living space. 14 – 16 parking spaces will be provided.
Moving clockwise to the upper right corner of the illustration locates nine large townhomes on D Street on the site’s northeast corner. The more recent auditorium on the north side of the north historic building will be razed to make room. These three story townhomes will be built as a matter of right, on 18 foot wide lots of 1800 plus sf. These units will have a minimum of three bedrooms, backyards, standalone parking spaces, and roof terraces facing north.
Continuing clockwise on illustration an additional nine townhomes will face D Street on the site’s northwest corner. (The relatively recent structure currently nearest the corner of 13th and D Streets will also be razed.) Directly below are 23 additional three-bedroom plus townhomes on lots ranging in size from 16 to 20 feet wide. The smaller lots will have “tuck under” parking – larger lots will have standalone parking. The smaller lots will feature “tuck under” parking garages; larger lots will have standalone parking. These units will have roof terraces facing the street. A zoning variance will be necessary for configuration of these townhomes and under zoning regulations, 10 percent (2-3) of these townhomes will fall under Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) regulations, but none of the condos will. (For CHC on Inclusionary Zoning go here: http://bit.ly/1FT5TCb)
The eleven townhomes in the middle of the site and closest to the original historic structures will face those buildings and be separated from them by green space which will be part of the North – South walk-through which will be open to public transit. The space behind these townhomes and between the 12 units facing 13th Street will be an alley way, designed to encourage community interaction. (See below.)
Time line for the project:
Begin demolition in May – June 2015
BZA Approval – November 2015
Purchase property – December 2015
Start construction – September 2016
Complete construction – March 2018
Some of the issues raised during the question an answer period were as follows:
Safeway – Insight speculates that it will be redeveloped sometime in the future, but despite having conversations with the company, they really have no idea when.
Parking – residents complained about difficulty in parking at night, especially during times when Watkins field is in use. The development raises the prospect that the current diagonal parking on 13th Street opposite Watkins will be lost to RPP residential parking.
Peter Bug Matthews Shoe Academy – Insight alluded to enhancing the site and continuing its use to develop neighborhood activities. The building sits on a city owned site and its status going forward is unclear. Asked if he’d been given any guidance from the city, Mathews said no one has said anything to him. “I’ve been there 38 years – it seems to me I should be grandfathered in.”
Ed. Note: In March, 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, across E Street to the south from Buchanan School. (For CHC article, go here: http://bit.ly/14qcnLZ)