Housing Complex

The Incredible Growing—And Shrinking—Hine Development

Swear to God, if I were trying to build things in this city, I'd propose the biggest possible project at the outset of a public negotiation, anticipating that it would shrink by at least 10 percent during the process. Above is the difference between the proposed office building at the Eastern Market Metro stop—after developer Stanton/Eastbanc had already taken off a story to appease the Historic Preservation Review Board—and the latest version arrived at after a tug-of-war with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

Although it now looks squatter and less interesting, the building hasn't actually lost that much mass. By shuffling around the setbacks, architect Amy Weinstein was able to retain all but 4,700 square feet from the first version, and the project overall has grown 4.2 percent from the proposal that was submitted in response to the city's request for proposals in 2010, to a total of 461,000 square feet.

That was only the most major of the concessions that the ANC has wrung out of the developers, though. After submitting a list of 83 community requests, they hammered out a 37-point document that will serve as the basis for a formal community benefits agreement. Among the other promises:

  • Stanton/Eastbanc will provide no fewer than one parking space per condo in the market rate residential building, and request that the condo owners not be eligible for residential parking permits, while taking no position on whether residents of the affordable units get them (the ANC will oppose the poorer folks getting free city parking as well).
  • There will be no nightclubs on C and D Street, no restaurants on the east half of the South building, and no commercial uses at all on 8th Street.
  • Stanton/Eastbanc will provide $50 per square foot for the buildout of a 2,400-square-foot child development center for 24 lucky kids.

The most unhappy folks at this point are the ones who run the weekend flea market, which is losing more than half the spaces it has now. It's unclear that will get resolved when the proposal hits the Zoning Commission on June 14.

  • Colin

    After each revision the end result is aesthetically worse.

  • http://tsarchitect.nsflanagan.net/ цarьchitect

    ooof.

    That top story was surprisingly important to the composition.

  • http://www.easternmarket.net mike berman

    And if I was the developer I would have done it right the first time. The community is losing a valuable asset, an acre + of public space used for the weekend flea markets that bring tens of thousands and many many dollars to the community, the neighboring retail and restaurants. Instead, an ugly building with a maxed out footprint, no public space, no viable market space, only community benefit is 24 kids that won the lottery? woop,woop. And you think thats smart growth? smart for who?

  • http://alexblock.net Alex B.

    Yeah - this looks a lot worse than the original proposal.

    But, hey - we can't possibly build anything that's too tall in this city - we should embracing cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

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  • Kathleen

    Lydia,
    You really off base here. I visit this blog only because I'm following this issue and, based on how you cover it, I know I will never have any reason to visit it once this is over. (Unless, of course, I want a developer's pr release.)
    Kathleen

  • Hillman

    The shorter building is far uglier.

    This location practically screams for a higher building. Nearly on top of a metro, in a very high dollar location.

    The limitation of restaurants and retail is a sop to the very near neighbors, to the detriment of the rest of the community.

    These neighbors bought next to Eastern Market, and even the smallest amount of research would lead one to think that Hine would be redeveloped someday.

    If they'd wanted peace and quiet they could have gotten that two blocks in any direction.

  • X

    Kathleen,

    Well, bye.

    Anyway,

    I'd like to see an example where the addition or subtraction of 1 floor to 1 building made any difference anywhere to any neighborhood. I'll wait.

  • http://www.easternmarket.net mike berman

    Mr x. So convenient of you to hide your identity. I'm waiting to hear you say the loss of significant and active public space doesn't make a difference to a neighborhood.

  • John

    yeah. the new design is definitely uglier. hard to argue that its small reduction of stuff on top is worth a much uglier building.

    the restrictions on 8th street retail make some sense but that seemed like that was inherent in the plan all along. the parking permit thing seems draconian.

    as for flea market space, I assume C street will be used and closed to traffic. if that's not enough, why not close off 7th at Penn and run the flea market all the way up to North Carolina as well?

  • http://www.easternmarket.net mike berman

    Part of C Street. 7th Street is not owned by the developer to close off. How is that a developers provision?

  • X

    That's a different question than the addition of a floor though. And while I have shopped at and enjoyed the flea market I'm also interested in leveraging the land near a central metro stop and spitting distance of the the Capitol to a use that will encourage more activity 7 days a week rather than just saturdays.

  • http://www.easternmarket.net mike berman

    How is a building with limited amenities for the public encouraging more activity 7 days a week? The markets happen Saturday and Sunday (boy is it obvious you've never been to the location you are advocating for)and decent public space can be programmed more often. It HELPS their project. That's SMART growth.

