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by Tim Regan December 1, 2016 at 11:45 am 2 Comments

A plan to redevelop the building that holds Logan Circle’s Barrel House Liquor landmark has garnered early support from a panel of Logan Circle community members.

A development subcommittee of the neighborhood’s ANC 2F met last night to discuss a plan to turn the building at 1341 14th St. NW into a seven-story mixed-use development.

According to the plans, the new development would repurpose the building’s concrete barrel facade, which was boarded up after longtime tenant Barrel House Liquors moved next door last year.

As proposed, the redeveloped building would contain retail space, more than three dozen residential units and have entrances on both 14th Street and Rhode Island Ave. NW.

From Bonstra|Haresign Architects:

The new and renovated building will total 33,300 GSF above grade with a 3,250 GSF cellar under the eastern portion of the building. The ground floor will contain 2,720 GSF of retail, a residential lobby and four parking spaces. Floors 2-7 will contain 37 residential units. There will also be one residential unit, a small amenity terrace for the building residents, and screened mechanical equipment at the penthouse level.

Though the ANC’s committee was generally supportive of the idea, a small group of community members shared apprehension about the height and shape of the building.

“If you’re standing on Rhode Island Avenue… and then you have an 85- to 90-foot building, we’re very concerned about the mass and the size of the building,” said Greg Parks, who lives nearby.

Parks, along with four other community members, said they’d like the project delayed slightly to further discuss the design. But Parks stressed they weren’t totally in opposition to the plan.

“We support the development and concept but we do have some concerns,” Parks said.

Ultimately, the subcommittee voted unanimously to recommend that the ANC write a letter of support to the Historic Preservation Review Board. If ANC 2F during its general meeting next Wednesday votes to follow that recommendation, the matter will likely then move to the HPRB for further consideration.

Renderings via HPRB filing

by Tim Regan November 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm 0

RCPG Rendering of 1415 22nd St. NW

Construction crews will soon break ground on a project to redevelop a former gay nightclub in Dupont Circle.

Phase 1, which opened at 1415 22nd St. NW in 2012, was known primarily for being the Northwest outpost of the famed Capitol Hill gay bar. But the club quietly closed last year, and developer Rock Creek Property Group swooped in to purchase and transform the property soon after.

Now, the company has plans to turn the historic building into office or retail space by next April.

From Rock Creek Property Group:

To preserve the property’s intended design, the original carriage house doors will be replicated, the façade repaired, certain windows will be restored and others replaced in a manner sensitive to the property’s historic nature.

To create a modern interior, skylights will be integrated into the building on the second floor, and soaring 10- to 15-foot ceilings will open up the space. Additionally, at the rear of the property there will be a large roof deck, accessed by the second floor. The property’s façade is currently covered by a concrete wall addition that was added in the 1940s, when it became a tire and car shop. To open up the front and expose more natural light, the building will feature a glass NanaWall system stretching through most of the property’s street front.

“Our goal with this property is to bring it back to life,” said Rock Creek Principal Gary Schlager in a press release. “After years of neglect, the original grandeur of the architecture was lost.”

The company is currently looking for a tenant to fill the space.

Rendering courtesy of Rock Creek Property Group

by Tim Regan November 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm 1 Comment

A plan to build a nine-story development at the site of a historic landmark in Dupont has drawn some criticism from D.C.’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO).

Developer Marx Realty seeks to redevelop a lot at 2200 P St. NW in order to build a new nine-story mixed-use development. The lot currently holds a Sunoco gas station that has a historic limestone building known as the Embassy Gulf Service Station, which would be moved and restored under the developer’s plan.

The proposed redevelopment would also include two stories of underground parking, the plans show.

(more…)

by Tim Regan November 7, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

2014 Grimke Redevelopment rendering, photo via Sorg Architects/Roadside DevelopmentU Street community leaders are asking a group of developers to get moving on a plan to redevelop the former Grimke School building and surrounding area.

ANC 1B last Thursday passed a resolution urging the developers to move forward on the redevelopment of the properties at 1923 Vermont Ave. and 912 U St. NW by Dec. 1.

