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