Posted tagged ‘Petworth’

Ruta Del Vino Applies for Liquor Liscence on Upshur

December 17, 2015

800-802 Upshur Street(Future site of Ruta Del Vino, 8th and Upshur Street, NW)

800-802 Upshur Street, NW, was recently placarded for a liquor license application for Ruta Del Vino, a new restaurant and wine bar coming to the Petworth community. The eatery will be serving Latin American cuisine, wine, cocktails, and bear. The application includes an entertainment endorsement for flamenco guitar. The total occupancy is 141 with seating for 76 inside and a sidewalk cafe seating 20.

Upshur Street has certainly come into its own and its nice to see it continue to grow. I’m really looking forward to this addition to the strip.

Update on 3701 New Hampshire Development

December 3, 2015
Proposed 21-unit building at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW.

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

Yesterday, the post-hearing statement for the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) case related to the redevelopment of the former Sweet Mango property was filed (read in full here). The BZA will make a decision on the requested lot coverage and exemption from parking variances on December 8th for the redevelopment of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue NW.

While there were several concerns expressed by those testifying in opposition the the new 21-unit building, the chief concern boiled down to parking and its impact on the surrounding residential blocks. In response to this, the developer is agreeing to restrict residents in the building from participating in the RPP program. The language from the filing is as follows:

The Applicant considered the Board’s request and further studied public comments related to providing an RPP Restriction in the Project. Based upon this, the Applicant is agreeing to restrict application for Residential Parking Permits, although tis transportation consultant found that the Project’s Transporation Demand Management Plan (“TDMP”) is sufficiently robust to address the parking and traffic mitigation concerns on its own and DDOT confirmed the robustness of the TDMP and the Hearing … (although the Applicant believes there will be a chilling effect on the marketability of the Project as a result).

With regards to the requests to relocate the mural, provide additional affordable housing, and local hiring and local retail tenant placement. The statement continues that “such items are typically found in public benefit and amenities packages in Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) applications … and are not applicable to a BZA variance case.” This being the case, the developer restates their commitment to recreating the mural, that they are providing more affordable units than required by law, and is committed to not leasing the retail space to a convenience store.

The case will be decided on December 8th.


Development of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue to be Decided on December 8th

November 18, 2015

BZA 19099(Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing considering testimony on 3701 New Hampshire Avenue, NW)

Yesterday, the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) heard the case related to the development and related variance requests planned to replace the Sweet Mango Cafe building at 3701 New Hampshire Avenue. After a two hour hearing (watch here), the BZA scheduled a decision date for December 8th and asked the developers to file documents related to the following areas in response to some of the testimony and concerns expressed at the hearing:

  • The 21-unit building is planned to have three affordable units, two at 80% AMI and one at 50% AMI. The BZA requested documentation speaking to the desire by some residents for deeper affordability of the units;
  • The BZA requested more financial data to justify why a 21-unit building was necessary on this site. The implication was that the number of units translates into the number of parking spaces being sought in the variance request;
  • Responses to Exhibit 32 were specifically sought, in which concerns about the future of the Chuck Brown mural, affordability, hiring local labor, and commitment to local businesses were requested;
  • There was a statement that the developers consider the possibility of having no RPP available for the building; and,
  • The BZA wanted to see a plan for the mural.

In addition to residents opposing the development due to concerns related to parking, the Park View United Neighborhood Coalition took a position to oppose the variance request unless the building was denied participation in the RPP program and ANC 4C was split on the issue by supporting the area variance request and opposing the parking variance.

ANC 1A voted to support both variance requests which were also supported by the Office of Planning. The Department of Transportation largely supported the variances with the suggestion that the off-site parking spaces not be free to residents of the new building, but rather that residents pay for the spaces which would discourage car ownership.

Visiting DC Treasure on Upshur Street

November 6, 2015
205 Upsur Street, now home to DC Treasure.

205 Upsur Street, now home to DC Treasure.

I finally had a chance to check out DC Treasure, which opened recently at 205 Upshur Street just to the west of Slash Run in Petworth. DC Treasure styles itself as a vintage and antique furniture/accessory shop. Currently, the hours appear to be by appointment or chance.

Based on my visit, I feel that the shop has a lot of potential.

DC Treasure interior(Some of the items currently offered at DC Treasure.0

Development Plans for 3701 New Hampshire Encounter Opposition in Petworth

October 19, 2015
Proposed development for 3701 New Hampshire Avenue.

Rendering of proposed development for 3701 New Hampshire Avenue.

Last week, the plans to redevelop 3701 New Hampshire Avenue, formerly home to Sweet Mango, encountered opposition from ANC 4C and members of the community. The blow-by-blow of the meeting — described as dysfunctional — is well covered by the Petworth News blog and can be read here. One of the key areas of opposition in that meeting had to do with how the 21-unit building would impact residential street parking.

