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RFK Future Development Study to Go to Brailsford and Dunlavey

DC United RFKEvents D.C. will award a contract to study the possible future development of the Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Memorial Stadium (including its parking lots) and the non‐military portions of the D.C. Armory to Brailsford & Dunlavey, The Washington Business Journal reports.

Events D.C. first issued a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) in November of last year and responses were due in January. Seven teams responded.

The RFEI sought respondents to study the possible redevelopment of/uses for the RFK campus and to possibly execute those development plans.

Events D.C. has not officially announced the selection of Brailsford & Dunlavey, but the business journal confirmed the selection with spokeswoman Teri Washington.

The selected company has worked with local universities like George Washington University, Howard University, Georgetown University, Catholic University of America with projects including athletic facilities analyses, strategic development plans, developer selection assistance and campus, athletic and recreation master plans.

“All of the seven respondents understood how important it was for us to ensure that we have community input” said Eric Moses, managing director of Events DC’s Sports and Entertainment Division, at a community meeting in April.

 

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CAS Riegler and MidAtlantic Realty Partners to Develop Brookland Metro Sites

A vision for the Brookland-CUA Metrorail Station sites.

A vision for the Brookland-CUA Metrorail Station sites.

Metro awarded the development rights for two sites at the Brookland-CUA Metrorail Station to a joint venture comprised of MidAtlantic Realty Partners (MRP) and CAS Riegler Companies, the agency announced Monday. The Brookland site is the second of five such sites for which the agency sought joint development responses.

MRP and CAS Riegler beat out proposals from Donatelli Development, A&R / Urban Atlantic, and Four Points to redevelop the Brookland site and in June the team was also selected for Metro’s Navy Yard Chiller site.

The proposed Brookland project will bring 280 residential units, 9,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a new Metro kiss-and-ride facility to two sites near the Brookland Metro. The north site would have about 150 units and the south site would bring 130 units, according to a community proposal presentation from May.

Pending approval by Metro’s Board of Directors and the District’s various regulatory agencies, construction could begin in 2016, according to a press release from Metro.

When Metro first announced its joint development solicitation in November, neighborhood groups started a petition to save the Brookland Green, located just east of the existing kiss and ride, from redevelopment.

Metro assures area residents the Brookland Green will not be impacted by the development and will instead become a public park owned and managed by the District government.

“It’s heartening that the voice of the community was heard and that green park space is going to be preserved. This new project will continue the transformation of Brookland into a thriving and modern destination neighborhood,” says Laura Bowman Pimentel*, a local Realtor and resident of the nearby neighborhood of Woodridge.

Metro's parcels near the Brookland-CUA Metrorail Station.

Metro’s parcels near the Brookland-CUA Metrorail Station.

*Editor’s Note:  Laura Bowman Pimentel is a Realtor at  Lindsay Reishman Real Estate, which is the sponsor of District Source. Here’s how that works.

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H.R. 57 Eyes New Home Near Howard Theater

625 T St. NW is a District-owned lot that could become H.R. 57's new location. Photo courtesy of Peter Courtney.

625 T St. NW is a District-owned lot that could become H.R. 57′s new location. Photo courtesy of Peter Courtney.

Venerable D.C. jazz institution H.R. 57 wants the bring the music a little closer to its roots as owner Tony Puesan closes his H Street location and plans to bid on a District-owned parking lot across from the Howard Theater at 625 T St. NW, according to an exclusive interview between Puesan and CapitalBop.

“We are in the midst of negotiating for a spot that we would consider historic—next to the Duke Ellington statue, right across from the Howard Theatre,” Puesan told CapitalBop.

The District purchased the lot in 2012 for $775,000 with plans to solicit bids for development. In 2014 the land was assessed at $567,680.
Though Mayor Vincent Gray issued an executive order in 2012 to solicit offer for development, the site did not make the list of properties up for solicitation until FY 2014.  The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) has not yet issued that solicitation.

DMPED spokeswoman Chandra Washington told Capitol Bop her agency should issue a request for proposals for the 2,200 square-foot lot just south of Florida Avenue, NW in the “near future,” but noted the process would be a competitive one, meaning there’s no guarantee Puesan will be the winning proposal.

DMPED records from 2013 indicate the District would consider selling or leasing the lot, “site to be conveyed to selected development team by ground lease or fee simple transfer.”

