First Images for New Shotgun House and Capitol Courts’ Micro Apartments on PA Ave SE

Capitol Courts - mixed use project planned for 1200 blocks of PA Ave SE - South Elevation

Capitol Courts – mixed use project planned for 1200 blocks of PA Ave SE – South Elevation

North Elevation

North Elevation

Shotgun House - Existing

Shotgun House – Existing

Shotgun House Proposed

Shotgun House Proposed

Shotgun House - Perspective - E Street

Shotgun House – Perspective – E Street

The site plan. The 5,000 retail space is indicated in red. The adjacent yellow area is the site of the bulk of the mixed use project. The Shotgun House site in in yellow near the top of the image.

The site plan. The 5,000 retail space is indicated in red. The adjacent yellow area is the site of the bulk of the mixed use project. Access to the parking garage is on the left.  The Shotgun House site in in yellow near the top of the image.

First Images for New Shotgun House and Capitol Courts’ Micro Apartments on PA Ave SE

by Larry Janezich

Thursday night, Sassan Gharai of SGA Architects met with neighbors of the Shotgun House and the space currently occupied by Frager’s Garden Center in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, to reveal the preliminary concepts for development of those sites.

Gharai, developer of nearby Butterfield House, has a Historic Preservation Application before DC’s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for “Capitol Courts” – a 119 unit mixed use development for the north side of the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, and the restoration and development of the Shotgun House at 1229 E Street, SE.  The projects are being presented as a package to the HPRB, though they are technically two separate projects.

Some 100 of the 119 units will be 400 square foot “junior bedrooms” – there will be a few one bedrooms and larger units.  The junior bedrooms will rent for $1200 a month with a minimum six month lease.  The units will be marketed to a “young crowd” and will be semi-furnished, with a bed, sofa, and coffee table.  “It’s a different way of living,” Gharai said, adding that “the rooms will essentially be glorified hotel rooms, with tiny, tiny, tiny, kitchens.”

The plan for Capitol Courts includes 5,000 square feet on the ground floor Southeast corner of the project, for a specialty foods and deli outlet featuring principally prepared food.  Gharai said he doesn’t want a restaurant because they’re “not clean and generate trash.”  He said he is talking with a new start up – Street Market & Café – as a possible tenant for the retail space.  See here:  http://streetsmarketcafe.com/

The four story apartment building would rise to 50 feet, plus a penthouse “party area” featuring entertainment for the tenants including television, a pool table, ping pong, a lounge, and a wading pool to facilitate cooling off for sunbathers.  The penthouse level will also feature bedrooms which can be rented to accommodate tenant’s guests.

There will be 21 underground and surface parking spaces, a bike room, and car sharing program.  Management will encourage renters not to own cars and Gharai anticipates banning renters from applying for Residential Parking Permits.  (Update: by making no RPP a condition of the lease)  Access to parking will also allow E Street neighbors to have new first time access to their back yards means of an easement Gharai will provide those residents.

SGA hopes to break ground in the spring of 2017.  John Weintraub, owner of Frager’s Hardware, said last night that the new Frager’s Hardware store across Pennsylvania Avenue will not be available until mid-2018 and he has not yet found a place to relocate the Garden Center.

The plan for the Shotgun House anticipates creation of two separate units which, unlike the apartments in Capitol Courts, will be sold.

SGA Architects plan to move the Shotgun House over to abut the adjacent house to the west.  The front 26 feet of the house will be preserved –  dismantled, reconstructed with “custom milled siding and a hand-crimped tin roof and custom windows.”  The restored Shotgun House will be one unit, and two-story extension in the rear will constitute the second unit.

Gharai said he hopes to start on the Shotgun House before the end of the year, if HPRB signs off on it and permits can be obtained.

ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee will consider the Historic Preservation Applications of the two projects next Tuesday at its July meeting at 7:00pm, at St. Coletta’s.  The full ANC6B will then consider the HPAs at their monthly meeting on July 12, at 7:00pm at Hill Center.  These two meetings may be the only opportunities for the community to weigh in on the design elements of the projects.  Since the Capitol Courts is being built as a “matter of right,” no zoning changes will be required that will bring the project to back before the ANC regarding issues pertaining to height, massing, density, or light.

For previous CHC post on development of the Shotgun House and the Pennsylvania Avenue site, go here:  http://bit.ly/28NQ7Cg

15 Comments

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15 responses to “First Images for New Shotgun House and Capitol Courts’ Micro Apartments on PA Ave SE

  1. Gerald Sroufe

    Thanks for the informative report and photos.

    Within the article one finds the phrase: Management will encourage renters not to own cars and Gharai anticipates banning renters from applying for Residential Parking Permits.

    Is this intended as humor? Why would a developer ban renters from any activity other than renting or keeping snakes? How would such a ban possibly be enforced?

  2. Jiminy

    That is a huge addition on the shotgun house. It goes 20 feet past the neighbor’s house. Isn’t the limit 10 feet?

    • Corey H

      The ten foot rule *currently* doesn’t apply to this property.

      It currently only applies to conversions from non-residential to apartment houses (3+ units). The ZC passed a minor modification to apply this rule to all buildings converting to apartment houses (ZC case 14-11A). This is in the open comment period after being published in the DC Register on June 17.

      Case 14-11B, a text amendment that would apply this rule to all residential buildings like this situation, is pending but does not have a hearing date scheduled. This amendment also establishes a special exception to extend past the 10 feet (the thresholds are lower for a special exception than a variance).

  3. Huh

    The plans don’t make a lot of sense in the back of the Penn property. The property line blocks the ramp, and the alley looks too narrow in several spots to allow access.

  4. muskellunge

    Mr Janezich, simply awesome write-up.

    Regarding the RPPs, that bit is probably unenforceable. Any resident can petition for one. I personally oppose any restriction for residents of new-construction, because of course, all new-construction eventually becomes old-construction, leading to two classes of residents.

    I can foresee a hot spot for Airbnb. This is intended for the Congressional Intern set. And I hope this settles the “shotgun” house issue.

  5. Cassie

    The design doesn’t look half as nice as Butterfield. I’m disappointed.

  6. John

    A “shotgun” house should be in the front passenger’s side. The image here depicts the shotgun house clearly on the driver’s side. Just another example of a big money developer not paying any attention to historical authenticity!

  7. Build it taller please. More density. I like the residential parking permit ban. They should then be added to our future parking permit auction system.

    • HIll Easter

      I’m all for the RPP ban, too. However, it is not really enforceable. Developers will readily agree to it, because they know that DMV will not enforce it, despite what might be any lease or document signed by a resident of that building.

  8. QuiteRight

    Just because the developer says it doesn’t require further review doesn’t make it so. DCRA and Zoning need oversight from the community.

    Also, the community can testify to HPRB.

    • Son of Anon

      Ah, well, sort of.

      At the end of the day if the Restoration Society and the HPO don’t like it the community can pound sand. I’m old enough to remember when the ENTIRE COMMUNITY (neighbors, businesses, and everybody up to the Ward 6 councilmember) publicly and enthusiastically supported a plan to redevelop the shotgun house and CHRS and the HPO stopped the project cold.

      Community input? Who cares? It’s the CHRS and the HPO that count and they will simply not let a project like this –no matter how good– go forward as long as Larry Quillian is involved.

      The next step act in this endless drama is a near certainty. The CHRS and the HPO will find some reason –plausible or not– to kill it. It’s just who they are and what they do.

      The shotgun house will outlive us all.

  9. Lawsuit

    This could be the future… collapsing houses.
    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/housing-complex/blog/13119878/structural-integrity-does-the-dc-government-care-if-your-house-collapses

    1367 Florida Ave NE was built by Sassan Gharai and collapsed the neighboring properties, as seen here:
    https://casetext.com/case/mariano-v-gharai