Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Week Ahead…CM White’s Bill: 10 Residential Parking Permits to Restaurants for Workers (see Mon & Thurs)

Progress on Watkins School Modernization from 12th and E Street, SE

Progress on Watkins School Modernization from 12th and E Street, SE.  February 26, 2017, circa 4:30pm.  

The Week Ahead…CM White’s Bill: 10 Residential Parking Permits to Restaurants for Workers (see Monday & Thursday)

by Larry Janezich

Monday, February 27

  1. ANC 6A Transportation & Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm, Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G Street, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

Maryland Avenue Redesign Project – 65% designs now available online

Request from Capitol Hill Classic Race for letter of support

Traffic concerns regarding development of Chik-Fil-A at 1401 Maryland Avenue, NE

Discussion of Small Business Parking Permit Act.  Councilmember White has introduced legislation to allow small businesses to get up to 10 parking permits to allow employees to park in RPP zones.

  1. ANC6A Community Outreach Committee meeting has been CANCELLED. The next meeting of the COC is scheduled for Monday, March 27 at 7:00 pm at Maury Elementary School, 1250 Constitution Avenue NE.

Tuesday, February 28

  1. ANC6B’s Executive Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center, to set the agenda for the full ANC6B meeting on March 14 in Hill Center.

Wednesday, March 1

  1. ANC6C Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee meets at 6:30pm, in Northeast Library, 7th & D Streets, NE

Among items on the draft agenda:

638 Orleans Pl. NE (BZA 19467) – Application for a special exception from the rear yard requirements and the nonconforming structure requirements and variances from the building height requirements and the lot occupancy requirements to construct a third story addition and fourth story mezzanine to an existing two-story, one-family dwelling in the RF-1 Zone. application file)

316 G Street, NE – Application for a special exception from the non-conforming structure requirements, the lot occupancy requirements, and the rear yard requirements to construct a rear three-story addition and partial third-floor addition to an existing one-family dwelling in the RF-1 Zone.

316 G Street, NE – Application for concept approval for rooftop addition and new three-story rear addition.

Union Station Expansion Project – Section 106 Proposed study area

Discussion of upcoming Council oversight hearing

Thursday, March 2

  1. ANC 6C Transportation and Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm, Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center 700 2nd Street, NE, Room G3-G4

Among items on the draft agenda:

Florida Avenue Multimodal Transportation Study.  DDOT has released 30% design plans for Florida Avenue, which includes a cycletrack and sidewalk improvements.

Discussion of Small Business Parking Permit Act.  Councilmember White has introduced legislation to allow small businesses to get up to 10 parking permits to allow employees to park in RPP zones.

  1. PSA 107 Meeting. Note: this meeting will be held at the DC Library, 330 7th Street NE.  Commissioner Scott Price has set up an agenda for the meeting that includes presentations on YRA and GPS monitoring.  In addition, MPD will provide crime data.

 

  1. Friends of Southeast Library (FOSEL) meet at 5:30pm, Southeast Library, lower level.

Friday, March 3

Ceremony launching the new Eastern Market Main Street Organization, featuring Mayor Bowser.  10:00am – 10:30am, Eastern Market, North Hall.

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What Neighbors Say Is an Event/Party House Near Capitol Comes Under City Scrutiny

A townhouse at 145 D Street which neighbors say is a event/party house.

A townhouse at 145 D Street which neighbors say is a event/party house.

What Neighbors Say Is an Event/Party House Near Capitol Comes Under City Scrutiny

By Larry Janezich

Some houses in residential areas near the Capitol Building are being used as event/party houses, and neighbors are complaining.  Such commercial use of residences not occupied by owners is not permitted under city regulations.

Neighbors of 145 D Street, SE, say that the otherwise unoccupied two bedroom house owned by Jennifer Tye – who has an Alexandria address and who also owns the catering company DCTaste – is being used several times a week as a venue for catered events – some of which appear to be fundraisers for politicians.

