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Two More Historic Mt. Vernon Triangle Buildings to be Relocated

Two More Historic Mt. Vernon Triangle Buildings to be Relocated

Douglas Development wants to relocate and preserve two more historic Mt. Vernon Triangle buildings–bringing the total for their project to four–as part of the second phase of their major office development at 655 New York Ave. NW. The project architect is Shalom Baranes Associates.

The two buildings at 605 and 607 New York Ave. NW would be moved to the western edge of the site, placing them adjacent to an 1880s livery stable structure at 621-25 New York, next to which one of the previously relocate buildings,  639 New York Ave. NW now sits.

The D.C. Historic Preservation Office (HPO) staff report supports relocating the two buildings to make way for the new office structure proposed by Douglas.

“…It would locate these small scaled buildings adjacent to and clustered with similarly sized historic buildings that would create a stronger critical mass of historic buildings rather than have them separated from other historic buildings by a large infill building,” the HPO staff report states.

The new office building  would share parking and a loading entrance with the first phase of the project, currently under construction.

Douglas is not the only developer moving parts around Mt. Vernon Triangle. As we previously reported, IBG Partners moved 465 New York Avenue about 30 feet and is incorporating the renovated 1902 building it into the new Homewood Suites hotel currently under construction.

Thursday the Historic Preservation Review Board will review Douglas’ request to demolish four non-historic structures on the site and to move the two additional historic structures.

Featured image is 655 New York Ave. NW rendering from Douglas Development’s project webpage

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Adams Morgan Affordable Housing Goes Solar with $1.4 Million Renovation

Photos from the ribbon cutting for Ontario Court. Image from Jubilee Housing's Facebook page.

Photos from the ribbon cutting for Ontario Court. Image from Jubilee Housing’s Facebook page.

Adams Morgan affordable housing development, Ontario Court, celebrated its recent $1.4 million renovation which preserves 27 affordable residential units and makes it among the first affordable housing buildings in the city to install solar panels on the roof.  During a ribbon cutting Friday the project team and local officials converged on the property at 2525 Ontario Rd. NW to recognize its creative financing through both public and private resources.

“We are so pleased by this renovation,” said Jim Knight, president of Jubilee Housing in a prepared statement. “Not only does it guarantee a place in the neighborhood for another generation of families, but it creates new opportunities for those who are handicapped and makes Ontario Court a part of the greening of the city. We are grateful to our partners for their creativity and expertise in making this project work.”

In addition to the solar panels, which are expected to help offset some of the building’s utility costs, the renovation included the addition of new handicapped ramps,  five handicapped-accessible units and other improvements like hardwood flooring and kitchen upgrades. 

The Ontario is part of non-profit Jubilee Housing’s ongoing investment in Adams Morgan and in economically disadvantaged residents of the District. Despite the investment in renovations, the building can offer units affordable for families making as little as $19,000 a year; the renovation financing will maintain that level of affordability for 30 years, according to a press release. The project  benefited from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

 

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Dupont’s St. Thomas Project Approved, Height Refinements Still Needed

Dupont’s St. Thomas Project Approved, Height Refinements Still Needed

CAS Riegler‘s proposed redevelopment of historic St. Thomas Episcopal church in Dupont Circle faces ongoing design refinements as community members and the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) continue to call for a reduction in the overall height and scale of the new church and residential development at Church and P Streets, NW.

Thursday the project was slated for the HPRB consent agenda, but the board opted to comment on the latest design iteration before taking a vote. The board called on the developers and their architect Hickok Cole Architects to continue working with Historic Preservation Office staff to “reduce the presence” of the project particularly its perception from a pedestrian level.

Chair Gretchen Pfaehler said the height needs to be “even less understood and present along Church Street.”

The Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) passed a resolution at its most recent meeting in which it continued to oppose the project as designed because of the height and perceived massing. The ANC called for the visible parts of the building to be between 40 and 59 feet tall, reflecting earlier comments from the HPRB about potential appropriate heights for the project.

