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Adams Morgan ANC Registers Disdain for SunTrust Site Changes

by Andrew Ramonas May 5, 2016 at 12:55 pm 13 Comments

(Updated at 6:25 a.m. Friday) A group of local officials representing Adams Morgan has refused to get behind a property developer’s proposal to construct a mixed-use building that takes away part of a plaza in the heart of the neighborhood.

In a series of votes late last night, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C backed three resolutions opposing PN Hoffman’s plan to build on the SunTrust plaza and the rest of 1800 Columbia Road NW.

The non-binding resolutions, to which D.C. agencies are mandated to give “great weight,” say the proposed six-story building has “significant issues” with height and scale and “significantly undermines the long-established set-back and the plaza,” among other problems.

ANC 1C commissioner JonMarc Buffa, who voted in favor of all the resolutions, said he supports redeveloping the SunTrust property. But he was concerned about whether the building meets historic preservation guidelines for the neighborhood.

“We didn’t just throw this up willy-nilly,” he said. “This was not just some NIMBY-we-don’t-want-this-building [action]. This was a thoughtful effort on this commission’s part to raise what I think are crucially important historic preservation issues.”

The votes came two weeks after an ANC committee led by Buffa endorsed a recommendation that also raised concerns about the building’s size.

During that meeting and again at yesterday’s gathering, some locals expressed frustration with having a building that is “too big” and could force the plaza’s farmers market to move to another location in Adams Morgan. But others offered their support to PN Hoffman.

Although the resolutions passed, not every commissioner voted in favor of them.

Commissioner Hector Huezo, who declined to vote on the resolution concerning historic preservation, said he wasn’t completely satisfied with it. Huezo said he doesn’t want to unnecessarily hamper developers in the neighborhood.

“Either Adams Morgan gets left behind, or we continue to grow like the rest of the city,” he said.

Monty Hoffman, PN Hoffman’s chief executive officer, said at the meeting it’s impossible to create a building that everyone likes.

“I don’t get everything I would like, and sometimes the community doesn’t get everything it likes,” he said. “And a lot of times the community disagrees on what it likes.”

Renderings via ANC 1C/PN Hoffman,

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