UPDATE: The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development announced Monday evening that the ceremonial groundbreaking event has been canceled.
At 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 2 Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner will preside over the groundbreaking of the first phase of the Hill East redevelopment. This mixed-use development will bring affordable housing, retail and community green space to Ward 7.
Informed of the groundbreaking at the April 10th meeting by a liaison from the Mayor’s Office, Chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B Daniel Ridge (6B09) said he would be at the groundbreaking “with bells on.”
Reservation 13 has been part of Ward 7 since a 2011 redistricting, a process occurring every ten years to account for population shifts. Portions of Hill East were moved from Ward 6 to Ward 7, including those neighborhoods south of Benning Road NE and east of 19th Street SE, not including RFK Stadium but including portions of the RFK Campus. ANC 6B now borders Reservation 13, which is now located in ANC 7F.
The Donatelli-Blue Skye plan for the first phase, a redevelopment on parcels F-1 and G-1, calls for two mixed-use buildings with a total of 353 residential units and 25,678 square feet of retail. The parcels are located immediately north of Massachusetts Avenue along 19th Avenue SE, just south of the entrance to the Stadium-Armory Metro station. The project was expected to break ground in 2016 and be completed by 2018.
At a meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B’s Hill East Task Force held on Oct. 11 of last year developers and District agencies were directly questioned about progress and delays. A one-year extension on the land disposition agreement (LDA) with the District had already been granted by Council resolution, extending the deadline to close on the property to Dec. 29, 2017. At the meeting, officials cited the complexity of infrastructure design and the long permitting processes.
Still, both Chris Donatelli of Donatelli Development and Sarosh Olpadwala, director of real estate of DMPED, guaranteed progress would start on the project in early 2018, although they were optimistic in their estimate of the date of the groundbreaking.
“I want to say unequivocally, and without any uncertainty, we are closing on F-1 and G-1 by the end of the year,” Olpadwala added, “and we will break ground in the first quarter of 2018.” The first quarter of the District’s 2018 fiscal year was the period between October 1 and December 31, 2017.
An ANC 6B Hill East Task Force meeting focused on the project and plans is scheduled to take place 7 p.m. Monday April 23 at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave SE). Chris Donatelli is expected to attend.
The groundbreaking ceremony will take place from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday, May 2 at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 19th Streets SE. Information will be updated on the event notice, available online.