During her comments, Pfaehler noted that the 40-59-foot discussion during previous reviews was “not a datum point,” meaning she did not necessarily want the developers to abide by those exact numbers. Rather Pfaehler emphasized the importance of refining the pedestrian scale of the project

The board voted 4 to 1 to approve the project, pending ongoing design refinements to be worked out between staff and the developer.

St. Thomas perspective view Church Street, June 2015.

St. Thomas perspective view Church Street, June 2015.

 

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Ivy City School Subject of Next Community Redevelopment Process

Crummell School

The Crummell School in Ivy City. Image from the Facebook Page Campaign to Save the Crummell School.

Around the corner from Greenhat Gin distillery and a few blocks from the brand new Mom’s Organic Market in Ivy City sits the Crummell School, the subject of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s latest “Our RFP” project. The city plans to seek redevelopment offers for the school building and its vacant lot at 1900 Gallaudet St, NE.

The building served as a school for the largely African-American population of Ivy City from 1911 to 1977 and was later used for a variety of community purposes. During the Gray administration the school was slated to become a new bus depot for buses traveling between New York and D.C., but that plan was ultimately nixed following intense community pushback in 2012.

A group of residents are using Facebook to organize in support of a new community center at the former school.

The school building is a landmarked structure recognized both by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board and National Register of Historic Places. Any future redevelopment would be required to restore and incorporate the historic structure into the new project. You can learn more about the history of the school and its relationship to the community here.

The Bowser administration is seeking community feedback on the future development of the Crummell School site prior to releasing a request for proposals for redevelopment. The first meeting is July 29 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Bethesda Baptist Church, 1808 Capitol Ave. NE.

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465 New York Tops Out, Hotel Delivery Expected February 2016

465 New York Tops Out, Hotel Delivery Expected February 2016

Donohoe Construction Company and ABI Construction placed the final beams at the top of IBG Partners’ new Homewood Suites hotel coming to 465 New York Ave. NW in Mt. Vernon Tringle on July 16. The new hotel, designed by WDG Architecture* with construction designs by BBGM, will include 160 rooms in a 13-story building with three levels of below-grade parking.

The topping out brings the building to its highest point and marks a significant step in its construction, which began in April 2014.

The 95,303 square-foot hotel is notable both for the continuity it brings to the north side of New York Avenue–filling a gap adjacent to the Yale Steam Laundry condominium and Yale West apartments also by developer IBG Partners–and for its inclusion of an historic home in the building design.

Last July specialist firm Expert Home Movers moved the 1902 townhouse about 30 feet west on the site via 20 hydraulic motorized dollies with a total of 160 wheels. IBG Partners are restoring the historic structure as part of the project.

The hotel is slated to open in February 2016.

Featured image courtesy of Donohoe Construction Company.

*Editor’s Note: This article has been corrected to note that the hotel was designed by WDG Architecture. BBGM did the construction drawings.

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Contentious Hine School Project will be ‘Connective Tissue’ for Eastern Market

Hine School Groundbreaking, from left to right ANC Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, Ken Goulding of Stanton Development, Mayor Muriel Bowser, EastBanc's Anthony Lanie, Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, DMPED Brian Kenner and former Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells.

Hine School Groundbreaking, from left to right ANC Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, Ken Goulding of Stanton Development, Mayor Muriel Bowser, EastBanc’s Anthony Lanie, Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, DMPED Brian Kenner and former Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells.

When the Hine School delivers in 2017, it will have been more than nine years since the District government under then Mayor Adrian Fenty issued a request for proposals to redevelop the middle school sitting on a prominent lot across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Eastern Market Metro. Friday, developers, community leaders and city officials celebrated the groundbreaking for the new development project that will bring 116 market-rate units, 46 affordable housing units, retail and office space to Eastern Market.

“These things generally start off with a clever developer, a stupid city and a victimized neighborhood. And this was no different,”  said developer Anthony Lanier of EastBanc to knowing laughs from those gathered in attendance.