Last month, ANC 1A also weighed in on the variances required for this project to move forward. Based on the Comprehensive Plan, the goals of the Georgia Avenue Overlay for the corridor, and need for more density and housing in the community, and how the developer is proposing to find solutions to accommodate potential car owners, ANC 1A passed a resolution in support of this development (read here). It is important to note that neither ANC 1A’s support nor ANC 4C’s opposition was unanimous.

It is fair to say that parking is an important issue — and an important quality of life issue. It must also be recognized that no two developments are exactly the same. In the case of 3701 New Hampshire, due to the oddly shaped lot, it just isn’t physically possible to build underground parking on the property, especially to the extent that zoning would require. The property also doesn’t have abutting properties to the north or south within the Georgia Avenue Overlay that would be able to be added to the development making parking possible. Keeping this in mind, along with the property’s close proximity to a Metro station, several bus lines, and a Capital Bikeshare station, there is no reason why this building should not be built. Furthermore, ANC 1A’s request to remove the loading zone and associated curb cut on Rock Creek Church Road as part of their approval should add two on-street parking spaces to the block.

To manage parking, Rooney Properties (the developer) is planning to provide new residents with SmarTrip cards, a bike share membership and car share membership for the first three years. They are also including space for bicycle maintenance and storage within the new building, and the lobby of the building will offer a transit screen that shows the number of bikes available and a real-time Metro train schedule. Rooney Properties is also actively seeking off-street parking options and has noted that several of the recent buildings in the area that have off-street parking are not parked up. They would be willing to provide free parking in these garages to new residents for three years as well.

According to the Petworth News report from the ANC 4C meeting, the following gives an idea of how much off-street parking is available in the immediate area. The Swift apartments (above Safeway) have 70 spots leased of their available 158 spots. The Park Place development has 138 spots leased of their 181 spots, and the 3 Trees Flats has 115 spots leased of their 130 spots. There is a lot of untapped parking potential in these buildings.

But another part of the story that wasn’t part of the ANC 4C discussion — and one important to developing some understanding of the potential hardships the immediate neighbors may face — is how much off-street parking exists in the community. Residents from the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road were among those expressing concern about the potential impact this development could have on that block, so I took the time to walk the alleys to the north and south of that block to see if any off-street parking existed for these properties currently. What I learned was that 63% of the residential properties on the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road currently have some form of off-street parking that they are currently using, or have the potential to use. If I include the west side of Warder street, this goes down to 61%. The map below shows the location of the proposed development and all the residential properties that have off-street parking.

3701 New Hampshire parking analysis 2(Map key: Orange=two-car garage; Yellow=one-car garage; Red=four car garage; Dark Blue=two car parking pad; Light Blue=one car parking pad)

(Note: in taking this survey of parking, I did not include a garage if its entrance was bricked in, but did include a garage if the doors were merely boarded up. In one case, I included a single-car garage that was too small for a modern car, but which had a driveway currently used for off street parking).

Here is how the parking on the residential properties represented on the map above breaks down.

  • There are 54 residential properties on Rock Creek Church Road and the west side of Warder Street. 33 of these properties (61%) have off-street parking.
  • 10 residences (18%) have garages.
    • There is 1 four car garage
    • There are 6 two car garages
    • There are 3 one car garages
  • 23 residences (42.5%) have parking pads
    • 6 properties have two car parking pads
    • 17 properties have one car parking pads
Garages and parking pads abound on the north side of the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road.

Garages and parking pads abound on the north side of the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road.

Overall, in adding all this up, there are currently 48 spaces on this block for off-street parking. In looking at the south side of the 700 block of Quincy, each residential property there similarly has at least one off-street parking space.

With the amount of off-street parking currently in this area, one starts to question why parking is so tight currently … and based on my observations I believe some (but definitely not all) of this stress is caused by factors other than housing. For instance, the 700 block of Quebec Place and nearby blocks are often stressed due to church parking from the Fisherman of Men Church. I have also witnessed on several occasions residents from further north in Ward 4 using Quebec, Rock Creek Church, and other nearby streets as commuter parking so that they can easily drive, park, and ride Metro. Whether there are solutions to these stresses or not, they certainly aren’t related to development or housing in the immediate community.

Factoring all of this together, I believe that the benefits of the proposed development far outweigh the cons, and that the impact the building may have on parking and the surrounding community will not live up to people’s  worse case scenarios.

Documentary Exploring Changing U Street, Columbia Heights, & Petworth Screening This Weekend

October 5, 2015

DogParks & CoffeeShops: Diversity Seeking in Changing Neighborhoods (Trailer) from Sonya Grier on Vimeo.

