Category Archives: Development

Massive Rhode Island Ave Development Changes Approach

Rendering courtesy of MRP Realty

We have been following the massive proposed development next to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro stop for over a year now. The 13 acre development will cover about 6 blocks and is planned for the current strip mall anchored by Save-A-Lot, Big Lots and Foreman Mills. In December the development created a lot of buzz when it was announced that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema would join other amenities such as a supermarket and gym.

The developer, MRP Reality has spent 18 months and quite a bit of money navigating the planned-unit development (PUD) process, and received approval for the PUD from the Zoning  Commission in October 2016. That’s why we were surprised to read from this article in the Washington Business Journal that the developer is switching tracks, and pursuing a matter of right development approach, and forgoing the PUD process. From the (pay-walled) article:

With by-right, MRP will not have to return to the commission every time it wants to make a change, as it might have through the PUD process. And it will be largely free of legal challenges…

While building as a matter of right will allow more flexibility, according to the article, the plans for the nine building, 1,550 residential unit mixed use development are not changing (including the Alamo Drafthouse lease). The development will completed in multiple phases spanning 10 years, and is planned to begin summer 2018.

Development Update: St. Paul’s College. ANC Vote Tonight, Zoning Hearing On The 31st

The Chancellor’s Row development was built on St. Paul’s land and completed a number of years ago.

Tonight ANC5E will vote on whether to support, oppose or provide no input to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA), which will meet on May 31 to decide whether to approve the special zoning exception requested by the St. Paul’s College development. The ANC Commissioner for the SMD where the proposed development is, ANC5E01 Commissioner Garnett, recently posted this summary of the history, concerns and next steps for the development. From his blog post:

Like many members of the community, I continue to have concerns about the process by which this site was divided and the parcels considered at different times by different bodies. In 2008, the Zoning Commission reviewed case ZC 07-027, which was brought by the Paulist Fathers and their partners EYA. This case only covered the land that became Chancellor’s Row and enabled 237 homes to be built.

Since then, the Paulist Fathers have vacated their building and Washington Leadership Academy and Lee Montessori Public Charter Schools have signed long-term leases to serve 800 students.

The ANC is now asked to consider only the remaining green space, which is the 5.5 acres sited along 4th St NE. The development team of Boundary Companies, Elm Street Development, and the Paulist Fathers is proposing 62 homes and a new 20,000 square foot religious building for the fathers.

It seems to me that a holistic review would not have permitted 300 homes, 2 charter schools in 100,000 square foot building, and a new 20,000 square foot religious building to be built on this site in the way that is currently proposed, especially when compared to the Josephite Site in Brookland or the Redemptorist site in Edgewood. However, the ANC is not the body to make a judgement on the legal process the Paulist Fathers chose to follow.

For more information, you can check out this recent presentation and additional information and documents associated with this zoning request are here.

WaPo Article Discusses Brookland Development And Small Community Balance

More of this on the way

This Washington Post article was published a while ago, but we thought readers who missed it would like to give it a read. The article is a profile of the neighborhood and includes interviews from two neighbors, Dan Schramm and Caroline Petti who share their observations about the increase in development in and around Brookland. Like many Brooklanders, both were drawn to the neighborhood’s “small town feel”.  From the article:

What has precipitated the most recent change in Brookland? According to Petti, who was the civic association president for four years beginning in 2009, the improving economy and the 2014 opening of the Monroe Street Market, a mixed-use development near the Brookland Metro Station and Catholic University on the opposite side from the original downtown, “unleashed the deluge.”

As with any change, different reactions abound.

“There’s a lot of trepidation about all the development that’s going on in the neighborhood,” said Petti, who leads history tours in Brookland. “At the same time, it’s not necessarily all unwelcome.”

Overall, we thought that the article was pretty informative and balanced.

Brookland/CUA Recent Development Transformation Featured In The Washingtonian

Abdo Catholic University Development Brookland Washington DC
Before and during the Arts Walk construction

The Washingtonian followed up a recent article about relationships between DC Universities and their respective neighborhoods with another shorter article about how colleges are transforming the neighborhoods around them through development projects. Catholic University, Gallaudet and University of Maryland are discussed. We thought readers would be interested in giving it a read, from the article:

The development opened in 2014 and was a boon for a previously underserved neighborhood, adding amenities such as Starbucks, Busboys and Poets, and Barnes & Noble. Of course, those things help real-estate values, too—prior to Monroe Street Market, in 2013, the median home price in Brookland was $375,000. In 2016, it was $520,000.

Development Update: A New Chapter For Michigan Liquors

Back in January, we wrote about Michigan Liquors’ closing. Lately there has been some neighborhood buzz about renovations and activity going on at the location. So, we decided to check recent permits for the location for any clues. According to the DCRA website, in late September 2016, a demolition permit was issued to:

Remove all non-load-bearing interior doors, appliances, and plumbing fixtures. Remove existing entry door and soffit. Demolish furring around columns. Existing front window openings and detailing to be maintained and repaired as needed. Existing stairs remain. Remove sales counter and shelving.