Under the developers’ plan — first awarded about two years ago — two parcels of land containing the historic school and the African American Civil War Museum would be redeveloped for residential and retail use. The project would also include offices for local dance studio Step Afrika and approximately 10,000 square feet devoted to new African American Civil War Museum facilities.

But in the time since the project was awarded, little has happened with it. Now, members of of the local community are getting cold feet, the ANC’s members said.

“We don’t think that it is acting in good faith to delay projects as long as this one has been delayed,” said commissioner Robb Hudson. “You’re sitting on a project [and] you have other people that are waiting to move into the space.”

According to the resolution, the developer has until Dec. 1 to execute a deal related to redeveloping the site. If that deadline isn’t met, the ANC will ask the District’s general counsel or attorney general to “aggressively pursue legal remedy, fines, and penalties” and seek to bar some of the project’s developers from participating in D.C. Government sponsored real estate projects for years to come. The ANC would also seek to “reissue an accelerated RFP for a new developer for the Grimke Redevelopment that retains the proposed tenants” if the deadline isn’t met.

“We’ve kept these people on the hook for many, many months,” Hudson said. “We’re very serious about this.”

Though the ANC doesn’t have the authority to enforce those demands, it can “definitely shed some light on what’s happened here,” Hudson noted.

Despite the warning, the ANC’s chair, James Turner, said the resolution was meant to “help move things along.”

“We want to work with you to keep the Grimke School used,” Turner added.

Rendering via District Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

by Tim Regan October 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

New kinetic tiles may soon generate extra electricity on the sidewalk just south of Dupont Circle.

Construction crews appear to be putting the finishing touches on a row of special “kinetic paver” tiles that generate electricity as people walk on them. The panels sit along a busy sidewalk where Connecticut Avenue meets Dupont Circle NW, steps away from the Dupont Metro station’s south entrance.

As reported by the Washington Business Journal, the panels, which are made by green energy company Pavegen, generate electricity via kinetic energy, then send that power to batteries for storage and later use.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the pavers would start generating power. A representative for DDOT didn’t give a timeline for the completion of the project.

by Tim Regan October 28, 2016 at 10:30 am 1 Comment

(Updated at 10:43 a.m.) A local developer has plans to demolish an eight-story office building in Dupont and build something new in its place.

JBG has applied for a permit to raze its property at 1920 N St. NW, according to the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The 114,000-square-foot office building was built in 1981 and sits roughly one block from the Dupont Circle Metro station.

The newly filed permit application is part of the developer’s plan for a new mixed-use building at the site. As reported by the Washington Business Journal in 2014, JBG seeks to construct a new building and combine it with the “existing, 155,000-square-foot office property at 1233 20th St. to form a single building.”

The planned development would span 11 stories and feature “floor-to-ceiling glass,” a top-floor conference center, a fitness center for tenants and underground parking, among other amenities, according to JBG.

It’s unclear exactly when the demolition would take place, and a representative for JBG said there isn’t yet a definitive timeline for construction.

by Tim Regan October 21, 2016 at 3:40 pm 4 Comments

A new residential building could soon occupy a currently empty lot on 17th St. NW in Dupont.

Developer CAS Riegler seeks to build a a new three-story building on the vacant lot at 1500 17th St. NW, according to plans shared with Borderstan. The building would hold two residential units and include a penthouse and basement, the plans show.

A representative of the developer revealed the company’s plans during a Dupont Circle ANC meeting last Thursday. Though the neighborhood commission supported the plans, its members recommended several design changes to “better incorporate this project into the historic character of Dupont Circle.”

“The project as proposed feels somewhat out of place and has a very sharp — almost jarring — contrast into its historic context,” the commission wrote in its resolution.

Recommended changes include redesigning the building to include different materials, making the windows on the east elevation smaller and moving the penthouse west so it doesn’t appear as large from P Street.

CAS Riegler is slated to present its plans to the Historic Preservation Review Board later this month or early next month.

h/t ANC 2B commissioner John Kupcinski

by Tim Regan October 19, 2016 at 10:45 am 1 Comment

A huge mixed-use development could rise from the site of a historic landmark in Dupont Circle.

