Details of Proposed Development for 3612-3614 Park Place, NW

3612-3614 Park Place. Both properties have be vacant for over 6 years.

3612-3614 Park Place. Both properties have be vacant for over 6 years.

In early March I noted that the long vacant houses at 3612-3614 Park Place appeared to be headed for development but had few details to offer. Now, I have many of the details lacking earlier. According to a BZA Application that I recently received, both properties are planned to be developed into three living units for a total of 6 units. There would be 5 off-street parking spaces in the rear of the property. The zoning adjustment request is for the 6th unit. Five are allowed as a matter-of-right.

The property owner has begun the process of consolidating the two properties (Sq. 3035, lots 837 & 838) into a single record lot, the total area of which will be 4,521 square feet. The two houses have been vacant for several years and are in a severely dilapidated condition and in need of significant structural repair and restoration (read full application and see condition photos here).

Elevation drawing of 3612-3614 Park Place, NW.

Elevation drawing of 3612-3614 Park Place, NW.

The proposed conversion of the two buildings into a six-unit apartment house/condo in an R-4 zone is limited by both minimum lot area and lot occupancy. The minimum lot area must be 900 square feet for each apartment unit. In this case, only 5-units are allowed as a matter-of-right because the property is oddly shaped creating a total of 4,521 sq. ft. The owner is seeking relief from the regulation to include a 6th unit due to the difficulty in restoring the property.

In addition to the before photos accessible via the link above, you can also page through the plan set for a better idea of the proposal. If I am reading the plans correctly, the largest unit would be a two-level, three bedroom located on the first floor and basement. The second floor shows two one-bedroom units — and the third floor contains two one-bedroom units with roof decks. An example of  the first floor plan is below.

First floor plan for 3612-3614 Park Place

First floor plan for 3612-3614 Park Place

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18 Comments on “Details of Proposed Development for 3612-3614 Park Place, NW”

  1. pru Says:

    Bumped up the attic to a full floor, bumped out additions in the back, that is some dense housing, and a lot of 1-bedroom units for a residential neighborhood like Park View! This is the kind of project I’d expect on an artery like Georgia Ave, or in the denser Columbia Heights area, but my block in Park View is slowly filling up with young families with beautiful renovated houses in harmony with the long-time residents, and that’s the trend I’m truly hoping will continue for the whole neighborhood.

    Even the two 3-bedroom units in this project don’t seem made for young families. With what is usually the dining room or family room of a traditional layout turned into a 3rd bedroom, the non-bedroom livable space of these units is very limited relative to the bedroom space, making it look more like a dorm than a 3-bedroom home.

    What’s the point of residential zoning if every developer requests a variance and a relief because they want to make massive amounts of money instead of just a lot?

    • kyle Says:

      I fall into the category of young families that have moved into the neighborhood and renovated a single family house. I agree with your sentiment, but the existing condition of those houses would preclude just about every young family from moving in and renovating. There’s a serious amount of remediation work that will cost a tremendous amount money and involve a high level of risk that young families most likely won’t take on by themselves.

      I agree that the layouts of the 3 bedroom units is unusual. However, there is a living/dining/family space on the first floor of the unit. I personally wouldn’t want two of my three bedrooms in the basement. Regardless, it’s inaccurate to say that these units don’t include livable space.

      • pru Says:

        kyle: Well I didn’t write that the 3-bedroom units didn’t include liveable space, but that it was very limited relative to the bedroom space. By that I meant that the living/dining space next to the kitchen is pretty small to accommodate the occupants of 3 relatively large bedrooms with their own baths.

        I also don’t expect the young families to renovate an old or dilapidated rowhouse themselves. Many of my neighbors bought newly renovated single family homes from developers. I can see how it wouldn’t be worth it rehabbing these two houses to standard single family homes, but this proposal goes too far.

        It looks like the developers already got a bargain on their purchase of these properties commensurate with the state they were in and with the structural issues that are hinted to as justification for the variance (If I’m reading redfin and trulia correctly, the properties were purchased for $260k each). Flipping them into 5 units, whether rentals or condos, is surely to be profitable. Why do you expect that the properties risk remaining vacant if we don’t grant the developer what he’s asking for?

      • kyle Says:

        @pru 3:27pm. I apologize for misunderstanding your statement. While you may not find it enough livable space, I do. But ultimately it’s up the renter/buyer, which most likely will be neither of us.

