Menu »« Close Menu

Dupont Neighbors Warm to Condo Project, Reject Church Design

Residential design with current parish hall integrated.

Residential design with current parish hall integrated.

As neighbors of a 7-story condo building proposed for a portion of the current St. Thomas Church site in Dupont Circle, 1772 Church St., NW, warm to the revised residential design, many are now calling for changes to the proposed church design as well.

Residential Revisions

The by-right residential development will still be 7-stories, but the plan now includes set backs at several levels to reduce the feeling of height from the street. The design is about 4,000 square feet less of built space than had previously been proposed and less then the allowable size.

“We’ve substantially carved the building away from Church, P, 17th Street, etc. to separate ourselves and respect the context around us,” said Kevin Riegler, whose company CAS Riegler is developing the residential portion of the project.

The project has faced vocal opposition from a group of community members who recently flyered the polling location at the church on primary day in early April.

The architect for the residential portion, Laurence Caudle, a principal at Hickok Cole architects, described the setbacks as a “wedding-cake” approach.

“We’re open minded here, but we’ve dug pretty deep as far as various massings, scope, height, square footage etc. both the church and the residential so where we stand today is the basic envelope,” said Riegler.

Reactions were mixed, but included some praise from attendees who felt the revisions resulted in improvements in the design.

One woman called the entire project “obscene.” But another resident said he felt the architects have done a “commendable job” in creating setbacks and tweaking the design.

“I think it is a significant improvement over the previous design and I think it could work” said another neighbor.

 New Church

Neighbors called the proposed church design "suburban" and "oppressive."

Neighbors called the proposed church design “suburban” and “oppressive.”

The evolving feelings about the residential design did not apply to the new church building.

Residents called it “suburban” and “oppressive.”

One person said the design reminds them of the Brutalist Third Church of Christ on 16th St. downtown that was just recently demolished.

Several neighbors attending the event complained the church had not tried to engage the community in discussions in a meaningful way about the building program or design.

Many wore stickers that said:

“Dear St. Thomas, Your neighbors want to help. Please talk to us.”

James Clark,principal at MTFA Architects, the team that  went throughthe long planning process with the church before St.Thomas chose a developer through a request for proposals, said initially the church had envisioned programming the entire lot in church uses.

The church design has had a few adjustments since it was first presented to the community in February. Clark created new pocket parks in the front to provide a place for neighbors to sit and enjoy the open space and several elements of the 1894  historic structure will be integrated into the new building both on the exterior and interior.

Clark called the church design a “very tight program” for the various uses proposed–worship, administrative, classroom and other needs.

Ryan Winfield, chair of the building committee for the church, said the current design was not nearly as massive as previous iterations and he considered it “prudent” and “realistic.”

However, Leo Dwyer, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) for the church project area, said he was disappointed in the church’s outreach efforts.

Dwyer praised the developers for meeting with, listening too and making adjustments based on the community.

“The church should be doing the exact same thing,” said Dwyer.

Winfield agreed to set up a meeting for the community to provide feedback on the church design.

“There’s room for tweaking,” said Winfield.

Historic Structure

Riegler said his plan is to file with the Historic Preservation Board (HPRB) to potentially appear on the agenda for the board’s May meeting. That would involve presenting to the ANC zoning committee on May 7th and then at the full ANC May 14.

Caudle acknowledged that the “big lift” for the project in terms of approval is the requested partial demolition of the existing parish hall and the relocation and reintegration of the remaining portion of the arson-destroyed church.

Riegler said they are trying to fine an “artful way” to integrate historic elements of the old church building into the project.

The current plan is to  remove about 20% of the current structure, a 1920s church hall, that has served as a community and worship space since. The facade would be incorporated into the base of the new residential project.

“I have not heard one person—literally one person—say that they think that the existing parish hall is a beautiful, contributing historic structure,” said Caudle.

Still he said they recognize the “merits” of the facade and are hoping the board will agree with the plan.

“We don’t know whether that works for the board or not. We don’t know how much of the building we can take down” said Caudle.

