Posted tagged ‘Development’

The Sweet Mango Property Finally Headed for Re-development

August 13, 2019


Four years after the neighborhood first learned of re-development plans for the former Sweet Mango property at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW, it seems those plans may finally be moving forward. Last week security fencing went up around the property. Based on a conversation with the developer a couple months ago, I initially thought this indicated that the structures would be raised and that the lot would be vacant pending a decision to move forward.

However, in connecting with the development team, I’ve learned that the current plan is to raze the buildings and then begin construction of the new building following the completion of the demolition. The development team is currently working with ANC4C and DCRA to get approved building permits.

Once construction begins, the schedule for completion of the new building will be 14 months.

Below is the rendering from 2015 on what the new building would look like.

Proposed 21-unit building at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW, from 2015

Reminder! Hebrew Home Development Update Meeting Tonight at Petworth Library

March 19, 2019

The development team working on renovating the historic Hebrew Home and developing new housing on the remainder of the property is hosting a community meeting tonight.

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm at the Petworth Library. See flyer below:

Notes from February Park Morton Steering Committee Meeting

March 1, 2019

Aimee McHale from the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development’s office sharing information with the Committee.

Last night’s community Park Morton Steering Committee Meeting offered and overview on where things stand regarding the plans to replace and rebuild Park Morton in three phases over two sites. The key information points that were shared centered around the following.

Bruce Monroe Zoning Appeal

As people may recall, the Park Morton redevelopment effort broke down into two zoning cases, one for the current Park Morton site (ZC 16-12) and one for the former Bruce Monroe site (ZC 16-11). Zoning Case 16-12 was not appealed, but Case 16-11 was. Oral arguments for the zoning appeal were heard before the Court of Appeals on February 14, 2019.

There was no decision following oral arguments and there is no required time by which the Court of Appeals must render a decision. Based on past cases, a decision could be between 2-18 month. It is estimated that construction could start 6-9 months after the appeal is resolved.

The primary issues challenging the zoning order shared at the meeting can be seen in the slide below:

Interim Control Funding

The second significant update that was presented was the DMPED funding assistance to the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) to perform interim controls. In 2018, DCHA did environmental studies at its properties throughout DC. At Park Morton, they discovered lead which required remediation. Due to the expense and with redevelopment looming, DCHA initially indicated that it wanted to move residents out and just replace existing buildings. This would have resulted in displacing families which the ANCs, Council, DMPED, and New Communities Initiative are all dedicated to preventing. The current plan is for a phased replacement that does not displace our neighbors.

In order to keep the promise of a development that is constructed in phases without displacement, DMPED agreed to assist DCHA with $4.5M in funding to address the lead and other maintenance issues present at Park Morton that must be addressed between now and the start of the redevelopment.

Housing Mix Review

Another focus area of the meeting concerned the number of units, the affordability of the units, and how many bedrooms each unit had. This was largely a review, but emphasis was made that families living at Park Morton would move into new units once constructed that were appropriate to their needs. Currently, every Park Morton apartment is a  two-bedroom apartment. Some families only need a one-bedroom apartment and others need apartments that are three- or four-bedrooms.

To determine the right size apartment for each family, DMPED has been conducting household surveys and using data from DCHA to identify the various apartment sizes that are necessary to meet the needs of families living at Park Morton. At a very high level, the slide below shows how many housing units will be produced during each phase and where.


The meeting closed out with a Q & A session where questions were asked about job training programs and neighborhood investment in addition to additional information in the areas from the presentation.

Public Park Morton Steering Committee Meeting Scheduled for Thursday, February 28th

February 27, 2019

Curious about where things stand with the redevelopment of Park Morton? Then join the Park Morton Steering Committee on Thursday, February 28th to learn about recent events and updates to the redevelopment effort. See the flyer below.

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.

At Long Last, Project at Georgia & Otis Pl, NW, is Moving Forward.

November 27, 2018

After four and a half years, and a long break following an initial start, the project planned for the corner of Otis Place and Georgia Avenue is finally active again. In visiting the site over the past several days it is clear that an active crew continues to install rebar and forms that are necessary to pour the concrete foundation (see photos below).

A review of the 2013 details of the project show that the building will have 20 new apartments along with 3,440 sf of retail space evenly split on the ground and lower levels.

Its refreshing to see stalled Georgia Avenue development getting back on track.

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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