City Paper Widget

Friday, February 7, 2014

1309-1311 13th Street: Car Wash to 67-unit Luxury Condo

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle revisited familiar territory on February 5 when yet another plan to develop a luxury apartment building brought neighbors out to make sure their interests were protected.

The Iowa apartment building is on the left
In this case, the property in question is 1309-1313 13th Street NW. These adjacent lots are currently occupied by a just-closed car wash and a Chinese carry-out. The Holladay Corporation plans a 67-unit, six-story apartment building on the site. According to the Holloday Corporation, the construction is "matter of right" -- meaning, the developers do not have to ask for any zoning variances or special exceptions, nor do they have to submit to review by D.C.'s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).

"This is why most people are here," ANC2F Chair Matt Raymond (district 07) told the standing-room-only audience at the Washington Plaza Hotel (10 Thomas Circle). Before the presentation by the Holladay Corporation, I counted 77 people. After the presentation and subsequent Q-and-A were finished, 35 people remained. Many had adjourned to the corridor just outside the meeting room to continue to pepper the presenters with questions and comments.

The Presentation

Senior Vice President Rita J. Bamberger and Vice President of Construction Stephen H. Weatherby led the presentation for the Holloday Corporation.

Bamberger said Holloday Corporation is a third-generation family-owned company. It has developed two other local residential buildings: The Matrix (1529 14th Street) and The Rutherford (1211 15th Street).

The building will have 27 parking spaces. This is within DC zoning regulations of one space for every three dwelling units for this category of property. 14 of these spaces would be underground, according to the presenters.

It will be entirely residential -- no retail on the first floor. The average size of the apartments will be 760 square feet. One bedroom apartments will be about 600 square feet. Two bedroom apartments will be between 900-1000 square feet. Of the 67 apartments, five will be "inclusionary", meaning, they will be built in order to meet D.C. rules about affordable housing. This is the minimum amount required by law, the presenters said. The rest of the units will be "market rate", i.e., more expensive.

The developers hope to break ground this summer and finish construction in 15-18 months. Construction will start at 7am and end by 5pm. There would be construction activity some Saturdays, but not on Sundays.

Q-and-A session

Many of the audience members were from the Iowa Condominium (1325 13th Street), which borders the planned new construction on the north. When construction is finished, many Iowa residents will look into their neighbors' windows over a narrow alley.

"The project will impact my semi-panoramic view," admitted one Iowa resident.

"How would you feel if you lived in The Iowa?" another asked.

The presenters explained the building would be 60 feet tall to the main roof line, topped by setback penthouses of 15 feet in height. Again, the developers are allowed this "by right", so there was not much the Iowa residents could do but complain, which they did. A few individuals presented themselves as local residents who were in favor of the proposed development, citing it as an improvement over a car wash and Chinese take-out. Public arguing between audience members resulted.

The presenters promised an email address and daytime phone numbers which residents could call in case of need. But Holloday Corporation pushed back against repeated Iowa resident demands for Weatherby's personal cell phone number or another number which would be answered by a live human 24/7.

Weatherby promised that Holloday Corporation would follow DC policy concerning rat abatement. They would place new bait boxes out weekly, he said.

Some residents were concerned their own properties would be damaged by vibrations and other side effects of construction. Weatherby promised an independently-conducted pre-construction site survey of adjoining properties, with photo documentation, to aid in possible later claims.

Another resident asked for an additional meeting or two with Iowa residents, but Holloday Corporation did not publicly commit themselves to further meetings.

See coverage of the same meeting by real estate blog Urban Turf here.

(Photo credit: Google Street View)

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