Developer Marx Realty seeks to redevelop a lot at 2200 P St. NW in order to build a new nine-story mixed-use development, according to plans shared with Borderstan today. The lot currently holds a Sunoco gas station that has a historic limestone building known as the Embassy Gulf Service Station.

As first reported by UrbanTurf, the developer looks to move the historic landmark to make way for its 34-unit development. The historic building would be restored and turned into a space for retail, the plans show. The development would also include two stories of underground parking.

More about the planned project, which is slated to go before D.C.’s Commission of Fine Arts tomorrow:

The proposed development is comprised of approximately 59,000 gross square feet above grade with approximately 20,000 gross square feet of below grade parking. The program includes approximately 56,000 sf of residential equating to approximately 34 units and 3,000 sf of retail space.

The site is currently developed with a one-story, neoclassical gas station built of limestone and completed in 1936 for the Gulf Oil Corporation. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing structure to the Dupont Circle Historic District.

The applicant proposes to relocate the structure on the site and build an attached nine-story residential building. The gas station interior will be renovated for retail use and the exterior, which is largely intact, will be restored. The site will be remediated and underground storage tanks will be removed.

h/t ANC 2B commissioner Daniel Warwick

by Tim Regan September 6, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

A planned eight-story building on U Street could come with a handful of benefits for residents thanks to a deal between local leaders and a D.C.-area developer.

ANC 1B, which covers parts of U Street, Shaw, Columbia Heights and LeDroit Park, voted last Thursday to support several zoning variances for a forthcoming mixed-use development at 1355-­1357 U Street NW.

The Goldstar Group, the developer behind the forthcoming building, sought the ANC’s blessing ahead of its Sept. 27 hearing with D.C.’s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). Goldstar is seeking variances from public open space, rear yard, open court and off-street parking requirements.

In exchange for the ANC’s support, the developer agreed to contribute $20,000 to the Housing Production Trust Fund and provide two affordable housing units, a “large bike room” on the property, Capital Bikeshare memberships to all residents regardless of when they move in and designate a parking space for use by Zipcar or another car-sharing service.

Despite the deal, one of the ANC’s commissioners, Brian Footer, questioned whether the agreed-upon $20,000 contribution was just an “arbitrary number.” Footer — who was careful to point out he was “passionate, not frustrated” with the deal — said that he felt like the contribution would be a drop in the bucket compared with the $82 million that Mayor Bowser allocated to the program earlier this year.

“It gives a low- to moderate-income family an opportunity to put a down payment on a… unit that they can afford,” commissioner John Green replied. “I think we got the best deal possible.”

Commissioner Mark Ranslem added that he felt the deal was “pretty remarkable,” and ANC chair James Turner said the members who struck the deal “accomplished more than I thought you could, respectfully.”

The ANC then gave the developer’s variance request its stamp of approval by a vote of 8-1.

by Tim Regan November 13, 2015 at 11:30 am 4 Comments

Atlantic Plumbing renderings(Updated at 12:29 p.m.) Have you heard the news? Shaw isn’t just Shaw anymore.

Earlier this week, “a healthy mix of journalists, tastemakers and culture vultures” gathered atop the newly opened Atlantic Plumbing Company building at 8th and V streets NW to raise their glasses and toast the official unveiling of a new neighborhood, “North End of Shaw.”

But what is North End Shaw, anyway — besides a hashtag and an unused Twitter account? Much like its ever-growing older brother Shaw, the area seems to have loosely defined edges.

If you’re Atlantic Plumbing, North End Shaw is a “bustling epicenter of creativity” and a neighborhood that’s “transforming into one of Washington D.C.’s hottest destinations.”

If you’re Washingtonian, it’s “a made-up neighborhood name that [developers are] using to distinguish their new development.” (Which is kind of the norm around here, points out Topher Mathews, who runs Georgetown Metropolitan.)

So, let’s put it up to a vote. What do you think? Is “North End Shaw” a valid neighborhood name? Do you think it should be called something else? Weigh in by voting in the poll and telling us what you think in the comments.

