Monthly Archives: June 2016

Whither Eastern Market? – City Funds 5 Year Plan and Management Assessment

A look at the rise of the Hine development from Eastern Market Manager's Office

A look at the rise of the Hine development from Eastern Market Manager’s Office

Whither Eastern Market?  – City Funds 5 Year Plan and Management Assessment

Move Prompted by Increased Competition

By Larry Janezich

Eastern Market is about to get a lot more competition.  In late 2017, Trader Joe’s – with customer parking – will open up in the Hine project.  This in addition to a new Whole Foods at 600 H Street, NE, opening in late 2016 and another Whole Foods at 800 New Jersey Avenue, SE, opening in 2017 – both with parking.  In addition, the Stanton Eastbanc merchandising and leasing strategy for the Hine project envisions “specialty culinary food purveyors such as a wine and cheese shop, spice shops, chocolates, specialty teas and coffees, and New York deli type retailers.…”  Union Market, with its plentiful parking, numerous specialty food shops and cafes already attracts Capitol Hill customers.

For months, the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) has been trying to figure out how to expand the Eastern Market brand to benefit not only the market but also the broader immediate commercial community.  The plan has been pushed by Chuck Burger, on behalf of the brick and mortar retailers on 7th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Barracks Row.  Burger sits on EMCAC as a representative of CHAMPS – the Capitol Hill version of the Chamber of Commerce.

About a year ago, EMCAC Chair Donna Sheeder went to Eastern Market’s owner – the DC Department of General Services (DGS) – to seek the city’s assistance.   She found a champion in Forest Hayes, the associate director of DGS who offered to provide funds for a study by an outside contractor that would include:

  1. A comprehensive building assessment to determine what capital improvements are necessary;
  2. Ideas on how to better market the North Hall;
  3. Ways to improve the weekday and weekend outdoor Farmers Markets;
  4. An examination of the Eastern Market Management structure;
  5. Consideration of legislation to allow funds received from market operation to accumulate for the benefit of the Market, rather than being captured by the city and used for other purposes.

Hayes’ proposal for moving the process forward has been controversial.  DGS has unilaterally designated five key stakeholders (DGS, EMCAC, the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development (DMPED), Council Member Charles Allen’s office, and the Brick and Mortar merchants on the 200 and 300 blocks of 7th Street, SE.  Hayes’ idea is to have a representative from each of these five entities meet to lay out the scope of work for the Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit potential contractors to do the study.  Once a contractor is selected, he or she would be encouraged to cast a wide net to engage with a much broader stakeholder constituency.  (It is noteworthy that Stanton Development is the largest property owner among the brick and mortar merchants on 7th Street, as well as a minority partner in the Hine development.  It seems a safe bet that Stanton will be represented in any meeting setting the scope of work.)

Hayes’ proposal for moving forward fell short of the expectations of what many on the EMCAC thought was needed.  In a May 26 meeting of EMCAC’s Market Operations Committee called to consider Hayes’ proposal, there was a clear consensus that the stakeholders’ group developing the Scope of Work for the external contractor should be expanded.  Possible additional members suggested include the Chair of EMCAC, representatives from the Farmers Line, Indoor and Outdoor Merchants, and ANC6B.  At its May meeting the Board of Directors of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society agreed that they should be numbered among the stakeholders participating in the initial meeting as well.

Finding consensus on moving the market forward will be difficult, given that the goals of some of the stakeholders are at odds with others.

For example, the inside food merchants and those on the Farmers Line feel that EMCAC and DSG have made Eastern Market a tourist destination, and in the words of Bill Glasgow of Union Meats, “they take up space and don’t buy very much”.  These traditional market merchants feel threatened by the fact they have been operating within the market without leases for some 20 years – for reasons that are unclear.  They are unhappy with the weekend closure of 7th Street and the subsequent loss of parking, which they say inconveniences their customers and discourages weekend food shopping by those who drive to the market.  These stakeholders feel it will be difficult to design a collaborative sales approach without knowing first what other food retailers end up leasing space in the Hine project.

