Category Archives: Development

Development Update: Possible Progress On Longstanding 12th Street Eyesore

Our tweet from January 2015 about the neglect of this property

Long time readers know that we have been writing about the eyesore at 3018 12th Street NE for about 4 years. Now it appears something may be happening with it again. We recently noticed an “Emergency No Parking” sign in front of the former barbershop. The placard indicates no parking is allowed from August – February for a “roll off debris container”, and a few days later a dumpster appeared in the spot. We hope this means that someone will start taking action on this monstrosity. Readers may remember that the last time we wrote about this property in December 2016, it was for sale for $750,000. For those wanting a re-cap, here is a rundown of the building’s history:

  • It was a barbershop for many years

    Recently placed no parking sign
  • In 2013 it was purchased and demolition/build out would occur in spurts. Also, a stop work order was issued at one point
  • In 2015 the owners obtained a permit to convert it to an office building
  • In 2016 DCRA issued another stop work order for a number of violations, not the least of which was that the buildout violated the zoning floor area ratio
  • At around the same time as the second stop work order, it was listed for sale for $750,000. This listing described it as an “investors dream” and “perfect for condo conversion”

We will keep our eyes open for anything new to report. This is what it has looked like for about a year and a half now:

What the development looks like now

Raze Permits Requested At Flip-It Restaurant And Studio202DC Locations On RIA

Flip-It II with Sale Sign in December 2016

The building located 1544 Rhode Island Ave, NE has gone through a few incarnations over the years, lastly as Flip-It, a beloved, affordable family restaurant. Back in December, we wrote that the 14,097 square feet of property that the restaurant sits on was for sale, based on signs that appeared on the property. We recently noticed a few weeks ago that the ‘Land Sale’ sign was taken down. Now we have learned that according to DC’s Raze Permit Report – August 18, 2017, a raze permit has been filed for the property.

Studio202DC – 1522 Rhode Island Ave NE

Also, a raze permit has been filed for 1522 Rhode Island Avenue, NE,  on the other side of the apartment building next to Flip It. That property  is home to Studio202DC, a media company, which hosts BLIS.FM, an online streaming radio station. We will let you know when we learn anything new about these properties.

Providence Hospital Plans To Develop Its Campus Into A ‘Health Village’ And Has Stopped Some Services

Emergency entrance at Providence Hospital

Providence Hospital is the hospital nearest to Brookland, located at 12th and Varnum Streets, NE. In 2014 the hospital completed a modernized emergency room. Recently we learned from an article in The Washington Business Journal that the hospital is looking for a development partner to create a “health village”  on their 30-acre campus. From the article:

Retail, housing and recreation space may soon replace Providence Health System’s Northeast D.C. hospital…Providence wants to provide services that can impact the overall health of the community outside of “traditional health care.” That means affordable housing, retail, education and other social services could all be part of the new plan to replace the traditional hospital building.

Providence Hospital is the longest continuously operating hospital in Washington DC, was chartered by President Lincoln in 1861, and has been in its current location for 57 years. It will be interesting to see if and how this legacy will be reflected in their plans.

We also learned through another Washington Business Journal article that the hospital has already started cutting back services. From the article:

Providence Health System plans to close two service lines — inpatient behavioral health services and maternal infant health services — within the next few weeks, costing at least 89 people their jobs.

While there are few details on the development available yet, we will definitely keep our eyes on this potential development.

Development Update: 12th And Allison Townhomes May Be Approved By Next Month

Rendering courtesy of EYA and KTGY Group

The last time we wrote about the 12th and Allison development, it was last summer and the development team was meeting with residents and other stakeholders to gather input on their proposal. Based on some push back from the immediate community, the original proposal that was submitted to the City in August 2016 was updated to reduce the number of units from 150 to 82 and a greater amount of green space will be preserved. The updated Planned Unit Development (PUD) was resubmitted in February 2017, you  can see it here. We recently learned from an Urban Turf article that the Zoning Commission could approve the development in the next month. From the article:

In the final design, the applicant and architect KTGY Group amended the materiality and design of the side facade of the end units facing streets and added and revised architectural details to enhance the compatibility of the new houses with the existing rowhouses in the neighborhood. Wrap-around porches will remain on some of the new homes based on recommendations from the Office of Planning, despite that not being a prevalent style in the neighborhood.

