The DC Department of General Services has shared a summary of the Best and Final Offer (BAFO) responses submitted by the two teams interested in redeveloping the Eastern Branch Building (261 17th Street SE). Here is a link to the document:
DGS asked each development team – Dantes Partners/Menkiti Group and Century Associates – to respond to the BAFO attendees voiced concerns about various aspects of each proposal at the January 20 community presentation meeting. The BAFO clarified that:
- Development teams must comply with a new District law that requires a minimum 30 percent affordable housing requirement on property surplused by the District. Dantes/Menkiti is proposing 100 percent affordable units. Century Associates is still proposing 100 percent market rate units.
- While DGS will not contribute public funds for the project, both teams are able to seek non-District sources of financing such as Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Dantes/Menkiti plans to use LIHTC to finance its project. Century Associates does not plan to use other public funding.
- Both projects will need to seek zoning relief from the Board of Zoning Adjustment for their plans.
- A reiteration that DGS intends to into a ground lease of 25-years with a development team. Dantes/Menkiti can meet the 25-year lease requirement. Century Associates can not finance their project with a 25-year lease.
Based on the BAFO response summary, it is pretty clear that DGS is down to one proposal for the site – Dantes/Menkiti. Instead of providing additional flexibility in the BAFO, DGS essentially doubled-down on their original RFP terms, including the ridiculously short lease requirement. I’m extremely frustrated that this process has led to a choice of one.
ANC 6B will be submitting formal comments to the DGS on the proposals in March. Anyone who wishes to comment or provide feedback to the ANC is encouraged to attend ANC 6B’s Planning & Zoning Committee on Tues., March 3, 7 pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave SE).
This is just ridiculous. It’s obvious that the short 25 year lease does not provide financial flexibility or incentives for anything other than Dantes/Menkiti’s lackluster proposal. It almost begs the question of whether there was some purposeful backroom deal made because it makes no sense otherwise. I’d rather they start the process over and increase the time period for the lease because choosing from one bad option is not much of a choice at all.
This is disappointing.