The deadline for responding to the Tenley Library / Janney School RFP has been extended by the DC government to January 4th. Developers were asked October 31st to submit proposals for a "world class mixed-used development" (but don't even think of building more than 5 stories) on the site of the now-demolished Tenley Library at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street, which will include rebuilding a state of the art library as well as renovating the existing 43,000-s.f. school and constructing an addition for its cramped students.
Development of the land, currently owned by the District, has been addled by the incongruent needs of interested parties, pitting at odds the DCPS (public schools), DCPL (public libraries), the Office of Planning, retail-starved neighbors, and local anti-development activists that have a near perfect record in the community. As DCmud reported in October, the process began in 2005 when Roadside Development, developer of the just-completed Cityline Condominiums across the street, assembled its own development plan after discussion with neighbors, offering school renovation and a free library (the dated library having been shuttered in 2005) in exchange for the right to build residences above the new public library. The plan was obviated when DCPL came up with its own plan, but when that failed to launch, Roadside came back to the table to offer an amended plan. But by then Tenleyites had recently downsized another condominium on Wisconsin Ave. and successfully removed an adjacent (and admittedly monstrous) tower from the top of Tenley hill, and successfully petitioned the DC government to open the process to competitive bidding.
The District issued general specifications for the project, including doubling the size of the historic school, construction of a 20,000-s.f. library, and providing 30% of the new housing units for low-income residents, in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan's stricture for development of DC-owned property. The RFP also suggests that bidders incorporate retail into the project. Because plans for the library are already underway, DCPL has requested that residential units be built next to its new facilities, rather than over it, to avoid delaying its opening.
Offerers are being asked to provide their vision for the site as well as work with school and library officials to incorporate their uses, as well as provide a "meaningful community outreach." In accordance with the District's Comprehensive Plan, the site could also potentially be used for housing and retail, specifically street-level retail, that would enliven the Wisconsin Avenue commercial corridor. The site is less than a block from the Tenleytown-AU Metrorail Station.