Mayor Bowser Leads Hine Project Ribbon Cutting
by Larry Janezich
Last Tuesday, in front of a crowd of some 150, Mayor Bowser cut the ribbon on the re-opening of C Street between 7th and 8th Streets, SE, and the opening of the Hine Project. Bowser was accompanied by city officials including CM Charles Allen, CM Kenyan McDuffie, DMPED Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner, DC Housing Finance Agency Director Todd Lee, and Hine Developers Anthony Lanier and Ken Golding.
The Mayor’s remarks focused on the three things which the project represents to the city: increased tax revenue, jobs, and affordable housing, as well as the importance of continuing to bring development to the city, “not only for now, but for the future”.
Her remarks were preceded by those of Ward 6 CM Charles Allen, who applauded his predecessor Tommy Wells (currently head of the Department of Energy and Environment) and former ANC6B commissioners who were involved in signing off on the Planned Unit Development agreement that moved the Hine project forward in 2012. The latter action came over the objections of some of the nearby neighbors who mounted a protracted but ultimately unsuccessful struggle to reduce the size and mass of the project.
Allen said “I’m thrilled to be here today”, citing the project’s fulfillment of the community goals of providing dedicated senior housing, a plaza for the flea market, a re-opened C Street, additional retail space, and a better connection between Eastern Market and Barracks Row. “The next step”, he said, “will be the [redevelopment of] Eastern Market Metro Plaza.”
Eastbanc’s Anthony Lanier cited the “blood, sweat and tears” involved in bringing the project to life. He noted that the average retail space on Capitol Hill is 4,000 square feet, and that building a project of this size in the midst of a commercial strip with smaller buildings “without sticking out like a sore thumb, is no mean feat.” He commended architect Amy Weinstein’s work, saying that the essential thing about great architecture is that “it not stick out – that every time you look at it you find something else you like.”
The developers have been slow to announce retail tenants for the prime space facing 7th Street in both the north and the south buildings. This may be because – as the developers say – the tenants want to make the announcements themselves. And it may be that the developers are having difficulty in filling the spaces. A Sephora beauty products outlet and a fitness center have been mentioned as possible tenants.
So far, Eastbanc has announced Trickling Springs Creamery, a Turkish linen shop – Antiochia, a veterinary hospital, and JRINK – a cold press fruit and vegetable juice bar, as four of the tenants who will soon open or are already open in the retail space of the North Building. Trader Joe’s and a pre-school day care provider are the two tenants currently leasing space on the 8th and D Street corner of the project.
As for residential, many Capitol Hill residents were disappointed when the original plan for the residences to be condos was changed to apartments. And many more residents were shocked at the prices for the rental units, ranging from $3,270 per month for an 800 square foot one bedroom to $8,720 a month for a three bedroom. It’s uncertain how many units have been rented, but few lighted apartments are evident in the building as one walks down C Street after dark. The units facing 8th Street are not available yet and are not expected to be delivered by the contractor until February of next year.