Archive for the ‘Housing’ category

Arcade Sunshine Transformation from Dry Cleaning Plant to 225 New Apartments is Amazing

February 5, 2019

Entrance to the new apartments at 713 Lamont Street, NW

It has been interesting to watch the transformation of converting the Alsco/Linen’s of the Week building into 225 new units of housing right off of Georgia Avenue. The community first learned about the proposal in 2014. Today, the property has progressed to the point where both the 713 and 733 Lamont Street buildings are now leasing. In visiting the Arcade Sunshine Web site, you can see both the floor plans for 713 Lamont as well as the floor plans for 733 Lamont.

While the conversion of the historic laundry plant is nearly complete, the owners still plan to construct a few more housing structures on the parking lot to the west, and they also own the land behind the building that connects to Morton Street.

From beginning to end, once ANC1A and the developer was able to agree upon saving the historic facades of the 713 Lamont building, this has been a class act with an exciting outcome. This is adaptive reuse at its best. It includes significant underground parking, adds 225 new apartments to the neighborhood on a property that has never supported housing in its long history, and has done so in a way that incorporates historic structures and facades to create a new outcome that is both exciting and enhancing the architectural fabric of the surrounding community. I’m a big fan of this project.

Below are a few more photos of the (nearly) completed project.

Is the Hebrew Home Redevelopment Project Still On? You Betcha!

January 18, 2019


(Bird’s Eye View of Hebrew Home project from 10th and Spring Rd., NW.)

I’ve had a number of people ask lately if the Hebrew Home project at 1125 Spring Road is still going forward due to the site being quiet for the last several month. The answer is yes!

Here is what the Victory Housing and Brinshore Development team have been doing to get the project shovel ready. They are currently in underwriting with the Department of Housing and Community Development for the historic senior building and have passed the threshold (meaning they are going to underwriting) for the new family development . The property has been subdivided and they’re going through all the normal details required for predevelopment with the lenders/financers/engineering, etc.

As a recap, the plans for the historic Hebrew Home building were approved by the HPRB in January 2018, following Victory Housing and Brinshore being awarded the project in August 2017.

When completed, the development will include the creation of 187 residential units through a mix of townhomes and apartments. The project will include the creation of 88 units of affordable housing for seniors at or below 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI) through the adaptive preservation of the historic Hebrew Home building as well as the creation of 62 units of affordable housing in a newly constructed building at the current site of the Paul Robeson School.

 

729 Princeton Place Gets Permits, Potentially Ending 3+ Years of Vacant and Blighted Conditions.

January 2, 2019

The days living with the vacant and blighted rowhouse at 729 Princeton Place appear to be coming to an end. With a new owner, a new design, and newly approved building permits, the property looks like a go for being completed and back in productive use soon.

As nearby residents may recall, the issue dates to the Spring of 2015 when the then owner constructed a third story addition with no permits to do so (either filed or issued). Making the issue more complicated, construction began days prior to changes in the Zoning Law that would require the as-built addition to require a Special Acceptation and Board of Zoning Adjustment approval. Rather than apply for the appropriate building permit or file a BZA case to seek approval, the owner repeatedly continued to work in violation of DCRA’s Stop Work Orders. Ultimately, this created an impasse leading to the current state the building is in today.

729 Princeton Place as of January 2019.

Now it appears that the days of seeing this property vacant and blighted may be coming to an end. In June, 2018, the property was sold to a new owner. Unlike the previous owner, they have found a solution that will rebuild the third story in a way that is compliant with ZR-16 and will not require a BZA Special Exception (NOTE: the previous owner could have gone this route as well).

According to the plans shared with me and the language in the DCRA PIVS system, the new design conforms to the 35′ height allowed by right, restores a section of the original roof, and allows for the property to be converted into two living units. The third story as currently constructed is higher than the 35′ limit.

The new permit was approved on December 19, 2018, and scope of work is described as follows:

EXPEDITION REVIEW

Complete interior remodel to existing 3 story structure.  Rebuild existing third story addition to comply with zoning and building code requirements.  New rear 3 story addition.  Conversion to a two-family flat.  All new electrical, mechanical, and plumbing.  Exterior work to also include landscaping + new parking pad off alley.

… and here is the newly proposed plan for the building.

Newly proposed elevations for 729 Princeton that comply with ZR-16.

Georgia Avenue Development Beginning to Move Forward

October 30, 2018

Nearly four years in the making, the development approved for 3619 Georgia Avenue has finally progressed to the point where we’ll start to see  a building rise above grade. Below is a photo of the current state of construction.

(Construction at 3619 Georgia, the week of October 29th, 2018.)

… and below is what the finished building has been designed to appear.

(Rendering of 3619 Georgia as it will appear upon completion.)

More Housing Proposed for 727 Kenyon Street, NW

September 25, 2018


(727 Kenyon Street, NW, is on the left of the driveway in the photo above.)