Lanier said the project was moving forward because the community, city and the developers were able to work through their issues and come together as a team. After numerous legal disputes, that is, of course*.

One speaker after another credited the dogged determination of community leaders to get the most out of the project and the developers’ compromises to find an agreeable balance between maximizing an urban infill, transit-oriented development and respecting the historic neighbor around it.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said despite the at-times contentious nature of the negotiations between developers and communities, projects are “almost always better for it.”

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg said the project would enhance the greater Capitol Hill community.

Acknowledging that there were and still are those who are unhappy with the density and mass of the building to come, Oldenburg said she hopes when it is completed the new “economic vitality” the development will bring will help change those perspectives.

“We can stand here and see its future before us,” said Bowser as she stood 50 yards from a ditch filled with rubble, surrounded by construction vehicles on a site where six weeks ago stood a middle school.

Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, who was involved in the project from the beginning as chief of staff for then Councilman Tommy Wells, said he did not think the day would come but he was glad that it had.

“It will be the connective tissue between Barracks Row and Eastern Market,” said Allen.

The project is slated to begin excavation work within the month and will deliver in summer of 2017.

Artfully arranged construction equipment.

Artfully arranged construction equipment.

*Editor’s Note: This article incorrectly stated there were numerous lawsuits. There was one lawsuit with several rounds of appeals. H/t @RosinaPhoto for keeping us honest.

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Tenant Group: Developers Want to Create ‘Instant Georgetown’ throughout DC

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A D.C. tenant advocacy group is calling out developers for “displacing low, fixed, moderate income people” and rallying support for the tenants of Museum Square–the Mt. Vernon Triangle apartment building at the center of a dispute between largely low-income tenants and the property owner who wants to redevelop the building.

D.C. Tenants’ Advocacy Coalition (TENAC) called on residents of the District to contact the District Council in support of the Museum Square tenants and in support of affordable housing throughout the city in a press release issued Thursday.

Museum Square tenants, many of whom make up what remains of D.C.’s Chinatown population, received notice last summer that property owner, the Bush Companies, planned to sell the building and its land and that they by law had the opportunity to purchase their units first.  The owners of Museum Square filed a $250 million Offer of Sale with the District government in June 2014 simultaneously notifying they could exercise their rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) at that price, which came to about $830,000 per unit in the 302-unit building.

Lawsuits between the tenants and the owners and the owners and the city ensued. The tenants won a law suit in April when a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled that the owners of Museum Square violated TOPA with its $250 million offering.  But that victory may not be enough to keep the tenants in their homes: in September, Bush Companies’ Section 8 contract with the federal government will expire.

Tenants recently held a rally to draw attention to their cause.

“Even if the owners are successful in opting out of the Section 8 contract, tenants plan to use vouchers to remain in the building,” according to a press release about the rally from the Legal Aid Society of DC.

“Canceling the Section 8 contract would be a blow to the tenants, a significant loss of affordable housing in DC, damaging to the priorities of Mayor Bowser and the Council, and only an empty victory for the owners. Tenants are asking the District to intervene to help them save the building and preserve the subsidies.”

TENAC also balked at the TOPA offering, saying developers through the city want to convert D.C.’s neighborhoods into an “Instant Georgetown” at the expense of affordable housing.

“What’s happening at Museum Square is what’s happening all over the city – and that is developers taking over every rental property in sight, redeveloping them so only the rich can afford them,” the organization wrote in a press release. 

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The Wharf ‘Bottoms Out’ as Excavation Work Wraps Up

Wharf Aerial

Hoffman-Madison Waterfront celebrated the end of excavation work for the new 24-acre, mile-long, mixed-use project known as The Wharf along the Southwest Waterfront in a “bottoming out” ceremony Thursday morning. The project broke ground in March 2014 and the first phase is expected to deliver in the third quarter of 2017.

