Showing posts with label Norman Smith Architecture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norman Smith Architecture. Show all posts

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More H Street Development in the Works

Several vacant and blighted District-owned lots on the 1100 block of H Street, northeast are set for considerable improvements, as the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) has recently announced their partnership with Wall Development in constructing a five-story residential building with ground-floor retail on the site. Constructed as a matter-of-right project (requiring no Zoning variances), and usurping addresses 1113 through 1117 on the south side of H Street, the 16,000 s.f. building will house 16 one-bedroom units. Approximately 2,000 s.f. of ground floor space will be reserved for a retail component, preferably occupied by a local business.

Still very much in the preliminary conceptual stages of design, H-Street based firm Norman Smith Architecture have offered basic drawings of the planned building but continue to fine-tune their renderings in response to community input. Aside from architectural preferences, community members have communicated concerns about needed repairs to the currently existing drainage system and rear alley. They've also voiced their wish to avoid the likely frustrations of development-generated traffic in the alley. Furthermore, local residents have expressed a desire for additional neighborhood-serving retail beyond new restaurants or bars (of which there are a growing number).

Taurus Development Group will serve as general contractor, overseeing construction that is expected to result in a LEED Certified (the base level of certification) status at completion. Estimated development costs are anticipated to total roughly $4.3 million (including land acquisition costs), according to Stan Wall of Wall Development. Subject to DC Council approval, the official land disposition should be finalized in December. But it will take almost another year to finalize the land purchase and financing, with a groundbreaking following shortly after, and construction completion expected in December of 2012.

Although a ribbon cutting lies at least two years off, developers are still giddy to get the ball rolling, as H Street continues to sprout new projects. Wall explains: "I am excited to have the opportunity to build upon the momentum of redevelopment that has been occurring in the H Street corridor over the past several years." Unlike some of the monolithic super-blocks developed downtown, H Street has been slowly but surely revitalized in what seems to be a more organic fashion. Wall says he's proud to further develop what he articulates as H Street's "own unique look and feel that is eclectic and exciting."

While the development itself will be a much-need community benefit, the District will also require the project to achieve minimum targets for CBE business participation. Wall says he is delighted to cooperate to these ends. Providing affordable housing is also an ever-present and important component: there will be two units at 80% AMI and two units at 50% AMI. Additionally, the development, design, and construction teams plan to partner with Phelps Architecture, Engineering, and Construction High School in order to utilize the development process for valuable learning opportunities (site visits to the project, guest speakers at the school, donations of surplus construction materials, etc.). Sounds like a win, win, win.

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