Apparently, in an effort to comply with city regulations regarding vacant properties, the owner has posted a “For Rent” sign on the property.  Neighbors say the house is listed at $6000 a month.

DCRA recently shut down another nearby event/party house in the same block at 125-127 D Street, after complaints by neighbors, who worry if fines are not levied against the owner of 145 D Street, the operation at 125-127 will start up again.  The difference between the two cases is the owner of 125-127 D was quite open about the business being conducted there, and the owner of 145 D, according to neighbors, is not.

ANC6B Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk contacted the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) regarding 145 D Street last November 15.  The resulting investigation seemed dismissive; according to Samolyk, the response was, in essence, “people can have parties.”

As the activities at the house continued, a second inquiry on December 9, this one involving an expression of interest from the office of Councilmember Charles Allen, prompted DCRA to reopen the investigation.

On February 7, DCRA Investigator Deborah Britt told Samolyk that the re-opened investigation had been finalized and would be submitted shortly for enforcement action and that the Office of Zoning Administration would be notified of the case findings.  Britt offered Samolyk an opportunity to submit additional information.

Yesterday, Samolyk submitted additional evidence: the presence of aproned waiters on the nights of parties, a timeline of parties recorded by neighbors, photos neighbors say show attendees arriving for an event, a laundry truck picking up linens from the address, no evidence of an occupancy permit, a lack of evidence that anyone is living in the house, and a Facebook page for DC Taste showing the company’s location at 145 D Street, SE. (See here:  http://bit.ly/2lgDqoT)

Neighbors say that several houses on nearby New Jersey Avenue are  well known for their use as event/party houses, and D Street residents are resisting the same thing happening to the 100 block of D Street.  “We don’t want to see D Street turn into New Jersey, one told CHC, “it changes nature of the neighborhood. It’s cheating, not to mention being an annoyance to the neighbors.”

For another case of a townhouse near the Capitol being used for commercial purposes, see CHC post here:  http://bit.ly/2m8CCki

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The Week Ahead……

Last Thursday, Restorante Acqua Al 2 - across from Eastern Market - got a new paint job.

Last Thursday, Ristorante Acqua Al 2 – across from Eastern Market – got a new paint job.

The Week Ahead……

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, February 21

  1. CANCELLED.  ANC6A ABC Committee meets at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, corner of 10th and G Streets. NE.

Agenda not available at press time.

  1. Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board of Directors meets at 6:30pm, Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street, SE.

Agenda not available at press time.

Wednesday, February 22

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00pm in the North Hall of Eastern Market.

Among items on the agenda:

Market Managers Report

Status of the Leases

Financials

Hine Update

Tenant’s Council Report

Thursday, February 23

  1. Budget Engagement Forum #1, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Woodrow Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake Street, NE. RSVP here:  http://bit.ly/2kOmXog

Saturday, February 25

  1. Budget Engagement Forum #, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Department of Employment Services, 4058 Minnesota Avenue, NE. RSVP here:  http://bit.ly/2kOmXog

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Winners of Capitol Hill BID Banner Contest

“Chilly Day at Eastern Market” – by Linda Norton

“Chilly Day at Eastern Market” – by Linda Norton

“Effervescence Hill” – by Rindy O’Brien and Elizabeth Eby

“Effervescence Hill” – by Rindy O’Brien and Elizabeth Eby

"Hill Icons” – by Tara Hamilton

“Hill Icons” – by Tara Hamilton

"Capitol Hill in Living Color” – by Kay Fuller

“Capitol Hill in Living Color” – by Kay Fuller

The  Capitol Hill Business Improvement District (BID) held an unveiling ceremony February 2nd at the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.  Four winners (seated) from left to right, Linda Norton, Tara Hamilton, Elizabeth Eby, and Kay Fuller.  At left, BID President Patty Brosmer.

