Tag Archives: Liquor Licenses

Text of Neighbors’ Formal Protest to Hill Center’s Liquor License Application

Text of Neighbors’ Formal Protest to Hill Center’s Liquor License Application

TO:                  Alcohol Beverage Control Board

FROM:            Near Neighbors of Hill Center Protest Group

RE:                  Protest of issuance of the following new license as described on the placard

DATE:            July 1, 2011

ABRA License # 086926

Old Naval Hospital Foundation

t/a The Hill Center

921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

C – Multipurpose

We, the undersigned residents of the neighborhood surrounding the Hill Center at 921 Pennsylvania Avenue S.E, protest the issuance of a Class “C’ alcohol beverage license with entertainment endorsement, and the operation of events in the gardens with 500 person occupancy. The issuance of such a license with its listed hours of operation (7a.m. to 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.) for dancing, occasional DJ and live music for special events, will impact adversely on the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood. Moreover, it will have a significant adverse impact on residential parking needs, vehicular and pedestrian safety, and real property values.


The openness of the Hill Center building and grounds is inappropriate for large, late parties with amplified music and dancing. This use will harm peace, order, and quiet; and real property values.

The applicant’s request for occupancy of 500 people with alcohol service from 7 am to as late as 3 a.m., with amplified entertainment outdoors, is not compatible with this 90% residential neighborhood, which in much of the surrounding area is fairly quiet.

To the north the unbuffered, 8-lane-wide Pennsylvania Avenue corridor allows sound from the Hill Center to travel to the Butterfield House condos 1020 Pa Ave, 400 block of 10th, 300 block of 9th, and 800 block of D.

Directly to the south (E Street, South Side) are the front windows of row houses that are so close (approximately 60′), an average boisterous conversation on the back stairs of the Hill Center can be heard inside these homes.


The surrounding blocks are over 85% Residential. Petitions signed by large numbers of homeowners and renters living in the neighboring 25 residential blocks between 8th and 12th and C and G, SE reveal the widespread concern of neighbors, many of whom currently enjoy peace, quiet, safety and reliable parking.

The nighttime activity in the area around the Hill Center is completely different to the east than it is directly south and west.  The northeast and southeast are currently calm and quiet with good parking. Also, to the east side, only 4 blocks are commercial and that type of commercial is small stores and offices that close at 7 pm. – no bars and no liquor stores.  This area will suffer extreme adverse effects of parking, noise and public safety from late, loud Hill Center activities.

In marked contrast is the situation currently faced by residents living to the south and west of the Hill Center.  They are already dramatically impacted by the number of bars and restaurants on 8th Street Barracks Row.  They have ongoing multiple issues with noise and parking currently.  With the addition of late night activities at the Hill Center, they will be surrounded on all sides  which will cause adverse effects for them as well.


Residents in the neighborhood expect the following four categories of adverse effects to result from issuing this liquor license with its current stipulations:


Neighborhood homes are known for quiet sidewalks and back yards, with birds, squirrels, outdoor patio tables and chairs, and auxiliary rooms where people work in home-based businesses.

Noise, parking, and safety problems due to loud, late parties with large numbers of people will adversely affect selling prices and rents and could increase the time on the market, causing monetary loss.  The reputation of the neighborhood would suffer as the word spreads about nighttime outdoor announcements and wedding bands. Many of us are nearing retirement or retired and rely on our homes retaining value or growing in value for potential sale in the future.


The requested alcohol service beginning at 7 am and extending to 2 am on weekdays and 3 am on week nights will result in disruption of the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood and disrupted sleep for nearby residents. There are four issues:

A. Noise – Outdoor Amplification in the Summer Garden

With amplified music and dancing outdoors with up to 500 people, it is highly unlikely that amplified voices and music will not exceed the legal limits of 60 db at the fence line of the property, which is the sound level of a microwave oven.

The Summer Garden grounds are higher than surrounding sidewalks and roads, with no buffers of evergreens, hedges or abutting buildings to control or contain this sound. Because there is no other nightlife in the immediate vicinity, there is little ambient sound of traffic or hum of voices to mask sound from the Hill Center’s DJ’s, live bands or dancing.

B. Noise – Indoor Amplification with Bands, DJs and Dancing

The largest room available for events is in the middle of the back (south side) of the Hill Center along the 900 block of E Street, SE. The windows directly face neighbors’ bedroom windows.

Amplified sounds from behind the windows will be difficult to contain, especially live bands or DJs which tend to have thumping, rhythmic vibrations. Having entertainment continue past 10 pm on weekdays or past 11 pm on weekends would cause great hardship to the E Street neighbors, especially elderly and those with young children.

C. Noise – Loading of Equipment from and to Commercial Vehicles

With alcohol service closing times of 2 am or 3 am, the neighbors anticipate 2 subsequent hours of noise from trucks loading tables, chairs, heating and serving platters, alcohol, glasses, stages, structures and tent plus trash. Loading these trucks is very noisy (metal on metal – wood on wood) with loud clunking, banging and rolling as well as idling and beeping as they back up. These are inappropriate sounds after 11 on a weeknight or after midnight on a weekend.

