Monday, April 16, 2012

Clark Realty Requests Revision with WMATA's Tenley Property



Yet another version of the redeveloped Safeway in Tenleytown could be in the works if the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority Board approves a proposal to sell an adjacent .25-acre site to Clark Realty Capital. Clark offered to purchase the "chiller site" as an addition to the Safeway redevelopment plan that includes residential units above the new grocery store.

For WMATA, the purchase is a chance to repurpose underutilized land, get a new air conditioning unit for two Metro stations, and possibly bank extra cash. If the sale goes through, Clark will develop the land and put a new chiller plant in the building. The air conditioner for the Friendship Heights and Tenleytown Metro stations is already about halfway through its 20-year life cycle.

“This is an opportunity for us to get some value from the real estate holdings while improving our service,” said Steve Teitelbaum, senior real estate adviser at WMATA.

For Clark, purchasing the extra land means a continuous street front on Wisconsin Avenue and more space for development by increasing the lot to 2.75 acres from the roughly 2.5 acres it now covers. Clark's John Sunter said additional residential or retail space will be created "generally in proportion to the increased size of the site."

Current plans show four floors of residential space above the new Safeway on 42nd Street. Both the lot and the building slope back toward 43rd Street. Other residential units include townhouses and free-standing houses around the property. Sunter said the team is working on revised plans using the WMATA lot and that they "look forward to sharing any changes with the community at the appropriate time."

Elevation along Davenport Street
Redevelopment of the Safeway site has been a hot topic for some time now. Clark, Safeway and Torti Gallas presented revised plans in January to mixed reactions from residents. Among the concerns were issues of height and density in the primarily single-family community. Another presentation in March showed height reduced by one story, among other alterations.

Jonathan Bender, chairman of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 3E, said that while some residents' concerns were addressed in the revised plans, there still was room for improvement regarding the impact of increased density on the community.

"I, and I believe most of my fellow commissioners, do not object per se to the level of density Safeway/Clark proposes," he said in an email response. "Instead, several of us are concerned that Safeway has not committed to the steps necessary to minimize the burden that such density could occasion. Perhaps the biggest concern is parking in the neighborhood."


He said the ANC has asked that the new residents be ineligible for Residential Parking Permits (RPPs). The project is intended to encourage public transportation in lieu of using personal vehicles.

But the ANC likely would support using the WMATA site, especially if it facilitates the incorporation of other ANC suggestions.

"I and other commissioners actually suggested that Safeway/Clark look into purchasing this property long before we knew they had been talking about doing so with WMATA, and perhaps before they actually had done so," Bender said. "I would especially like to see the WMATA plot used in part for additional retail offerings and enhancements to the streetscape."

The WMATA board will vote on the sale proposal April 26.

Washington, D.C. real estate development news

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a potential win-win for a project that was already moving in the right direction.

With respect to parking, didn't Safeway already say the lots would be open and unmonitored? This seems like a non-issue?

Anonymous said...

If it's a non-issue, than no-RPP restrictions should be a non-issue. Everybody wins.

Anonymous said...

^^^^

Who has a problem with that?

Build it now said...

With all due respect to Jon Bender, Tenley has abundant parking. Except for right on Wisconsin, there is always sufficient on-street parking. Walk down 42nd Street on any evening and you will find dozens and dozens of parking space. Perhaps Tenley has scarce on-street parking compared to Ashburn, VA, but if you want to see scarce parking go to Logan Circle. Parking shouldn't be an issue with this development, in a neighborhood that is less than a ten minute walk from two metro stations and is well-served by the 30s buses.

JJ said...

I find that view annoying - that we have 2 classes of citizens - some that can park on the street and some that can't?? That's BS. Granted, it will appease the nimbys of the neighborhood, who feel an entitlement to determine every building that gets built, but its not fair, and should be illegal.

Anonymous said...

There are obviously divergent perspectives no parking. On the one hand, the RPP system was created to help existing homeowners and parkers when the metro was built, be able to park near their homes. On the other hand, all residents pay for the streets people park on.

To that end, it wouldn't be like parking is taken away from people moving into this new development. They know, when signing a lease, where they can and cannot park legally. No one is forcing them to live there, and there is no reason, given their residency, they need an RPP sticker to park elsewhere in the boundary.

I am failing to see what the big deal is with restricting RPP here, and I am NOT a nearby resident.

Critically Urban on Apr 17, 2012, 9:25:00 AM said...

"He said the ANC has asked that the new residents be ineligible for Residential Parking Permits (RPPs). The project is intended to encourage public transportation in lieu of using personal vehicles."

