ANC 1B Talks Development Projects

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B held its monthly meeting Feb. 2. Commissioners Sabel Harris (1B08, chair), Larry Handerhan (1B01, vice chair), Sean Holihan (1B02), Jamie Sycamore (1B03), Santiago Lakatos (1B04, treasurer), Alan Kensek (1B05), Ashleigh Fields (1B07) and Tucker Jones (1B09, secretary) were in attendance. The 1B06 seat is currently vacant. There was a quorum to conduct business.

Discussion Period

A representative of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) presented on the Traffic Safety Input (TSI) program, version 2.0. DDOT uses TSI to identify improvements needed for roads and other transportation infrastructure. In the past, TSI received individual inputs from District residents, on a first come, first served basis, which led to duplicate requests. There was also an equity issue, with some wards submitting considerably more requests than others.

With TSI 2.0, a list of program objectives will prioritize inputs. DDOT will select 200 inputs for each ward out of the requests it receives. Each ward will be guaranteed a minimum of 10 locations that will be addressed. Then DDOT will determine the top 120 projects that have to be worked on from all the District’s eight wards.

Economic Development Committee

The redevelopment of the Frank Reeves Center was the subject of two developer presentations. Proposals had been submitted earlier, but the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) issued a new request for proposals (RFP) in December 2022.

Handerhan noted that the new RFP was so detailed that both of the new proposals were very close in what they were offering. He also noted that it is a “by right” zoning project, so it has no package of community benefits.

The first proposal was from Reeves CMC Partners, which includes MRP Realty, CSG Urban Partners and Capri Investment Group. Their project would total 536,000 square feet, with 100,000 square feet being office space. Tenants would include the headquarters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a Dave Chappelle Comedy Club. There would be 322 units of housing and a residential hotel as part of the project. Plans call for a Frederick Douglass Plaza and a Marion Barry Amphitheater. The garage would have 366 parking spaces. The project would also bring back the Farmer’s Market previously operating on the Reeves site’s plaza.

Legacy Community Partners, which includes Dantes Partners, the Menkiti Group and EB5 Capital, would have a building with 100,00 square feet of office space, including space for the NAACP and DC agencies. The 299 housing units would provide senior housing and include multifamily units. Plans include a Marion Barry Square, an outpost of the DC Central Kitchen and the return of the Farmer’s Market. The Moxy Hotel would have a flag there with 150-180 beds. The garage would have 147 parking spaces.

A resident asked CMC if by reducing the parking the number of housing units could be increased. Answer: unlikely since all parking is underground.

Someone suggested changing the name of the comedy club since the District’s LGBT center had been moved out of the Reeves Center and owing to past statements made by Chappelle regarding the LGBTQ community.

Legacy Community Partners was asked if the planned food court would compete with existing businesses in the area.

The question came up whether the developers will adhere to the District law to incorporate bird-proof glass. They both will.

A representative from DMPED was asked about the timeline for the project. The development award will be announced in mid-March, with negotiations on a contract to follow. Construction is expected to start in the summer of 2025, with completion in 36 to 48 months.

Transportation Committee

The committee had to consider a notice of intent (NOI) from DDOT to create a loading zone on the 900 block of W Street NW. The proposal would change three areas of the block to create a loading zone on W Street, with an area of two-hour parking changed to residential permit parking spaces to restore any on-street parking lost in the neighborhood.

Sycamore noted that a number of nearby residents had submitted written objections to the NOI. They believed that the project would not alleviate current business loading issues on that section of Florida Avenue and would be too disruptive to the neighborhood.

Kensek asked if the commissioners could defer consideration of the issue. Lakatos responded that they had to submit a response in February for DDOT to consider their input. He noted that trucks are currently parking in the middle of the street in order to make deliveries. Two residents voiced their opposition to the NOI.

A vote to support the NOI received a vote of four yeas, two nays and two abstentions, which meant that the motion passed.

Alcoholic Beverage Regulation (ABR) Committee

Maydan, 1346 Florida Ave. NW, petitioned the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to terminate the settlement agreement with the commission. Lakatos argued to protest the move. The commissioners voted to protest.

A signed settlement agreement was presented for Pop Fizz Bar, 2106-2108 Vermont Ave. NW. A motion to approve the settlement agreement was passed by the ANC.

Commissioner Holihan announced that he had reached a settlement agreement with Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U St. NW, that included provisions for security. He asked the commission to approve the agreement at this meeting to avoid starting the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board protest process. The ANC passed a motion to approve the settlement agreement with Nellie’s.

ANC 1B typically meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. You can learn more about the commission and register to attend their next meeting at www.anc1b.org.