The 7 am start time for a breakfast with alcohol would mean that the trucks would unload equipment as early as 5 am, potentially violating the DC noise ordinance.

D. Noise – Patrons exiting and roaming our residential side streets to their cars.

Any event with large numbers of guests loudly and energetically celebrating with amplified music and dancing until late hours under the influence of free liquor will result in disturbance of the quiet neighborhood in the middle of the night. Their voices will be boisterous – calling out, laughing, beeping car alarms, flirting, possibly fighting, crying, peeing, and throwing up—all taking place under the windows of sleeping neighbors.

Families, including children, retirees and hardworking adults live across the streets to the north, south, and west—the streets where guests of the Hill Center will seek free parking and return to their cars late at night, many of them drunk.


The neighborhood near the Hill Center is in the Capitol Hill Historic District.  Few of the 1800s buildings have parking, and there are very few parking lots nearby – even of minimal size. Residents rely on the small amount of on-street parking that exists. Residents pay for use of this public space with our taxes. The Hill Center has not planned parking for the large numbers of guests listed on the application, except for a few handicapped parking spaces on the property. These are the major issues:

  1. Current Parking Congestion

To the southwest of the Hill Center, parking is very congested already due to the 8th Street Barracks Row restaurants and bars. Parking is already eliminated from the west side of 9th in the 700 block for weekly Marine events leaving residents with nowhere to park.

To the northeast, the ratio of cars to street parking spaces is comfortably full. Residents are currently able to safely and reliably park near our homes; however, there are no extra spaces left over once everyone is home.

  1. No Parking Lots

There are no nearby parking lots (within 3 blocks) of a size sufficient to accommodate a large, sudden influx of cars for an event. There is one small lot for an elementary school 2 blocks away, but it holds a limited number of cars and is already contracted for Friday evenings from mid-May to Labor Day for guests of the Marine event. These are the same months of high operation for the Hill Center garden and already traffic jams are common.

  1. Few Open Metered Spaces

On weekdays, the metered spaces in front of the Hill Center on Pennsylvania Avenue are already mostly full as used by the row house offices. On weekends, they are filled by visitors to Eastern Market, Barracks Row, Frager’s Hardware, CVS, and other commercial establishments. Additional spaces will be taken by teachers and students coming for classes.

  1. Residential Side Streets Used by Wider Ward 6 Visitors

The residential side streets of 9th, 10th, 11th G, E, D, South Carolina and C are legally open to any and all of the 75,000 residents of Ward 6 who have a Zone 6 residential parking sticker. The neighbors already suffer from the wide use of these spaces by people who live 10-20 blocks away who come to take Metro or visit Eastern Market businesses.


If the Hill Center becomes known as a rentable, late-night party establishment, it could become a magnet for one-time hosts who have no reason to care about safety of the neighborhood.

A. Vehicular Safety

Drunk Driving

The later the party lasts, the more alcohol is consumed, the greater the drunk driving risk.

Traffic Jams

The Hill Center plans to use its side entrance on 9th Street, SE for everyone – all handicapped visitors, caterers, non-profit employees, event goers, teachers, classroom students, and staff. This will create a vehicular traffic safety issue. Use of the side entrance will bring increased traffic around on E Street to turn right to let passengers out at the gate.

Because 9th Street is very narrow and cars approach from both directions, and are likely to let off passengers on both sides, blocking access for disabled patrons to use parking spots on the grounds. Across the street a gas station has two driveways and an alley that need to be accessible for customers and fuel truck deliveries. Congestion on both E and 9th streets will lead to bumper-to-bumper blocked roadways with predictable honking and possibly road rage.

B. Pedestrian (and Guest) Safety with Large, Late-night Crowds

Crowd Control on Neighborhood Side Streets

Extreme overcrowding of the neighborhood roadways and sidewalks would occur if 500 people came to one event and most of them left simultaneously in the early morning hours.

Summer Garden Small Size Creates Overcrowding Dangers

Overcrowding the grounds is a problem for pedestrian safety in case of an emergency exit needed for fire, fight, or other incident.  People inside the required tent in the Summer Garden have no fence opening or gate on the eastern side of the property through which to exit in a hurry. There is potential for injuries during an emergency due to the tall ornamental iron fence with few openings. If hundreds of people spill into the streets, there is significant risk of injury from traffic.

Insufficient Room Inside the Building

The largest inside room has occupancy of slightly over 100 people.  Even the entire 2nd floor can’t hold 500 people if severe weather forces people inside.

Minors’ Access to Alcohol

Overcrowding can also lead to underage drinking even if minors are not being served, because people leave drinks unattended, and managers simply cannot monitor a dense crowd.


The Hill Center’s nearest neighbors applaud the renovation of the Old Naval Hospital to become an educational and cultural non-profit. We want to help them raise needed funds without shouldering an unfair burden from seeing, hearing, feeling and cleaning up after its parties.

To reduce the adverse effects on the near neighbors, we request that the license for the Hill Center specify no amplification outdoors in the garden at all and we request that the license restrict the number of visitors and restrict event hours to end before Metro closes, so that Eastern Market Metro is a viable transportation option.