The development is bound by 12th, Allison, Sargent, 13th, and Varnum Streets NE. We will keep our eyes on this development and let you know when we learn anything new.

More Mixed Use Development Could Be Coming To The Rhode Island Metro

802-810 Rhode Island Avenue NE is the blue building in center at the corner.

Development near the Rhode Island Metro stop has been picking up serious steam recently. Brookland Press, a recently completed apartment building with about 300 units recently started leasing and a planned 13 acre mixed use development will break ground next summer next to the Metro stop. To add to it, we recently learned from this article in Urban Turf:

The owners of 802-810 Rhode Island Avenue NE have applied for a zoning map amendment that would rezone the block from PDR (Production, Distribution and Repair) to MU-6, changing the matter-of-right usage from commercial and industrial to allow for medium-density commercial mixed with high-density residential.

Those familiar with the building know that it is a part of the Mt. Calvary group of buildings at the Metro. We will keep an eye on this re-zoning request and let you know when we learn anything new.

Brookland Press Development Nearly Complete, Adds 296 Apartments Next To RIA Metro

Rendering Courtesy of Jemal’s Channing, LLC

It’s been about a year and a half since we wrote about a development that some neighbors may remember was called Channing Place. The development, now called Brookland Press, is two buildings  joined by an enclosed walkway and is situated very close to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro stop, and along the Metro tracks. Residents will begin moving into one of the buildings in a few weeks and the other building will be completed at the end of July. This article from Busnow has a lot of details and photos, including:

The community’s other amenities, available to residents of both buildings, include a fitness center and yoga studio, a rooftop deck, an outdoor pool, a business center with a conference room, a cybercafé, a pet spa and grooming station, and a lounge with a fireplace, a bar and a dining area…

…The community has studios ranging from 377 SF to 609 SF that start at $1,795 a month, one-bedrooms from 516 SF to 848 SF starting at $2,135, one-bedrooms with a den from 752 SF to 941 SF starting at $2,485 and two-bedrooms from 800 SF to 1,121 SF starting at $2,725.

The development’s name is a nod to the history of one of the buildings, which once housed a printing press.

Development Update – Massive RIA Development Breaking Ground In 2018

Site plan for the future RIA development from Mid-City Financial.
Courtesy of Perkins Eastman.

We have been following one of the largest developments in the city, RIA, because its proximity  to  Brookland – on the other other side of Rhode Island Avenue  at 13th Street/Brentwood Rd through Montana Ave NE. With a size of 20 acres, it will definitely impact our neighborhood. (The development project will eliminate the current Brookland Manor apartments and will create almost 2,000 residential units and over 200,000 square feet of retail, including a supermarket.) The last time we wrote about the development was in December 2016 when demolition of the Brentwood Village strip mall was set to begin. So, we thought it was time for an update.

Rendering of the Alice and Eugene Ford Senior Building. Image courtesy of MidCity Development.

In May the DC Zoning Commission approved the development of RIA’s first phase, Block 7. Block 7 will break ground in 2018 and includes a 131-unit multifamily building and a 200-unit senior building for residents aged 62 and older (and qualified aides). Last week, the design for a new senior living building was revealed. From the developers website:

The new senior building features:

  • Four-story construction with underground parking

  • Modern fixtures and finishes

  • Multiple elevator bays for improved accessibility

  • Community library area on each floor

  • Relaxing green space including a Zen-style garden and Koi pond

  • Amenity spaces specifically designed for senior needs including a food pantry, exam rooms, community dining facilities, and computer lab

MidCity plans to break ground on The Alice and Eugene Ford Senior Building in Spring 2018. According to Mid City’s website, Block 7 sets the stage for large pieces of the rest of the  development:

Just outside of Block 7, we plan to bring a full-service grocery store, a variety of new shops, restaurants and neighborhood services for the surrounding community.

In addition, we are planning for a large community green and a pedestrian plaza that will enhance the sense of community for RIA and the surrounding neighborhood. RIA will also include a highly connective street grid that includes the introduction of multiple new streets. This green space and plaza will be designed to feature events such as weekly farmers and craft markets and will include a welcoming and safe space for children.

We will keep an eye on this development and let you know when we learn of anything noteworthy.

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.