A rather straight forward BZA Case that will be before ANC1A on October 10th is the proposed conversion of the single family house at 727 Kenyon Street, NW, into a three-unit apartment building. The structure is on a large lot with the proposal meeting the requirements of the properties RF-1 Zone with the exception of a third unit. Properties zoned RF-1 only permit two units as a matter of right, but allow 3 units by special exception.

The developer presented the project at the September ANC1A meeting and will return in October for a vote. As presented, benefits of the proposal in addition to an additional unit than otherwise allowed are:

  • the property is large enough for off street parking, and three off street parking spaces will be created;
  • the curb cut would be removed, increasing on street parking by at least one space; and,
  • each of the new units would be three bedroom plus den, meaning they would be large enough for families.

Below are some drawings of the plans from the BZA case and developer.

(Reconfigured façade)

Floor plans after the jump (more…)

Housing to Replace Former Church on Holmead Place, NW

September 6, 2018

(Former Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints building at 3423 Holmead Place, NW)

On Wednesday, September 12th, ANC1A will review and consider a zoning case requesting support to convert the vacant church at 3423 Holmead Pl, NW, into a new building containing 7-units of family sized housing (see plan set here).

The proposal is requesting zoning relief in the following areas:

  1. The RF-1 Zone allows for a conversion of a property from a non-residential building to an apartment house by way of Special Exception for a project not meeting one or more of the matter of right criteria. This project as designed does not meet two of those criteria, which requires that the addition be limited to thirty-five feet in height and which prohibits the removal of architectural elements original to the structure (such as the steeple in this case);
  2. Relief from the criteria governing the front setbacks for residential dwellings in the RF-1 Zone. In this case, the existing structure currently does not conform with this criteria and the development is not proposing to change the existing setback of twenty-five feet;
  3. Relief from court and nonconforming structure: The existing building has an existing court on its northwest corner. The proposed addition will extend this nonconforming court and also create two new courts on the southwest and southeast corners of the building. As the building will be forty feet in height, the minimum open court width is eight-point-three feet. As the proposed courts are nonconforming, relief is required for the proposal to proceed; and,
  4. Relief from height and number of floors. In the RF-1 Zone, 35 feet in height is allowed as a matter of right, with 40 feet in height allowed with a special exception. The building is designed to be 40 feet in height (which is still shorter than the existing rowhouses to the north and south of the property). Additionally, as designed the new apartment building would be four-stories, yet the RF-1 Zone only allows three-stories by right. So zoning would need to approve the fourth story.

(Rendering of apartment building proposed for 3423 Holmead Pl., NW)

All in all, the proposal strikes me as being reasonable and beneficial to the community. The new structure is not seeking relief from parking requirements, maintains the current set back of the existing structure, and is shorter than the rowhouses on the block. It also proposes to create six 3-bedroom units ranging in size from 1,290-1,522 sq. ft. and one 4-bedroom unit with 2,805 sq. ft. of living space on the top floor. Family sized housing is rarely proposed by developers and a housing type and its something that many neighborhoods are loosing as rowhouses are converted into condos.

Armed Forces Retirement Home to Renovate Vacant Grant Building for Senior Assisted Living

September 4, 2018

(The Grant building entrance at the AFRH.)

Earlier today, the Armed Forces Retirement Home announced with a press release (read the full release) that is plans to sign a letter of intent on September 6, 2018, with Gragg Cardon Partners, LLC, to renovate and convert the historic and vacant Grant Building at the north end of the campus for use as an affordable assisted living facility for eligible seniors.

The press release states:

“We are excited about this proposal to revitalize this beautiful building, and put it to a use that fits so closely with what we’re already doing at the Armed Forces Retirement Home,” said Chief Operating Officer James M. Branham. “We look forward to working with Gragg Cardona and their partners over the coming months as we each conduct due diligence and, we hope, reach agreement on a lease later this year or early in 2019.”

The restoration and adaptive re-use of the historic Grant Building as an Affordable Assisted Living Community for low to moderate income seniors is a wonderful solution, and will be an asset to both the AFRH’s long-term goals as well as the greater communities surrounding the home. In the District of Columbia, there is an unmet and growing need for affordable assisted living for the DC senior community.

The Grant Building is a grand renaissance revival structure bordering Rock Creek Church Road and Harewood Road. It opened in 1910 to provide dining facilities, residential rooms, and community facilities for the AFRH’s veteran residents. It closed in 2001. The building is in the Home’s historic district which includes a national monument and historic site. Gragg Cardona approached the Home in July with the proposal and intends to pursue bonds and historic preservation and housing tax credits to offset some of the renovation costs.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the AFRH which included a tour of the shuttered Grant building. Below are some photos of the great spaces that will be incorporated into the new facility.

(The entry foyer of the Grant Building.)

(Balcony in the former dining hall of the Grant Building.)

(Looking down toward the entry foyer from the mezzanine.)


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