  • John

    Mike, I didn't mean to imply that it would be a developer's provision to close off 7th, it would just make sense to do it during flea market hours. I'm not sure who makes those calls though.

  • http://alexblock.net Alex B.

    Mr. Berman - it's a parking lot.

  • rtg

    @MikeBerman - How much do you stand to profit from the current contract structure with the District? Shouldn't that money be going to the Eastern Market Trust? I know you have a sweet deal right now as the operator of the current market - its a little disingenuous that you are not revealing this.

  • X

    I'm correct in assuming that people will work and live in the building correct? Typically people like to do stuff in and around the neighborhood they live and work in. Especially when that neighborhood is capitol hill.

    And the flea market will still function, just not in the old parking lot attached to an abandoned school. Would it make any difference if the lot was privately owned?

  • http://www.easternmarket.net mike berman

    How much do I spend? How can my company profit? I lose everything under this deal. And so do the hundreds of small businesses that we support and incubate. The Flea Market was started 30 years ago when there was nothing here, even Eastern Market was closed. So you know about the Trust, then reveal what it is all about- taking a business that someone else created. I would love to give my money to support Eastern Market. I have loved paying rent to support DC Schools. How does the developer not supplying adequate public space help the Eastern Market Trust? There is nothing here to operate.

  • http://www.easternmarket.net mike berman

    @rtg, I am happy to show you my books. Do you know what my company does? Will the developer generously share its profit margin to the public? Profit issues aside, I am talking about public amenities and good planning. Take me out of the equation. How do you defend this project as in the best interests of the community?

  • rtg

    @MikeBerman I think you are exaggerating. There is a public plaza included in the plans. If you feel you cannot operate there, why not allow the new market manager to run the market in your stead? This is a city - markets adapt & thrive.

    Also, please reveal you net more than 100K on the market. Be honest with the community.

  • MJ

    Get the damn thing built and MOVE ON! The flea market will thrive in whatever new form it takes. It is such an important part of the community that I am positive we can find an alternative that keeps all the vendors.

  • http://www.easternmarket.net mike berman

    @rtg, yeah I wish. If you think you can make that, then I'm hiring. #naivethinking

  • oboe

    @MikeBerman - How much do you stand to profit from the current contract structure with the District? Shouldn't that money be going to the Eastern Market Trust? I know you have a sweet deal right now as the operator of the current market - its a little disingenuous that you are not revealing this.

    Ah, okay, things make a bit more sense now. Perhaps we should just cancel the Hine development altogether. After all, if a giant empty parking lot 5 days a week is good for the community, surely an empty parking lot that's twice as big and empty 5 days a week will be even better!

  • anon

    @Lydia

    request that the condo owners not be eligible for residential parking permits, while taking no position on whether residents of the affordable units get them (the ANC will oppose the poorer folks getting free city parking as well).

    There is no such thing as "free" city parking in this neighborhood. By restricting RPP for Zone 6, they would be denied the right to purchase a residential parking permit for Zone 6

  • http://www.twitter.com/AdamLDC Adam L

    The funny thing is that more market/public space could probably have been preserved if the development could build up higher, but that too was rejected. That would have been an ideal compromise except that there are some neighbors who would reject any plan for that site beyond a few townhomes.

  • Whoa_now

    The bottom half of 7th street and the plaza over the metro is more than enough space for all the vendors from the flea mkt and probably more...would attract more customers because of visability and the plaza could be used for other stuff throughout the year...but I'm sure the right size hines peeps would be against this idea too..it might attract the wrong element.

    what about if we threw in a nice fountain for the plaza that could capture the historic significance of the right size hines folks. It could spell out NIMBY with water.

  • Read Scott Martin, 1300 A NE

    @rtg,@x The neighbors are nuts (and wrong) on the height and density issue but there is one thing which is spelled out in the record, which is not open to dispute. The developers broke faith (and possibly breached their agreement) with the neighborhood and the city on the flea market issue. The developers won the right to develop by agreeing to provide a one-to-one replacement for the flea market vendor positions. The original design the developers submitted at RFP and subsequently included in their first revision showed an open public plaza suited to provide them. I actively solicited support for the current developers when they sought approval from the Historic Preservation Review Board last year. They have no leg to stand on for cutting off the legs of the Flea Market, the institution on which the current value of the Hine property is rightly based. They are probably lawyered to argue otherwise, but it is clear they broke faith. Those are facts and easily checked in the public record.

