807 Maine Avenue SW Unveiled

Rendering of 807 Maine Avenue SW. Rendering: Mill Creek.

Mill Creek Residential, developers of the nearby Modern on M, briefed the commission on their plans for 807 Maine Ave. SW. The triangular parcel is the current side of the Disabled Veterans of America (DVA) headquarters, abutting Jefferson Middle School on its northern boundary. Between the school and the DVA office is an underground WMATA vault that powers the Green Line.

At the meeting, Mill Creek unveiled plans for an 11-story, triangular building, approximately 110 feet in height. The developer intends to build roughly 200 apartments and 5,600 square foot of ground floor retail on the south side. There will be a mix of studios and units as large as two bedrooms with dens; 15 percent of which will be affordable at 60 percent of AMI. Two may be rented at 50 percent of AMI. The mix will be dictated by the market, the developer’s representatives stated. Sixty-five to 70 underground parking spaces on two levels are planned,

The first floor is a cantilevered two-floor design intended to maintain setback that runs from Seventh to Ninth Street along Maine Avenue SW. The developer is filing a Planned Unit Development (PUD) with the Zoning Commission by the end of February to change the parcel’s zoning to MU-10.

The property has a single, existing curb cut on Seventh Street SW just south of the driveway leading to the back of Jefferson Academy. The developer does not plan to ask any others. Instead, they plan to build a loading dock on the northern side of the building along with the entrance to the parking garages. All loading will take place on the property, they told the commission.

“I think the height is too much,” stated Commissioner Litsky. Many of his colleagues concurred. Commissioner Collins also questioned the amount of parking, given the tremendous constraints on curbside in the adjoining neighborhood. He criticized the loading arrangements as insufficient, given the fact that packages are typically delivered through the main entry rather than over loading docks. The corner location of the building’s entrance could lead to double parked delivery vehicles blocking either the crosswalks or busy vehicular travel lanes.

All the commissioners decried the impact of potential building shadows on neighboring Jefferson Academy. Commissioner Kramer termed the amount of affordable housing “insufficient.” She also demanded a commitment to neighborhood serving retail. The commission did not vote on the plan.

A rendering of Parcel 662’s temporary murals. Rendering: MRP.

Square 662 Update

MidAtlantic Realty Partners (MRP) is currently building the Verge, a 344-unit apartment building located at 1800 Half and S Street, SW. It is the first phase of two million square feet of retail and residences on Square 663 directly adjacent to the new oval park at the base of the Frederick Douglass Bridge that will likely include a supermarket. 

The Zoning Commission and ANC 6D were both concerned about the blank northern facing facade on the project’s first phase. At their behest, the developer plans to temporarily decorate these walls with public art until the second phase obscures them.

Commissioner requested the developer not incorporate any lighting or digital signage into the art project. They also asked that first preference be given to neighborhood artists. Commissioner Litsky also pleaded with the developer to remove a legacy bill board on the phase two section facing the new oval as well.

The commission voted unanimously to send a letter in support of MRP’s plans.

Section of Lansburg Park Licensed to Developer

The District has licensed a section of Lansburgh Park, 1098 Delaware Ave. SW, for construction staging and crane swing space. The licensee, 60 EYESTREET, LLC, is a joint venture between Foulger-Pratt and Bethel Pentecostal Tabernacle Assembly to develop the church’s property at 60 I Street SW into a 197-unit residential building and a new 17,000 square foot sanctuary. Foulger-Pratt has already fenced off a small section on the northern end of the park, on which it plans to store construction materials, two trailers and a tower crane.

After a constituent inquired, Commissioner Weiss brought up the matter with the Department of General Services (DGS), the agreement’s licensor. He requested a copy of the agreement. DGS required he file a FOIA to obtain it. Weiss was outraged by both the licensing of a section of a public park to a private interest and DGS’s insistence of a FOIA.

Commissioner Kramer, who had inspected the site, reported that Foulger-Pratt had removed three mature trees from the licensed section of the park. A number of Weiss’ and Kramer’s colleagues also expressed their anger. The commissioners unanimously authorized a letter be sent to the Department of General Services protesting the license.