They could get the answer to those questions as soon as May should HPRB take up the review at the May 22 meeting.

 Read more:

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

U Street ANC Committee Backs Commercial Use for Grimke

U Street ANC Committee Backs Commercial Use for Grimke

The future of the Grimke School at 1923 Vermont Ave. NW and a parking lot at 920 U Street would involve commercial and arts/museum uses rather than residential, if many in the community had their druthers.

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development could seek development proposals for the District-owned sites near U Street by the summer.

The Grimke School on Vermont Avenue is zoned R4 (church, residential or school) and the property’s estimated assessment is $9.1 million. The parking lot falls within the U and& 14th Streets Arts Overlay and is zoned C-2-B/Arts (residential, retail, mixed use). It is anticipated that proposals and a winning developer will include plans for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) to allow zoning exceptions that are earned through providing a range of community benefits.

The U Street Advisory Neighborhood Commission design committee voted to back the Grimke Redevelopment Community Working Group’s entire statement of goals for redevelopment at the historic building and nearby property. (See: Grimke Community Goals Approved 010714)

Last month the group sought the ANC’s endorsement of its  goals , but the ANC delayed the decision to seek additional input.

Monday the committee “overwhelmingly” backed the working group and called for development parameters reflective of those goals to be included in the request for proposal (RFP) for the site, expected in the next few months, according to an email from the working group coordinator, Jeffrey Willis.

Of note from Monday’s meeting was DMPED’s clarification that the development team would need to provide a free, full build-out for the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, which a covenant for the property that would require any future development of the site include 10,000 square feet for the museum. The RFP will not specify the rate of rent the developer can charge the museum.

The full ANC could take up the committee’s suggestion at its May meeting and any statement from the full ANC would be attached to the RFP.

Read more: 

Photo by Tony Azios for District Source.

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Pizza, Parts & Service Opens on H Street

Pizza, Parts & Service, the latest restaurant from the Taylor Gourmet team, opens on H Street, NE today at 1320 H St. NE.

The pizza restaurant occupies that space previously home to  Steak & Ice, also by the Taylor Gourmet team.

The menu features a selection of red, white and specialty pizzas that boast  dough that is made in-house twice a day.

See the menu here:  http://pizzapartsandservice.com/

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Grimke Sites Could Bring 95,000 Square Feet to U Street

Grimke Sites Could Bring 95,000 Square Feet to U Street

The Grimke School site at 1923 Vermont Ave. NW and a parking lot at 920 U Street could bring as much as 95,000 square feet of new uses to the U Street neighborhood.

The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED)is preparing a request for proposals for the redevelopment of the two properties. The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum has a covenant for the property that would require any future development of the site include 10,000 square feet for the museum.

The Grimke School on Vermont Avenue is zoned R4 (church, residential or school) and the property’s estimated assessment is $9.1 million. The parking lot falls within the U and& 14th Streets Arts Overlay and is zoned C-2-B/Arts (residential, retail, mixed use).

The 95,000 figure comes from the maximum build-out of the existing structures:

  • 52,000 Main building
  • 14,000 Gym/Museum (main floor plus expansion to basement)
  • 29,000 Parking lot if built to allowable five levels

DMPED and community groups anticipate the future developer will pursue alternate uses from those strictly provided in the current zoning and will go through the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process  to allow zoning exceptions that are earned through providing a range of community benefits.

The Grimke Redevelopment Community Working Group, which has the support of two neighborhood associations, has expressed a preference for daytime use–preferably commercial, arts or non-profit– and opposed residential, restaurant/bar, hotel or school uses.  (See: Grimke Community Goals Approved 010714)Last month they tried to secure the endorsement of the ANC for its list of goals and preferences for the historic school building’s future use, but the ANC delayed the decision to seek additional input.

The ANC opted to seek out additional public input on the RFP and what people would want the commission to provide as guidance for the DMPED’s office.

DMPED’s timeline had been to issue the solicitation by the end of April with responses due by June and a decision by the fall or the end of the calendar year. They have altered the plans to reflect the extra time requested by the ANC.