Name (Print)                           Address (Print)                                   Signature

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ANC Alcohol Licensing Committee Refuses Carte Blanche to Hill Center

ANC6B ABC Committee Hearing on Hill Center Liquor License - l-r Commissioners Oldenburg, Frishberg, Glick, Chair Green, Commissioners Flahaven, Metzger, Pate

ANC Alcohol Licensing Committee Refuses Carte Blanche to Hill Center

by Larry Janezich

At Thursday night’s ANC6B ABC hearing on the Hill Center’s application for a liquor license, the Committee deferred a decision on the application, effectively bucking the issue to the full ANC6B meeting next Tuesday.

In the meantime, Committee Chair Carol Green will meet with Hill Center representatives to work out the conditions under which a liquor license may be granted.  The Hill Center was presented with two options, suggested by Commissioner Ivan Frishberg.  The first would limit the hours of the summer garden operations to 10:00pm during the week and 12:00 midnight Friday through Sunday.  The second option would limit summer garden operations to midnight 7 days a week, with a revaluation after six months.  In addition, a reduction in the number of people permitted to occupy the summer garden will also be negotiated downward from the 500 maximum specified in the original application.

Former Ward Six Councilmember Sharon Ambrose was present as the spokesperson for Hill Center.  She supported the application and asked the Committee to grant Hill Center maximum flexibility regarding operating hours and occupancy.  To further that effort, and in an effort to respond to concerns of nearby neighbors, Hill Center had, today, faxed a modification of their intended operating hours for outside events, cutting them back to a closing time of midnight, 7 days a week.  Operating hours for inside would remain the same.

Originally, the application provided that hours of operation for the Sale/Service/Consumption of alcoholic beverages for the inside premises and the summer garden are listed as 10:00am – 2:00am on Sunday, 8:00am – 2:00am Monday through Thursday, and 8:00am – 3:00am Friday and Saturday.

Several neighbors and community members rose to express concerns related to the hours or operation and the potential for noise.  These included nearby residents Barbara Eck, Yoonmee Chang, Helene Quick, Joe Shay, Frank Young, and Pope Barrow.  Barbara Eck has been and continues to be a strong supporter of and advocate for the Center, but warned against operating hours that would have an adverse effect on the community.

Some Committee members were concerned that Hill Center could not give an estimate of how often events such as weddings, receptions, bar mitzvahs, etc., would be held.  Ambrose said there was “no way to predict the number of events,” that at best, it would be a “guestimate that would not serve your purposes now, or ours in planning.”

Ambrose stressed the Hill Center’s desire not to have a negative impact, saying the primary function of the Center was to be a learning center available to the entire community.  At the same time, her implication that The Hill Center was only trying to raise “enough money to keep the property from going back to the city” was greeted with skepticism on the part of some commissioners.

Regarding concerns about parking, the Hill Center website says “events that expect more than 30 cars must contract with our approved valet parking vendor.”  Nicky Cymrot, President of the Old Naval Hospital Foundation, said that in conversations with a parking valet vendor, the company said they would “guarantee” that there would be no parking on residential streets.  It was not clear where these cars would be parked, however.  Nor was it clear what impact 30 cars would have on the surrounding streets, should that occur with regularity.  New parking restrictions will go into effect in some nearby areas – perhaps before Hill Center opens – but it is not clear exactly which areas will be affected, or whether that will push parking into areas north of Pennsylvania Avenue, but still within walking distance of Hill Center.

Commissioner Brian Pate raised the issue of a potential conflict of interest for the Commission, since ANC6B has announced its intention of renting office space within the Hill Center but has not yet negotiated the amount of rent.  It seemed to be the consensus of the Committee to sidestep this issue by asking a disinterested third party to negotiate terms of a lease and to make that recommendation to the ANC.

The full ANC6B will meet at Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, 522 7th Street, SE, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 – 7:00pm.


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Old Naval Hospital seeks Liquor License – and a Summer Garden with 500 Seats – Also: Chipotle for Barracks Row?

Old Naval Hospital Foundation Applies for Liquor License

Mirage? Owners See a Chipotle Mexican Grill Here

Old Naval Hospital seeks Liquor License – and a Summer Garden with 500 Seats

Also:  Chipotle for Barracks Row?

by Larry Janezich

Nearby residents might want to pay close attention to a couple of items on the agenda for the next ANC6B meeting on Tuesday, June 14.

The first is a request by the Old Naval Hospital Foundation for a liquor license for the new Hill Center.  It’s a little hard to assess the overall impact on the community from the limited description of the ensuing use of the Center, but the application for the license states, “Educational, cultural and community programs to include concerts, meetings, receptions and events.  Entertainment will include dancing, occasional DJ and live music for special events.  A planned summer garden with 500 seats.  Total occupancy load of 500.”

The application goes on to state the hours of operation for the inside premises and the summer garden as 7:00am – 2:00am Sunday through Thursday, and 7:00am – 3:00am Friday and Saturday.  Hours of operation for the Sale/Service/Consumption of alcoholic beverages for the inside premises and the summer garden are listed as 10:00am – 2:00am on Sunday, 8:00am – 2:00am Monday through Thursday, and 8:00am – 3:00am Friday and Saturday.  Often the applicant will reduce the operating hours and make other concessions in a voluntary agreement in order to smooth the way for license approval.