The Capitol Hill Business Improvement District (BID) held an unveiling ceremony February 2nd at the Eastern Market Metro Plaza. Four winners (seated) from left to right, Linda Norton, Tara Hamilton, Elizabeth Eby, and Kay Fuller. At left, BID President Patty Brosmer.   Photo:  Jeff Fletcher

Winners of the Capitol Hill BID Banner Contest

by Larry Janezich

In October of 2016, the Capitol Hill Business Improvement District (BID) and the Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL) collaborated on a competition to give artists a unique opportunity to celebrate our community through art.

The theme for the contest was “It’s all here on the Hill!” The winning designs, submitted by Capitol Hill Art League artists.

The winning designs are:

“Capitol Hill in Living Color” – by Kay Fuller

“Hill Icons” – by Tara Hamilton

“Chilly Day at Eastern Market” – by Linda Norton

“Effervescence Hill” – by Rindy O’Brien and Elizabeth Eby

The new banners were unveiled on Thursday, February 2nd in a ceremony at the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.  A silent auction for the original art work will be held at the BID’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 8:00am – 10:00am, at Hill Center.  The proceeds will be split between the artists and the BID’s “Ready, Willing & Working” program.

 

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City Advances Hill East Boys and Girls Club Redevelopment – RFP to be Released in April

Residents express preference for possible uses for the Boys and Girls Club site.

Residents express preference for possible uses for the Boys and Girls Club site.

Resident preferences regarding Public Space and Sustainability

Resident preferences regarding Public Space and Sustainability

Preferences regarding Housing Priorities

Preferences regarding Housing Priorities

Demonstrating a hands on approach to the OUR RFP process which is based on determining the preferences of the community regarding the development of surplus city property, Deputy Mayor for DMPED Brian Keller outlined how the process will unfold.  At right is DMPED project manager Dion Townley

Demonstrating a hands on approach to the OUR RFP process which is based on determining the preferences of the community regarding the development of surplus city property, Deputy Mayor for DMPED Brian Keller outlined how the process will unfold. At right is DMPED project manager Dion Townley

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.

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Developer Hopes to Start on Res 13 in 3rd Quarter 2017 – also – RFK Road Plan Riles Residents

Larry W. Clark, VP at Donatelli, said the developer hopes to break ground on the Res 13 Development in this year's third quarter

Larry W. Clark, VP at Donatelli, said the developer hopes to break ground on the Res 13 Development in this year’s third quarter

Jennifer Iwa of EventsDC (left) revealed a plan for a new road connecting Benning Road and Barney Circle.  ANC6B Commissioner Denise Krepp, at right, responded, "No."

Jennifer Iwa of EventsDC (left) revealed a plan for a new road connecting Benning Road and Barney Circle. ANC6B Commissioner Denise Krepp, at right, responded, “No.”

ANC6B Commissioner Dan Ridge (right) questions the impact of a proposed connection between Benning Road and Barney Circle

ANC6B Commissioner Dan Ridge (right) questions the impact of a proposed connection between Benning Road and Barney Circle

Some 40 Capitol Hill residents turned out for the community briefing

Some 40 Capitol Hill residents turned out for the community briefing

Developer Hopes to Start on Res 13 in 3rd Quarter 2017 – also – RFK Road Plan Riles Residents

by Larry Janezich

Last night, Donatelli Vice President Larry W. Clark said that the developer hopes to begin construction on Donatelli/Blue Skye’s mixed use development on Reservation 13 in the third quarter of 2017.  Clark presented a development timeline at a Hill East community meeting organized by ANC6B Commissioner Denise Krepp to update the community on plans for Reservation 13 and the RFK Stadium.

Last December, Donatelli/Blue Sky asked and received from the city council, a one year extension of their building permit application, while DC Department of Transportation reviews the project’s infrastructure plan.  Clark estimates DOT will sign off in June, allowing the permitting process to go forward and construction to begin in the third quarter.

The project envisions 353 residential rental units, 30% of which will be affordable, and 20,000 plus square feet of retail.  The latter would allow for up to ten ground level retail spaces in two buildings, with the possibility of expansion into some 8,000 square feet below grade for a retailer with additional space needs. The rental units – both market and affordable – will range from studio to three bedroom units.

