Westminster Church Project Concept Design Presented

News from ANC 6D Meeting, Feb. 11, 2019

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Rendering of preliminary design for the Westminster Church development (400 I St. SW). Photo: KGD Architecture

Pastor Ruth Hamilton of Westminster Presbyterian Church (400 I St. SW) together with representatives of Dantes Partners and KGD Architecture presented preliminary concept designs for the new development.

This early iteration of the design calls for two buildings. Westminster Church will be on the ground floor of the first, located Fourth and I Street SW. 105 affordable units for seniors 55 years and older will be located above the church. Both church and senior housing will have entrances on I Street. A community gathering hall at the church entrance opens onto the District parcel. A flexible multi-purpose church assembly space intended for community functions, classes and church services would be approximately 10,000 square feet. Flexible ‘art pods,’ personal spaces for community musicians and artists, would also face the District Parcel.

An 84-unit condominium with balconies offering views of the duck pond on Makemie Pl. SW. will be developed by Dantes Partners and Bozzuto Development Company with an entrance on Makemie Pl SW. The two buildings are to be linked by a sculpture walk that connects to the pond.

There are plans for a lower-level garage with bike parking and rooftop amenities such as a garden, club and fitness rooms and pet relief in both buildings.

The commission asked presenters to leave a copy of the concept design packet for the public to view at the Southwest Library (900 Wesley Pl. SW).

DDOT to Install Traffic Signal at Maine Avenue and 395
Representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT)  presented their Notice of Intent (NOI) to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Maine Avenue SW and the I-395 terminus. The intersection is currently controlled by a yield sign on Maine Avenue SW.

DDOT Ward 6 Community Engagement Liaison Naomi Klein said a traffic study was conducted to look at a change in traffic flow in the area. Up to 1100 commuters daily are taking a rush hour short-cut. Drivers proceed west down Maine Avenue SW to the loop for access to the 14th Street Bridge, instead of turning onto the Chase Bridge. This causes a back-up and blocks access for local drivers.

The plan calls for new pavement markings on both Maine and the 395 as well as signage and flashers 1000 feet back on the 395 to warn drivers of an upcoming signal. The light would be coordinated with the signal at 12th and Maine. A signal gate at the Sixth Street ramp would trigger a green light at Maine and 395 in order to prevent back up of traffic.

Comment on the NOI is open until March 5. Contact Klein via email at [email protected] or submit written comment to DDOT Transportation Operations Administration, 55 M St. SE, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20003.

Update on Phase II Construction on the Wharf
PN Hoffman Construction Manager Tony Albanese presented to the ANC prior to major construction on Phase II of The Wharf which is slated to begin at the beginning of March.

Phase II consists of two underground garages (1 & 2) under parcels 6, 7 and 8. Two 12-story office towers will be built on parcels 6 and 7 and a combination hotel-apartment building will be erected on parcel 8 on top of garage 3, a three-story underground parking facility. A condominium will be built on parcel 9 and a retail and mixed-use facility will be built on parcel 10, the two separated by Marshall Landing, a park area and the Wharf Promenade with two more buildings devoted to retail and marine services.

The first part of the marine wall bulkhead has just been completed. The new X, Y and Z docks have also been completed, allowing work on the second bulkhead to begin.

The team said most of the piles in Phase II will be vibrated or drilled rather than hammered. Perimeter site fencing is expected to be erected in mid-March and continuing demolition of the Channel Inn. Completion expected in 2022.

The sidewalk will be closed at Maine Avenue for pedestrian safety. A service program including bathrooms, break areas, food trucks and neighborhood rodent control is in development and should be implemented by mid-March. The single construction entrance is at Maine Avenue in the center of the site.

Approval for JBG Smith Digital Signs at Half Street
The commission voted to support a public space application from JBG Smith to put five digital signs on buildings located at 1250 Half St. SE and 1221 Van St. SE. The commission noted that it generally objected to digital signage for aesthetic reasons but recognized the authority of legislation passed by DC Council in 2016. Four signs will sit on the façade facing Nationals Stadium, two on each of the buildings. The signs have been approved by the Zoning Commission. A fifth sign, to be placed on a building at the northeast corner of M Street at 1250 Half St. SE, has not yet received approval.

JBG Smith and the ANC have reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As part of the terms, the real estate company will contribute funds to Amidon-Bowen and Van Ness Elementary Schools. Funds are allocated per sign and are issued when each sign becomes operational, for a total of up to $250,000. The commission unanimously supported the application.

CBCC Annual Meeting, Opportunities for Non-Profit Fundraising
Vice Chair of the Near SE/SW Community Benefits Coordinating Council (CBCC) Rikki Kramer provided a report to the ANC. She reminded attendees that the community benefits agreement negotiated with DC United prior to the construction of Audi Stadium included opportunities for local non-profits to raise money through concessions. Interested organizations can staff existing stands or operate freestanding carts at eight games at the stadium, taking home a percentage of total sales that can amount to as much as $1000 per game. Participating non-profits are required to hold $1 million in liability insurance and can learn how to get involved by contacting Kramer at [email protected] 

Kramer also announced that CBCC will hold its annual meeting at Audi Field from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 5 in the Heineken Club Room, located inside the Premium Entrance of Audi Field, on the East side of the stadium between R and S Streets SW. All are welcome.

Request to DDOT to Remove Parking Space at Fourth and M
The Commission unanimously supported a motion put forward by Commissioner Anthony Dale (6D05) in a letter to DDOT requesting the agency begin the process to remove a single parking space adjacent to the bus stop at Fourth and M Streets SW in the interest of pedestrian safety. The letter also encouraged DDOT to continue having the Circulator use the stop and to use the increase in space to erect an additional bus shelter at the location.

Other Matters
The Commission supported motions:

  • from Commissioner Anna Forgie (6D02) in support of the application for a Public Space Occupancy Permit from Tishman Speyer for construction closures of K, First and I Streets at various times over the summer at the development at 88 K St. SE. The Commission voted to support the application but asked that the real estate company communicate with Nationals Stadium and various organizations to co-ordinate road closures, pay for traffic control officers on the streets during closures and participate in meetings with residents in impacted buildings.
  • from Commissioner Ronald Collins (6D03) to write a letter in support of a request from Southwest Library for appropriate funding and staffing.

The Commission heard reports from:

  • Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers regarding public safety. Officers noted an increase in thefts from vehicles, particularly of parking and handicapped parking passes, and reminded residents to secure vehicles and keep valuables out of sight.
  • Event Manager Ashley Depew appeared for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, notifying the ANC of Petalpalooza. The event, which is part of the larger festival, takes place from 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on April 6 at The Wharf. Formally called the Southwest fireworks fest, the event consists of live music on the piers, a beer garden, fireworks and vendors. 25,000 are expected to attend peaking at 8:30 p.m. just prior to the fireworks. It is free and open to the public.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D met on Feb. 11. Commissioners Gail Fast (6D01), Anna Forgie (6D02), Ronald Collins (6D03), Andy Litsky (6D04), Anthony Dale (6D05), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06) and Edward Daniels (6D07) were on the dais. Chair Fast presided.

The next meeting of ANC 6D takes place 7 p.m. Monday, March 11. The location was not yet confirmed at press time. Please check www.ANC6D.org to confirm location, or reach ANC 6D by emailing [email protected]