Friday, March 26, 2010

H Street Goes Big


Score yet another win for H Street. The dare-we-say trendy neighborhood that is sometimes maligned for its beleaguered street front, but just as often loved for its gritty resurgence, is closer to getting one of its biggest projects to date. The H Street Connection, a 433,000 s.f. residential and retail project that will fill two full blocks along H Street, cleared a major hurdle in its path toward District approval. Developer Parcel Seven Associates (a.k.a. Rappaport Companies), has been given approval recently by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), an event that is certain to make its stock go up when the project goes before the Zoning Commission (ZC) for review.

Designed by architects Torti Gallas, the new project will likely get a zoning hearing this summer. The ANC's support will be given weight during the hearings, which come now after more than two years of conversations between the developers and the community. A development of this size will certainly be transformative, but its larger effect may be suturing the voguish Atlas District with the still struggling corridor to the east, roughly from 3rd Street to 10th Street, where major developments are planned but seem on indefinite hold.

The H Street Connection's 52,000 s.f. of retail and 346 to 423 rental units will fit into the space between 8th and 10th Streets NE, replacing a one-story strip mall built in 1987 and occupied by stores like GameStop and RiteAid. The community gave a big thumbs down to the iteration first presented in November 2007; a letter from the ANC described the design as a "monolithic contemporary facade." The development team has since adjusted the design to create the appearance of multiple buildings more in line with the "rhythm and architectural style" of the surrounding neighborhood. In keeping with the community's requests, the massing will sit in the center and rear of the new structure, allowing the sides to step down to better match the surrounding two and three-story townhouses. The developer is asking for a density of of 5.0 FAR, less than the 6.0 allowed in the PUD zoning application.

Below-grade parking will add 340 residential spaces and 65 retail spaces, with garage entrances off 8th and 10th Streets. According to ANC 6A Commissioner, Dr. Drew Ronneberg, "the city has a strong interest in having the site host 100 additional city-owned parking spaces that would serve retail establishments outside the building."

Among other concessions, the developers agreed to a laundry list of community benefits to mitigate traffic congestion and encourage "green" living. The project will have to meet LEED silver requirements, though does not have to seek actual certification. There will be bicycle spaces aplenty in the parking garage, and lockers and showers for retail employees who bike to work. The developers agreed to provide one $20 SmartTrip Card to all initial and future residents up to $15,000, to fund up to $45,000 for a bike share station on undefined public property (quite a bit less than the Union Station bike hub cost), provide car sharing spaces, and pay for a one-time, one-year car sharing membership for initial occupants to max out at $19,000. We can see the marketing materials already.

Ronneberg said the ultimate goal behind the community amenities was to "help catalyze...the development of H Street" and that after hammering out the amenities over the past six months "there's certainly nothing major the ANC asked for that did not make it into the package." Chip Glasgow of Holland and Knight, attorney for the developers, said "we have been working with the ANC for a couple of years and it has turned out to be a very good process. We are very pleased with the result...and people are excited."

Glasgow indicated he hopes to be in front of Zoning in April or May and to have a hearing "sometime this summer." As for a timeline thereafter, he would not speculate, though Ronneberg suggested a 2012 start would be the earliest the community would expect anything.

Washington, DC real estate and development news

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds great, but can we be assured the dollar stores and wig shops will get space in the new development?

Anonymous said...

You guys really need to step up your editing. In the H Street connection article, the area that is lagging the Atlas District is not to its east. It is to the west. In the Bike Station piece, the sentence "Most American's won't walk across the room..." uses a possessive "American's" when the plural "Americans" is required. Please be more careful in the future.

andrew said...

Looks a lot nicer than most new developments (and *certainly* an improvement over the existing building), but gosh, it sure is tall.

Anonymous said...

While it is tall, right behind it on G street is a residential tower that's just as big.

Ken on Mar 26, 2010, 11:32:00 AM said...

Anon,

You are correct, the Atlas District is to the east, that was an editing error.

Matchbox Man on Mar 26, 2010, 11:38:00 AM said...

Any idea when this will actually happen

jfrantz on Mar 26, 2010, 11:57:00 AM said...

could we reconnect 9th st while we're at it?

Anonymous said...