On the other hand, the outside arts and crafts merchants are happy with making Eastern Market a destination, as is Chuck Burger, who sees a tourist destination as benefiting the brick and mortar shops and restaurants on 7th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Barracks Row.  Any attempt to reopen 7th Street to traffic on weekends would work to their disadvantage.

Also, any study of the management of the market will likely revive a plan for a new management structure for Eastern Market.  Former CM Wells introduced legislation for a new market governing structure in 2011, but it died after it ran into opposition from the Mayor’s office.  See here:  http://bit.ly/1U2Lnrh

EMCAC’s Market Operations is preparing a response and recommendations regarding Hayes’ proposal, and EMCAC will consider the report of the Committee at its June 29th meeting.  Rather than provide a forum for a preliminary public discussion of Hayes’ proposal, EMCAC Chair Donna Scheeder cancelled the May 25 EMCAC meeting to give the Market Operations Committee the first crack at hearing from the broader stakeholder community in a smaller venue.

Update:  Burger tells CHC that EMCAC – after hearing rumors of an imminent meeting – wrote Hayes to say ample time is needed for the process to unfold, and that Hayes Hayes concurred.  Sources tell CHC that Hayes is not waiting to hear EMCAC’s response to his proposal and has scheduled a meeting on Thursday, June 9, of the five original stakeholders Hayes called upon to decide the Scope of Work for the RFP soliciting proposals for the Eastern Market study.

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Matchbox Abandons Plan to Expand on Barracks Row & Closes DC-3 Hot Dogs

517 8th Street - formerly the home of Las Placitas is up for lease

517 8th Street – formerly the home of Las Placitas is up for lease

and DC-3 Hot Dogs is closed.

and DC-3 Hot Dogs is closed.

Matchbox Abandons Plan to Expand on Barracks Row & Closes DC-3 Hot Dogs

by Larry Janezich

The “For Lease” sign in the window of the former location of Las Placitas on Barracks Row announced Matchbox’s abandonment of the plan to expand into that space.  Las Placitas  lost their lease in 2015 to make way for the expansion; Matchbox had not only begun renovation of the space, but had applied for a liquor license.  A few steps north on Barracks Row, DC-3 Hot Dogs – also owned by Matchbox – sits empty, having closed a few days ago.  The reason for abandoning its roots on Barracks Row is not clear, but it’s likely related to Matchbox’s aggressive plan to expand nationally.  Matchbox Food Group plans to open 36 new restaurants around the country by 2020, as reported May 29 by Rebecca Cooper of WBJ, here:  http://bit.ly/1TSjVua    Matchbox also own Ted’s Bulletin, and the national expansion includes this restaurant as well.  Matchbox Food Group currently operates six Matchox locations and five Ted’s Bulletins.  Matchbox Food Group did not respond to an email asking for comment.

The result of aborted move is two empty restaurant spaces on Barracks Row and leaves the long time community favorite Las Placitas on the other side of the freeway on lower 8th Street.  (‘Las Plac’s” fortunes have improved recently with the imminent opening of The Brig bier garden across the street.)

CHC first reported the Matchbox takeover of Las Placitas space in May of 2015, here:  http://bit.ly/1OaWK1g

Update:  This morning, Drew Kim, one of the Matchbox owners gave the following comment regarding DC-3 moving and the Matchbox Capitol Hill expansion:

“DC-3 has landed into the Dulles airport in terminal B.  We are excited about growing DC-3 into airport ventures around the country!  As a long time Cap Hill resident, we loved being able to develop the concept to the needs of the community and our neighbors while preparing it for national expansion. 

We have also decided not to expand the capitol hill matchbox.  Initially, when we heard about the space becoming available, we reacted quickly – maybe a bit too quickly!  And, after review, we felt it was best to focus on the national expansion at Pentagon City and Shortpump Richmond.  Both locations will be opening in Q3.  We are also working closely with the landlord to help find a tenant for the location.

Since 2008, when we opened matchbox on Barracks Row the community has been so supportive and we look forward to a long lasting relationship with our neighbors.  We are continuing to evolve the brand and are looking forward to bringing fresh new ideas to matchbox and Ted’s Bulletin for the barracks row community.”