Details of the Center’s business plan have been sketchy, but at a fund raiser in March, Diana Ingraham, the Center’s Executive Director, mentioned that they already had two weddings scheduled for September.

The ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Control Committee will hear The Old Naval Hospital Foundation present its case for a liquor license and make a recommendation to the full ANC.  The ABC Committee will meet at 7:00pm on June 9, at the Southeast Library.  After consideration by the full ANC, the petition is scheduled for a hearing before the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration on July 18.  Petitions and requests to appear before the Board must be filed on or before July 3.

The second item is a request for a special exception to allow a fast food restaurant – Chipotle Mexican Grill – to occupy 413-415 8th Street, SE, currently occupied by The Dollar Store and a space formerly occupied by China Wall.  A special exception will be required because regulations do not permit fast food restaurants in this commercial district.

Similarly, the ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee will hear the applicants present their case before it goes to the full ANC.  The Committee meeting will be held at 7:00pm in the cafeteria at St. Coletta School, located at 1901 Independence Avenue, SE.

The next ANC6B meeting will be Tuesday, June 14, at 7:00pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, 522 7th Street, SE (the old Safeway Building).


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The Fact of the Matter Is This – More ANC6B News

Commissioners Confer Before Meeting (L-R) Commissioner Campbell, ANC6B Chair Neil Glick, Commissioner Flahaven, Commissioner Green. Foreground: Commissioner Frischberg. Rear: Commissioner Garrison

More ANC6B News

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B Commission Grants Liquor License to DC-3

Patrons who have been grumbling that they need a beer to wash down the premium hot dogs served at DC-3 on Barracks Row will only have to wait a week or two for relief.  ANC6b voted to support DC-3’s application for a license to sell wine and beer by a vote of 8 – 0 with Chairman Neil Glick abstaining.  DC-3 will only serve beer, though the license allows wine.

Fusion Grill To Expand Outdoor Café Into Shakespeare Theater Space

ANC6B approved the addition of 12 tables to Fusion Grill’s outdoor café.  The tables will be located in the space in front of the Shakespeare Rehearsal Theater, adjacent to the restaurant.

Antennas on Hanes Building at 8th and Pennsylvania Avenue

The Commission requested HPRB to delay consideration of Verizon’s application for installation of 15 telecommunication antennas on the building until June because HPO failed to notify the Commission of the request in time for them to act on it.

Special Call Meeting Likely on New Eastern Market Governing Authority

ANC6b will likely sponsor a special call meeting with Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) to deal with legislation to create a new governing authority for Eastern Market.  Councilmember Tommy Well’s office hoped the new legislation would be available by the end of April, but it appears to be behind schedule.

ANC6B  to Move Offices to Hill Center

The Commission hopes to move its offices into The Hill Center in early July.  ANC Chair Neil Glick has toured the new facility and surveyed the available office space.  The management of the new facility expects to take delivery of the building from the contractor by June 23.

ANC6B Transportation Committee Gets Geared Up

Chair Oldenburg of the new Transportation announced that Commissioner Garrison has agreed to be Vice Chair of the Committee.  The first meeting will be at the Southeast Library on May 31 at a time to be announced.  The second meeting of the committee has been scheduled for June 16, also at the Library.  Oldenburg said that the agenda for the May 31 meeting will be available by May 24.

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How the Hine Project Has Changed Over Time – Councilmember Wells Says Developers Constrained by City

How the Hine Project Has Changed Over Time

Councilmember Wells Says Developers Constrained by City

by Larry Janezich

At an April 6 meeting between Councilmember Tommy Wells and two community organizations striving to reduce the height and mass of the Hine project, Wells outlined the economic factors which drive the current size of the project and limit the possibility of significant changes.

Questioned whether – if the community feels strongly about changes – it is possible to send the agreement with the developer back to the city for review, Wells noted that any substantive change to the “Term Sheet” requires action by Council and that it is unlikely the city will back off on certain requirements which it is interested in having the developer provide as “public amenities.”

The “Term Sheet for the Disposition of Hine” is a signed agreement between Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Valerie Santos and Stanton/Eastbanc.  It specifies the anticipated square footage for the project’s residential, retail, and office space.  It is less specific about the parking, saying only that the developers will provide below grade parking necessary to support the project.  In addition, the Term Sheet lists several “public amenities” – though it does not call them that. These public amenities are what the city expects the developer to do for the city as a condition for proceeding with the project.

There are three kinds of amenities:  1) amenities provided to the city and required by the city in the Term Sheet, 2) amenities provided by the developer as the result of informal dialogue with the community as a way to garner public support prior to the PUD process, but outside the Term Sheet, and 3) amenities made as concessions by the developer to the community as the result of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process.  The latter can be alterations in building structure but sometimes take other forms, like the addition of a desired function or use, the improvement of a nearby community space, or, sometimes, by awarding a cash settlement.

Several amenities are already specified in the Term Sheet.  Two of the most significant amenities specified are 1) affordable housing, half of which is to be reserved for the elderly, and 2) Reconstruction of C Street, SE.  Both of these come at considerable long term and short term expense to the developer, and must be supported economically by the rest of the project.  According to Wells, these are considerations which drive the massing and density which must be enough to offset the additional expenses incurred by the developer in fulfilling the city’s requirements.

