Mayor Muriel Bowser was in Rosedale this morning to highlight the effort to combine energy efficiency and affordable housing initiatives at an opening ceremony for a group of townhomes and condos.

The 17 Solar luxury condos and townhomes officially opened today at the intersection of 17th and D streets NE. The nine new houses on the block have ground-floor flats, which will be sold at below-market rates, and rooftop solar panels that will provide a portion of electricity for the homes. The second and third floors of each house will be condos sold at market rate.

“Too frequently, we don’t have these energy-saving options on our units that are below market rate,” Bowser said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “To mix the two is very important here.”

Bowser said she hopes to sponsor future projects that will bring alternative energy to affordable housing units. She also stressed the importance of these properties bringing ownership opportunities — a sentiment that was echoed by ANC 6A commissioner Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, whose district includes 17 Solar.

“I am just so excited that we have new development in the Rosedale community, and most importantly, that we have affordable housing options for those who are first-time homeowners,” Phillips-Gilbert said.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Bowser and community members took a tour of one of the houses, which had wood floors, metal accents and floor-to-ceiling windows. Several residents of the new homes were present at the ceremony, and a developer told Bowser during the tour that many of the new tenants came from outside of the Capitol Hill area.


Morning Rundown

Vatican City flag near the U.S. Capitol (Photo via Twitter/U.S. Captiol)

Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for 2014 Hill East Shooting — James Joseph, who was arrested in June in connection with a 2014 shooting in Hill East, was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison. [Department of Justice]

Developers Plan for More Homes and Commercial Space Near H Street NE — A Virginia-based developer is planning to convert a Linden Court body shop behind the Atlas Performing Arts Center into several new homes and commercial space. [Washington Business Journal]

Affordable Apartments for Veterans Set to Open Next Year Near Union Station — The John and Jill Ker Conway Residence, a 124-unit apartment building at 1005 North Capitol Street NW that will serve homeless veterans and those with low income, is set to open next year. [Urban Turf]

H Street Corridor Participates in City-Wide Art All Night this Saturday — Several galleries, performance spaces and businesses on the H Street corridor will hold art events all night this Saturday as part of the city-wide Art All Night festival. [Frozen Tropics]

Photo via Twitter/U.S. Capitol


(Updated at 1:05 p.m.) A mixed-use residential building with a demonstration kitchen, Skee-Ball and other high-end amenities officially opened near the H Street corridor and Union Station yesterday, with help from Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Highlighting affordable units in the building, the mayor cut the ribbon to Station House at 701 2nd St. NE, as Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen and other government and business leaders looked on. Station House, which started leasing last month, has 25,000 square feet of retail space and 378 apartments, 28 of which are designated as affordable housing. Applicants for the affordable housing must enter a lottery through Station House.

Rents for the market-rate units start at $1,710 per month for a studio and can exceed $2,945 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, according to the building’s website.

Bowser praised Station House as a “quality development.” It’s a “beautiful building, very conveniently located, close to transit, close to jobs and close to our thriving H Street corridor,” she said.

Marshall Tycher, president of Roseland, which is managing Station House, declined to say which businesses will occupy the building’s ground-floor retail space. But those should be announced this summer, he said.

One business so far has appeared to announce plans to open in Station House. A sign on the building says the exercise studio Barre3 is coming soon.

Inside Station House and on its rooftop pool deck yesterday, Toki Underground, Dangerously Delicious Pies and other local restaurants served food and drinks as people toured the building.

A large crowd gathered around the demonstration kitchen while a chef was at work, not far from a game room that has Skee-Ball, table tennis, pool and shuffle board. Several people also ventured to the roof to check out the view.

No one took a dip in the pool, however.


Morning Rundown

Flowering tree near Hirshhorn Museum

Bowser Pledges to Close D.C. General, Create Affordable Housing — In addition to committing to starting service on the streetcar line, Mayor Muriel Bowser said she will work to close D.C. General, end “family homelessness by 2018 and all homelessness by 2025” and expand the use of body cameras by police. [Washington Post; WAMU]

Officer Honored for Bravery During Navy Yard Shooting — The D.C. police officer who fatally shot the Navy Yard shooter in September 2013 will be given a medal today in Maryland, where he lives. [NBC 4]

’63-Degree Eggs’ Served at Stanton & Greene — The Pennsylvania Avenue SE restaurant that replaced The Pour House is serving 63-degree eggs, a “creamy treat.” [Washington Post]