I'm sorry but part of living in the city is being able to CHOOSE whether you want to drive or take public transit or walk, bike, run. And part of living in the city means allowing others to choose, as well. As an ANC chairman, rather than forcing the lifestyle on neighbors you have not yet even met, you should hope that the "difficulty" of being able to park in your neighborhood will compel people to choose an alternative. Better yet, as ANC chairman, you should ditch the car yourself and inspire your current neighbors to do the same. Then you won't have to worry about parking at all.

Anonymous said...

Hm Anon 8:44...you mention one of the main problems, but dismiss it. "there is no reason, given their residency, they need an RPP sticker to park elsewhere in the boundary." Ever think that, while these residents may park in their garage and leave the car most of the time, that they might need to run an errand somewhere nearby in their own neighborhood. Now why should people who live elsewhere in the neighborhood have that privilege and not them?

Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry but part of living in the city is being able to CHOOSE whether you want to drive or take public transit or walk, bike, run. And part of living in the city means allowing others to choose, as well."

Huh? This fits with city life in 1950, maybe. Smart growth is in part about getting people out of cars. Restricting parking in new buildings a few minutes from a Metro stop makes eminent sense in 2012. If nothing else, it internalizes the cost of parking. If prospective residents insist on externalizing the cost of parking, there are ample housing opportunities that allow that.

Anonymous said...

10:17, because they made a choice to live in a transit-oriented complex a few minutes from Metro that, like every other property, comes with a set of constraints. Ideally the developers would not build in-house parking, and could pass some of the savings to residents.

Anonymous said...

@10:17, 8:44 here.

The whole point of RPP (which stands for Residential Permit Parking) is to be able to park near your residence. If the residents of the new complex have parking in their building, then they don't need an RPP sticker.

The RPP program is not designed to provide free street parking beyond the legal 2 hours during restricted periods for people to run errands.

Anonymous said...

Lost in all of this discussion is the fact that the current Safeway sucks...big time! Every time I go there (and believe me I try not to go there) there are always long lines at the 2 open check outs - they actually have 8 but I've never seen any more than 2 or 3 ever open at the same time. And then there's the general condition of the store - I think the word "tired" comes to mind. It's seen better days and needs to be replaced. Clearly Safeway is not investing anything into the existing store while they wait to see what happens with the plans for the new store, so in the meantime we all suffer from a sub-par grocery shopping experience.
Please, no more NIMBYs in my back yard!

Anonymous said...

"The whole point of RPP (which stands for Residential Permit Parking) is to be able to park near your residence. If the residents of the new complex have parking in their building, then they don't need an RPP sticker."

If that's the rationale, then everyone in the neighborhood that has a driveway or garage should also be ineligible for RPP.

Ben said...

I actually think that stipulating that new residents in this building are ineligible to receive RPP stickers--particularly when thebuilding itself offers parking--seems like a fair compromise. If a new resident agrees to it at the time he or she purchases the unit, that seems reasonable to me. There are new developments throughout Logan and U Street that would have actually benefitted from that approach. The Logan Station development at Vermont and R is a great example--they built an underground garage, but the spaces were so expensive many new residents simply elected not to purchase them and instead chose to park on the street.

Anonymous said...

Ben,

Why is it reasonable that residents of the new building have to pay for expensive parking while residents of nearby single family homes get nearly free parking on the street? That seems like the definition of unreasonable to me.

JJ said...

If parking needs to be restricted due to proximity to Metro and heavier parking needs, then it needs to be restricted to all. Don't treat the new neighbors as 2nd class citizens, its just wrong. They aren't responsible for increased density, they are just choosing a neighborhood and filling a unit. Don't punish them. How are they different from someone who buys a house a block away and gets to park on the street? Sorry, I have to strongly disagree with Bender on this one.

Regarding the Safeway, it does suck. you can get there at 8pm on a Sunday and still wait in line 30 minutes. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Both the chiller plan and the Safeway are on 42nd Street -- not Wisconsin Avenue.

And DDOT is pretty clear that it won't go for the no-RPP for new development approach. Even if they would, it's not a reliable solution since the new resident of the multifamily property will immediately outnumber the SF homeowners in the immediate vicinity. Is is an equity issue at that point and the votes are disproportionately on the side of treating residents equally. Especially since the residents of this project, unlike some local homeowners, will have no way to add on site parking after the project is constructed.

It makes sense to require the developer to provide adequate parking for residents' cars (as well as for shoppers) as a condition of this PUD.

Frank said...

I don't understand why parking would be an issue—the building will include a garage. A large apartment building with a garage was built practically across the street from the Safeway about 10 years ago. Parking has never been a problem on the streets around that building.

Frank said...

And I agree, parking permits should be available to residents of the new building too.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea the vocal Tenley minority might like: why not just say that immigrants (especially the French) aren't allowed to park on the street? That takes cars off the block and reserves space for people like us that were born here and have more invested in our roadways.

 

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