Archive for August 2018

New 10-Unit Building Planned for 14th Street in Columbia Heights

August 30, 2018


(New 10-unit building planned for 3601 14th Street, NW, on the northeast corner of Perry)

In July, ANC1A was asked for a letter of support to raze the building at 3601 14th Street, NW, in order for the owners to build a new 10-unit building on the site. At the July ANC meeting, there was some confusion about the request as ANCs do not have authority to officially weigh in on raze applications and no Commissioner could think of a previous time when anyone had come to the Commission seeking support for a raze permit. We all agreed that we appreciated the opportunity to discuss the project as well as provide the community with details and that it would be great if other developers would do it.

(The structure currently at 3601 14th Street, NW.)

At the end of the discussion, ANC1A voted unanimously to support the raze application. The resulting building will have 10-units, meaning that it will have to provide one-unit as an Inclusionary Zoning unit. The building will be built entirely by-right, will conform with zoning, and is not seeking a parking variance. The architects for the project are Arcadia Design.

Initially, both Commissioners Valerie Baron and Kent Boese recognized the structure as once being the location of a mikvah and were concerned about any historic or cultural importance of the building, especially as there are few buildings that directly relate to the Jewish community that lived in the neighborhood during the 1920s-1960s.

In September 1940, a new community mikvah was dedicated on 14th Street, NW, within walking distance of the Beth Sholom Congregation, the Jewish Social Service Agency, and the Hebrew Home. (Above is the front and inside cover of the mikvah’s rules/regulations booklet.).

After consulting with the Historic Preservation Office and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington it was determined that there was nothing architecturally significant about this property as it related to the mikvah. The structure was originally constructed as a residence and converted only later to a mikvah. With this understanding, it was agreed that razing the structure could be supported. The owners did agree to a request from the ANC to allow interested members from the historic societies access to tour and photograph anything that may remain of historic interest prior to razing.

Below are additional images of the planned new structure.

(Site plan showing the wedge shape of the lot.)

(Upper view looking northeast from 14th and Perry streets.)

Artist Maryanne Pollock Hoping to Create Tent Murals at Wangari Gardens in 2109

August 29, 2018


(Artist Maryanne Pollock is working to create tent murals at Wangari Gardens.)

In July, artist Maryanne Pollock came before Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A seeking a letter of support for an art project she is working on for Wangari Gardens. ANC1A unanimously supported the art project and supplied a support letter (read letter here) to be included in Pollock’s DCCAH Public Art Grant application.

If successful, Pollock’s proposal is to make collaborative hand painted tent murals during a free event for the community that will celebrated at Wangari Gardens and then to organize a picnic in the late spring or early fall of 2019. Pollock has already successfully done similar art projects in Maryland, Delaware, and Scotland.

(Pollock’s tent murals have already be part of successful community art projects in Maryland, Delaware, and Scotland.)

Next Park View Cleanup is Saturday, September 1st!

August 28, 2018

Georgia Avenue Thrive will hold its next Park View cleanup at 10 a.m., Sat. September 1st at the corner of Warder Street and Park Road.

Park View neighbor Jason Cohen, a Compass real estate agent, will be thanking volunteers with donuts and cold drinks.

Georgia Avenue Thrive’s cleanups, a monthly tradition since March 2016, have been recognized by Mayor Bowser. “Your good work is key to keeping your community safer and stronger,” she wrote in a recent letter recognizing Georgia Avenue Thrive.

This is a good opportunity to meet neighbors and keep the neighborhood littler free.

More Affordable Senior Housing Being Planned for Columbia Heights

August 27, 2018

(The Samuel J. Simmons NCBA Estates at 14th and Harvard St., NW)

Last week, ANC1A Commissioners Margaret Hundley and Kent Boese were invited to a meeting with National Caucus & Center on Black Aging, Inc. (NCBA) leadership about plans to expand the Samuel J. Simmons NCBA Estates property located at 14th Street between Harvard Street and Girard Street, NW. NCBA is an organization dedicated to the physical, economic, social and financial wellbeing of low-income African American senior citizens.

The Simmons Estates property currently provides 175 units of housing for seniors. The purpose of the meeting was to inform ANC1A about their plans to expand their Columbia Heights facility and request that the Commission provide a letter of support — which ANC1A will consider at their September 12th meeting.