Then in February 2017 an Alteration and Repair Permit was issued for the following work:

Alteration, within a 1,665 sf work area, on the retail beverages sales floor of an existing 2,871 gsf mixed use storage and mercantile building. Work includes refurbished walls, new fur-out at existing masonry, space reconfiguration with new partitions, all new finishes, light fixtures, and plumbing fixtures, replacement of the HVAC system, and new electrical receptacles with sub panel. Millwork includes checkout counter and wine display shelving and furniture.

We figure that the work and “checkout counter and wine display” pretty much indicate some sort of updated wine/liquor store. We will keep our eyes on this one and let you know when we learn anything new. Michigan Liquors is located at 3934 12TH Street NE.

Progress (?) On 12th Street Mixed Use Development, To Be Called ‘Brookland Lofts’

In January 2016 we originally wrote about a small mixed use development at 3733 12 Street NE (between Otis and Perry). At the time construction was moving along slowly. Now, more than a  year later it appears that some progress has been made, though it still looks far from completion.

Still, we thought neighbors would be interested to know that we noticed a banner that recently appeared on the property that says the following:

“Arriving Spring 2017 from the upper $400s! 4 Luxury 2BR/2BA Brookland Condos”

The  banner also advertises a website “www.brooklandlofts.com”. We looked for it and various permutations of it, and could not find anything. The bannner also directs readers to Luxury DC.com. We went to their site and did not find any information about the development.  Hopefully more details will be available soon.

DC’s Office Of Youth Empowerment Moves Into The 9th St. Pink Office Builiding

For a few years now, folks have been wondering what would become of the office building that was erected along the Metro tracks on 9th Street NE between Kearny and Lawrence. When construction started in 2014 there were rumors it would be used for medical offices but we never heard anything concrete. By 2016, construction stalled, the Brookland Station townhomes next to it were built, and the building simply sat with no apparent activity.

Recently  there appears to finally  be tenants: DC’s Child and Family Services Agency, Office Of Youth Empowerment. We stopped by yesterday and the name of the agency is etched on the glass door, there is a security guard and we saw a number of cars with DC Government Fleet licence plates parked in the building’s garage. According to the Child and Family Services Agency, the purpose of the Office Of Youth Empowerment is:

CFSA’s Office of Youth Empowerment (OYE) provides a host of programs and growth experiences for District teens and young adults in foster care. In partnership with social workers, foster caregivers, and the community, OYE’s goals are to teach, train, and guide these young people—and ultimately to help each one begin to recognize and develop his/her unique potential.

At this point we don’t know any more about the use of the building.

Eyesore Building At 12th And Girard For Sale

Property for sale at 2900 12th St NE – corner of Girard

FYI – this post has been updated with a new, increased sale price.

We have been following the changes at 2900 12th Street NE for a number of years (the corner of 12th and Girard NE). A re-cap: in March 2015 we wrote about how longtime Brookland business M&S Barber Services re-located because of what was supposed to be impending development. In May 2015 construction fencing went up around the property, a dumpster arrived, and internal demolition permits were posted in the window. As far as we know, no other permits were obtained. Eventually the construction fencing came down and over time the building has become covered in a patchwork of painted over graffiti.

We recently found out that the property is for sale for $1,825,000. The real estate listing simply states:

Opportunity: lot with plans for 14 units in the heart of hot hot Brookland! the existing building will need to be removed.

I would be pretty surprised if it sold at that price, but stranger things have happened. This sideshow shows the selling developer’s plans for a three story residential-only apartment building. Of course, a purchaser could always go with something else. We will let you know when we learn anything new.

 

Meeting To Update Community On McMillan Development

Anyone who has been vaguely paying attention to development in the area is aware of the ongoing battle over the McMillan development project. In the latest saga of this controversial project, the D.C. Court of Appeals vacated the D.C. Zoning Commission’s approval of the project, basically sending it back to the drawing board. For a pretty good rundown of what has transpired over recent years, check out this opinion article in the Washington Post. From the article:

The court’s decision vindicates the arguments of the community that the approvals “failed to adequately explain why it was necessary to disregard” certain key policies in the Comprehensive Plan, which should “guide executive and legislative decisions.” The court also found that agency approvals failed to comply with D.C.’s historic preservation law, which prohibits harming landmark sites such as McMillan except under very limited circumstances.

The District’s disregard for its own preservation and planning laws in the McMillan Park case is only the tip of the iceberg of flaws in this project.

In response, the Friend of McMillan Park have a petition that requests three things of Mayor Bowser:

(1) Immediately reopen McMillan Park so that District of Columbia residents and others may enter the park for purposes of recreation, exploration and community activities.
(2) Begin to define with full citizen participation a new scope of work for planning the future of the Park
(3) Commit to an international design competition for the future use of the Park.

You can find the petition here. Next up there will be a community update on the McMillan development on February 2nd at 7pm at Inspired Teaching PCS, located at 200 Douglas St NE.

BNCA Hosts Discussion – Comprehensive Plan’s Effects On Brookland

In November we wrote about the DC Office of Planning’s update to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which is a 20-year framework that guides future growth and development. The Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) will host a meeting to discuss the update and potential effects it will have on Brookland. This is an important opportunity for Brookland residents to raise concerns about the current state of planning in our community, and to influence the city’s planning decisions going forward.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday January 17, at 7PM at Brooks Mansion (DCTV), 901 Newton St NE. See more at the BNCA Facebook page.