For his part Puesan is not worried about a little bit of competition. “We have our bid ready to go,” he said.

Click here to read the full report by CapitalBop.

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Online Alcohol Orders Now Legal in D.C.

DSC_3795 (700x466)Less than two months after the District government told online alcohol vendorUltra, to cease and desist operations, the The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) has paved the way for legal sales via unlicensed websites and smartphone applications.

The new guidelines limit companies to connecting users to District alcohol retailers and promoting retailers’ products. They cannot take orders for beverages, store their own supplies for sale to consumers or collecting any money or fees for the sale of alcohol.

So companies can act as middlemen between licensed liquor stores and customers, but can’t stockpile booze to sell via app without a license from the District.

“The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) recently reviewed several technology businesses that partner with liquor-licensed retailers to provide alcohol order and delivery services,” according to a press release.

ABRA advised two such companies, Drizly and Klink there business models were on the right side of the law in D.C. The release did not mention Ultra, but company founder Aniket Shah tells DCist “they’ll be back in business in a few days.”

Want to understand the new guidelines? Check our ABRA’s quick guide.

Next time you wonder what your tax dollars are paying for again, remember your civil servants made sure you could order extra beer to your party without having to leave on a beer run.

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Stanton-EastBanc Hine Development Can Move Forward Following Favorable Court Ruling

Hine project site in Eastern Market. Image courtesy of Stanton-EastBanc.

Hine project site in Eastern Market. Image courtesy of Stanton-EastBanc.

The proposed redevelopment of the Hine School site in Eastern Market can now begin following a ruling by the D.C Court of Appeals Thursday in favor of the the development team, Stanton-EastBanc. The project, which received approval from the Zoning Commission in October 2012 and was reaffirmed in March 2013, has been on hiatus pending the ruling on an appeal by three neighbors supported by two community organizations who opposed the mixed-use proposal.

Stanton-EastBanc proposes a $150 million development with office space, retail and more than 130 units of housing, to include as many as 46 affordable units. The team was chosen through a competitive bid process for redeveloping the site initiated by the District government in 2008.

Ground floor retail and office spaces would line Pennsylvania Avenue SE across from the Eastern Market Metro Plaza as well as 7th Street, SE leading to the historic Eastern Market building. A residential building would sit on 8th Street, facing existing townhomes and a second residential building built to the north of a newly-reconnected C Street, SE will be entirely affordable housing. The northern building will sit on the site currently occupied by the temporary Fragers Hardware garden shop.

The requested height and massing of the new project required zoning map amendments from the Zoning Commission to allow a development much taller than the mostly two- and three-story homes in the immediate neighborhood. The team requested the site be redefined as medium density, which generally allows a planned unit development project to build up to 90 feet. However,  the developers also requested approval for a portion of the project to rise to 94.5 feet for mechanical equipment like the elevator. This became the biggest issue for nearby residents and was among the primary concerns raised during both the Zoning Commission process and the ultimate appeal to the court.

In their appeal, the residents in opposition argued the Zoning Commission did not sufficiently consider the impact the tall, dense project would have on nearby homes. The court, however, did not agree.

“Although the record contains many objections to the project’s size, it is also replete
with evidence upon which the Zoning Commission based its conclusion to the
contrary. We therefore reject petitioners’ claim,” the order reads.

Alex Golding, Vice President at Stanton Development, said the decision’s significance cannot be understated.

“We’ve been waiting 11 months,” said Golding about the appeal decision. “We have everything ready and can now move forward.”

The team already has permit documents drawn up and will need to now secure financing and file permit requests so they can begin construction.

Work on remediation of the site and possibly demolition of the old school building could begin as soon as this fall.

Though the development team has been trying to secure leases for the office space, now that they can offer firmer dates for completion, which will make it easier to lock-in leases.

Golding estimates the soonest the 27-month-long project could deliver would be early 2017.

 

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Mt. Vernon Mural Saved, Condo Construction Coming Soon

The mural conservator hard at work. Photo courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington.

The mural conservator hard at work. Photo courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington.

Now that an historic mural on the interior of a former synagogue in Mt. Vernon is being safely removed for preservation, the new six-unit condo planned for the site, 415 M St. NW and its adjoining lot, will be able to start construction, pending permits.

