901 Monroe (Col. Brooks’) Development Update

Colonel Brooks' development Brookland NE Washington DC
901 Monroe Street development Rendering Courtesy of Esocoff and Associates
At a recent ANC 5A07 meeting, representatives from the 901 Monroe (Col Brooks’) Development team gave an update on the development’s progress. A representative from Esocoff and Associates (architect for the project), led the presentation, aided by representatives from Clinton and Associates (landscape architects for the project). Also represented were the Menkiti Group (Realtor/Developer) and Horning Brothers (Developers/Property Managers). The purpose of the presentation was to discuss the Public Space Plan. For those of you, like me, who have been wondering why the demolition work on the project isn’t moving along quite as quickly as expected, we now know why. The handful of residents opposed to the development (known by many as the “200 footers”) have filed an appeal in court in hopes of overturning the Office of Planning’s decision to allow the development. Still, the development team, confident that the decision won’t be overturned, is moving forward with the public space at risk while the appeal is being decided. The Public Space Plan is chock full of upgrades like widened sidewalks, new curbs, street lights and gutters, upgraded sidewalks, new alley paving (with improved grading/drainage), new and more trees, some permeable paving next to planting zones/trees – and my favorite – buried lines on Monroe and 9th streets. The development team was asked to post the diagrams from the presentation on their website, which they did. However, I find this older diagram from the Casey Trees site much easier to understand. The only big difference from this diagram and the more recent materials is that now the developers will bury the power lines on Monroe and 9th St.
Brookland NE Washington DC
Rendering (via Casey Trees) Courtesy of Esocoff and Associates
The “Cafe Zone”sidewalk will run the length of Monroe St. and wrap around a portion of 9th and 10th street. It will be brick in a “basket weave” pattern, similar to this:
I really think the brick will look much nicer than standard sidewalk, and am happy they are going with that. In general, I was pleased to see that all the sidewalks will get an upgrade in materials compared to what we have now. All four blocks will be lined with these new street lights as well.
The landscape architects are working with DDOT, and taking their recommendations on things like what trees to plant. As a tree hugger, I was concerned with what would happen to the 10 or so mature trees in the tree boxes that line the streets of the development. One in particular,  a huge, mature, Sycamore on the corner of Lawrence and 9th St., is one of my favorite trees in Brookland. I was disappointed to learn that all the street trees that line the sides of Monroe, Lawrence, 10th and 9th facing the development will be removed. However, I felt much better when I learned that they will be replaced with about 25 street trees, and about 40 new trees in total will be planted when you count the internal courtyard and alleyway trees. I am very happy about the power lines being buried so that the trees on 9th and Monroe can really flourish. Also, I am glad to see that they are incorporating eco-friendly elements such a permeable pavers and diverting the runoff from the alleyway to trees on their property. I was also curious about the types of trees that will be planted. Here is a rundown. Along Monroe St. Espresso Kentucky Coffee trees will be planted.
On 10th, Katsura trees will be planted.
On Lawrence,  Shumard Oaks will be planted
On 9th, Rotundiloba Sweetgums will be planted.
The trees planted will be 4 inch calipers trees, which will be about 8 years old, so it will be a while before they are as big as the trees depicted. The next step for the development is a full ANC 5B meeting, which is yet to be scheduled, possibly in January. There will also be a public space hearing in February, where DDOT will conduct a review of the Public Space Plan. We will keep you updated when we hear anything new.

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