Photo via JGB

by Andrew Ramonas October 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

A group of Adams Morgan condominium owners aren’t happy about the construction of a 40-unit residential building that could obstruct their rooftop views of the District.

The Unit Owners’ Association of The Erie Condominium at 2351 Champlain St. NW are contesting the height of penthouses under construction at The Morgan, which neighbors the condo building. In an appeal to the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment made public yesterday, the condo owners said the penthouses are slated to reach a height greater than 9 feet, contradicting what they saw in zoning filings for The Morgan.

Laurie Horvitz, a lawyer for the condo owners, wrote in a letter to the Board of Zoning Adjustment last week that The Morgan initially had sent to D.C. officials a letter that included “‘roof views’ from the Erie Condominium that did not show any towering penthouse.” On The Morgan’s website, Capital City Real Estate notes that the building will have a “modern facade” and “rooftop cabanas.”

The condo owners “first noticed troubling rooftop construction at the property in October of 2015,” Horvitz wrote. “The construction work is still ongoing and the roof structures are not yet under roof. [The Morgan] is building tall roof structures that are inconsistent with the special zoning relief that was provided to this property previously.”

A representative of The Morgan wasn’t immediately available to comment.

The Board of Zoning Adjustment is expected to rule on the appeal in the coming months.

by Tim Regan October 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

Though Phase 1 in Dupont Circle is closed, the building that once held it may one day take on a new life.

The club, which opened at 1415 22nd St. NW in 2012, was known primarily for being the Northwest outpost of the famed Capitol Hill gay bar. But the club quietly closed in mid-September, noted ANC 2B Commissioner Daniel Warwick last month.

Since then, some speculation has arisen as to what the windowless off-white building might ultimately hold. But a representative from the company that owns the building, Rock Creek Property Group, appeared to give some answers to that question at last night’s ANC 2B meeting.

According to Jon Lastuvka, Rock Creek’s vice president of development, the company has plans to redevelop the building into something that might one day house a retail or dining business.

“A few weeks ago, the tenant decided to close the business,” Lastuvka said. “As of right now, it’s in dilapidated condition and needs a lot of work. We certainly hope we can keep working and energize this property.”

Lastuvka — along with Brett Hartle from OTJ Architects — laid out the company’s proposed redevelopment plans at the meeting. As presented, the plan calls for an exterior renovation and nonstructural interior walls to be removed, and the building’s windowless façade would make way for large, street-facing windows.

“We do feel that this property lends itself really well to high-end office use, a high-end retailer, a restaurant or even a museum,” Lastuvka told the commission.

by Tim Regan October 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm 1 Comment

St. Thoms Church renderings, photo via http://stthomasdc.org/building-project/Dupont Circle residents will have another opportunity to discuss the planned St. Thomas Church development.

Locals can speak their mind at an upcoming public input meeting in the west wing room of the Embassy Row Hotel (2015 Massachusetts Ave. NW) this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. During the meeting, attendees will be able to discuss concerns and items for future consideration with the ANC’s zoning, preservation and development committee members in small groups.

As it stands, the project calls for the construction of a new church and a seven-story housing building. Though neighbors and developers have clashed over the proposed height of the development — among other things — the Historic Preservation Review Board voted to approve the project voted 4 to 1 to approve the project in July. Last month, Washington Business Journal reported that the project “advanced to a critical review stage” when the developer applied to obtain a single zoning variance for the project.

Photo via stthomasdc.org/building-project

by Tim Regan July 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

1201-1203 Kenyon Street, NW properties as seen on Google Street View(Updated at 8:22 p.m.) An ANC commissioner has joined a chorus of voices questioning the actions of an embattled local developer.

Developer Jay Gross is currently involved in a nasty fight with Petworth residents, reports WAMU, over what Gross says is a conspiracy to keep him from renovating three rowhouses located on Grant Circle.

The fight has already prompted several heated exchanges between residents and the developer, and recently culminated into a $25 million lawsuit filed by the developer.

Now, Gross may soon have to fight a war on a different front.