A professional conservation team has spent much of the week painstakingly removing the last remnant of Shomrei Shabbos–a small synagogue that probably consisted of a handful of eastern European Jewish families. The mural–painted some 90 years ago on an interior wall–will be relocated to theJewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW), which raised the necessary $20,000 for the restoration project.

The mural’s rescue was also made possible by the current owners of 415 M St. NW,  BlackRock Holdings, Inc., which bought the historic home in 2013.

“On the one hand we knew that a proper restoration of the nearly 160 year old building would necessitate a full gut of the existing structure.  On the other hand we knew such drastic renovation and repair would destroy this beautiful and historic mural of which we were now de-facto custodians.  None of us wanted to be a party to that kind of destruction,” said Patrick Moran, managing partner of BlackRock Holdings, in a previous interview with District Source.

With a little help from the D.C. Historic Preservation Office (HPO), the developers were able to connect with JHSGW to discuss how to save the mural without standing in the way of the project.

BlackRock was in the midst of historic review and permitting when the fundraising campaign began, putting the campaign for the mural on a bit of a time squeeze.  But JHSGW was able to raise its funds before BlackRock received its building permit–which are still pending approval with various District agencies according to online permit records.

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Douglas Development Topping Out on 14th Street

Douglas Development's  2221 14th St. NW. Photo Courtesy of Shane Reeder.

Douglas Development’s 2221 14th St. NW. Photo Courtesy of  local realtor Shane Reeder.

Douglas Development is topping out on its six-story residential project at 2221 14th St. NW (corner of Florida Avenue and 14th Street, NW), reaching the roof top level this week after first beginning construction just over a year ago in April 2013.

The project will bring 30 new luxury apartments and 2,700 square feet of ground floor retail  to the site of a former used car lot just north of U Street.  The building will offer 10 spaces of below-grade parking and amenities like balconies for several units as well as two roof top terraces.

“We are excited to contribute to neighborhoods with enormous potential or certain needs, such as more luxury apartment buildings near the U Street corridor,” said Senior Vice President of Douglas Development, Norman Jemal, in a press release about the project last year.

The project is across Florida Avenue from View 14, which also offers luxury apartments. 

The ground floor retail could accommodate a restaurant, based on marketing materials Douglas Development has online–to include possible sidewalk seating for 30.

“I would love to see a restaurant there,” says Shane Reeder, a nearby resident and local realtor*.

Reeder says he’s glad the project has ground floor retail because it will add vibrancy to the corner and a restaurant tenant would help continue the restaurant trend of 14th Street south of U Street.

Pre-leasing has not yet begun.

*Editor’s Note: Shane Reeder is a Realtor at  Lindsay Reishman Real Estate, which is the sponsor of District Source. Here’s how that works. 

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McMillan Mayor’s Agent Hearing Set for October

McMillan Mayor’s Agent Hearing Set for October

The developers behind the McMillan Sand Filtration Site redevelopment will face the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation in October to make their case for razing sixteen underground sand filtration cells to make room for their proposed mixed-use development. The hearing is set for Oct 6 at 9:30 a.m.

The Mayor’s Agent hearing is the final step in the local government historic preservation process. Should the agent approve the requested permit, agreeing with the applicant’s argument that the project has “special merit,” opponents would have to turn to the courts to try to prevent the project from advancing.

Vision McMillan, the catchall name for a development team comprised of JAIR LYNCH Development Partners, EYA and Trammell Crow Company, hope to bring 2.1 million square feet of mixed-use development to the property, bounded by North Capitol Street to the east, First Street to the west, Michigan Avenue to the north and Channing Street to the south.

Many neighbors in nearby rowhouses have raised concerns over the proposed density of the project, the impact it will have on traffic, the amount of open space to be retained and the modern design, among other issues.

The McMillan project is currently pending a decision by the Zoning Commission (ZC), expected in September at the soonest. Last October the Historic Preservation Review Board approved the development proposal conceptual design.

Mayor’s agent hearing had been set for Aug. 1,  but a lawyer for Vision McMillan Partners requested a delay until October to allow the ZC to deliberate on the case. The ZC is set to hear that case again on Sept. 29, but there is no guarantee the commission will issue a decision at that time.

During a  July hearing the ZC asked the Vision McMillan team to address their ongoing concerns with the transportation program and to make some changes to buildings, including reducing the height of the medical component.

