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.
Earlier this month we wrote about the coming development at nearby St. Paul’s campus, a large portion of which has already been developed into the Chancellor’s Row community in 2012. According to this recent story in the Washington Business Journal the development will:
…retain the college building for use by a pair of charter schools — Lee Montessori and a start-up high school — and for teacher housing. The Paulist Fathers will be relocated on the campus to a new building, likely in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 square feet. The northwest portion of the property will be developed, in partnership with Elm Street Development, as roughly 80 large, family-friendly townhomes. And the remainder of the site will be left as open space in perpetuity, to preserve the viewshed across Fourth Street.
As with most large developments like this, there will be many hoops to jump through (zoning, etc.). St. Paul’s College is located at 3015 4th St NE. We will let you know when we hear anything new.
Back in April 2014 we wrote about the potential sale of St. Paul’s College. While we don’t have an update on whether the college has actually sold yet, or to whom, we have heard that there are potential plans for the development of the remaining grounds of the campus. Area residents may remember that a large portion of the campus was developed into the Chancellor’s Row community in 2012.
Thanks to reader Ed who passed along a meeting notice from ANC 5E01 Commissioner Steiner, which read, in part:
Please be advised that the Developer, Boundary Companies, who intends on developing the rest of St. Paul’s property is on the ANC’s Public Monthly Agenda for March 15th.
The meeting location is Friendship-Armstrong Public Charter School in the cafeteria – 1400 1st Street NW [1st & P Street]; we start at 07:00 pm.
St. Paul’s College is located at 3015 4th St NE. We will let you know when we hear anything new.
Over the weekend the Washington Post reported that the Newman Bookstore, in operation since 1955, will close this May. According to the article, the owners of the building where the bookstore resides, who are Paulist Fathers, received an offer “they couldn’t refuse” from a new renter. Unfortunately, the bookstore, located on 4th Street, NE on St. Paul’s campus, has not been bringing in enough profits to break even and the university cannot afford to subsidize it. The article describes the library this way:
Newman Bookstore, where top cardinals in town from the Vatican have brushed elbows with young seminarians and urbane laypeople…Its popularity stemmed in part from its ability to be a neutral intellectual ground during a half-century of intense Catholic culture wars. Since the second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Catholics have been separating themselves into two camps on everything from how much authority God intended for clergy to contraception. The store prided itself on carrying the full range of Catholic thinking and is one of a few in the world where you can peruse a full aisle of Catholic ritual guides in Latin (for traditional types) and another on feminist Catholic theology (for the more experimental). It stocks a huge section of books from popes John Paul II and Benedict as well as from prominent church critics, including James Carroll and Garry Wills.
The non-profit bookstore has changed locations over the years, originally it was on 8th Street, then moved across the tracks, and eventually onto St. Paul’s Campus five years ago. The article is a quick read and rehashes the development vs. historic character of neighborhoods discussion, with the decline of Catholic presence in Brookland woven throughout. Although I regret to see historic institutions disappear, it seems like bookstores in general are struggling to stay afloat, regardless of their particular circumstances, so I doubt development can really be blamed for this closing. Lastly, another thread in the article is the old moniker for Brookland – “Little Rome”. Although I have heard of this nickname before, I have never actually heard it used in day-to-day conversation. I guess that was larger point of the article after all.
The Newman Bookstore is located at 3025 4th St. NE, is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 -5:00, and Satudays from 10:00 -4:00. They will be liquidating their inventory with the following discounts for everything in stock: Februray – 25%, March – 50%, and April 75% off.
All about Washington DC's Greater Brookland neighborhood