Monday, June 11, 2007

West End Condos Inch Forward


TRS Inc. received approval this week from the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) , one of several approvals needed to develop its mixed-use project as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 1227-1231 25th Street NW in DC's pricey West End. The lot, just north of M Street across from Rock Creek Park, is currently occupied by three office buildings that will undergo a renovation and conversion over the next year, modifying one of the office buildings (at 1227) and turning the other two structures into condominiums and adding four stories to each, permitting up to 295 residential units, including up to 8,000 s.f. as "affordable" housing. The site currently houses the Bureau of National Affairs Office, which will relocate to Crystal City.

The NCPC approval was needed because the project will rise to 110 feet, potentially obstructing adjacent federal land. The DC Zoning Commission heard arguments regarding the project in March but has not yet ruled on the matter.

12 comments:

Emerald G. Waylon said...

Wow, a whole 8,000 sq. ft devoted to affordable housing? That's what... maybe 8 out of 295 units that are affordable? How generous.

I guess its real important to keep most a dem po' folk east and south, so as not to taint the glitzy west end.

Colin said...

Actually it should be zero square feet. No one is owed a cheap price on a condo any more than they are owed a cheap price on anything else.

And for the record I rent as I can't afford a place in the city.

IMGoph on Jun 12, 2007, 1:33:00 PM said...

colin, it should not be zero square feet, because the city is giving the developer the right to build above and beyond the density limits that area is zoned for by designating it as a PUD. so, in exchange for this generosity, the developer owes the city something. the city, in turn, has asked that this something include affordable housing units. that's not anyone being "owed" cheap housing, it's called "you scratch my back i'll scratch yours".

and for the record, i rent, and i think there should be MORE of this, not less in the city. our opinions differ, and my overall opinion may not be correct in the end, but you're not correct in this instance.

dgarbs said...

pics / renderings?

Nick on Jun 12, 2007, 2:41:00 PM said...

I know Ken (who posted this story) is working on an update for it, so maybe pics shortly - thanks for the feedback all - stay tuned ...

Anonymous said...

imgoph,

I must disagree, loudly. The city giving the right to build?? And therefore the developer owes subsidized space to a couple lucky people? Do you owe random poor people because the city gives you the right to work? Not to get all legal, but we all have a constitutional right to property, its not DC's to take away or to grant. And in the West End? Next we will require that poor people have the right to live in the Ritz, perhaps they deserve a week on the oceanfront in Rehoboth? I could qualify for this based on income, but the system is a shame.

IMGoph on Jun 13, 2007, 9:08:00 AM said...

7:46 pm anonymous:

you are misconstruing my position. i did not say that the city was giving people the right to build. i said that the city was giving the right to build above and beyond the current, zoned density limits for that parcel. in no way is the exchange of a density increase for increased community benefits a taking of someone's property rights.

your comment on my right to work is a strawman, and you do yourself a disservice for unnecessarily raising that spectre.

Colin said...

I still don't see why the developer should be forced to set anything aside as affordable. Presumably the city will get their back scratched via increased property and income taxes on the new residents.

It's also my personal view that the height/density restrictions in place are ridiculous and a contributing factor the high price of housing in this city. So they're easing up on something that never should have been so onerous in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Lots of great points, but as the city grows in size (and wealth), if there is no effort to keep "workforce housing" in the city, DC will lose the little class diversity it still has. That will make for a really interesting city

IMGoph on Jun 14, 2007, 9:42:00 AM said...

colin, it's not that the developer is being forced to set anything aside. in a PUD, you negotiate a set of trade-offs. that's what happened here. the city sat down with the developer, and they came to this agreement. i really don't see why that's so hard to grasp. there was no shotgun to the head here, just a business deal made between two entities, where both received a benefit. simple as that.

of course the city will get money from increased income taxes, but that's not apparently what they went into these negotiations looking for. sometimes municipalities (and individuals, for that matter) look for more than just fiscal benefits in their dealings with others.

Anonymous said...

It is also worth noting that affordable housing is not the only public benefit that is negotiated in a PUD. Off-site landscaping, environmentally-friendly building practices, and straight cash contributions to local organizations are often part of the package. Of course, all of these costs, including the often $200k+ LOSS that is taken for every "affordable" unit that is given to the city (the loss is higher in expensive areas like NW), is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher housing prices. The question is: does a system that mandates affordable in EVERY new project (as the proposed Inclusionary Zoning laws would do) really provide a useful amount of affordable housing in relation to its dampening effects on development. I know it doesn't seem like development has been "dampened" these last few years, but the recent trend of turning condos into rentals is just the first sign that many projects are at risk and affordable housing requirements are just one more strain that could send many projects into dormancy and severly slow the pace of redevelopment in the city. You may think that's a good thing now, but cities must grow/improve or die: see Buffalo, Detroit etc.

poo poo said...

screw the affordable housing tenants.

did that scenario work in NY?

no. i know a lawyer who lives in manhattan that is paying $800 a month for a two bedroom apartment he's subletting from a low income person.

gimme a break.

it's stupid.

 

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