Well, that’s it folks, this long time Brookland institution is really gone. That’s all I have to say about that. Here are images and videos of the demolition of the buildings on the property of the 901 Monroe Development site. If you would like our latest updates on the development check here and here.
Colonel Brooks’ Tavern – Here are before and after photos and then a video of its demolition.
Island Jim’s – The restaurant next to Colonel Brooks’ Tavern. Here are before and after photos and then a video of its demolition.
The houses that were on the property. Here are before and after photos and then a video of the demolition of one house.
On Tuesday we shared with you that we got word about the space east of the Brookland / CUA Metro station including the “Brookland Green” being explored for developed. Unfortunately we got more details, this time from a presentation put together by the Planning, Program Development and Real Estate Committee of WMATA. The purpose of the presentation was to propose to the real estate committee that Metro solicit development agreements for properties they own around various metro sites. According to an article in the City Paper, the real estate committee approved the proposal unanimousely and now it is headed to the full WMATA board. If things move quickly, WMATA could be fielding responses from developers by the end of the year.
Here is a slide that shows what Metro stops they would like developed:
Here is a birds-eye view of the Brookland area proposed for development:
As you can see the “Brookland Green”, the only public green space with mature trees remaining in that part of Brookland, is definitely included in this proposed plan. If I can speak for myself for a moment, I hope that the Brookland community will rise as a united force to prevent this from happening. A green space like this is priceless and can not be replaced once destroyed. It is unrealistic to think that we could push back against the entire development, nor do I want to, after all the location is adjacent to an urban subway station, but I believe we need to take a stand on saving the wonderful mature trees and the green space they are located on.
Here is a call to action. WANTED: A Brooklander(s) who has (have) the time and passion to take on the lead on guiding the community through the fight to preserve the “Brookland Green”. Are you with us? We will keep you updated as this development progresses.
Metro’s real estate team plans to propose leasing 11 properties the agency owns at stations across the region to real estate developers in the hopes of generating economic activity for its partner jurisdictions and new revenue for the agency.
One of those locations is none other than the 5.4 acres of Metro property at the Brookland-CUA Metro Station. This undoubtedly implies development the “Brookland Green”, an area to the east of the Brookland/CUA Metro parking lot that is the only open green space with mature trees remaining in that part of Brookland. For those of us who are fond of the Brookland Green, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since the Brookland/CUA Metro Small Area Plan, approved in 2009, calls for developing the space into a mixed use development. The Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association has long anticipated that the Brookland Green would face the threat of development and has been working to preserve it for years. I am not anti development at all, especially public transit oriented development, but I feel that development needs to be balanced with the preservation of green spaces for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that it would be would be a shame to see the large mature trees on the property felled.
This is not a done deal yet though, as the decision has to get past at a meeting of the Metro board’s real estate committee on Thursday. At the meeting Stanley Wall, Metro’s director of real estate and station planning, will propose that Metro solicit development agreements for the 11 properties. If that goes forward, then the Metro’s full board will also have to approve the plan as well. Enjoy the Brookland Green while you can!
Members of the 901 Monroe development team gave a presentation at the ANC 5B meeting this week. The focal point of the presentation was their public space plan, which doesn’t seem to have any changes from when we covered it in detail back in December. Highlights of the plan include new curbs, gutters, street lights, street trees, and the under grounding of power lines along Monroe and 9th Streets, NE. The public space plan won’t actually go into effect for 18 – 24 months, which is towards the end of construction of this 2 year project. However, the development team was presenting it because they are going in front of DDOT’s Public Space Committee on March 28. Up until this point there has been some partial demolition, for example the gutting of Colonel Brooks’ Tavern and the felling of a few trees, but it seems to have come to a standstill in recent months. According to a representative from Horning Brothers, the Developers and Property Managers of the 901 Monroe Development, the big hold up was caused by Washington Gas’s capping of utilities. We asked when demolition of the buildings on the property will begin, and we were told sometime next week, despite a court case brought by residents opposed to the development. When asked when they expected a conclusion to the court case, we were told that oral arguments in the court case will begin on April 11th.
(Note: Big hat tip to reader Josh who sent us info on the raze permits issued on January 25 for the houses at 3412 and 3422 10th St. NE, and the ones at 906 and 910 Lawrence St. NE. These are the unoccupied homes on the 901 Monroe property.)
It has been a while since we have done a development update. While the rest of us have been busy with the holiday season, inauguration activities and the like, the construction crews at the Monroe Street Market have kept their nose to the grindstone. In total, there are 4 Blocks of development underway. Here is the latest.
“Block A”- This is a roughly two block stretch along Monroe Street that starts at 7th Street and meets up with Michigan Ave NE. Underground parking garage levels are complete and now concrete and steel floors above ground are quickly going up. Still, we should expect that deck (floors) and column concrete pours will be going on for the next few months.
