Washington City Paper by Andrew Giambrone
Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
Whether or not Amazon chooses to build its new headquarters in Hill East, the neighborhood could be headed for other major changes.
Late last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration informed residents of two dueling proposals for the redevelopment of the former Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club building, an 11,000-square-foot site at 261 17th St. SE, near the Stadium–Armory Metro station. The District has owned the vacant property since 2010. The club closed in 2007 and D.C. paid $20 million to acquire the site. Mayor Vincent Gray attempted to redevelop the property in 2014, but the Bowser administration hit the reset button on the solicitation process after neighbors spoke out against the proposals at the time.
Last April, after receiving input from Hill East residents about what they'd like to see at the site, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner put it up for bid again. The District's request for proposals notes that residents have expressed interest in a mixed-use project with homeownership opportunities and one that could serve seniors and families.
Now, DMPED is considering two development options. One focuses on senior co-housing, where residents would share common facilities, while the other emphasizes family-sized apartments or condos. Both proposals include affordable units and would largely preserve the massing and character of the current three-story building.
Century Associates/Eco Housing Corp./Keystar Real Estate
Century Associates, Eco Housing Corp., and Keystar Real Estate submitted the senior co-housing proposal. It includes 29 "independent living" residences, two apartments for caregivers, and a central common house, which the team says would create "well defined public and private realms but with transitional spaces that encourage interaction." Their plan also includes a variety of programs for seniors. There would be 23 two-bedrooms and six one-bedrooms. Of the 23 two-bedroom and six one-bedroom units, 20 would be market rate and the rest would be below market.
Morningstar Community Development/MCN Build Inc./Cox Graae + Spack Architects
Morningstar Community Development, MCN Build Inc., and Cox Graae + Spack Architects have proposed a 31-unit rental or homeownership project that would include on-site parking and spaces for community use. There would be 20 one-bedrooms, nine two-bedrooms, and two three-bedrooms—with varying rates of affordability depending on whether the building has tenants or owners. In either scenario, 21 units would be priced at market rate and 10 would be affordable.
A committee for ANC 6B, the local advisory neighborhood commission, is scheduled to discuss the two proposals tonight. D.C. plans to pick a final plan in the coming months before drawing up a land-disposition agreement with the winning team.