In answer to a question, Clark said the developer had looked at LITHC financing for the affordable housing portion, but that the agency has a lot of regulations, and financing through other agencies could be easier.

Asked for his reaction, ANC6B Commissioner Daniel Ridge told CHC, “My takeaway is that Donatelli/Blue Sky’s financing seemed less than certain, a sense I got from their answer to the LIHTC question and from what we heard recently about the postponed M Street development. If that project is soft, it could stall the site for another 10 years.”  Last week, CHC posted on the difficulty Cohen Seigel Investors are having in finding financing for their proposed 673 unit project at 1333 M Street, SE, see here:   http://bit.ly/2kTQKxy

As previously reported, EventsDC’s vision is to turn RFK into a five component development comprised of three multi-purpose recreation fields, a 47,000 square foot market hall, a 350,000 square foot sports and recreation complex, three pedestrian bridges connecting the main site to Kingman and Heritage Islands, and a memorial to Robert F. Kennedy.

Much of last night’s meeting was devoted to community reaction to EventsDC’s infrastructure plan for the RFK Stadium site.  What riled the community was part of the transportation plan to facilitate access to the new complex.  The preliminary plan calls for for a road connecting Benning Road to Barney Circle, which Commissioners and residents fear will funnel Maryland commuter traffic through their neighborhoods.  Krepp declared a preemptive “No” to the proposal, and promised residents future meetings with Events DC on the matter.

Krepp told CHC, “I’m very concerned about EventsDC’s transportation plan. They made it very clear that the design is for commuters not residents.  It moves cars, not people. ”

Ridge said, “Residents should accept an EventsDC role in the future of the Hill East Waterfront as neither natural, nor automatic, nor inevitable.  What I heard from EventsDC about a road from Benning to Barney Circle was preposterous. So preposterous and so poorly defended that it nearly overshadowed the question of why we were talking to EventsDC about it at all.”

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Mayor Bowser Headlines Protest Rally at Rayburn House Office Building – #HandsOffDC

Bowser: "Will you be with us when they threaten to put your Mayor in jail?" The enthusiastic response of the crowd: "Yes!"

Bowser: “Will you be with us when they threaten to put your Mayor in jail?” The  crowd roared: “Yes!” Click to enlarge.

About 400 people showed up to support the Mayor and DC City Council Members in their protest of federal government control of the District.

About 400 people showed up to support the Mayor and DC City Council Members in their protest of federal government control of the District.

Councilmember Charles Allen hosted a meeting to organize the opposition at the Atlas Theater on H Street

Councilmember Charles Allen hosted a meeting to organize the opposition at the Atlas Theater on H Street

Mayor Bowser Headlines Protest Rally at Rayburn House Office Building #HandsOffDC

CM Allen Moves to Organize the Opposition to Federal Control of the District

by Larry Janezich

About 400 protesters gathered in tonight’s early evening in the park behind the Rayburn Office Building to send a message to the U.S. Congress and to Representative Jason Chaffetz in particular that – in Bowser’s words – “the best thing the federal government can do for us is leave us alone.”

Several Councilmembers spoke to the protesters including Councilmembers Allen, Todd, Silverman, Nadeau, and Cheh.

Bowser urged the crowd to “Stand up, speak up, and fight back….”

The rally preceded an organizing meeting hosted by Councilmember Charles Allen at H Street’s Atlas Theater, to connect neighbors, increase awareness and participation, and turn energy into activism.  To that end, after a panel discussion and Q&A, the over-capacity crowd broke up into individual action groups to discuss ways of moving forward.  The working groups – which spilled over into nearby H Street restaurants – included:

Congressional Lobby Working Group

Protests, Rallies, Youth Working Group

Phone Banking Working Group

CHAW Sign Making Workshop

Visibility and Media Working Group

Written Advocacy Working Group

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Monday: 5 PM Capitol Hill Rally Opposing Congress’ Oversight of DC – Sponsored by DC Councilmembers

Rep. Jason E. Chaffetz , Utah’s 3rd Congressional District.

