Monday, December 28, 2009

The Continuing Saga of Skyland Town Center

Apparently three hours worth of a Zoning Commission hearing was not enough time for all interested parties to have their say about Skyland Town Center, a the proposed mixed-use residential and retail development. Neighbors showed up in force to voice their concerns and hesitant support for - or outright opposition to - the project set to bring 450-500 residential units and 315,000 s.f. of retail to the intersection Alabama Avenue & Good Hope Road, SE. The five-member development team, made up of the Rappaport Companies, William C. Smith & Co., Harrison Malone Development LLC, the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO) and the Washington East Foundation, has been working with the community on the plans for Skyland for 7 years. The December meeting ended with a "to-be-continued" status, set to finish (in theory) February 4, 2010.

Original plans called for 80% of the residential units to be condominiums, an obvious non-starter today. According to one resident who spoke before the Zoning Commission, the community first began pushing for new development in the town center area in 1989, in 2000 then - Mayor Anthony Williams' administration chose the current development team to plan and build the mixed-use center. The DC Council has already approved a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) package to provide gap financing for the project.

Residential units will be provided in three apartment buildings and approximately 20 townhouses. Developers hope the retail will include a big box retail store, multi-neighborhood retailers, and local retailers.

ANC-7B submitted a letter of support, but it listed approximately 20 concerns or items that needed further discussions, including concerns over traffic mitigation, litter control, and promised transportation enhancements. One group of neighbors, the Ft. Baker Drive Party, remains in complete opposition citing concerns over, naturally, the proximity of the planned development to their homes. Neighbors such as Tiffany Brown, a resident of neighboring Akron Place, said they opposed any type of development on the site that added housing to the retail mix, citing abundant housing already in existence.

After three hours of testimony from the developers and residents, the Zoning Commission set the schedule for February to hear the Office of Planning's report on the project.

Washington DC real estate development news


DG on Dec 29, 2009, 12:45:00 AM said...

man, are the NIMBY neighbors BLIND to what the site looks like now? It is total trash. Putting the next meeting on my calender so I can speak up in Total and Complete support for this great project.

[PS - the overhead shot you have as the first photo is outdated. The rest are fine .. but the layout has changed some, especially around the "big box" area. Much more integrated now.]

Anonymous said...

People people people... You cannot get retail without density - Columbia Heights, Downtown, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Pentagon City - unless a lot more people (who make $70,000+ a year or more) move to the neighborhood, the stores will not come.
That is how retail works.

Que said...

I must be missing something if you get as many people as those highrises could fit the bus service around would not due there is no rail station that close all stations either Congress Heights, Southern Ave , Naylor Rd or Anacostia would require a bus ride should why would anyone build such a development there unless they want to increase the amount of cars or are they planning on building metrorail station or a few streetcar lines nearby

Anonymous said...

One of the potential future streetcar extensions will be done Good Hope, which should serve this area well.

Anonymous said...

build it and the people will come!!

Unknown on Jul 21, 2010, 8:45:00 AM said...

Well progress has been disputed for as long as I can remember. And more often than not, it is disputed by those that will benefit from it. It's a good thing for the Ogden river development program which is headed by Gadi Leshem, this is not the case. on Sep 23, 2015, 2:00:00 PM said...

There is presently no place - NO place - like this, anywhere East-of-river. There is no place, where working class OR middleclass people can live next to relevant retail, in an environment that is safe and walkable and consistently serviced by public transportation.

The 'old Skyland' was a suburban commercial center, without the living amenities that new urbanism is bringing the 'rest' of DC. This new Skyland will be better.

I don't want to see new people and the 'new politics' that come with them in Naylor Dupont, anymore than the next guy. I especially don't want to bring people in, who, when they get in - wherever they go - ultimately shut everyone else out, making it very difficult for DC natives to enjoy all of the new urbanist goodies of the new DC...but, what can we do?

We can either grow, diversify and change or fade even further (if that is possible) into civic irrelevance, ensuring that we will be ignored, underserved and further disenfranchised by a Downtown that doesn't care about us. We need this.

Skyland must happen. Hope there'll be a movie theatre.

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