Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Baptist's Apartment Building to Replace Dupont Parking Lot




Having finally received approval for their requested zoning exceptions, the First Baptist Church of Washington's planned nine-story, 218-unit apartment building, set to be built on one of Dupont Circle's last remaining surface parking lots, is juuuuuust about ready to go.


"The project has a clear runway to ground- breaking. All we need now is the building permit. We're thinking we'll start construction in 4Q of this year, and it'll take about 18 months, all told," said Michael Korns, Developer at Keener Squire, the firm overseeing the project.

The Eric Colbert and Associates-designed project was initially met with considerable community resistance, for reasons ranging from noise, a potential influx of students, and preserving the neighborhood's last parking lot (arguably the least sympathetic cause of all time). In response to the outcry, developers and architect Eric Colbert revised the design to reduce the exposure of rooftop common areas, and reduced the number of efficiency units. (There was some speculation that the reduced number of efficiencies was in response to complaints that the building might become a magnet for students. Perhaps sensitive to the suggestion of reverse ageism, ANC 2B removed text praising the efficiencies reduction from their resolution in support of the project.)

At around ninety feet, the building will fit in with the established scale of the area, and aesthetically it should match the neighboring structures. "It's a stone and brick and precast building, yellow in color, a fair amount of glass, and metal sunshades," says Korns, all of which is in keeping with the modern architecture in the area. Though the area will lose some parking spaces once the lot is gone, the edifice does include 93 below-grade parking spaces. And although any construction is, of course, disruptive, the plan that was approved was the least disruptive of all possibilities that were discussed.

"Some of the plans we were thinking of presenting would have involved demolishing an extension built onto the church in the Eighties, but we decided against that. It would've been too disruptive to the neighborhood and to the church; they have daycare there, and community programs."

Having finally cleared the last hurdle, after withstanding fierce community resistance and making significant concessions and design changes to appease those concerns, did Korns have anything he'd like to say to the community?

"No comment," Korns said dryly.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

11 comments:

Critically Urban on Apr 18, 2012, 12:40:00 PM said...

I STILL cannot believe the gall of some neighbors decrying a rooftop area, of all things! And the ageism is prevalent even if it's not written in text. It's a real embarrassment and I would be ashamed of myself if I were involved in any of these baseless complaints.

Anonymous said...

My only complaint is that they gave in to any of the complaints. Shove it down their throats. I say this as a Dupont residents disgusted by these awful people telling the developer basically, "I got mine, now get all these other people off my lawwwnnn!"

Well, I also wish they put retail space in there. It is a dead zone from Beacon Hotel up to P, and this could liven it up. I hope JHU eventually puts some retail in the ground floor of their building, which is as barren and uninviting as you can get.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see this moving forward and that the parking lot's days are numbered.

Agree with the other commentators that the local NIMBY's should be ashamed. Of course they achieved some level of concessions, so they'll probably just be emboldened to fight whatever the next reasonable building proposal comes along.

Anonymous said...

17th is all retail. That site doesn't need retail, it's not the right spot for a tiny retail island.

Anonymous said...

This looks like an attractive building and it will certainly be great to have that ugly parking lot gone. I agree with other comments regarding the NIMBYs. The knee-jerk opposition to anything new in vibrant neighborhoods like Dupont Circle has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

Yay! I live less than a block from this site, and will be thrilled to see that eye-sore parking lot gone. Neighborhoods like Dupont Circle benefit from greater density. The new residents of this building will contribute to our neighborhood economy and help attract more business.

Anonymous said...

As one involved with the project, I would just like to note that, based on my experience, the amoung of community opposition was average to low. For the most part, it wasn't so much 'community' as 'immediate neighbors.' And not even anything resembling a majority of the immediate neighbors.

In fact, the real story of the project's zoning and historic approvals is the incredible amount of community SUPPORT the project received. One ANC commissioner told me it was "unprecedented" in his experience to have so many supporters take the time to come to community meetings and voice their support. Commissioners are so accustomed to the tenacious negativity of NIMBYs that it was a huge surprise to them when an even larger group of supporters were equally tenacious!

Re commercial uses, the zoning (SP) doesn't support it. I suppose the developer could have sought a variance, but they had plenty to deal with already.

Anonymous said...

Another mediocre Colbert building. Does Washington not deserve better? It's 2012 for God's sake! Here is the first random building on archdaily: http://www.archdaily.com/108853/coda-stanisic-associates/
Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Another mediocre Colbert building. Does Washington not deserve better? It's 2012 for God's sake! Here is the first random building on archdaily: http://www.archdaily.com/108853/coda-stanisic-associates/
Enough said.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the prior posters who think the NIMBY opponents of this project were out of line, and I'm glad good sense prevailed. I live in the neighborhood too and am really excited about this project! It'll be great to bring more business to area merchants. Plus, the developer quoted in this post is *HOT*!

Anonymous said...

lol. The building that anon @ 8:06pm linked to on Arch Daily is ugly. No thanks.

 

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