 

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The Week Ahead….

Hine Project Construction workers warming up.  7:00am, May 27, 2016

Hine Project Construction workers warming up. 7:00am, May 27, 2016

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, June 6

  1. Capitol Hill Restoration Society Historic Preservation Committee meets at 6:30pm, Kirby House, 420 10th Street, SE.

Tuesday, June 7

  1. ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm at St. Coletta’s, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE.

Among items on the agenda:

Informal presentation of revisions to Frager’s site HP conceptual plans.

120 6th Street, SE, raze of 2-story carriage house and construction of 2-story carriage house.

622-624 North Carolina Avenue, SE, partial in-fill of dogleg and 3rd floor addition.

626 E Street, SE, façade alterations to non-contributing 3-story apartment building:

1237 (Rear) C Street, SE, conversion of alley warehouse into residential housing.

328 D Street, SE, Application for a special exception lot occupancy requirements, side yard requirements, and court requirements to allow construction of a rear addition to an existing one-family dwelling in the CAP/R-4 District.

Bullfrog Bagels, 317 7th Street, SE, sidewalk café.

Letter to DGS supporting removal of a tree outside Congressional Cemetery.

Signature/Bowie Development PUD application.  Insight E Street LLC.

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

Agenda not available at press time

Wednesday, June 8

  1. ANC6C meets at 7:00pm at Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE.

Agenda not available at press time

  1. ANC6B Transportation Committee meets at 7:00pm, at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda are the following:

Review of DDOT Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Street Lighting Improvements (tentative)

DDOT Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Signal Synchronization (tentative)

Thursday, June 9

  1. ANC6A meets at 7:00pm at Miner Elementary School, 601 15th Street, NE.

Items on the agenda include:

Presentation:  Office of Unified Communications (OUC) – Karima Holmes, Director

Stipulated endorsement for a request by Dangerously Delicious Pies to increase its seating from 18 to 36.

Letter asking WMATA to complete the Stadium-Armory segment before the beginning of the next school year.

Letter to DDOT requesting a study at the intersection of 19th and Benning Road, NE, to be combined with the study of 18th and Benning Road, NE, and also requesting a pedestrian crosswalk on the west side of 19th Street crossing Benning Road NE.

ANC 6A write a letter to the BZA in support of the application for a special exception from the use requirements to allow conversion of a two-story, one-family dwelling into a three-unit apartment house in the R-4 District at 1121 G Street, NE, with certain restrictions.

Letter to the BZA in support of the application for a variance from the off-street parking requirements to renovate and expand an existing apartment house at 11 15th Street, NE, the C-2-A District with certain restrictions.

Letter to the BZA in support of the application for variances from the rear yard requirements, the court requirements, the off-street parking requirements and the HS overlay design and a special exception from the single-enclosure penthouse requirements to renovate an existing structure into an apartment building containing up to eight dwelling units with ground-floor retail at 1111 H Street, NE, with certain restrictions.

Proposed letter to City Administrator Rashad Young requesting issuance of DDOT regulations regarding the implementation of resident-only parking restrictions on our residential streets.

  1. ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm, at Hill Center

Among items on the agenda:

Mr. Henry’s, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, substantial change in hours.

Ambar, 523 8th Street, SE, Renewal of Class C Restaurant license.

Tortilla Coast, 400 First Street SE, withdrawal of protest/renewal of Class C Restaurant License

Ted’s Bulletin, 505 8th Street SE, Renewal of Class C Restaurant license.

Matchbox, 517 8th Street, SE, Renewal of Class C Restaurant license.

DC-3, 423 8th Street, SE, Renewal of Class C Restaurant license.

La Lomita Dos, 308 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Renewal of Class C Restaurant license.

National Democratic Club, 30 Ivy Street SE, Renewal of Class C Club license.

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Hine Neighbors Fault Contractor/City on Construction Traffic-Safety Concerns

The truck with ladders obscures the stop sign on the north side of the 8th and C intersection next to the Hine site.  The required flagman is not present.

The truck with ladders obscures the stop sign on the north side of the 8th and C intersection next to the Hine site. The required flagman is not present.