Thanks to Borderstan for the heads up on this, the documentary DogParks & CoffeeShops: Diversity Seeking in Changing Neighborhoods is part of the Reel Independent Film Extravaganza at the Angelika Pop-up Theater at Union Market this coming weekend. The filmmakers will also hold a free screening and discussion of the film at the Northeast Neighborhood Library at 330 7th St. NE at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 10.

This film is based on research that explores diversity-seeking, community, and consumption in neighborhoods undergoing urban revitalization. In a study of three neighborhoods in Washington, DC, it finds that differences in resources, cultural norms and cultural preferences lead to tensions among some residents and perceived exclusion from consumption opportunities for others.

Borderstan has much more information on this film for those interested in learning more and planning on seeing the film.

Redevelopment Plans for 3701 New Hampshire Avenue

August 3, 2015
Perspective of building designed for 3701 Georgia Avenue.

Perspective of building designed for 3701 Georgia Avenue.

On Wednesday, July 29, Rooney Properties LLC filed and application with the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) related to their planned redevelopment of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue — the former Sweet Mango building. An initial look at the application shows that the relief being sought is related to parking and lot coverage in order to construct a five-story, traditional style building.

According to the drawings and application, the project would create a sixty-five foot, five story residential and retail building. There would be a total of approximately 22,840 sq. ft. in the entire structure, with 4,564 gross floor area in the ground floor retail space.

Their would be 21 one- and two-bedroom units including 1,480 sq. ft. of affordable housing. The entrance to the residential units would be on New Hampshire Avenue.

Typical floor plan(Typical floor plans for floors 2-5.)

The design appears to be an excellent complement to the existing architecture in the community, and should be particularly complementary to the row houses on Rock Creek Church Road to the south. I also noted that the plans show that the trash and recycling would be contained within the building when not being collected. This is a huge improvement over the outdoor dumpsters currently on the site.

The proposal conforms to zoning in every way with the exception of the parking requirements and lot coverage. According to zoning, a building of this size would contain a total of 13 parking spaces. However, the size of the lot along with its unusual shape make it impractical to create any real parking on the site. Being located directly across the street from the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro should also make the strict adherence to the requirement unnecessary.

3701 New Hampshire Avenue RCCR elevation(Elevation of the Rock Creek Church side of the building.)

The other relief being requested is with regards to lot coverage. Again, size and shape have a role in this. While the ground floor retail space will be in compliance with the Zoning Regulations, the residential section will exceed the 80% threshold. It is important to note that overall the proposed building appears to have a similar footprint to the buildings that are currently on the property.

Representatives of the development plan to attend both the ANC 4C and ANC 1A meetings in September, providing an opportunity for residents and the commissions to ask questions and weigh in. Based on the information at hand presently, the project appears to be a huge improvement over the current use of the property. It is also exactly what should have been built in 2009 when the CVS property was developed — a huge missed opportunity to add more housing and vibrancy to the community.

Penthouse level(Layout of the penthouse level of the building.)

Checking Out Slash Run on Upshur

July 30, 2015
Slash Run at 201 Upshur Street, NW.

Slash Run at 201 Upshur Street, NW.

After reading Fritz Hahn’s July 24th A Georgia Avenue-Petworth bar crawl with stops at new arrivals Slash Run and Walter’s
(which also gives shout outs to Park View’s DC Reynolds and Walter’s) — and having several people recommend the burgers at Slash Run — I decided it was time to check it out. All it all, it is a very welcoming place.

If you plan to go and eat, you’ll want to plan your visit accordingly as the dining room is smaller but serviceable. There wasn’t a long wait on the night I was there, but I imagine there will be nights when that happens.

I found the burgers to indeed  be good and who can resist waffle fries. Everyone in my party also agreed that what they had was flavorful.

If you’ve been to Slash Run, what was your experience?

IMG_9187[1](The Made in Spain burger.)

Jerk Station Coming Soon to 3701 New Hampshire Avenue

July 28, 2015

Following up on the earlier post announcing short term uses of the former Sweet Mango Restaurant at 3701 New Hampshire, NW … signs are up confirming that a jerk restaurant will be moving into the space soon.

3701 Jerk Station

Development Update on Former Sweet Mango Property — 3701-3711 New Hampshire Avenue

July 24, 2015

In April I reported that 3701-3711 New Hampshire Avenue was sold to Rooney Properties. These buildings comprised the Sweet Mango restaurant as well as the two store fronts adjacent to it. The long-term plan is to redevelop the property and  plans are currently being developed.

The short-term plan is to lease the space, and leases have already been completed to bring a business serving food similar to Sweet Mango’s offerings back to 3701 New Hampshire. Additionally, Cookie Wear, the clothing store that has been in a basement space just north of the Georgia Avenue Metro for the last few years, will be opening in 3709 New Hampshire Avenue..

3701 Georgia Avenue(A new restaurant will be opening in 3701 New Hampshire in advance of the property’s redevelopment.)

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