There's absolutely no need, other than to speed through from Florida Ave to SE, to reconnect 9th street. And the residents occupying the apartment building on G b/w 8th and 10th probably don't want to have their homes sawed in half.

Anonymous said...

jfrantz: No, we can't reconnect 9th St - unless we also knock down the apartment building on G St between 8th and 10th.

pandaboy on Mar 26, 2010, 2:29:00 PM said...

As a lifelong DC resident, I'm really floored by this - in a good way. The "8th + H crew" was responsible for the horrific rape and murder of an elderly woman named Catherine Fuller in 1984. The kiling became a symbol of the crack years in DC. To see this building in the works (and thanks to the ANC for the upgrades!) is now symbol of DC's rebirth. Amazing. I never thought H St. would ever come back from those dark days.

Que said...

Long as there is a pharmacy or grocery store there and not just upscale restaurants and bars i'm fine with it.

Wouldn't mind the Mcdonalds and Subway as tenants for something quick on the go.

Shaun on Mar 26, 2010, 2:46:00 PM said...

Que: A grocery should be coming in down the street at 3rd and H, NE. We're still bugging the developer to find out which chain will be coming. You can bet we'll have a story when they announce!
http://dcmud.blogspot.com/2009/10/grocery-store-and-apartments-coming-to.html

Anonymous said...

Can we please get "next" and "previous" buttons for ease of browsing this blog? Or did I miss them? Thanks.

Ken on Mar 27, 2010, 8:05:00 AM said...

You didn't miss them, you just have to scroll up and down to see the last two weeks of stories. There is also a "recent posts" section on the right, or you can click on the list of labels on the right for all stories about that person/company/neighborhood, or do a word search at the top.

Erik on Mar 28, 2010, 12:05:00 AM said...

I'm confused as to whether the article is referencing a "bike station" or secured bicycle parking like the Bikestation at Union Station, or a bicycle sharing station like an expansion of Smartbike or another bike sharing system. Does anyone know who could I contact to find out more information?

Nick said...

I am also excited about this development, as I live at 7th & I (Eye), but seriously...the Rite Aid is incredibly convenient--I hope we can expect a drug store in this development. I kind of have a feeling there will be, but I don't want it to be overlooked.

Anonymous said...

The links in the article need to be fixed. They all go to http://www.blogger.com/thelinkwanted where the link wanted is the web site for that particular link.

Shaun on Mar 29, 2010, 10:09:00 AM said...

Erik: The developer will provide 50 bike spaces for residents and 25 for retail customers in the parking garage. The developer also agreed to fund a bike sharing station "on or adjacent to the property on public space" and will pay up to $45,000 for that station.

Anonymous said...

jeez Que aim higher than Subway or McDonalds. How about Potbelly's or a Panera?

Forgotten Empire on Mar 29, 2010, 4:07:00 PM said...

Panera is a great idea, but I haven't seen any panera in DC.

Que said...

@ Anonymous

Im looking at something that will make a lot of profits, plus what is already there which has a market

I would rather all not just a Panera/Potbelly or Subway/Mcdonalds

Mcdonalds provides food at all price ranges where Potbell or Panera does not Im looking at prices vs profits vs customers.

You can never find a under performing McDonalds.

IMGoph on Mar 29, 2010, 9:01:00 PM said...

what's the deal with the white squiggle that looks like a photoshop artifact on the bottom of the last image? was a title just wiped from that?

K Ivey on Mar 29, 2010, 10:13:00 PM said...

Please just don't let this development project turn into the Columbia Heights development with Target, Best Buy, etc. I wish the buildings were so tall but would rather keep with the row house style, architectural buildings currently in the H St. area.

Anonymous said...

..."the City has a strong interest in adding 100 more cars to the development..." I rather doubt this. By the time this development opens there will be a streetcar running down H Street. More parking is exactly what DC doesn't need. Cars don't fit well in vibrant urban areas.

Anonymous said...

to 10:56,

In case you haven't heard, the streetcar will not run on H St.

Send your thanks to the Committee of 100.

Best,

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 1:44am

Have you not noticed the rails in the ground along H Street?

Anonymous said...

As a redident of 10th street where the traffic will exit from this welcomed development, I object to the set-up. The entrance/exit should be at the existing traffic light at H & 9th St, thus keeping the cars/delivery semis on a major thoroughfare, not in my front yard, literally.

 

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