The ANC Design Committee meets tonight, at 6:30 at the Thurgood Marshall Center 1816 12th St. NW.

Read more: 

Photo by Tony Azios for District Source.

 

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

H Street Church Goes Commercial

The former St. John Church of God at 1301 H St. NE could become a restaurant, bank or retail shop. Image from Papadopoulos Properties leasing brochure.

The former St. John Church of God at 1301 H St. NE could become a restaurant, bank or retail shop. Image from Papadopoulos Properties leasing brochure.

The new owners of a former church at 1301 H St. NE are looking for tenants ranging from a restaurant or sidewalk cafe to a bank. The church sold for $2.2 million in January and Papadopoulos Properties is now marketing the property for lease for the landlord.

The former St. John Church of God offers 5,500 square feet in the building and a 2,300 square foot space for a possible courtyard dining area in addition to space at the corner of H and 13th street, NE for a patio, according to the leasing brochure from Papadopoulos.

John Gogos , who handles retail leasing for Papadopoulos Properties, said the site has room for seven parking spaces at the rear once the existing shed is demolished.

Gogos said the former church is a “very unique” property for the corridor and offers flexibility to fit the right tenant or tenants. Parking is a valuable commodity, though a restaurant tenant could choose to make that space a courtyard instead.

The space could be broken into two leases and that there has been interest from pilates/yoga studios to potentially lease the basement space.

If not a restaurant or bank, Gogos said he could see neighborhood-serving retail thrive at that location.

“I think a furniture store along H Street would do great,” said Gogos.

“Everyone needs some place to go to buy a couch,” he added, noting the many new condo and apartment tenants moving in along the corridor. 

The property has been looking for a tenant for nearly six months, a length of time for which Gogos blamed the long, harsh winter. (And who isn’t blaming winter 2014 for most headaches at this point?)

“I am hoping [interest] will pick up now that it’s in the spring,” said Gogos.

You can learn more about 1301 H St. NE here

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

St. Thomas Condo Developers Meet with Community Monday

 

Conceptual massing of condo as seen from 18th Street. Image extracted from town hall meeting presentation.

Conceptual massing of condo as seen from 18th Street. Image extracted from town hall meeting presentation.

CAS Riegler, the developers of the proposed condo project at St. Thomas Church in Dupont Circle, will meet with the community Monday to discuss their ongoing plans and their designs for 1772 Church St., NW.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church chose CAS Riegler as a development partner to help fund the construction of a new church building on the site of the historic church, which was mostly destroyed by arson in 1970. The current structure does not meet the needs of the parish, lacking basic amenities like an elevator for disabled parishioners or funerals.

Under the agreement the developers will pursue a by-right development  on the church’s 15,610 square foot property on Church Street and the church would sell two lots totaling 1,700 square feet on P Street to the developer for a later project. As a matter of right the condo can be seven-stories with an maximum of 58 units.

The project has faced vocal opposition from a group of community members who recently flyered the polling location at the church on primary day earlier this month. The flyer stated, “We support the Church’s desire to rebuild, but THERE IS A BETTER WAY!”

Monday’s meeting is another outreach effort on the part of the developers to address community concerns about the project. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership at 1528 18th St. NW.

Read more:

The new Church building in the forefront of this conceptual massing. Image extracted from town hall meeting presentation.

The new Church building in the forefront of this conceptual massing. Image extracted from town hall meeting presentation.

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Dupont CVS Files Permit for Escalator, Medical Offices

The Dupont CVS has big plans to expand.

The Dupont CVS has big plans to expand.

The CVS at 6 Dupont Circle has plans to expand into the neighboring space that include adding an escalator and new medical offices.

The permit application states:

“CVS Retail Pharmacy interior fit-out alteration and expansion to include new accessory use medical offices. Additional work to include partial roof repair, equipment, interior stairs and the installation of an escalator. Upgrade mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems per installations and relocations.”

The spokesperson for CVS was not able to provide additional information at this time, but said more details would be made available in the next few months.