Update: after the meeting, Foulger-Pratt sent comment:

Folger-Pratt sid they value the amenity the park provides to the neighborhood and will continue to engage with DGS and the ANC.  Noting that heritage trees are a special designation defined by DC Department of Transportation as trees having a circumfrance of 100 inches and larger. “No heritage trees have been cut down associated with our project,” Foulger-Pratt said. “Any trees cut down associated with our project were identified and approved for removal by DC Urban Forestry—the developer does not have discretion to make this determination.”

“In addition, the tower crane will not be located within Lansburgh Park as reported; the tower crane will be erected within the 60 Eye Street project site,” continued the statement. “The license agreement with DC Department of General Services only provides Foulger-Pratt the ability to swing the crane boom over Lansburgh Park property.”

Other Matters

MPD First District Captain Darren Haskis briefed the commission on public safety. Compared to last year, robberies are up, he stated. There nine in last 30 days. MPD has closed half of these with arrests. Other
crime types are trending identically to last year.

Ward 8 Redistricting Task Force Members Troy Prestwood and David Meadows briefed the commission on the group’s work to date. The task force expects to have three maps to show for discussion by March 14. The final one be chosen by majority vote at that meeting. The committee can be reached at RedistrictWard8ANC@gmail.com.

Ward 6 Task Force Member Gottlieb Simon raised the question of the area of the Navy Yard north of M Street SW that is slated to remain in Ward 6, known as “the notch.” The Ward 8 section of the Navy Yard has enough population for three Single Member Districts, he pointed out, while the notch has numbers for two more. The best solution would be a five-member commission shared between Wards 6 and 8. Chair Daniels and Treasurer Weiss, who live in the notch and represent the Navy Yard currently, were open to the suggestion. Creating such a commission would require intervention by both ward councilmembers, Simon stated.

Andy Galli gave an update on DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, part of which is a tunnel, 18-foot in diameter, from Georgetown to the agency’s Blue Plains waste water treatment facility. The tunnel will divert waste water that is now dumped from six sewer outlets into the Potomac during storms. A utility duct to support the tunnel is now under construction along Ohio Drive and Independence Avenues SW. The construction is planned overnight to minimize traffic impact. Commissioners raised concerns about the impact on Cherry Blossom tourists. Galli assured them that pedestrian safety is paramount.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is conducting a detailed assessment of the state of all District public housing. The commission voted unanimously to send HUD a letter detailing the maintenance issues facing all three Southwest public housing complexes as well as frustrations with the agency plans for the redevelopment of Greenleaf Gardens.

The commission unanimously to:

• approve the amended February agenda;

• support a Class C license for Farm Bird, located at 1251 First Street SE;

• support the Race for Hope 5K;

• authorize Commissioners Lightman or Kramer to testify at DDOT Oversight Hearing on Feb. 18;

• send the District a letter regarding Buzzard Point flooding;

• authorize for Kramer to testify in support of the historic designation of Buzzard Point Power Plant at the Historic Preservation Review Board;

• authorize for Collins or Kramer to testify at a hearing on housing issues relating to DC Housing Authority.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D met on Feb. 14 over Zoom. Commissioners Dr. Marjorie Lightman (6D01), Jared Weiss (6D02, secretary), Ronald Collins (6D03, treasurer), Andy Litsky (6D04), Fredrica (Rikki) Kramer (6D05, vice chair), and Edward Daniels (6D07, chair) were in attendance. Rhonda Hamilton (6D06) was absent. The meeting started with a moment of silence in memory of her mother Gloria Hamilton.

Chair Daniels introduced the commission’s new Executive Administrative Assistant Jein Park. The commission authorized her hiring with a salary not to exceed $14,000 for FY 22.

ANC 6D meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of every month. The next meeting is March 14, 2022 via Zoom. For more information and links to join ANC meetings, visit www.anc6d.org. 

This story has been updated.