        I understand the purchase price was low, but flipping through the existing conditions photographs looks like these houses need an incredible amount of work. I’m not sure why we can assume that 5 units would be profitable enough for the developer to move ahead with the work. What I do know is that going to the BZA is a hassle that would probably be avoided if only for profit plus.

        While there may be a small amount of profit from 5 units, perhaps it’s not what the developer needs to get for the project to make sense, and thus may not choose to build. Or, they may sit on the property as-is until home values rise enough in the neighborhood to justify only building 5 units. It’s only speculation though.

  2. Cliff Says:

    This is awful, and relief should not be granted.

  3. JQ Says:

    Although I do welcome the renovation of vacant and blighted properties, I agree with other comments — this does not sound appealing at all considering the other single family homes along that stretch of Park Place.

    It also doesn’t appear there is much demand for this type of housing in the area, with a very similar conversion of a single family home into 2-unit condo’s at 622 Rock Creek Church Rd NW. Those two units have been on the market for 100+ days with numerous price reductions.

    I surely hope this does not get approved.

    • kyle Says:

      JQ- I don’t agree with your second paragraph. First of all, there is no indication in this post whether these are for sale or rent. In the case of the units on 622 Rock Creek Church Road, my best guess is that the units are overpriced. Looking at 2 overpriced units not selling is no clear indicator that the neighborhood doesn’t want multi-family housing.

      Do you really prefer that these houses remain blighted and vacant, rather than BZA allowing one additional living unit?

      • JDC Says:

        Its not a matter of just allowing 1 additional unit. It’s roof line will look odd and out of place because of the increased height, parking will become more congested than it already is, and a president will be set. When you buy into a neighborhood you buy into the zoning laws, for better or worse. In some cases they act to protect property A, B, and C from property D’s impact. If they get denied the variance it will still be renovated.

      • kyle Says:

        In fact it is only about one additional unit. That’s the only relief that is being requested from BZA. Which means that the height, including popups, as well as parking are all allowed based on matter of right zoning.

    • Js Says:

      The problem with 622 Rock Creek Church is that those units are essentially 1 BRs + dens that are listed for as much as entire row houses. They’re not going to sell without massive price reductions.

      I love how people think that young families can afford an unrenovated property in Park View. My 100k over offer list for a Park View shell was declined. You’re kidding yourself if you think anyone but developers are playing in this current market.

  4. kyle Says:

    This looks like a good project. It’s encouraging to see the properties being remediated and upgraded despite such a dilapidated condition. Interesting to see that they put two of the bedrooms in each of the 3 bedroom units in the basement, but that’s certainly not a BZA concern. This relief is a small request, and one I think fits within the character of the neighborhood. The project has my support.

  5. JDC Says:

    If the neighborhood allows this to happen it will set a bad president. Look for a popup on every block in Park View. I’ve watch Warder go from a street with potential to a street interrupted by a string of cheap popups that are already starting to show signs of turning back into blight. I can also point out 20 houses that were in worse shape than these that were fully restored into single family homes. The saddest part is that Park Place can do so much better than this.

    The neighborhood has a right to oppose this, so I recommend we start writing letters to the BZA. Kent, can you post the case number and date of the hearing?

    • K Says:

      How does a neighborhood stop this from happening? (legit question) These things occur throughout the city and somehow the developers always find a way to push things through under the radar with DCRA/BZA

  6. EWB Says:

    I’m jumping in here a bit late, it seems – but I live on that block of Park Place, and everyone I’ve spoken with in the area is strongly against this proposal. Is there any update on when a decision will be made regarding the variance, or who is making the decision, or who we should be calling to let them know we are strongly opposed?

  7. […] there have been strong opinions — both pro and con — about BlueWater’s plans for 3612-3614 Park Place, I thought it would be helpful to check on the progress of their project at 3642 New Hampshire […]

  8. […] the zoning variance request of the Bluewater group for 3612-3614 Park Place, NW. Earlier this year we learned that Bluewater had purchased the long vacant and blighted properties and was seeking a zoning variance from the lot coverage so […]

  9. […] Other significant projects that just didn’t seem to go anywhere, didn’t get zoning variance approval, or just plan haven’t begun include the 20-unit building designed for the southeast corner of Georgia and Otis Place, the 6-unit project proposed for the 400 b/o Newton Place, and the 6-unit Blue Water proposal for the blighted 3612-3614 Park Place properties. […]

  10. […] development is at 3612-3614 Park Place. Readers may recall that these properties went through the Board of Zoning Adjustment process last year seeking relief for a six-unit condo building. Ultimately, the relief for the sixth unit was denied […]

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