Gross has of late drawn the ire of Commissioner Patrick Flynn, who serves on Columbia Heights ANC 1A.

Flynn says his problem with Gross started when he tried in June to obtain a copy of the developer’s plans to renovate two homes on Kenyon Street NW on concerns that the property’s maximum lot occupancy requirements would not be adhered to.

“Without knowledge of [the] lawsuit I recently asked Mr. Gross for a copy of his plans to redevelop ,” Flynn wrote to Borderstan in an e-mail.

“Given all the illegal construction that has taken place in my neighborhood,” Flynn said, “I think I am fully within my rights, and fulfilling my duties, to request to see copies of the plans and permits for any property or development in my single member district.”

Though Gross responded to Flynn’s request, he did not include a copy of his plans. Instead, Gross attached a scanned building permit and asked a question of his own.

“Would you mind telling me why the ANC is interested in the lot occupancy for this project since it’s not an issue you all are usually involved with?” asked Gross.

Flynn has also asked the zoning administrator and the director at the DCRA for a copy of the plans, but has not received them. “Again,” said Flynn. “I received no plans, just delays, despite repeated follow ups.”

Flynn said he will look at the plans even if it means finding the time as an unpaid elected official to obtain them in person.

“It’s a shame that it’s come to this,” Flynn added. “I certainly hope that DCRA hasn’t been spooked by the lawsuit and that is why they still haven’t produced the plans for me and my constituents.”

Flynn continued: “Private property is a sacred and constitutional right, and I understand that. But I also know I was doing my part in protecting the public trust against illegal construction.

“The public has a right to know that what is being built is within the code and the letter of the law,” Flynn said. “If it is in fact in the minority of construction that is built within the letter of the law, then it should be left alone.”

“If the developer doesn’t answer and the city doesn’t answer, who is watching out for us?” said Flynn.

Both the DCRA and Jay Gross were contacted by e-mail shortly before this story was published.

DCRA spokesperson Matt Orlins told Borderstan by phone that, although he had no comment on the matter, he would look into the case for Flynn.

Roger Simmons, a lawyer who represents Gross, said in a letter and e-mail sent to Flynn this evening that he was unaware the commissioner was “harboring ill-feelings toward [Gross] personally and the developments on which he works.”

The letter continues: “In contrast to [Flynn’s] public statements, Mr. Gross has always been prompt and transparent with [Flynn], and [he] has not had any bad experiences with [Gross] or his company. Further, Mr. Gross has worked promptly and continuously with the neighbors at his project on Kenyon, and knows they have appreciated his responsiveness and thoroughness in responding to them and addressing any concerns that have come up.”

Image via Google Street View

by Tim Regan July 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm 1,429 8 Comments

Photo via Change.org Meridian Hill PetitionA new online petition being put forth by a group of Meridian Hill residents is urging the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) to reject a proposed development planned by the Meridian International Center.

The proposed development, as outlined in an HPRB report from April, would be composed of a nine-story apartment building at 1624 Crescent Place NW. The building would also include conference and office space for Meridian International Center employees.

Residents say they oppose the development because its current design is “not compatible with the Meridian Hill Historic District and adjacent Meridian International [Center].”

One of the residents’ chief concerns is that the proposed building would loom over the neighborhood.

“Our hope is that they will decrease the size,” says Carl Schmid, Meridian Hill resident and co-organizer of the petition.

Other concerns include the loss of greenery at the proposed construction site and a design clash with nearby historic buildings.

“We realized something will be built there,” Schmid says. “But we want to make sure it respects the historic nature of the neighborhood and would be more compatible with the neighboring buildings.”

Some residents have already weighed in on the online petition form.

“The proposed building would degrade the environment in terms of traffic, air-pollution, green space, crowding, parking and safety,” wrote Jaroslav Stetkevych, a homeowner and senior citizen living in the neighborhood.

Another resident, Laura MacDonough, wrote that “the design of the building is fundamentally inconsistent with the historic character of the neighborhood.”

Signatures and comments will be accepted until July 16. Meridian Hill residents will present their concerns to the HPRB during its July 23 hearing.

Photo via Change.org

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