“After nearly a decade of planning, site work, excavation and preparation, this milestone signifies how far we’ve come and how close we are now to offering the District … a standard bearer for urban waterfronts across the country,” said Monty Hoffman of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront in a prepared statement. 

Clark Construction can be credited with the development progress to date. The master planner for the massive project–set to eventually deliver 3.2 million square feet of residential, office, hotel, retail, cultural, and public uses–is Perkins Eastman.

In prepared remarks, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton called The Wharf “the most critical infrastructure project for this quadrant and for this city.”

The District has invested significantly in the project, providing a $198 million in tax increment financing (TIF) for The Wharf to help with the initial infrastructure–from streets to sewer to water.  A TIF is a financing tool that allows the District of Columbia to sell bonds based on a development’s future taxes and to then use the bond money to help pay a portion of the developer’s construction costs.  The Wharf is expected to generate nearly $50 million in taxes annually, based on estimated revenue from real estate sales, retail sales, hotels and income from new residential units. 

Commercial leasing began in November and during the bottoming out ceremony Thursday, the development team announced they had signed their first tenant: the American Psychiatric Association has signed on for 63,000 square feet of office space at 800 Maine Avenue, SW.

Last month the development team noted the “topping out” of the building that will be the very first to deliver in the project, the residential project 525 Water. The new five-story, 105,000-square-foot, 108-unit condominium will deliver in the summer of 2016.

Hoffman said the project is “on pace” with its construction timeline. 

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1,500 Residential Units Envisioned for Strip Mall at Rhode Island Avenue Metro

1,500 Residential Units Envisioned for Strip Mall at Rhode Island Avenue Metro

MRP Residential wants to transform a strip mall anchored by Big Lots and Formal Mills at the Rhode Island Avenue Metro into a new mixed-use development with 245,000 square feet of retail and 1,555 residential units through a six-phase development project. The project team is pursuing a planned unit development (PUD) from the D.C. Zoning Commission. Urban Turf first reported this development.

The project would involve razing the existing strip mall and extending the streetscape through the property, including six new blocks. The project will take advantage of the property’s location next to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro and the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT). A fully-integrated bike network will connect the MBT with the existing 4th Street bike lanes.

The entire six-phase project will result in seven new buildings each with ground-floor retail. Designs by SK & I Architecture call for 90-foot buildings throughout.

The first phase would be two structures at the eastern portion of the site adjacent to the metro station. Building 1A would have 212 units and Building 1B would have 133. Both structures would provide below-grade parking, with 141 spaces beneath Building 1A  and 222 space beneath Building 1B. The developers are in conversations with a gym that might serve as the anchor tenant for one of the two initial buildings, according to documents filed at the Zoning Commission.

In going before the Zoning Commission, the project is seeking flexibility in both timing of the development and on interim uses.

For instance, the applicants propose that within two years of approval of the first stage, the project team must file a building permit for one of the initial two buildings and must begin construction within three years or any order being issued. Then the applicants would have to apply for a building permit for the second building within 1 year of the first building getting its certificate of occupancy.

Because of the extended timeline, the developers are asking for use flexibility to activate the sections of the site not under construction. They suggest they might use the land for “farmers market, passive recreation space and low scale retail” in the interim.

In short, this could be a long time in the making.

An illustration of the general site plan. Image from Zoning documents.

An illustration of the general site plan. Image from Zoning documents.

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Hine School Redevelopment Underway: Demolition and Groundbreaking

The Hine School demolition by the numbers.

The Hine School demolition by the numbers.

Friday Stanton-EastBanc, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new mixed-use project on the the site of the recently-demolished Hine School in Eastern Market.

By 2017 a new mixed-use development with office space, local retail, 46 units of affordable housing and 116 market-rate units will take its place.

Clark Construction Group began demolition work in June. In the next month, workers will begin excavating the site and by the end of the year concrete work will commence, according to Mary Reft, a project engineer for Clark Construction Group. The concrete outline of the building should top out by Summer 2016 and the project is slated to deliver by Summer 2017.

 

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