Posted tagged ‘historic buildings’

Community Input on Hebrew Home Development Begins

December 4, 2017

Victory Housing and the Brinshore Development team held the first of several community engagement meetings on the redevelopment of the historic Hebrew Home property on Saturday, December 2nd. After an introduction and PowerPoint presentation, neighbors were able to dig deeper into four difference aspects of the project to help guide the team in shaping the development. The four breakout areas were:

  • Historic Preservation & Corner Design
  • Traffic Management & Parking
  • Community Spaces & Benefits
  • Sustainability Strategies

Commissioner Boese and neighbors participating in the discussion on how the new building could fit with the century-old neighborhood.

The overall plan of the project 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.

The engagement meeting was an opportunity for neighbors to identify, discuss, and offer ideas on the design of the project; identify and offer solutions to potential traffic and parking impacts the project may create; and discuss community goals for the development along with how the revitalized property could serve the community as well as the neighborhood.

One item that was share during the presentation that was new to the community was that the development team, at the suggestion of the Office of Planning, will be seeking to rezone the property to allow a by-right project. Previously, the development team was planning to go through the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process. The process to rezone the site will still provide an opportunity for both ANC1A and ANC4C to weigh in, though the nuances between the two still needs to be explored.

Below are two of the flip charts showing some of the bullets on what was identified in two of the stations.

 

Victory Housing/Brinshore Development Selected to Redevelop Hebrew Home Property

August 23, 2017

(Rendering from Victory Housing proposal.)

Yesterday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner announced that the developer selected to redevelop the historic Hebrew Home at 1125 Spring Road, NW, was Victory Housing with Brinshore Development. This was the same development team that both ANC1A and ANC4C recommended as their first choice at their July ANC meetings.

Through the community engagement process, follow up conversations with development teams, and collaboration between the two ANCs, the Victory Housing proposal was deemed the best overall proposal for the site. Following the selection, the development team will also need to come back before the ANCs as part of the Planned Unit Development/Zoning process through which design refinements can be made. Early conversations with the Victory Housing team showed a wiliness to work with the surrounding neighborhood to refine design elements.

A copy of the full press release is available here and after the jump. (more…)

Fossils at Park View School

August 17, 2017

A while ago I found a website that explores fossils in the architecture of Washington, D.C. by Christopher Barr. The site is organized by geological periods and shows examples of fossils that are in stone used in local buildings. I was immediate drawn to the sections on Sacred Heart Church and the Unification Church on 16th Street.

But as I reviewed the site, I suspected that we would also have fossils in the limestone used at the Park View School — and after inspecting the school, my hunch was right. As near as I can tell, the limestone appears to be Indiana Limestone from the Mississippian period. Below are photos of some of the fossils I found at the school.

(An area of trace fossils or, more technically, “ichnofossils”. These are located on the north side of the entry doors on Warder Street.)

(The structures that resemble netting are typically fenestrate bryozoans.)

Checking on Progress of Park Road Church Project

July 31, 2017

The project to redevelop the old church at 625 Park Road, the surface parking lot, and the rowhouse at 633 Park Road is making good progress. Work began in earnest in January 2017 following approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment in July 2014.

The approved plans are for new construction connected to the historic church to create 38 new housing units in the neighborhood.

Below are views of the construction in progress.

More Work Begun on Park Road, NW

January 13, 2017
Former church at 625 Park Road, NW.

Former church at 625 Park Road, NW.

Interior work on the historic Park Road church building has begun, which is great to see. In checking permit applications, I found that a building permit was issued on December 5, 2016, with the following scope of work:

“addition alteation and repair to an existing 2 story with cellar historically registered church to convert it to a 3 story with cellar and mezzanine, 38 unit apartment house, to include partial demolition of existing SFD on same lot and underpining of existing structure as per plans and approved BZA.”

The rowhouse at 633 Park Road is also part of the property and the approved BZA plans. In looking at permits for that address, a raze permit was approved on September 20, 2016, to raze the “2 story small semi – detached town house (row house).” Work was also observed here too.

633-park-road-construction(Rear of 633 and 635 Park Road, NW)

Refresh of Petworth’s Chez Billy Hardly Refreshing

December 5, 2016

Back at the end of July 2016, Petworth’s Chez Billy closed to “refresh the decor” and launch a new “concept.” Now, four months since, it appears that we have a clue as to what a refresh of the decor actually means. I was very disappointed to see that the exterior of the building is being painted an interesting shade of green with the covering or removal of the handsome Tudor elements.

former-chez-billy(Transformation of Petworth’s former Chez Billy at 3815 Georgia Avenue, NW)

Personal tastes aside, the transformation of the exterior is particularly disappointing as the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 (read nomination here) due to the site’s association with Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood and Steaks — which was historically significant for playing a notable role in the social and political culture of the District of Columbia’s African American community. The restaurant was frequented by many notable people in politics and government, and the owner, William W. “Billy” Simpson, was an avid supporter of civil rights and anti-war causes.

When the building was renovated for Chez Billy, the exterior was tastefully restored to be in keeping with the site’s history. Now it appears that all that will remain will be a plaque alerting passers-by that the building  is on the African American Heritage Trail with a brief paragraph of explanation.

The photo below shows what the building looked like before the refresh.

Chez Billy's

Inaugural Evelyn Greenberg Preservation Awards Includes Recognition of Historic Hebrew Home Building

August 4, 2016

On June 9, 2016, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW) presented their inaugural Evelyn Greenberg Preservation Awards — a tribute for Evelyn Greenberg, who was instrumental in re-discovering and saving the historic 1876 Adas Israel synagogue from the wrecker’s ball in 1969. The building is destined to be moved again as a result of the Capitol Crossing project.

Two Greenberg Preservation Awards were presented this year. I received one for my work that resulted in the successful nomination of the buildings at 1125-1131 Spring Road, NW — the former home of the Hebrew Home of the Aged and the JSSA (Jewish Social Service Agency). Both properties are now on the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites and listed on the National Register.

I thought you would enjoy watching the video of the event, and my presentation on the history of the Hebrew Home, which was released yesterday by the JHSGW and view-able below.


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