City Paper Widget

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Agreement Reached in Logan Circle Air Rights Deal

Barry Madani of Madison Investments told a committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle that his company had reached a deal with the board of the Zenith Condominium (1437 Rhode Island Avenue) which will allow Madison to build a part of a seven-story condominium over the Zenith's driveway. Madani told ANC2F's Community Development Committee (CDC) of the deal at its last regularly-scheduled meeting on February 25.

This space will change hands.
"They were interested, we came to an agreement," Madani said.

However, Madani did not say how much Madison Investments will pay the Zenith Condominium for the air rights. Last year, there were reports that the owners' association of the Zenith Condominium had been offered $500,000, but some members wished to hold out for more -- see SALM blog post of August 27, 2014.

The ANC does not have to endorse or even know about the deal, but it creates a situation in which Madison Investments needs to court the ANC's endorsement.

Madison Investments will get "fee simple" (meaning, unconditional) ownership of a slice of land, which is now a driveway to some outside parking on the side and rear of the Zenith Condominium. The slice is roughly the width of one curb cut. Its length starts at the public sidewalk in front of 1437 Rhode Island Avenue and ends somewhere in mid-lot.

In exchange, the Zenith Condominium will get (in addition to a large cash payment) a "perpetual easement", so vehicles coming and going from the Zenith can use the driveway just as they do now.

The change of ownership of the strip of driveway means that Madison Investments will now be responsible for the curb cut leading to Rhode Island Avenue. Madani explained that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) treats this change of ownership and responsibility as "a new development", so Madison Investments must apply for a curb cut like it was a new one, even though the curb cut already exists and will accommodate the same cars moving and parking on the same land.

"For all intents and purposes, everything will remain as it is," Madani said.

The CDC unanimously endorsed this request with very little debate. It will recommend to the full ANC that a letter be sent to DDOT in support of the "new" curb cut. Normally, requests approved unanimously by the CDC are approved by the full ANC with little further debate.

This matter is on the agenda for ANC2F's next regular monthly meeting, scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday), March 4, at 7 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel (10 Thomas Circle).

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