In the community discussion, massing and density are often used interchangeably, though they are different concepts.  Wells undertook to explain why it is difficult to reduce massing – and the complex set of economic relationships between amenities and a profitable real estate venture.  .

Affordable Housing

The Term Sheet states that “subject to the PUD process …it is anticipated that the North Parcel will contain:

28 apartments (probably one bedroom) – available for rent to individuals or families with a current (2010) income of $62,100 – 14 of these for persons 55 or older

5 apartments (probably one bedroom) available for rent to individuals with a current (2010) income of $31,050 – 3 of these for persons 55 or older

10 units (likely one bedroom) available for purchase at income levels required under the DC’s Inclusionary Zoning Act, (50% AMI 2010 = $51,750 and 80% AMI 2010 = $82,800).

The city sets maximum rents and purchase price for these affordable units and this will come at the expense of the developer – the difference in profitability having to be made up elsewhere in the project, even though Stanton/Eastbanc will receive federal tax credits for constructing these units.  Reportedly, Capitol Hill Village representatives are disappointed that these units are so small.

Reconstruction of C Street, SE

The city is also requiring the developer to reopen C Street.  “The Developer shall construct, at its sole cost and expense, a street in the closed portion of the 700 block of C Street, S.E.”  This is strongly supported by the Office of Planning and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society.  Office of Planning is reportedly seizing every opportunity to restore the original L’Enfant plan.  For the nearby neighbors on C, 7th, and 8th Street, the reopening seems likely to be only an source of aggravating noise, traffic, and pollution.

In addition to these two amenities the Term Sheet specifies two other significant amenities which the developer is required to satisfy.


The Term Sheet states only that the project will contain below grade parking necessary to support the project.  At the last presentation on April 5, project architect Amy Weinstein said the developers are considering adding additional parking on a second below grade level.  Wells told those attending the meeting that he is “conflicted about the amount of parking we need the developer to provide.  If you know you are going to find parking, you’re more likely to drive to Eastern Market,” thus creating increased traffic and overflow parking issues.  This puts Wells at odds with Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, which recently reaffirmed its support of the Stanton development concept, based in part on the basis of the public parking for the market.

Green Building.

The city requires the project to be built in accordance with the city’s Green Building Act of 2006.  This is important to many but not often mentioned in public discussions as being an amenity to the larger community.

Amenities provided by the developer as the result of informal dialogue with the community as a way to garner public support prior to the PUD process but outside the Term Sheet:

Public Space Improvements


The Hine project’s large interior courtyard has been described as community space in earlier presentations by the developer, and seemed likely to serve that purpose when it was possible to walk through the courtyard from Pennsylvania Avenue to C Street.  A design change revealed on April 5 makes it less useable as public space since a new lobby entrance to the project’s office building will prevent access from Pennsylvania Avenue.  The only access to it would be through a gated entrance on C Street.  Wells asked, “if the courtyard is not open to the community, what’s the point?  It seems to me it should be negotiable.”


A means of providing for the continuation of the weekend flea market has wide support in the community and was part of the reason EMCAC recently reaffirmed its support of the Stanton development.  This provision is not specified in the Term Sheet.  Stanton/Eastbanc’s recent recasting of a public plaza with a fountain between the north ends of the 7th and 8th Street residential buildings – added at the request of neighbors – into the splayed piazza opening up the west end of C street where it intersects 7th Street, disappointed some of the neighbors.  Neighbors also raised concerns that in time, the piazza splayed out toward the Market could become something else, less attuned to neighborhood requirements and more attuned to commercial usage.

Wells said that the degree to which the piazza is an amenity to the community depends on how it is viewed and used; suggesting that as a site for strolling and gathering in the European sense it would in fact be an amenity to many.

Residential space

This is the target in the PUD negotiations for the most vocal critics of the current plan, the residents of 8th Street, who object to the height and massing of the Hine Project’s 8th Street residential building and the assignment of retail to the ground floor of the north residential building.

The project’s residential space has gone up by 92,156 square feet since August of 2009 to 237,750.  The term sheet anticipates 144,594 square feet of residential space.  In February of 2011, Stanton/Eastbanc announced that it was increasing the amount of residential space since the non-profit International Relief Development (IRD) had dropped out of the project.  The Term Sheet allowed for 65,000 square feet to be used for a hotel as an alternative to the office space.  Instead, when IRD dropped out leaving 62,000 extra square feet of office space and when the hotel did not materialize, that 65,000 square feet plus another 28,156 square feet of space taken from office and retail was reallocated to residential.  The change will have to be approved by the city council.

Office Space

Office space has taken the biggest hit in the downsizing, going down from a Term Sheet estimate of 211,999 square feet of office space in the August 2009 proposal to the current proposed 160,200 square feet – a difference of 51,799 square feet.  Wells listed office space as one of the items on the term sheet that is “a lot more negotiable.”  There are several reasons why this might be so.  Office space might sit empty for a long period, depending on demand and the economy.  In addition, office space will require continuing, on-going management as opposed to residential condo space which can be turned over to a condo association, leaving the developer free of that responsibility.

