Monday, November 19, 2007

Changes to Eckington Project to be Decided Tonight

Tonight, NoMa West Residential I LLC will request a Planned Unit Development modification for the design plans for 618,000 s.f. of development on a 190,000-s.f. parcel in Eckington (or NoMa, depending on whether you are marketing the project or already live there). The vacant site at Eckington Place and Harry Thomas Way, NE, which falls within the NoMa BID, had already been approved for development as of October 2006, but since then both the applicant, Fairfield Residential, and the initial proposal, have changed. The new P.U.D. application seeks construction of only 1,000 s.f. of retail and a total 617,318 s.f. of residential space to be split amongst 600 units in three separate buildings.

Initial plans for the site were drafted by Fairfield (FF Realty, LLC) on behalf of the site-owner CSX Realty Development Corporation back in 2006. The Zoning Commission subsequently approved the P.U.D., signed June 22, 2007. Unfortunately for FF Realty, a new developer has stepped into their shoes, changing the design plans and ultimately the scope of the development.

Under the old plans, three large residential buildings, 27 townhouse units and five, four-story single family townhouses were to be constructed over 4.3 acres, with Q Street dissecting the property in order to "establish [a] street grid," according to a Zoning Commission summary. In total, a maximum of 636 residential units comprised of 739,951 s.f. of residential area would have been created combined with 15,084 s.f. of retail space for a total cost of $150 million. The modified P.U.D. reduces the amount of residential space by more than 120,000 s.f. and cuts the retail portion of the site by 90%.

The only remaining design from FF Realty's old plan will be the three mammoth buildings and the Q Street dissection. The first structure, Building 100, will have about 120,000 s.f. of floor area measuring 57 feet in height; Building 200 will house 250,000 s.f. of space at 64 feet and Building 300 will also have about 250,000 s.f. of space and will measure 61 feet in height. In addition to shaving the townhouses off of the plan, the new developers have also proposed to rezone the site from its approved C-3-C District, which allows 100% lot occupancy and permits building heights up to 90 ft, to C-3-A which reduces lot occupancy to 75% and allows a height of no more than 65 ft.

The modified P.U.D. will be considered for final action tonight. Prior to ZC's decision, they have required that NoMa West provide the Construction Management Plan and further detail as to the design changes.


Anonymous said...

Just say no to reduced retail. The hood needs more retail.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Right now it's an open field so it's not like it's going to replace an abandoned building.

I mean if they cut it in half. Fine but to cut it by 90% is ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

As a resident, I consider it Eckington, and am very displeased that they are cutting the retail. I was at some of the meetings when the first developer pitched their proposals and was happy to hear that it would include a substantial ammount of retail.

David on Nov 20, 2007, 3:33:00 PM said...

I personally liked the old plan better, but hold on...we still don't know how this will pan out. The question needs to be asked though, how well can any retailer do with an apartment-sized space to work in?....The future occupant of those tiny quarters will be hard-pressed for space and, I think, destined for failure. But that's just one lowly writer's opinion.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to send written commentary? Is this meeting a forum for public commentary? If it helps, I'd rather speak out against reducing the amount of retail than live with it happening by fiat or from lack of opposition.

David on Nov 20, 2007, 3:49:00 PM said...

Zoning Commission voted on final action yesterday, and I believe that it is too late to submit testimony (although there may be a way to appeal after final action has been taken, but I doubt it...I'm not that familiar with zoning procedure).

As an addendum to the article, Zoning approved the action last night with a vote of 4 - 0 with one member abstaining.

Anonymous said...

I guess to at least look on the bright side.. with more residents they're will be more demand for retail.

What I wouldn't give for a sitdown pizza place on north capital.

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