Thursday, November 30, 2006
It appears that the back-and-forth, neighborhood vs. developer dance that has been occurring over the proposed development planned for the 600 block of H Street NE has come to an end, with the community groups opposed to the project now stating they back the developer. H Street Ventures LLC is planning on turning 601-645 H Street NE into a 312,000-square-foot residential, retail and office complex valued at nearly $150 million. According to documents filed with the DC Board of Zoning Adjustments, the developer is hoping to build 240 residential units, with 13,000 sf of retail space and 180,000 sf of office space. The community’s concern focused on the nine-story building H Street Ventures was hoping to build between two existing buildings in this space, specifically its height and scale compared to the rest of the block, citing that it violated the H Street Overlay guidelines regulating the construction of buildings over 6,000 sf (thus necessitating a special exception). Hoping to quell community opposition and gain this exception, the developer worked with neighbors to reach consensus on a reconfigured, more pleasing scale for the building that adhered to all the other Overlay guidelines, and proved its exemption would not set a bad precedent for future construction on H Street. The DC Board of Zoning Adjustment still needs to decide by December 5 whether to grant the developer’s zoning relief request, but with opposition now quieted, this should be approved.