Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project Meeting This Thursday, Nov. 21

November 19, 2013
Rendering of the new Barney Circle from the 2005 Middle Anacostia River Crossings Study.

Rendering of the new Barney Circle from the 2005 Middle Anacostia River Crossings Study.

The District Department of Transportation is holding its second public meeting on the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project on Thursday, Nov. 21, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at Payne Elementary School (1445 C Street SE). The project involves the construction of a full traffic circle at Barney Circle SE and the construction of a Southeast Boulevard to connect the new circle to the SE-SW Freeway at 11th Street SE.  DDOT will be sharing potential options for the project and gathering community feedback.

This is a major project with significant implications for the neighborhood. It is particularly important for residents living along 17th Street SE and residents living near Barney Circle SE (Kentucky Ave, Freedom Way, Penn Ave, 15th St,, H Street, 16th St., G St., Potomac Ave) to attend this meeting. 

During the first public meeting on the project in February, the entire discussion was dominated by questions and concerns about the Southeast Boulevard. I’m hopeful that attendees will get a chance to discuss the Barney Circle portion of the project and its implications for bike, pedestrian and vehicle flow through the neighborhood.

My recap of the first public meeting includes more information on the project.

Meeting Recap: 1500 Penn Ave SE Building Plans

November 5, 2013
Rendering of Proposed Residential Building at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

Pennsylvania Avenue Elevation of Proposed Residential Building at 1500 Penn Ave SE. Design by Bonstra Haresign Architects.

Around 30-40 residents attended the Nov. 4 community meeting on 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (old Domino’s site). Eric May of The Goldstar Group shared his company’s plans to build a 41 unit residential building on the site. May was joined by the project’s architect, Rob McClennan of Bonstra Haresign Architects. A big thanks to Erik Holzherr, owner of Wisdom, for hosting the meeting.

Here are the projects details:

  • The building will be entirely residential with 41 condos. Unit size will vary from studio, one bedroom and two bedroom, though most of the units will be one bedroom. When asked by an attendee if Goldstar would consider switching the building to apartments from condos, May responded that Goldstar is “99 percent” sure that they will stick with condos.
  • May said that Goldstar considered a retail component but decided that the building would complement the new Douglas Development retail building going in across the street at 1442 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Douglas expects to complete the construction on 1442 by the end of the year.
  • The bulk of the building will be towards the 15th Street SE and Penn Ave, not towards Freedom Way. The building height will be 44 feet, 6 feet below the 50 foot height limit on the site. There will be a 750 square foot roof deck towards the 15th/Penn Ave side of the building and air conditioning units will be located on the roof. View the building elevations (pdf) from 15th Street SE and Penn Ave SE.
  • Goldstar plans to include private gardens for the first floor units facing Freedom Way, which should provide some “breathing room” between the building and the residences behind it. The upper units will not have balconies. When asked if Goldstar would do a shadow study to see how the building would affect light and air on Freedom Way, May replied that he would consider it but did not think the building would dramatically impact light & air, particularly since it will not be built to the lot line.
  • The main entrance to the building will be at the corner of 15th & Pennsylvania Avenue SE. There will not be an entrance to the building off of Freedom Way SE – the property does not have access to Freedom Way.
  • Goldstar will build an underground parking garage with the required 21 spaces. The entrance to the garage will be off 15th Street SE and there will be a garage door. Since the garage will include 8 compact parking spaces, Goldstar will have to ask the Board of Zoning Adjustment for zoning relief (parking garages with less than 25 spaces can not count compact spaces towards the minimum requirement in the zoning code). This also means that ANC 6B will have an opportunity to weigh in on the zoning case once it is filed. View the garage level plans (pdf).
  • Trash pick-up and loading would likely take place off of 15th Street SE. May hopes that trash can be picked up in the underground garage and not wheeled out to the curb. He plans to work with the District Department of Transportation and surrounding neighbors to determine appropriate loading/moving times.
  • An attendee asked whether building residents will have the opportunity to purchase residential parking permits (RPP). I responded that since the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Ave SE is classified as an RPP block, residents of the new building will be able to purchase RPP stickers. And since Goldstar plans to meet the minimum parking requirement, they will likely not be subject to any RPP limitations by the BZA.
  • May said that the materials and color of the building have not been finalized. They plan to make decisions about materials in the next two months.
  • Goldstar hopes to apply for building permits in the next two weeks. Since there used to be a gas station on the site, they will have to remove and replace contaminated soil. The BZA case will also add to the project’s timeline. May hopes to begin construction in March 2014. My guess is that construction will not begin until summer or early fall of 2014.
  • Since the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE could potentially see 3 construction projects going on at the same time (1500 Penn, 1600 Penn and 732 15th Street SE), I plan to work with the three development teams to ensure they are working to minimize disruption to neighboring residents.

Please post your comments and feedback below. And thanks to everyone who attended Monday’s meeting!

