South by West

A planned condominium project at First and V streets SW on Buzzard Point was redesigned. Rendering: Eric Colbert & Associates

Public Parks Spruced Up for the Holidays

Since the Southwest Business Improvement District (SWBID) started operations in 2015, its 15 ambassadors have been doing more than just keeping the streets clean. Under the supervision of Mark Wardlaw of BNV Remodeling, the ambassadors have been learning new skills, including carpentry and tree-trimming. During the holiday season SWBID decorated the Amidon Sidewalk Park along G Street and the Duck Pond at Sixth and I streets. The ambassadors also made the illuminated “Peace” sign at the corner of Fourth and G streets and attached red bows and string lights on the new light poles along G Street. Meanwhile the Duck Pond park gained a festive look from clusters of illuminated green Christmas trees set among the red Adirondacks chairs that were installed over the summer.

SWBID looked to New York City and other places for inspiration to build the holiday installations. Executive Director Steve Moore explained that the installations had less to do with the holidays and more to do with harnessing the skills of the ambassadors. “They take great pride in their work,” said Moore. Be on the lookout for more installations in the future, according to Moore. They will be popping up all around the BID, and not just during the holidays.

Design Changes for Peninsula 88 Condos

Developers filed a request with the Zoning Commission in November to review and approve a Modification of Significance for the planned condo project at First and V streets on Buzzard Point, formerly known as Marina Place. After Capital City Real Estate purchased the land, located just north of the shuttered Buzzard Point Marina, design plans changed, and the project is now called Peninsula 88. The previous design featured pie-shaped units that created awkward floor plans. It had fewer two-bedroom units, and the one-bedroom units were larger.

The revised design will incorporate 97 condo units in an eight-story building with the flexibility to have between 75 and 110 units. This includes five, five-story “rowhouse” units along V Street with direct access from the street. Ground-floor units will have terraces and the upper floors will have balconies. Some top-floor units will have private rooftop decks. A communal rooftop deck will feature a fire pit, outdoor grill, dining table, and various seating including chaise lounges, dining chairs, and benches.

Unit sizes range between 1,300 and 1,500 square feet. Designed by Eric Colbert & Associates, the project will seek LEED-Silver certification. Some of the features include an extensive green roof and bio-retention tree pits. Building materials include precast concrete wall panels, aluminum vertical fins, and glass railings on the balconies. There will also be 1,800 square feet of retail along First Street. A parking garage will have 70 spaces. An additional 44 “vault” spaces will be provided on public space if approved by the Zoning Commission. There will be 38 bike parking spaces. A hearing scheduled in February will review the proposed design changes; construction is expected to begin later in 2017.

Ward 6 Temporary Family Housing Facility

Design concepts were unveiled at a community meeting on Dec. 15 to discuss the planned Ward 6 short-term family housing facility to be built at 850 Delaware Ave. SW. The site is occupied by a District-owned building that contains Unity Health Clinic. A new health clinic planned as part of the new facility will be located primarily on the lower level with an entrance on I Street. The proposed building, designed by Studio 27 Architecture, will be seven stories tall and house up to 50 families at a time. The ground floor will have a dining room and kitchen as well as a computer lab and administrative space. A fenced off play area will be created along Delaware Avenue.

Each residential floor will have a common area on the north side of the building, with TVs and seating where programming will be administered. The rooms will have views of the Capitol. In addition to a large play area along Delaware Avenue, each floor will contain an outdoor play area. The design maintains the viewshed of the Capitol dome along Delaware Avenue by gradually stepping back the façade, creating small green spaces throughout. A large green roof will help the building obtain LEED-Gold certification.

Back in February, the community was alerted to the fact that the city had selected 700 Delaware Ave. SW (a site adjacent to Blind Whino) as the location of the Ward 6 short-term family housing facility. The Bowser administration wanted to close DC General and place a family shelter in each ward of the city. After the community raised concerns about the proposed site, especially the method of its selection and the cost of leasing it, the DC Council changed the location to the District-owned site at 850 Delaware Ave. An advisory team was created to give voice to community input, including Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D, Councilmember Charles Allen, and neighbors Greenleaf Gardens, Capitol Park IV, and Telesis (developer of the Randall School project). Bob Hall, president of the Capitol Park IV Condominium board and one of the co-chairs of the advisory team, was an initial critic of the location of the facility, but he expressed his pleasure with the building’s redesign and planning process, even though not all of what was requested could be implemented. For instance, the advisory team requested the addition of a coffee shop on the ground floor to further activate the I Street frontage, but zoning restrictions precluded commercial uses. ANC 6D Chair Andy Litsky added that the planning and redesign of the Ward 6 facility will be a model for the rest of the city.

The design will be refined over the next few weeks, and the city will submit an application with the Board of Zoning Adjustment in January, with the expectation of starting construction by November. The facility is anticipated to open by the summer of 2019, when a Good Neighbor Agreement will be drafted.

William Rich is a blogger at Southwest … The Little Quadrant that Could (www.swtlqtc.com).


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