Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brookland Mixed-Use Project to be Reviewed by Zoning Commission, Finally

Shortly after the first of the year, the Zoning Commission will finally review the Planned Unit Development application for 901 Monroe Street, a 220-unit apartment building with 12,700 s.f. of street-level retail, running the length of Monroe between 9th and 10th Streets.

As the Washington Examiner reported this past spring, the "hotly contested development project" was, as of last March, "deemed too controversial by a city zoning panel to move forward just yet." A hearing date has now been set for January 19th.

The joint development team - The Horning Brothers, The Menkiti Group, and property owner Jim Stiegman - will once again attempt to move forward, with the aim being to follow close behind the 9-acre, mixed-use Monroe Street Market, a $200-million transformation south of Catholic University that broke ground last month. "We're excited about [901 Monroe]," said CEO and president of Horning David Roodberg. "It'll be a nice connection to Abdo and Bozzuto's development [Monroe Street Market] on the other side of the metro tracks."

Eventually, Brookland will become "a metro-accessible destination in itself," believes Roodberg, highlighting the continuous frontage of street-level retail bays included in 901 Monroe that will seamlessly connect to the retail corridor running through Monroe Street Market (site plan at left).

Of course, some fear that the quantity and scale of new residential and retail development in the area will render Brookland unrecognizable in coming years, while others argue that's not a bad thing.

A notable aspect of the development is that the site is a 60,000-s.f. area (below, in yellow) currently fringed with several small buildings, both commercial and residential, including a long-standing local pub, Colonel Brooks' Tavern.

The tavern's owner, Jim Stiegman, started down the path to develop, back in 2006. Last year he told the Washington Business Journal that the beginning of the end for his watering hole was in 2003, when the tavern was the victim of a bungled - and horrific - robbery on Palm Sunday that left three employees dead, and his business debilitated.

It's believed that Stiegman approached the Menkiti Group with the idea to develop, and The Horning Brothers were brought on board soon after.

Eight years later, a PUD is ready to be reviewed, and once approved, the development checklist will begin: construction documents, permits, and financing, confirmed Roodberg. If zoning approval is swift - if - construction could begin as early as the fall of 2012, said Roodberg, with delivery in 2014.

Designed by Esocoff & Associates, the building has already made some concessions, including the loss of 12 percent of its density, down to 197,000 s.f. of gross floor area (from just over 220,000 s.f. sought in the initial 2010 design). The zoning application proposes somewhere between 205 to 220 residential units, mostly 1 bed/1 bath, 150 parking spaces below-grade and 66 bicycle parking spaces. The development will also create wider sidewalks through 15-foot setbacks around the property. The architecture also bears an uncanny resemblance to the Whitman Condos (see picture below), one of Esocoff's recent residential projects.

Alternatives for community benefits offered through the project include the creation of a community park on the west side of 9th Street, on property owned by DDOT and WMATA. Developers say they "found those agencies to be receptive to the idea of a community park" due to the area's shallow depth (limiting potential uses), as it's hemmed in by WMATA/CSX train tracks.

The Brookland business community has also been gunning for "significant sign pylons welcoming people to Brookland, heavy duty mounted poles and banners advertising the Brookland commercial area, potential art/sculpture in public space, the installation of six Metropolitan Police Department cameras, enhanced landscaping and various public space improvements."

The pre-hearing statement for the PUD was filed in October, and all 147 pages are available for late-night reading.

Washington D.C. real estate development news


Joshua Sewell on Dec 17, 2011, 10:01:00 AM said...

This is a great project. I live less than two blocks from this project and am in 100% support.

Jeff on Dec 19, 2011, 4:32:00 PM said...

I live on Lawrence Street across from the proposed development and support it wholeheartedly. Brookland is a nice neighborhood, but it could be much nicer, and this development is a step in the right direction

Rachel said...

I'm a longtime Brooklander and live down Monroe Street a piece.

Also think that this project is a good one that will add to the commercial life of the neighborhood. I support it.

Also glad that the developer has agreed to underground the utility wires on this stretch, which is an important thing to do.

Aaditi on Dec 20, 2011, 11:14:00 AM said...

I have lived within two blocks of the proposed development for several years. My concern is that property values or rents in Brookland may skyrocket, leading to the possibility of residents no longer being able to afford to live here.

Anonymous said...

The building's architecture has substantially improved since the concept was first unveiled as part of its PUD review. Brookland deserves this level of finish, and kudos to the development team for its commitment to quality.

We have friends who live at the Whitman, and it is well constructed with high-quality finishes.

With the arrival of construction cranes at Abdo's Monroe Street project, this is an exciting time for Brookland! Keep the new investment coming!!

Tom in Michigan Park

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