Project Updates from Neighborhood Town Hall

October 14, 2013

A big thanks to everyone who attended my Oct. 10 Neighborhood Town Hall at Congressional Cemetery Chapel. We had a great turnout! For those who were unable to attend, here are some brief updates on major projects happening in the neighborhood:

  • Reservation 13/Hill East Waterfront – On Oct. 24, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s Office announced that Donatelli/Blue Skye had been awarded development rights for parcels F1 & G1 at Reservation 13. DMPED and Donatelli/Blue Skye are now negotiating on an agreement that will allow the project to move forward (terms of land transfer, etc.). This agreement will need to be approved by the DC Council, most likely in early 2014. The Donatelli/Blue Skye proposal calls for two mixed-use buildings with a total of 354 apartments (248 market rate, 106 affordable) and 20,000-40,000 square feet of retail on the first floors, including the possibility of retail along the C Street extension. Donatelli/Blue Skye has also updated their proposal to remove the “traffic island” around the Stadium-Armory Metro plaza.
  • 1442 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (Old KFC site) – Construction has begun on this two-story retail building at the corner of 15th and Penn Ave SE. Douglas Development hopes to have construction completed by the end of the year. As for tenants, Douglas Development has not yet signed any leases though there has been interest in the site.
  • 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (Used Car Lot – formerly 1550 Penn Ave SE) – NOVO Development hopes to begin construction on this 77-unit residential building by the end of the year or in early 2014. Greg Selfridge and the NOVO team plan to hold a community meeting soon to discuss construction and its potential impact on surrounding neighbors. I’ll share information on the meeting once it is scheduled.
  • 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (Old Domino’s site) – Goldstar Group plans to build a 41-unit residential building at the old Domino’s site, with a mix of two bedroom, one bedroom and junior one bedroom units. While they plan to provide the required 21-parking spaces in an underground garage, Goldstar will probably have to ask the Board of Zoning Adjustment for zoning relief related to the size of the parking spaces (6-8 will have to be compact spaces). Goldstar is pushing the building as close to the 15th & Penn Ave SE intersection as possible to preserve some open space between the building and adjacent structures. The parking garage entrance will be off of 15th Street SE. Goldstar will present their plans and preliminary designs with neighbors at a community meeting in the coming weeks. I’ll share information on the meeting once it is scheduled.
  • 401 15th Street SE – Goodeon Kingston, LLC has begun construction on a 12-unit mixed-use retail-residential building at the corner of 15th & D Street SE. The big news is that they have now decided to include retail space on the first floor..about 1,000 square feet. Goodeon hopes to have concrete and foundation work completed by the end of the year. The building will have the six parking spaces required by zoning.
  • Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project – The District Department of Transportation plans to hold its second public meeting on the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project on Thursday, November 21, 6:30 pm at Payne Elementary School (1445 C Street SE). At the meeting, DDOT and their consultant, CH2M Hill, will present options for public feedback. I encourage anyone who lives near Barney Circle to attend this meeting.
  • 17th & 19th Streets Safety Improvement Project – The good news is the design phase of the 17th & 19th Streets Safety Improvement Project is complete. The bad news is that DDOT has asked a consultant to do an additional environmental review of the project recommendations which will add another 6 months to the project timeline. We are now looking at mid to late 2014 for construction to begin. I plan to urge DDOT to move as swiftly as possible to complete the additional review and begin construction.

Please post any comments or questions below.

Monday Quick Takes: Old KFC Site, Town Hall, Cupcakes, Day of the Dog

September 9, 2013
Construction underway at the old KFC Site on Penn Ave SE.

Construction underway at the old KFC Site on Penn Ave SE.

  • Construction is underway on the new two-story retail building at 1442 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, the old KFC site. At last week’s ANC 6B Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, Paul Millstein of Douglas Development, said that they expect construction to be complete by December.  The company has been contacted by potential tenants but does not have any leases signed as of yet.
  • A liquor license for District Taco (656 Pennsylvania Avenue SE), a fast food exception for Southeast Market (1500 Independence Ave SE), comments on proposed alternatives for the re-construction of Virginia Avenue Rail Tunnel and proposed testimony on Reservation 13 for an upcoming DC Council hearing are among the agenda (pdf) items for tomorrow’s (Tues., Sept. 10) ANC 6B September meeting. The meeting begins at 7:00 pm at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE).
  • A big thanks to Jennifer Howard, Nike Opadiran, Ross Parman and Claudia Vilato for volunteering to represent 6B09 as Resident Members on the ANC 6B Hill East Task Force. Their appointments will be voted on by the full commission at the Sept. 10 meeting. I’m still looking for a volunteer to serve as 6B09 representative to the ANC 6B Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee. If you are interested, please contact me.
  • I’m really excited that Curbside Cupcakes is moving into the old Crepes on the Corner space at 257 15th Street SE. Owners Kristi and Sam plan to open in  the next month or so and will be offering more than cupcakes. Should be a great addition to 15th Street SE and Hill East!
  • Mark your calendars! I’ll be holding a Neighborhood Town Hall meeting on Thursday, October 10 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the Chapel at Congressional Cemetery (1801 E Street SE). More information to come!
  • Speaking of Congressional Cemetery, the first Day of the  Dog Festival will take place at the Cemetery on Saturday, Sept. 21 from  10 am – 3 pm. The festival is open to the public and will include contests, music and local vendors.

15th Street SE Construction Work Begins Sept. 11

September 6, 2013

I just received notice from the District Department of Transportation that a roadway improvement project on 15th Street SE will begin on next Wednesday, September 11. According to the notice (pdf), DDOT plans to upgrade wheelchair ramps, repair sidewalks, repair curbs and gutters and resurface the roadway on 15th Street SE between A Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE. The project will take roughly four weeks and will be conducted between 7 am and 7 pm Monday through Saturday. Curbside parking will be restricted – make sure you look for and abide by the “no parking signs.”

If there are any problems or issues with this construction work, please let me know.