Rep. Jason E. Chaffetz , Utah’s 3rd Congressional District. Chair of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Monday: 5 PM Capitol Hill Rally Opposing Congress’ Oversight of DC – Sponsored by DC Councilmembers

Councilmembers Allen, Grosso, Nadeau, and Gray will participate in a rally to tell Rep. Chaffetz and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to keep their #HandsOffDC.  5:00pm at Lower D Park on the South Side of the Rayburn House Office Building, South Capitol Street and C Street, SW.  Protestors will then continue on to the #HandsOffDC organizing meeting at the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H Street NE at 6:30 pm, sponsored by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen.

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The Week Ahead….Community Meetings on Res 13/RFK & Boys and Girls Club Redevelopment

Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of DC Counsel Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety, held an Oversight Roundtable on Sentencing in the District of Columbia, on Thursday, February 9.  39 public witnesses were scheduled to testify, as well as 8 government witnesses.  Most of the public witnesses appeared to be critical of of the Washington Post Series entitled, "Second Chance City."

Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of DC Counsel Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety, held an Oversight Roundtable on Sentencing in the District of Columbia, on Thursday, February 9. 39 public witnesses were scheduled to testify, as well as 8 government witnesses. Most of the public witnesses appeared to be critical of of the Washington Post Series entitled, “Second Chance City.”

The Week Ahead….Community Meetings on Res 13/RFK & Boys and Girls Club Redevelopment

by Larry Janezich

Monday, February 13

  1. Rally to tell Rep. Chaffetz and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to keep their #HandsOffDC as they vote to override the will of D.C. residents. 5 pm at Lower D Park [Spirit of Justice Park on Google Maps] near South Capitol Street and C Street, SW, and then continue on to the #HandsOffDC organizing meeting at the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H Street NE at 6:30 p.m.
  1. ANC6D meets at 7:00pm, 1100 4th Street SW, 2nd Floor.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Public Safety Report- First District MPD (PSA 105 & PSA 106) Lt. Robinson, Sgt. Kennie, Sgt. Strassman, Sgt. Ritchie

Presentations:

SW Waterfront Fireworks Festival

Greater Greater Washington

Mother Earth Public Art

Bus Stop – Delaware & M Street

ABC Committee licensing:

  1. Cherry Blossom 8:10
  2. Pearl Street Warehouse

Marine Corps Marathon

Museum of the Bible

Forest City Waterfront Station – PUD Extension

Forest City Parcel L-1

Short Term Family Housing Letter of Support

Tuesday, February 14

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

Among items on the agenda:

Election of Committee Chairs

Establishment of Outreach & Constituent Services & Hilleast Task Forces; Election of Chairs

Alcohol Beverage issues:

  1. Capitol Hill Tandoor, 419 8th Street, SE; Withdraw Protest, support license renewal with Settlement Agreement
  2. Pretzel Bakery, 257 15th ST, SE; New Class “D” Restaurant License; Stipulated License

Historic Preservation Application: 417 4th St SE; Modifications to plans

Historic Preservation Application: 1335 Mass Ave, SE; Rear 2nd Story addition with Rooftop deck

Zoning Adjustment: 608 G St, SE; Rear first-floor addition to an existing one-family dwelling

Zoning Adjustment: 337 16th St. SE; Rear first-floor addition to an existing one-family dwelling

Zoning Adjustment: 1415 Potomac Ave, SE; Two-story rear addition to an existing flat

Zoning Adjustment: 1336 E St. SE, Rear second-story addition to an existing one-family dwelling

1333 M Street, SE– PUD Modification to allow 2 more years before permitting

Historic preservation application: 517 7th St, SE; 3-story addition

Historic preservation application:  1335 Mass Avenue, SE, rear second-story addition to an existing one-family dwelling

Youth Rehabilitation Act Resolution

Hands Off DC Resolution

  1. PSA 104 meets at 7:00pm at Stuart Hobson Middle School, 410 E Street, NE

Wednesday, February 15

  1. Community Meeting – briefing by developers on RFK/Reservation 13 hosted by ANC6B Commissioner Denise Krepp. 7:00pm, St. Coletta’s of Greater Wasington, 1900 Independence Avenue, SE
  2. ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets, NE

Among items on the agenda:

619 Elliott Street, NE, Zoning Adjustment Application for a special exception from the lot occupancy requirements to permit the construction of a third-story addition with roof deck to an existing one-family dwelling in the RF-1 Zone.

