City Advances Hill East Boys and Girls Club Redevelopment – RFP to be Released in April
by Larry Janezich
Last night, about 25 Hill East residents turned out to continue the engagement with the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) regarding development of the former Boys and Girls Club in Hill East. The meeting was a follow up to the January 28 meeting where residents expressed their preferences regarding the development of the site.
Project Manager Dion Townley recapped the results of the January meeting, listing possible uses of the site and the community’s expressed priorities regarding housing and public space and sustainability. The building is not historic, nor is it in the Historic District, and could be demolished.
Attendees were given one green sticker and two yellow stickers to further refine their priorities. The instructions were to place the green sticker – indicating “must have” on a list of priorities and a yellow sticker to indicate “would like to have”.
The results are reflected on the accompanying images above. Most residents indicated they must have a mixed use project and would like it to exceed green building requirements.
Mixed use means mostly residential plus neighborhood services such as community space, day care, senior care, and a corner store. The last would require a waiver of existing regulations by the Zoning Commission.
Under DC regulations, a minimum of 30% of housing for the site must be affordable. If the units are rentals, 25% of the affordable housing would be for households at or below 30 % AMI* and 75% for households 31 – 50% AMI. If condos, 50% of the affordable must be for households at or below 50% AMI and 50% at 51 – 80% of AMI. *(AMI is Area Media Income – for more on that, see here: http://bit.ly/1Vb36is)
DMPED will consider all feedback and priorities and release a Request for Proposals (RFP) in April. A pre-response information session for developers interested in the site will precede the receipt of proposals. After proposals are received, responsive developers will present them to the community and neighbors will have an opportunity to engage them. ANC6B will weigh in on behalf of the community regarding a recommendation, and under city regulations, their opinion will be given “great weight”.
A previous attempt to develop the site under the auspices of the Department of General Services (DGS) foundered, largely because a 25 year lease restrictions precluded the possibility of private financing and limited the number of proposals. Councilmember Charles Allen was instrumental in kick-starting the project, now under the management of DMPED. Under this agency, the lease could be up to 99 years.
Capitol Hill Corner’s coverage of the January 28 meeting is here: http://bit.ly/2k8V9Ms
The RFP meeting last night was preceded by a Surplus Hearing on the site. Re-purposing of the site requires that the city declare it surplus. Three attendees spoke in favor of declaring the site surplus: ANC Commissioner Dan Ridge, Hill East resident Rochelle Winter, and former ANC6B Commissioner Francis Campbell. Ridge noted that “It is impossible to certify that the city doesn’t need the building, because the city never needed the building.”
Full disclosure: Capitol Hill Corner expressed its preference for a mixed use building, with an opportunity for home ownership and multi-generational housing.