Morning Rundown

Canal Park ice rink

Beer Garden Near Nationals Park? — A developer will pitch a plan to ANC 6D to create a waterfront “brew garden” and neighborhood park just south of Nationals Park. The beer garden would be temporary, in advance of construction of a residential, retail, hotel and office complex. [JDLand]

Affordable Housing in Ward 6 — Capitol Hill Corner explains who may be able to live in planned affordable housing units in the Hine school redevelopment and the Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club redevelopment. [Capitol Hill Corner]

Eastern Market Cooking Demonstration Backstory — Chef Jonathan Bardzik is starting his fifth season of cooking demonstrations at Eastern Market. Every week in his home kitchen, he tests and tastes the recipes he’ll teach. [Hill Rag]

Capitol Hill Memoirist Dies — Writer Mary Z. Gray died in late January at age 96. She wrote about growing up over a funeral parlor on East Capitol Street, seeing wagons and gas street lamps. [Washington Post]


Morning Rundown

1st and N streets NE

Navy Yard Affordable Housing Update — The D.C. Zoning Commission gave the Housing Authority initial approval to have flexibility on the location of affordable units in the Capper/Carrollsburg development. ANC 6D opposes the prospect of locating affordable and market-rate units in two separate buildings. [JDLand]

Driver Who Killed Pedestrian Was on Narcotics, Police Say — The man who flipped his SUV downtown on Monday, killing a man, appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, police said. James Brooks Chandler, 33, told police he took Percocet and other drugs after dental surgery. At 4th and H streets NW, he fatally struck Philip Snodgrass, 27, a lawyer, D.C. resident and Maryland native. [Washington Post]

Restaurant and ‘Retail Showroom’ to Replace Pizza Parts & Service — Popville hears that a restaurant by a former chef at Cashion’s Eat Place and New Heights Restaurant will move into where Pizza Parts & Service closed earlier this month. The second floor will reportedly be used as a retail showroom for pop-ups and events. [Popville]

Pot Law Still Isn’t Legal, Congress Says — House Republicans sent Mayor Muriel Bowser a letter threatening legal consequences if the District legalizes some marijuana possession and use tomorrow. [Washington City Paper]


Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club rendering, Dantes Partners

Developers presented two bids last night for the creation of senior citizen housing in the former Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club building, but to-be-determined District rules on affordable housing creation will determine the exact makeup of the project.

The firm Dantes Partners laid out plans for 49 affordable units, 5,000 square feet of community space and two stories added to the long-closed building at 261 17th St. SE. A competing bid from Century Associates would create 25 market-rate units, 2 apartments for caregivers and 4,200 square feet of children’s play space to the building two blocks west of the Stadium-Armory Metro station. That plan would not add to the building’s height.

But new inclusionary zoning regulations expected from Mayor Muriel Bowser will determine how many units in the city-owned building will be rented at designated affordable rates.

Department of General Services planner Stephen Campbell said his office needed more information on whether rules in effect when the bid was issued, when it will be awarded or when permits are approved will apply.

“We will seek to have that clarity,” he said. DGS plans to award the project in February.

Century Associate president Joel Kelty said his proposal called for all market-rate units. “We didn’t feel, given the funding we had, that it was financially feasible,” he said.

Longtime resident Pat Taylor said she didn’t want an all-affordable building in Hill East.

“You’re coming into a mixed-use neighborhood. Why would you put a low-income building in our neighborhood?” she said, noting that she would prefer a mixed-income development.

ANC 6B may wait for more information from the District before the group advises selection of a proposal, vice-chair Brian Flahven said.

“I don’t want to recommend an option that is automatically disqualified,” he said.

Homes in the Dantes Partners development — which would be financed through federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits — would be 600 to 800 square feet and cost about $1,000 per month. The Century Associates building would have units as large as 1,300 square feet each, with rent of about $3,000 per month for a two-bedroom.

The Boys and Girls Club was closed in August 2007 because of rising costs and low enrollment, officials told The Washington Post that year. The city bought the building plus two Boys and Girls Clubs in Columbia Heights and Georgetown for $20 million total, but later declared the building to be surplus property. The building in a prime location has asbestos and bird droppings inside, and it’s roof is leaking, Kelty said.

“Our whole goal is to get this building activated again,” Flahaven said.


Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg houses in 2004 (Photo via Flickr/Elvert Barnes)

Housing Authority plans to build more affordable housing in Navy Yard are set to advance in January, and residents say they want to ensure that affordable and market rate units are not divided.

Dividing affordable and market-rate housing in Navy Yard would separate a community that’s still healing, ex-Capper/Carrollsburg resident Chanel Caldwell-Cowan said. The musician and radio DJ returned to the area in 2011 after leaving in 2002. She said she values Navy Yard’s diversity as a mixed-income community.

“If they build two separate buildings, it would completely defeat the purpose of Arthur Capper,” Caldwell-Cowan said. “It’s segregation all over again, in a nutshell.”

The District is still replacing the 707 low-income residential units of the Arthur Capper and Carrollsburg houses that were demolished in the mid-2000s. The District received a $34.9 million federal grant in 2001 to replace all 707 units with a modern, mixed-income community. The project was intended to be complete in 2013.

The Housing Authority presented an idea early this year to sell a parcel of land at 3rd and I streets SE to a developer for the construction of a market-rate condo building. The profits from the sale could help build an all-affordable building nearby.

A public hearing will be held Jan. 8 to discuss changes to the project that would give the Housing Authority the flexibility to create the separate buildings.

Helen Douglas, vice president of the Navy Yard Neighbors Association, said her group believes separating subsidized housing and market-rate housing runs counter to the neighborhood’s mixed-income identity. Many community members echo her sentiment.

“The proposal violates our suffering. It would create and maintain a class division,” said Deborah Frazier, a veteran organizer and former Capper/Carrollsburg resident.

Capitol Quarter resident Josh Hart said he chose to buy a home in neighborhood because he liked the idea of living in a mixed-income community.
“The fact that they want to split up the housing is counterproductive,” he said. “It seems to defeat the whole purpose of the project.”

Navy Yard ANC Commissioner-elect Meredith Fascett also opposes not separating market-rate and subsidized housing.

“There’s broad community frustration with the two-building approach,” she said. Residents are working on financial models for the construction of a building that has both market-rate and affordable units, Fascett said.

The Housing Authority is still planning two buildings in order to make financing possible, spokesman Richard White said. The condo building could contain some affordable housing units, he said. How many units would be included and how much they would be subsidized is still being determined. Read More


David Catania and Carol Schwartz spoke at a mayoral forum on Southwest DC and the Navy Yard.David Catania and Carol Schwartz told Southwest and Navy Yard residents that if elected mayor they would manage the area’s rampant development and work to fund a community center in the Navy Yard.

Catania and Schwartz laid out their plans for the neighborhoods at a forum held at Arena Stage Monday night.

Muriel Bowser (D) was invited to participate but said “her schedule did not allow for it,” moderator Shannon Vaughn said, indicating a seat left empty for her.

Both Independent candidates said they would aim to fund the operational costs of the Navy Yard community center at 5th and K streets Southeast, which is slated to open in late 2015.

“This has got to be an amenity that’s supported by the city,” Catania said, citing expected population growth and growing demand for public space.

Schwartz she didn’t “know all the details” on the center but wondered whether locals could pay fees for activities or membership.

On the future of the Southwest Neighborhood Library, Catania said he would commit to keeping the facility at its current location, rather than incorporating it into a mixed-use building.

Schwartz said she would have to evaluate the plans. “I really want to support what communities want for themselves,” she said.

On the redevelopment of the Greenleaf public housing complex, Catania said he would work to create and maintain acceptable housing for locals.

“We have to make sure that the units that are planned are comparable to the units taken off-line,” he said. “We have to build first, before we demolish.”

The city must use “every nickel” of federal funds for affordable housing, he added.

Schwartz agreed on the need to get all available federal funds for affordable housing and said she would push for tax credits to encourage displaced residents to move back to the area. She said she would support looking “a little farther from the city” for public housing and affordable housing sites.

On the proposed expansion of the CSX rail tunnel that runs along Virginia Avenue, Catania said he would fight for a community benefits package “commensurate with the imposition” on residents. Locals need more information on the safety and speed of the trains, he said. Schwartz was not asked the same question.

Catania is falling just 4 points behind Bowser, according to polling results published Tuesday by Washingtonian. Pollster Ron Lester showed Bowser commanding 34 percent of the vote to Catania’s 30. Schwartz received 16 percent, and 19 percent of those polled were undecided.


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