    @ Adam L You are right about the loud defensive unreasonable neighbors, but the developers are using them as an excuse. Not exactly a rookie team, they knew what their commitment to the flea market was when they submitted the RFP. After getting through the HPRB hearing last year they declined all last fall and winter to open a dialogue with the community and the market managers about how to accomodate the fleas. I hope they can be forced to comply with their original agreement. The fleas deserve better.

  • rtg

    Read Scott Martin -

    The developers reduced the size of the Flea market because 8th Street neighbors objected to the parking garage being located on 8th Street. By repositioning the parking garage on C Street, the developers were forced to reduce the project. Please be accurate with your assertions.

  • Steve

    Lydia,

    The citation to the square footage (or FAR, its unclear from your use) increase of 4.2% since the developers' submission of the best and final offer does not seem accurate. The increased amount of above ground square footage is probably closer to 15%, but the District would have to verify the FAR calculation if that is what you were using.

    Hillman, I bought in 1998. The school was in use as a school. Mayor Williams was just coming in and, in the two years before Mayor Fenty replaced him, Clifford Janey was starting to recognize the opportunities for Ward 6 schools. Right now, Ward 6 in-bounds middle schools are at the far corners of the Ward (including SW now). Families would love to have a centrally located public neighborhood middle school back but now have come to accept that that train has sailed.

  • http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com Richard Layman

    I'll merely point out that this problem is a direct result of a failure to have a master plan for the Eastern Market special use district.

    An RFP isn't a plan. A development agreement isn't really a plan either.

    While I believe that the parking lot was by no means "highest and best use", plans for better accommodating relocation of flea market vendors needed to be done. Anybody with basic math skills ought to have understood that the use of X amount of space for vendors would need a roughly equal amount, somehow, to continue to accommodate the vendors, and that it would not be possible to do this solely by focusing on space available on the redeveloped Hine site.

    Again, it should have done with a plan, before the Hine redevelopment plan commenced.

    For me, the biggest lost opportunity is not being able to build a permanent "east hall" as an extension of the Market, as the ground floor of a mixed use building north of the 700 block of C Street SE.

    The public process to shape the RFP was better than nothing, but incomplete.

    And P.S., Lydia, wrt your first sentence, that's been my lesson from development processes for the last 14 years. I'm surprised that more developers don't do it.

  • Read Scott Martin, 1300 A NE

    @ rtg The tradeoff you just described is a choice that the developers made, between their obligations to the flea vendors and their negotiating position with the Hine neighbors. If I wrote something in error, point it out and sign your name and the unit block where you live. In that event I would be happy to make the correction. I don't see the need for one.

  • Steve

    rtg, from the beginning, DDOT has said no curb cuts on the western side of 8th Street, which is a high volume artery for buses, as well as an emergency vehicle route (fire) serving the Ward. That was not an accommodation for 8th Street (or any other) neighbors.

    As it stands, one vehicle double parked on either side of the street can jam up traffic more than even the too short light for north-south traffic at 8th and North Carolina, SE.

  • Hillman

    Steve:

    For as long as I can remember people have been talking about redeveloping Hine.

    Serious talks, not just pie in the sky.

    To think that could never happen was foolish at best.

    Particularly when you look at the age and condition of Hine. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at that parcel and see that remaking it as a modern school would be astonishingly expensive.

    I too would have reservations about a massive new development. And I don't mean to dismiss your concerns.

    But honestly, folks. What is the problem with additional height? Why should you care about one more floor?

    And the demand that any residents don't get Zone 6 parking stickers?

    Come now. That's just ridiculous.

  • anon

    @Hillman
    Hine was a funcitoning school within the past 5 years. That's either selective memory or amnesia

  • trulee pist

    @ Hillman, that site was dedicated to DC Public Schools use on the Fourth of July 1864, there was talk under Dr. Janney in 2006 to turn it into DCPS Central HQ, it was awarded for development in 2009. History is long, your memory is short.

    Once it went to development, I'd thought the corner of 8th and D Street--not the whole development, but that corner--would be ideal for something like Tiger Woods foundation or a great daycare at ground level. You'd be down with that, right?

  • Read Scott Martin, 1300 A NE

    @ rtg Love to understand your interest in Eastern Market neighbors who sign their names to their posts, answer questions and do other things that promote dialogue on this issue you are concerned about, while you do none of these things. What's your name and where do you live and do business? "Be honest with the community." "It's a little disingenuous that you are not revealing this." "Please be accurate with your assertions." Emmirite?

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