Retail Space

Retail space has gone down by 7,500 square feet, from an estimated 49,200 square feet in the August 2009 plan to 41,700 today.  Wells stated that “people in the community are expecting more retail.”  Wells held out the possibility that the amount of retail was one of the things that could be negotiated.  He noted that “generally, a developer will make more money on housing than retail. Retail is not the highest return on the property.  Housing is hot now.   I’m not fully convinced they’re (Stanton/Eastbanc) more excited about retail.”

According to a source knowledgeable about Capitol Hill commercial corridor leases, rates are currently climbing for commercial retail space.  Commercial space can lease for up to $42 a square foot.  Retail space can go for as high as $50 a square foot.  A 1000 square foot store could cost anywhere between $45,000 and $52,000 a year – or at least $3,750 a month.  Leases for space in larger commercial buildings have additional costs involved which may vary the rent by up to 20 percent.

The Economics

This is what all of this adds up to:  Wells said that the number of square feet of a project is determined by a formula for the project after calculating what the developer has to provide in amenities like affordable housing, C Street reopening, plaza, public space, parking, etc.  The rest of the development has to fund these.  Balancing these expenditures with anticipated profit is how the developer figures out how large the project has to be, assuming a certain return per square foot.  Wells affirmed that the City Council was responsible for the oversight hearing of the Lease Development Agreement with the developer and had expectations about what a fair profit for the developer would be.  “I have no reason not to believe the city didn’t do due diligence on the Hine project, just as with any other project in the city.”  But, as an audience member pointed out, that that was for a previous and much different version of the project.

Wells pushed those seeking changes in the project toward the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process which will unfold next year, where the impact of proposed changes on the economic viability of the project could be more easily determined.  This will involve public hearings where the public and community groups can testify before city officials regarding the project and negotiate with the developer for amenities.

According to Gary Petersen, Chair of the Restoration Society’s Planning and Zoning Committee, “for zoning purposes, we need a complete set of drawings that shows the façade, shadow studies, detailed traffic analysis, and elevations.  In the PUD process, everything is on the table.  We are not limited by what they (the developers) propose.  We can bring up stuff – tinker.”


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ANC6b’s ABC Committee Supports Liquor License for Pacifico – A New Barracks Row Restaurant

ANC6b’s ABC Committee Supports Liquor License for Proposed Barracks Row Restaurant – Pacifico

by Barbara Riehle

Pacifico, a new eatery planned for Barracks Row, took another step closer to opening last night when ANC6B’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Committee agreed to recommend supporting a liquor license for the establishment when the full ANC meets next Tuesday. Plans for Pacifico first came under fire from residents adjacent to the 500
block of 8th Street, the area on the Row with the greatest proliferation of restaurants, in December. The neighbors are formally protesting Pacifico’s application for a liquor license from the City’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Agency (ABRA).

Of particular concern to the neighbors are plans for a rooftop garden which will seat 45 patrons. Under the terms of the “voluntary agreement” (VA) proposed by ABC Committee Chair Carol Green, the rooftop garden would have the same operating hours as the inside restaurant – until 1 AM on weeknights and 2 AM Friday and Saturday.

About half a dozen neighbors, Pacifico’s owner Xavier Cervera, and seven ommissioners huddled together in a tiny room above the Children’s Reading room in the Southeast Library last night for the ABC meeting. It was clear that lengthy negotiations, led by Green, between Cervera and residents preceded last night’s action. Sharing the details of the proposed VA, Green noted that the owner agreed to reduce the number of indoor seats from 215 to 140 and on the rooftop from 75 to 45. Additionally, Cervera agreed to enclose four sides of the garden area, as well as air conditioning units neighbors call noisy.

Joseph Shea, a 9th Street neighbor, suggested the hours for the rooftop garden and the sidewalk cafe should be the same. (Sidewalk service at all of Cervera’s 8th Street hot spots ends at 11 PM.) Cervera operates Molly Mallone’s, Lola’s, and the Chesapeake Room and plans to open both Pacifico and Senart’s Oyster House on 8th Street and a wine bar on 7th Street near Eastern Market. In a testy exchange with neighbors, Cervera said, “You’ve gotten much more from me {in terms of concessions} than you have from Nooshi.” (Nooshi is a restaurant planned for the old Chateau Animaux site in the same block as Pacifico.) Neighbors disagreed. Commissioner Dave Garrison injected that he tried to resolve the neighbors’ problems last November when he proposed a freeze on all new liquor licenses in the area, but he noted, there is “virtually no support for that on the commission now.”

On Tuesday, March 8, ANC 6B will take final action on the ABC Committee’s proposed VA. It is expected to be adopted. On April 13, the protest by residents will go before ABRA. If ABRA grants the license, Pacifico is expected to open in about six months.


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Two Tracks on Improving Retail Mix on Capitol Hill

Two Tracks on Improving Retail Mix on Capitol Hill

by Larry Janezich

CHAMPS Retail Mix Taskforce

ANC6b Chair Neil Glick recently met with representatives of the CHAMPS Retail Mix Taskforce.  Currently, ANC6b is represented on the Taskforce by Commissioners Garrison and Metzger.  Metzger reportedly wants off, and CHAMPS has requested two additional commissioners be added to the effort.