So here is what the A Block will look like when completed. At the westernmost end of the development (where Monroe intersects with Michigan Avenue), there will be a public square envisioned as a vibrant space for students, faculty, and local residents to meet and mingle. Highlights of the square will be a fountain, outdoor café seating, and a clock tower. Note how the traffic pattern will be improved at the intersection. Currently it is not very pedestrian friendly at all. The apartments in this part of the development will be called the “Cornerstone” as they are described as the “hub of the Community”. The apartments are slated to be move-in ready by January 2014.
The most advanced development block is the “C Block”. The exterior brick facade has been going up quickly. Inside the building, trim work, cabinets and drywall are being installed, in addition to upgraded utility lines to service the building. This building is located between Monroe St. and Michigan Ave, at 8th St. NE. It will have 152 apartment residences, retail facing Monroe St., NE and a pedestrian walkway down the center, called the Arts Walk, lined with 27 artist studios. These apartments will be called the “Brookland Works” and are described as “Industrial Chic Living”. The apartments and artist studios will be ready for move in by June 2013.
As a reminder, here is how it will look when complete:
The north end of the C block/Arts Walk will have direct access to the Metro. The pedestrian-only Arts Walk will have a plaza at the north end featuring an 80 ft. decorative steel tower, a water feature, a stage for live performances, and a green wall covering the south side of the Drew Bridge. Here are present and future looks at the space.
Another feature of the C Block is the extension of the Met Branch Trail that will run along the side of the building. Unless something changes, it looks like it will have a decent slope to it. It will connect to McCormack drive along the side of Catholic University to extend that stretch of the trail.
The ArtsFlex Building is really starting to take shape. It sits across from the C Block building at the south-east intersection of Monroe and 8th Streets, NE along the Metro tracks. The concrete deck and retaining wall have been poured and the steel structure has gone up. It’s really exciting because it hints at how high the ceilings will be and the tallest support structures help you to visualize the three tower like features. The Arts Flex building will host artist, community, and university events. The design calls for one large industrial space and a large front patio/plaza area. The Arts Flex building is slated to be delivered in Summer 2013.
As a reminder, here is what the Arts Flex building will look like when completed.
Of the four blocks under development, the “B Block” is the one that really surprised me with how far it has come in the past few months. By now you can see where the staircases and elevator towers are going to be, and the steel structure that will give the triangular-shaped building its rounded corners is up. Now that the concrete foundation is complete, wood framing is going up quickly. As you can see from one of the pictures, pipes and other infrastructure have been installed in the garage and ground floor retail spaces. The building will be six stories high and will have apartments called the “Portland Flats” which are described as “Grand Boutique apartments in a Flatiron building”. The apartments are on schedule to be delivered October 2013.
As a reminder, here is how it will look when completed.
Here is a present day and future comparison of the A (left) and B (right) Blocks, looking west on Monroe Street at 7th St. NE:
Beginning in early January, 7th street between Monroe and Michigan Avenue has been closed to vehicle traffic.This is part of a realignment of the intersection while installing new curbs and gutters. This portion of 7th street is expected to be closed for the next couple months.
Lastly, I noticed that the underside of the Drew bridge has been spruced up with a paint job.
One of my favorite development projects in the area is the overhaul of the Woodridge Library. We covered the last update meeting on the development back in August. There will be another meeting in January to discuss updates and status. I suspect that the modernized and expanded library will be a catalyst for increased investment in the Woodridge corner of Rhode Island NE, an area that seems to be on the cusp of homegrown renewal thanks to folks like the Friends of Rhode Island Ave (FoRIA). The design plans for the library are impressive and decidedly modern. We are fortunate that forward-thinking Wiencek and Associates and Bing Thom Architects were selected to lead the overhaul. I find their designs thoughtful and beautiful, for example, Bing Thom was behind the popular Arena Stage Theatre in Southwest DC. The update meeting will take place on Monday January 7th at the Woodridge Library, located at 1801 Rhode Island Avenue, NE, starting at 6:00 pm. Keep up with the Library’s progress in the virtual world, check out The Friends of Woodridge Library’s blog.