Staging on 8th Street, SE.  One of the two entrances to the Hine site is at 8th and C, on the right in the photo.

Staging on 8th Street, SE. One of the two entrances to the Hine site is at 8th and C, on the right in the photo.

View of the Hine construction entrance  from the north side of 8th Street, looking south.

View of the Hine construction entrance from the north side of 8th Street, looking south.  Truck on left obscures stop sign.

Hine Neighbors Fault Contractor/City on Construction Traffic-Safety Concerns

Express Worry that Qualifier Puts Community Day Care Benefit at Risk

by Larry Janezich

According to nearby residents of the Hine project, some critical construction traffic and safety provisions – agreed to by developer Stanton Eastbanc (SEB) – are being ignored by the contractor – Clark Construction.  The provisions are detailed in the Construction Management Agreement (CMA) hammered out with SEB by ANC6B and neighbors * most affected by the development.

Those neighbors have been organized as the Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) which meets monthly with the developer and the contractor to discuss construction management issues.  Part of the reason for the unhappiness is that the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) appears to have given the contractor the benefit of the doubt on construction traffic issues at the expense of the neighborhood.

Moreover, neighbors worry that if the heavily negotiated CMA is not getting due diligence, whether there is a chance that one of the chief community benefits the developer has pledged might be at risk.  (In return for zoning changes to allow greater height and density than city regs would otherwise allow, the developer agreed to provide certain benefits and amenities to the community as compensation, those having been detailed in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).)   Both the CMA and the MOA were included in the zoning order by the Zoning Commission as conditions of the zoning change.

Residents say that construction practices have deviated from the agreement in the following ways:

Staging – lining up – of trucks on 8th Street adjacent to the construction site, not only north of Pennsylvania Avenue, but north of the 8th and C Streets intersection.   The staging has created a dangerous intersection at 8th and C Streets.  Last week, CHC observed a construction truck which obscured the stop sign on 8th Street the north side of the C Street intersection, and watched as a light truck headed south blew through the stop and across the pedestrian walk without slowing down.  No contractor flagman was present to direct traffic as required by the CMA.

Construction traffic on C and D Streets near the construction site.

Impeding access to the east-west alley between 7th and 8th Streets, on the north side of the site.

Working past 7:00pm and receiving deliveries before 7:00am.

Some of the concerns like blocking the alley and deliveries before 7:00am and working after 7:00pm, are specifically prohibited in the CMA, as well as a violation of city regulations.  Others, such as construction traffic and staging are of equal concern and more irksome owing to what some residents see as the city’s participation in abetting the transgression.  That abetting is made possible by a qualifier inserted into CMA language, i.e., “developers will make commercially reasonable efforts” to keep traffic and staging off streets in question.

With such an assertion, Clark applied for a staging permit for 8th Street – taking over 25 parking spaces – and was granted one by DDOT.  The problem is, say residents, the contractor asserted that they needed 8th Street, but offered nothing to prove they looked at alternatives – raising the question of how meaningful an agreement is when compliance depends on a third party.

The permit granted by DDOT allows staging from 7:00am until 3:30pm, but residents say the contractor uses 8th Street for staging until 7:00pm.

Residents say it takes hours to get somebody from city agencies to respond to complaints and by the time an inspector does arrive, the issue is moot.

Regarding fears that flouting the CMA lays the ground work for disregarding the benefit provisions of the MOA there is the fact that the same qualifying language in the CMA which is causing grief on traffic and staging has been included in the MOA regarding one of the community’s major benefits.

As part of the zoning change process, SEB agreed to include in the Hine project no fewer than 2,400 square feet for a child development center serving no fewer than 24 0-3 year olds.  But, the MOA contains a qualifier:  “SEB will use commercially reasonable efforts to procure a suitable child care development center tenant.  After six months of commercially reasonable marketing efforts marked from the point of substantial building completion, if such tenant is not procured, SEB may market the identified space for another use.”

*ANC6B, Eyes on Hine, Hine School North Neighbors, Eastern Market Metro Community Association, Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, and Market Row Business Community.

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