The Taskforce expects to have recommendations by early spring.  ANC6b is considering hosting jointly with Champs, a Special Call meeting in May to hear a presentation on the retail mix recommendations.  Included would be a presentation on an economic survey paid for by Xavier Cervera and conducted by independent urban planning firm, Stover & Associates under the rubric of Barracks Row Main Street.  The survey considers issues of space, attitude of residents, spending power of the demographics.  The goal is to find which businesses will do well on Capitol Hill and attract them.  Cervera delivered hard copies of the survey to ANC6b at the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on March 2.

ANC6b Retail Mix Taskforce

ANC6b’s Retail Mix Taskforce long-delayed report will be presented to the ANC at the March 8th meeting.  Some of the recommendations will be delegated to committee and some – especially those concerning ABC – will be scheduled for action by the ANC.  One thing likely to occur at the March meeting is a vote on a motion disavowing a moratorium for Barracks Row.  For official details on the findings of the Taskforce, as reported in January on the emmcablog, see the ANC6b website.

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Bavarian Beer Garden Advances – One Small Step

Bavarian Beer Garden Advances – One Small Step

by Larry Janezich

Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) considered the historic preservation aspects of the design for the proposed Bavarian Beer Garden at the corner of 8th and L Streets, SE, and gave a qualified endorsement to the project.  They want several issues raised by Historic Preservation Office (HPO) staff addressed before giving final approval.

Amanda Molson of the HPO staff outlined the traditional character defining features of American and European beer gardens, which include “lush, loose, landscaping,” ample lighting, signage inviting patrons inside, views from the street into the garden, and long tables for communal seating.  She reported that there were three unusual elements to the project that made achieving a design compatible with the historic district challenging.

HPO staff had three areas of concern:

1)  Cohesiveness of the design.  The use of so many finishes gives the project a chaotic, unfinished appearance.  Staff recommends selecting a few key ideas to streamline the design.  They urged re-studying the door and window size and urged more clearly defining the roof deck railing through the addition of a double cornice.

2) Proportion and scale.  Staff recommends study of the elements of the roof deck railing extending beyond the roof deck vertically, paying careful attention to the corner element and rain screens on L Street and north end of 8th Street elevation.

3)  Openness of the streetscape design to 8th Street.  Staff recommends opening the venue to 8th Street rather than “turning its back” on it.  They would like to see further detailing on landscaping of public space on L Street, sidewalk seating, planter boxes on 8th Street, better lighting, and larger openings into the garden from L Street.

Ms. Molson felt that despite these concerns, the design was very close to approval, and recommended approving plan as consistent with the Historic Preservation Act after re-study of project, delegating final approval to HPO staff.

Co-owner Matt Brody responded that he was happy to eliminate rain screens above the first floor and to address number of materials, the roofline and lighting.  He said a sidewalk café is planned for the next phase of the proposal.  He noted that windows that open out to the street are expensive but responded positively to a suggestion from one HPRB architect about the use of garage doors to replace windows.  He noted that the doors were actually 8 feet tall, and wondered if the Board was saying that they are too small.

With the general recommendation that the design be formalized, simplified and streamlined, HPRB agreed unanimously that the applicants come back for a final review after addressing the issues raised in the staff report.  Chair Catherine Buell said she hoped it would be “on consent,” meaning for pro forma approval.

Next:  Retail Mix Update

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ANC6b Likely to Lawyer Up on 8th Street Bar and Grill Protest – Barracks Row Restaurant News – ANC Briefs

ANC6b Likely to Lawyer Up on 8th Street Bar and Grill Protest – Barracks Row Restaurant News – ANC Briefs

by Larry Janezich

8th Street Bar and Grill

On March 23, the Alcohol Beverage Review Administration (ABRA) will hold a protest hearing on the application for a CT (tavern) license for the 8th Street Bar and Grill, whose prospective owners hope to open in place of Capitol Hill Sporting Goods at 727 8th Street, SE.  At its November 9, 2010, meeting, ANC 6b voted 10-0 to protest the application for the new tavern license.

The applicants have been muttering about litigation.  ANC6b will likely seek legal assistance to help represent the ANC in support of its protest of the application for the tavern license.  The ABC committee will consider the issue at next Thursday’s meeting.

There is a strong antipathy against new tavern licenses on Barrack Row since a tavern license permits live music, dancing, and late hours.  The application for the 8th Street Bar and Grill states that the venue would permit dancing and five piece bands, and provide occupancy for up to 66.  Sale of alcoholic beverages would extend until 2:00am Sunday through Thursday and until 3:00am on weekends – entertainment until 12:30am during the week and until 1:30am on weekends.


Both the ANC ABC Committee and the full ANC will review at their next meetings, the voluntary agreement negotiated with Xavier Cervera, the owner of the prospective new Barracks Row restaurant, Pacificos, slated for the space now occupied by Capitol Hill Video.  The voluntary agreement was reportedly negotiated between the ANC ABC Chair Carol Greene and Cervera, after neighbors organized as Capitol Hill United decided to continue their protest against Pacificos withdrawing protests against the liquor licenses for new restaurants Nooshi and Moby Dick. Cervera appeared prepared to take his chances with ABRA despite the protest.  There was a late report that those neighbors protesting the license were meeting Tuesday night.