1126 Constitution Avenue, NE, Zoning Adjustment Application for a special exception from the lot occupancy requirements to permit the construction of a two-story garage in the RF-1 Zone.

3. PSA 106 meets at 7:00pm at the CQ Community Center, 1000 5th Street, SE.

Thursday, February 16

  1. Community meeting on the redevelopment of the Boys and Girls Club, hosted by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), 6:30pm, Friendship Chamberlain Elementary School, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE. Surplus hearing and discussion of the OurRFP process regarding the redevelopment of the Hill East Boys and Girls Club.

During the surplus hearing, the District will receive comments on the proposed surplus of the District property. After the surplus hearing, DMPED will hold the second engagement meeting in the OurRFP process to reconnect with the community about the ideas shared at the January 28th  Workshop and Online Engagement Forum. Community members will also be provided an opportunity to further prioritize their preferences for the redevelopment of the site.

  1. PSA 108 meets at 7:00pm, at Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue, SE.

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Developer: Overbuilding “Stymied” Financing of Major SE Residential Project – Seeks PUD Extension

1333 M Street, SE, rendering of 218 unit phase one of a 673 unit project.

1333 M Street, SE, rendering of 218 unit phase one of a 673 unit project.

Rendering of the massing plan for the four structure (but three building) complex

Rendering of the massing plan for the four structure (but three building) complex

Location of the planned complex, fronting on the Anacostia River East of the Navy Yard

Location of the planned complex, fronting on the Anacostia River East of the Navy Yard (click to enlarge)

Developer: Overbuilding “Stymied” Financing of Major SE Residential Project – Seeks PUD Extension

by Larry Janezich

Last Tuesday night, Eric Siegel of Cohen Seigel Investors appeared before ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee, seeking support for a two year extension of the PUD for the first phase of a major residential project in Southeast Washington, saying the company had not been able to get equity partners and debt financing for the project, despite efforts of brokers who had approached some 85 potential investors.

About two years ago, the Zoning Commission approved the construction of the first phase of a planned 673 unit project at 1333 M Street, SE, as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) which would allow greater height and density than would otherwise be allowed.  The first phase of the project anticipates a ten story 218 residential unit building.

Seigel offered several reasons why investors had shied away.  The project is a mile from Metro, and though Cohen Siegel has proposed a shuttle for the complex that “had not been persuasive to investors.”  Cohen Siegel has reached out to the city for a potential remedy which involves raising the Southwest Boulevard, or building a pedestrian bridge over it, which would reduce the distance to an acceptable ½ mile, but that does not appear to be something that could happen quickly.  Siegel also cited the lack of proximity to retail, and added that the “3500 units under construction on the Capitol Riverfront and another 2300 in the pipeline have stymied interest”.

Once financing is obtained, the project will be built in four phases, resulting in three buildings – which will appear to be four, but two of them will be connected.  The project will include affordable housing units, seven retail spaces totaling about 10,000 square feet, and 214 below grade parking spaces.

The Committee voted 9 – 0 in favor of supporting the PUD extension.

When first proposed in 2010, the project was envisioned as office, hotel, retail and commercial, but the glut of office space in DC resulted in conversion of the project to mostly residential with some ground floor retail.

Cohen Siegel is one of the major players among District developers, and was named in the NPR/WAMU Series “Deals for Developers” in May of 2013 (see here: http://apps.npr.org/deals-for-developers-wamu/).  In that series, NPR/WAMU stated that the company had received an $8,800,000 subsidy in the form of an LDA on this project, and had contributed $62,250 to District politicians over the past ten years.

 

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