“Vision McMillan Partners is confident that our proposed project and related demolition of some underground cells will be deemed justified in the public interest to allow for a project special merit that provides jobs, affordable housing, the city’s largest new park and other significant benefits to the city and the communities surrounding the Sand Filtration Site.” said Anne Corbett, VMP Project Director, in a press release in May.

To testify in favor or in opposition to the permit request before the Mayor’s Agent you can just show up and give your two center. However, if you’d like to be given party status you will need to provide the following information at least 10 working days prior to the hearing:

1) his or her name and address;

2) whether he or she will appear as a proponent or opponent of the application;

3) if he or she will appear through legal counsel, and if so, the name and address of legal counsel; and

4) a written statement setting forth the manner in which he or she may be affected or aggrieved by action upon the application and the grounds upon which he or she supports or opposes the application.

Information should be sent to the Mayor’s Agent at 1100 4th Street SW, Suite E650, Washington, D.C. 20024.

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Dupont Hopes to be Test Case for DDOT Parking Innovations

Zone 2 parking in Dupont Circle.

Zone 2 parking in Dupont Circle.

If the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is looking for a guinea pig neighborhood to test out new parking policies, Dupont wants to be first in line.

The Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) Transportation and Public Infrastructure Committee met with two DDOT representatives Wednesday to discuss the committee’s ongoing review of problems and solutions to Dupont’s parking woes.

“We want to recommend options for our neighborhood that are feasible; we don’t want to reach for the stars when we know we can’t get it. We want to actually have meaningful, measurable, realistic impact,” said Commissioner Noah Smith.

The four key areas the committee identified as problem points were:

  1. Visitor Parking Programs—difficulty in getting parking passes for recurring visitors like home health aides, nannies and contractors.
  2. Residential Parking Issues—residents unable to park within a “reasonable” district from their homes.
  3. Under-utilized parking—public and private spaces both on=street and in garages that are no used enough, considering the demand.
  4. Business Patrons—businesses note having difficulty guaranteeing parking for patrons.

The group also brainstormed a host of possible solutions like a voucher system or annual pass book for visitor parking, parking restrictions based on ANC boundaries rather than wards, encouraging churches and schools to open lots when not in use, and performance parking near the commercial corridors. See the full list of problems and possible solutions here: Parking Problem Statements and Draft Options.

“I think you have done a lot of good thinking,” said Alice Kelly, a manager of public policy at DDOT.

Kelly has been hard at work on a parking review of her own, what she called an “exhaustive study” of existing parking and curb side management policies.

She said the ANC’s timing is “probably perfect” and could land Dupont in the study itself as an example of the sort of community-based parking problem-solving (rather than parking based on political boundaries) she hopes her agency will move toward.

“This will mesh quite nicely with our parking report when we issue it,” added Kelly.

Evian Patterson, the Citywide Parking Program Manager, has been putting everything into motion to begin a performance parking pilot in Chinatown this fall. He hopes to begin gathering data from that to help create a policy for expansion. Patterson said he was optimistic that DDOT could bring it to Dupont as soon as the spring of 2015.

“We want to be a test case” said Smith. “We want to be innovative, we want to pilot things. We want to try to find solutions.”

DDOT may just take him up on that offer. Kelly’s report is due out any day now.

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DDOT Head of Streetcar, Circulator Programs Departing

Could the Circulator connect Abe Lincoln to Ben's Chili Bowl? Photo courtesy of the District Department of Transportation.

The man behind Circulator and streetcar operations is leaving. Photo courtesy of the District Department of Transportation.

The man in charge of District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Progressive Transportation Services Administration (PTSA), i.e. streetcars and Circulator, is leaving the agency at the end of August, according to a press release.

Carl Jackson–he associate director of PTSA since 2012–has been overseeing everything from the DC Streetcar to the Federal Transit Administration grants.

“I’d like thank Carl for his dedicated focus on the most important public transit initiative in DDOT history, the DC Streetcar program,” said Acting Director Matthew Brown in a press release.

Jackson’s departure comes during the city’s crunch time as it tries to launch passenger service on DC Streetcar before the end of the year. The agency did not announce whom would fill his role or what, if any, impact Jackson’s departure will have on the DC Streetcar timeline.

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