There is no doubt that property values in Brookland have been going up in the past few years. While many of us view this as a good thing, there can be downsides for existing homeowners as well. For example, I have noticed that two plots of land that have sat dormant for years were sold recently. While this may not seem like a big deal on its face, I found it interesting because these plots aren’t your typical sprawling Brookland “wow, what a huge yard in the city!” kind of plots; but rather, narrow, smallish properties. I am left wondering what kind of homes can be squeezed onto these properties and how the adjacent homeowners feel about having new construction suddenly go up so close to their homes. In recent years there has been heated discussion in forums such as the Brookland listerv about how to deal with new construction homes. Some call them “McMansions” and “out of step” with the character of Brookland’s housing stock. I see what they mean to a degree. Brookland’s large lots, with a variety of styles of older homes seems to characterize our neighborhood. But I also wonder what people can realistically expect from new construction. I mean, what are developers supposed to build? Exact replica victorian or bungalow style homes? Buyer’s expectations for homes, let alone new homes, are very different that they were just 20 years ago. For example, when I was growing up, most of my friends and neighbors had one or two bathrooms in their homes, which by today’s standard is many times unacceptable.
So, here is the first plot, located at 3712 13th St NE , which sold in early November for $197,340. As you can see from this DC surveyors report picture (below right), it is pretty narrow and long.
We noted the sale of this plot a while back, and now we are starting to see some activity there. The trees (see picture on the left) were cleared on that property recently, which breaks my heart as a tree lover. I knew it would happen, as you couldn’t build around them, but it is still too bad. This property is especially interesting as sits on quite a slope, so I wondered what type of home will be built given that challenge.
After passing by again after the trees were felled, I saw that they were doing some serious excavating. I can’t say I blame someone for wanting to build on that property despite its narrow dimensions, as it faces the beautiful (if neglected) Fort Bunker Hill Park, and the rear of the home could potentially have fantastic views of the Basilica. Plus, that block of 13th Street is pretty nice, with well-maintained homes and mature leafy trees, and short walk to the Metro to boot. Here is a pic of the property taken just a few days ago (right). You can see a black mesh barrier on the right side of the property, and a white cinderblock barrier on the left hand side. We will keep our eyes on this one for sure.
This other plot was recently sold on December 1st for $50,999. Located at 1020 Kearney St. NE, and pictured below, it is also situated nicely, being close to the Metro and 12th St. On this very nice block in Brookland, all the surrounding houses are kept up very well. I suspect a long narrow home would have to be built here. As far as I can guess, this sale was not a welcome event on the block as there was a sign near the property, presumably placed by a neighbor, decrying the sale and development of the land while it was on the market. Almost immediately after the sale, a fence around the property went up. We will keep tabs on this one as well.
I was lucky enough to take part in a recent hard-hat tour of the Artswalk area of the Monroe Street Market (Catholic U) Development. The “C Block” building, depicted above, is located between Monroe St. and Michigan Ave, at 8th St. NE. It will have 152 residences, retail facing Monroe St., NE and a pedestrian walkway down the center lined with 27 artist studios. The residences will be called the “Brookland Works” and are described by the Bozzuto Group, one of the developers, as “Industrial-Chic living”. The rental units will be a mix of studios, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. The artists studios will range from 300 – 650 sq. feet and will sport all glass garage style doors that will encourage interaction with the public. Some artist studios will have patios facing the stretch of the Met Branch Trail that will run alongside the building. Artists interested in leasing space have until February 1st, 2013 to apply and should contact Cultural DC, who will act as a liaison between artists and the developers and will assist in evaluating artist applications for studio space. The residences and studios are on pace to be delivered by the summer of 2013. I asked if there were any new retail agreements in place, and while they are in discussions with several retailers, there was nothing that they could announce. Here are some current photos of the Artswalk/Studio areas under development.
At the north end of the Artswalk there will be an Arts Plaza with direct access to the Metro. The pedestrian-only space will be highlighted by an 80 ft. decorative steel tower, a water feature, a stage for live performances, and a green wall covering the south side of the Drew Bridge. Here is a rendering of what the area will look like when completed.
Across the street from the Artswalk, at the south-east intersection of Monroe and 8th Streets, NE. is the Arts Flex building, also progressing nicely. We posted about this exciting public space back in October. It will host artist, community, and university events. The design calls for one large industrial space and a large front patio/plaza area. The Arts Flex building is slated to be delivered in Summer 2013. As a reminder, here is how the Arts Flex building will look when completed.
I am very excited about how this development is geared toward promoting the arts. We will keep you updated as things progress. Summer 2013 is just around the corner, so we anticipate rapid progress over the next few months.
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.
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.
EDENS, the company that manages Union Market recently announced an exciting new restaurant for the market space. John Mooney, the chef of the future restaurant, is a big proponent of sustainable cooking . For example, he bases his menus largely around the produce grown on a rooftop garden above his current restaurant, New York City’s Bell, Book and Candle. Chef Mooney plans to have a rooftop garden at Union Market as well, and most menu items will be purchased directly from other Union Market vendors. The menu for the Union Market restaurant will be contemporary American, with seasonal changes. The image above is of the bar at his New York restaurant, we will let you know when we have more info about the Union Market space.
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