Thursday, April 01, 2010

Chapin Street Project Up for Review

Though projects like Nehemiah Center and 14 W seem to be DOA, at least one 14th Street corridor planned development still has a a pulse; 1412 Chapin Street, NW, has a date with the Zoning Commission tonight. Buwa Binite of Dantes Partners is seeking zoning approval for a five-story, 44-unit, residential building in the Meridian Hill neighborhood, equidistant from the Columbia Heights and U Street Metro stations. The Office of Planning staff report recommends approval of the application, which would make it the third planned PUD in the immediate area; Dantes' smaller-scale development could be the first to actually deliver.

The proposed residential building would replace a vacant lot that once held the Berkshire, a residential building larger than the proposed structure that burned down in 1996. Units will be made affordable, for 30 years, at no more than 60% AMI, and will likely cost $1,200 or so a month. Below-grade parking will provide twice as many bicycle spaces as car spaces (34 and 17, respectively) with one parking space set aside for service/delivery vehicles. The ground floor, which will include a community room, will occupy 100% of the available lot space, with the remaining above grade floors taking on a "U-shape" to occupy only 80% of the lot space.

The Commission previously expressed concerns over the PGN Architects' design, which included vinyl siding and blue tones. The updated design is for gray and copper-toned paneling, expanded use of blond brick and stone veneer bands. Though the original design for the at-risk west side of the building would not have had windows, with the exception of the interior courtyard buildings, the newest design calls for glass block panels to "enliven the appearance."

For community benefits, the developers will offer $50 SmartTrip card and subsidize membership fees for either a SmartBike or Zip Car membership for each unit upon move-in.

The size of the project matches the scale of the neighboring buildings, though approved PUD's like the wayward Nehemiah Center would be significantly larger than the Dantes project. In all likelihood, the project will gain approval thanks to the staff approval. Though Binite was reticent - "we typically shy away from media attention to any of or projects" - at a community meeting last summer, the developer indicated he hoped to gain approval this May or June and begin construction in October 2010.

Washington, DC real estate development news


Anonymous said...

Could further clarification be provided regarding the "at risk west side of the building"?


Anonymous said...

It means that the building is built on the property line, as was the Berkshire before it, so any windows on that side of the property are "at risk" of having obstructed views, light and air. That's why the developer basically designed the building as a "C" , with most units set back along a courtyard from the east property line, with the windows on the west side of the building, facing across the alley.

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