Senart’s Oyster House

The ANC Planning and Zoning Committee and the full ANC will consider at their next meetings, the public space application by Xavier Cervera for tables and chairs to seat 16 on the sidewalk outside the soon-to-be-opened Senart’s Oyster House.  Cervera and Karl and Carrol Kindle recently donated a large street clock to the Barracks Row streetscape to occupy a position outside the restaurant.

New Wine Bar Across from Eastern Market

Also on the agenda of the Planning and Zoning Committee and the full ANC for their next meeting, is the Historic Preservation Application for a new restaurant planned for the space currently occupied by Le Petite Gourmet, at 424 7th Street, SE.  Xavier Cervera plans a 40 foot long one story addition that will extend to the alley.  Reportedly, no agreement has yet been reached with the current lease holder for the space, or with Stanton Development, the owner of the building.  The Hill Rag, another Stanton tenant occupying the building’s second floor, will apparently remain.

The ANC ABC Committee meets on March 3, 2011, at 7:00pm at the Southeast Neighborhood Library.

The ANC Planning and Zoning Committee meets March 1, 2011, at 6:30pm at the Caesar Chavez Public Charter school at 714-722 11th Street, SE.

The full ANC meets March 8, 2011, at 6:30pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, 522 7th Street, SE.

Next up:  Hine Redevelopment and Retail Mix Update


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ANC6b Approves Conceptual Drawing for Lower 8th Street Beer Garden – Modern/Industrial Design Revealed

Preliminary Plan for the Bavarian Beer Garden on Lower 8th Street

ANC6b Approves Conceptual Drawing for Lower 8th Street Beer Garden

Modern/Industrial Design Revealed

by Larry Janezich

ANC6b overrode concerns of some commissioners regarding the proposed building design for the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L Streets, SE, and approved the concept on a 7-3 vote.  Last month, the ANC approved the establishment’s liquor license.  Owner Mark Broody and architect Matt Battin are shepherding the plan through the Historical Review Process, required because the building site is in the Capitol Hill Historic District.

The vote came on a motion by Commissioner Brian Pate to approve the plan but include a letter to the Historic Preservation Review Board listing concerns identified by commissioners, including safety, inconsistency of the design with the Historic District, and issues of window/door proportionality.

Those voting to approve:  Chair Glick, Commissioners Campbell, Critchfield, Flahaven, Frishberg, Green, and Pate.

Those opposed:  Commissioners Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg.

The proposal envisions a one story building holding up to 100 people inside and 200 outside with the roof deck and summer garden.  There will be a four and a half foot retaining wall on top of the building, wood privacy fencing, and rain screening on the sides overlooking 8th and L Streets.

On February 1, Brody and Battin brought the design before the ANC’s Planning and Zoning Committee.  The Committee heard their presentation, but voted to take no position and to refer the matter to the full ANC.  Concerns had been raised at the hearing regarding the design aspects relating to the proposed materials, the open deck, lack of letters of support, the building’s “unfinished appearance,” and lack of views showing how the building related to existing structures in the affected area.

At Tuesday night’s meeting Brody and Battin presented revised plans and drawings, letters of support, and aerial views of the neighborhood.

An early motion by Commissiuoner Oldenburg to object to the proposal to allow the owner time to refine the design in accordance with the issues raised tonight was defeated on 3 – 7 vote.

The delay was strongly opposed by Planning and Zoning Chair Francis Campbell, who said it was “unconscionable” to have had the owner come back with design modifications and letters of approval and then raise objections to the design.  Commissioners Green and Frishberg joined in opposing the motion, the first on grounds that the objections to the design issue were subjective, and the second because the reasons for sending the owner down a path requiring further revisions were not clear.

Those voting to approve the motion to object: Commissioners Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg.

Those opposed:  Chair Glick, Commissioners Campbell, Critchfield, Flahaven, Frishberg, Green, and Pate.

The Oldenburg motion was followed by a subsequent motion by Commissioner Norm Metzger, providing that the ANC take no position on the proposal.

That motion was strongly opposed by Commissioner Brian Pate who said he felt it was time to move forward on the issues and that he wanted to see something built south of the freeway which extends our community.

The Metzger motion was defeated on a 4 – 5 – 1 vote.

Those voting to take no position: Commissioners Campbell, Garrison, Metzger, and Oldenburg.

Those opposed:  Commissioners Critchfield, Flahaven, Frishberg, Green, and Pate.

Abstaining:  Chair Glick

The discussion was divided between those favoring a more cautious approach – which opponents implied was delay for the sake of delay – vs. a “let’s get something done and fix it as we go along.”

Those favoring a cautious approach warned that the ANC was voting on what might be a permanent structure in the Historic District – one whose design “isn’t ready for prime time.”  That view was offset by those who pointed out that the owner would be back before the ANC for an amendment to the liquor license to permit serving alcohol on the roof deck, providing an incentive to address the concerns raised at tonight’s meeting.


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