Based on the information that NCBA shared, I’m very existed about this development. While there are still many details currently being worked out, here is the high level overview of the project proposal:

  • The new construction would be entirely by-right and compliant with zoning;
  • The project would create approximately 159 new units of housing for seniors at no more than 60% AMI;
  • The project would eliminate the surface parking lot currently behind the building, and replace it with approximately 81 spaces of underground parking on two levels; and,
  • There is a possibility that the new building could include approximately 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space at the corner of 14th and Harvard as well at NCBA’s main office.

It is too early to tell what the new building might look like, but NCBA provided the following drawings that help give a sense of the siting, massing, and relationship of the new building with the existing apartment building.

(The new building would be constructed along Harvard Street and behind the current apartment building. It would also create a green courtyard between the current building and the new building.)

(This drawing shows the location and massing of the proposed building along with its connection to the existing apartment tower.)

(One interesting feature of the proposed building is that in order to provide an entrance to the underground parking, DDOT will need to reopen the closed alley on Girard Street. Not only does this make the need for a new curb cut unnecessary, it will improve city services such as trash collection for all residents on the block.)

Construction at Park View School Could Create Opportunity for More Trees

August 23, 2018

The current construction at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View school is still going strong, and while most of the results will primarily benefit the students and teachers at the school, I think there is an opportunity to create a significant benefit for the entire community. I’ve noticed that the majority of the grounds in the front of the building have removed the landscaping from the Warder Street side of the property. When it is time to replant those areas, we need to include new trees that will mature to provide shade for that block. A few years back the law was changed to allow DDOT’s urban forestry administration to also plant on public property like schools and recreation centers. Based on my quick review, we should be seeking to get an additional 3-4 trees on this block.

I’ve already reached out to both DDOT and the construction crew to begin this conversation.

(The frontage of the Park View School is currently being used to support the construction at the school. New landscaping can and should accommodate new shade trees.)

New 26-Unit Development Proposed for 11th and Park Rd., NW

August 21, 2018

(Rendering from BZA Application)

A new zoning case (BZA 19862) was just filed that proposes to combine the four separate lots surrounding Red Rock Pizza in Columbia Heights and replace the existing rowhouses with a new four-story, 26-unit apartment building. The height of the Project will rise to no greater than 50 feet as permitted in the MU-4 Zone.

According to the application:

“The Applicant proposes to create a residential entry at the front of the building along 11th Street NW. Two bays will project four feet into public space along 11th Street NW on each of the four floors. Five units are proposed to be located in the cellar level, five units on the first floor, six units on the second and third floors, and four units on the fourth floor. The penthouse will contain the upper levels of the fourth-floor units. In the rear, another residential entry point is proposed which can be accessed via the pipestem portion of the Property leading from the alley.”

The applicant will be seeking relief from the four parking spaces required by zoning. The reasoning behind this request is that the four properties in question currently to not have off-street parking or access to the alley in the middle of the block. Furthermore, due to the close proximity to the intersection of 11th and Park Rd., DDOT will likely not grant a curb-cut for off-street parking.

In thinking about transit close to this property, the 64, H8, and 63 bus lines all have stops across the street or on Sherman Avenue, there is a Capitol Bikeshare station at the intersection, and both the Columbia Heights and Georgia Avenue Metro rail stations are within a 10-15 min. walk.

Currently, this BZA case will likely be on the October ANC1A agenda, with a community meeting in late September.

More details can be found on the Zoning Website.

 

Starting to See Some Progress at New Market on Georgia

August 20, 2018

The small storefront at 3412 Georgia Avenue (next to Kraken Axes) is finally starting to show some progress after it appeared to stall in late 2017. According to building permits, the new business will be La Herradura Super Market and will be about 2,896 sq. ft. of space. The original permit was issued in February 2016, with a 1st extension in July 2017 and a 2nd extension in October 2017. In asking around, I understand that the latest hurdle in their efforts was appealing a vacant tax bill that the city had levied due to the slow progress.

While I know that the District is attempting to crack down on vacant property, which I applaud, I feel they are overly aggressive with some of these slower developments in our area. While I;m sure I’m not along is saying I would like them to move more quickly, financing can be an issue and I don’t believe that DC supports our small business community as well as we should. Given the choice between getting this property renovated slowly or vacant and unusable for years, I’ll take the slower path as long as there is progress.

(Future La Herradura Super Market at 3412 Georgia Avenue, NW)


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