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Brookland Pint Eyes ‘July-ish’ Opening

Brookland sign at Monroe Street Market. Photo by flickr user Mr.TinDC.

Brookland sign at Monroe Street Market. Photo by flickr user Mr.TinDC.

Brookland Pint, a new restaurant and bar by the team behind popular Meridian Pint in Columbia Heights, hopes to open in “July-ish” at its location in the Monroe Street Market development, according to restaurateur John Andrade.

Much like his other restaurants Meridian Pint and Smoke and Barrel (in Adams Morgan), Andrade said his new venture will offer a menu featuring craft beer and American food.  They will be open for lunch and dinner daily and will offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

“We are a very community-centric, family-minded restaurant group,” said Andrade, adding he hopes to bring that same environment to Brookland.

The Brookland location– 716 Monroe Street, NE–will have seating for 118 inside and 48 outside. Brookland Pint will occupy 4,200 square feet  in the center of Brookland Works, at the end of the Arts Walk in the new development by The Bozzuto Group.

The owners already received approval for a liquor license from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. Andrade said the opening depends on construction timelines.

Read more related:

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

El Camino Sails Through ANC

El Camino will soon join this block of Rhode Island Ave. NW in Bloomingdale. Photo by carfreedc on flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/carfreedc/

El Camino will soon join this block of Rhode Island Ave. NW in Bloomingdale. Photo by carfreedc on flickr.

El Camino, a new Latin restaurant and bar coming to 108 Rhode Island Avenue, NW in Bloomingdale, got  support for its liquor license application from the  Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 5E) at a meeting Tuesday.

Owners Tony Lucca and Phil Rodriguez are also the brains behind Sticky Rice on H Street, NE.

The new restaurant will have capacity for 49 people inside–43 seats at tables and 6 spots at a bar– and plans a sidewalk seating area with room for 12.

The menu will include Mexican, Latin, and American food and they will offer entertainment to include DJs and small live bands of four or fewer members, according to their liquor license application.

The new restaurant will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

El Camino will be the latest arrival on the block, located next to Grassroots Gourmet bakery and just a few doors down from Boundary Stone.

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration hearing date is June 25 at 1:30 p.m. at 2000 14th St., N.W., 400 South.

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Pub and the People Closes in on Liquor License

 

The Pub and The People will be located at 1648 North Capitol St. NW in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. Image courtesy of The Pub and The People.

The Pub and The People will be located at 1648 North Capitol St. NW in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. Image courtesy of The Pub and The People.

The Pub and The People, a new bar and restaurant proposed for North Capitol and R streets NW in Bloomingdale, is a step closer to securing its liquor license and patio seating approval after the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5E (ANC) meeting Tuesday.

The new restaurant is seeking a total occupancy of 224, including a request for as many as 125 seats outside. Inside the restaurant will have 70 seats initially and will later expand to 99 seats once the basement area is finished and up to code for occupancy.

The team behind the new venture are already part of D.C.’s emerging food scene. Jeremy Gifford, a partner at The Pub and The People, also owns of DC Reynolds on Georgia Avenue and the Chef Dan Dalcin is currently the sous chef at BlackSalt.

Commissioner Teri Janine Quinn said the  ANC has been negotiating a settlement agreement to define the allowable hours and the expectations of the new bar, but it was not finalized due to ongoing discussions between the owners and a resident who shares a wall with the new institution.

“We’re basically done”said Quinn, who added that the agreement was all but signed as of Tuesday.

The ANC moved to send the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) both the settlement agreement and a protest notice.

Quinn explained should ABRA accept the terms of the settlement agreement, the license would be approved and The Pub and The People could move forward with its plans. However, if the board changes the agreement in a substantial way that results in either the owners or the ANC rejecting the new agreement terms, the protest notice will allow the ANC to be a part of any future hearing on the matter.

Pending a liquor license and necessary permits, the owners hope to open by October 1. The Pub and the People will be located at 1648 North Capitol St. NW.

Read more: The Pub and The People Seeks 125 Outdoor Patio Seats on North Capitol Street

EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedIn