|Location of new residential building; 1700 block of Benning Road NE.|
New signage has appeared advertising a new residential tower in Caver Langston. 1701 H Street is a planned 180 unit building with retail that will exist at the corner of 17th St and Benning Rd NE. This is across 17th St from Hechinger Mall and about halfway between the Starburst Plaza and 19th Street DC Streetcar stations.
The developers seemingly want to capitalize on an association with "H Street," or the Atlas District, which is nearby. I'd have little to say about this if most of the building didn't front on 17th Street and Benning Road. Even then, this was really much ado about nothing until I read this recent, and somewhat infuriating interview, including this gem.
For many years, Scott says, there was only Foggy Bottom and the West End, Georgetown and the upper Northwest. “And you had poverty everywhere else,” he says. “DC, for the first time, is developing neighborhoods and subcultures.”[ David Hubler, “Why the Developer Building Buzzard Point's First Mixed-Use Project Doesn't Think He's a Trailblazer,” BIZNOW, last modified January 19,2016, https://www.bisnow.com/washington-dc/news/mixed-use/why-the-developer-building-buzzard-points-first-mixed-use-project-doesnt-think-hes-a-traiblazer-54735.]
This is such trash. This whole idea that DC previously had no culture or that certain neighborhoods weren't worth living in until you personally invested money is reprehensible. The developers go on to suggest changing the name of Buzzard Point as to better position a project they have going in SW, and liken the 1701 H project to planting a flag.
I'm not anti development. I think DC needs more housing units. More, taller (in appropriate places), differentiated, and affordable. We need a variety of new housing options that can help accommodate the complex socio-economic needs of the hundreds of thousands of residents that already live here and the hundreds moving here each month. What doesn't help is this colonialist, manifest destiny-like outlook from developers.
OK. <<steps off of soapbox>>
As for the building itself, it will add 180 units to a busy stretch of Benning Road NE. The transportation options are good here with several X bus routes less than two blocks' walk (X1, X2, X8, X9); and the aforementioned DC Streetcar stations, too. The building will have some underground parking and 14,000+ sq ft of ground floor retail. This will complement the larger stores at Hechinger Mall and the smaller stores that dot Benning Road from Oklahoma Ave to 19th Street. The building will top out at 90 feet at its tallest. The floor area ratio would be 6.0, which is very good for a lot of this size, that is transit accessible, and that is in a walkable, mixed use part of town. There would be a LEED Silver rating that cold stretch to Gold.
Regarding zoning, the squares that constitute the property would need to be converted from C-3-A to C-2-B to make all of the building specs possible.
Permits matter-of-right medium density development, with a density incentive for residential development within a general pattern of mixed-use development to a maximum lot occupancy of 75% for residential use and 100% for all other uses, a maximum FAR of 4.0 for residential and 2.5 FAR for other permitted uses and a maximum height of sixty-five (65) feet. Rear yard requirements are twelve (12) feet; one family detached dwellings and one family semi-detached dwellings side yard requirements are eight (8) feet.C-2-B:
Permits matter-of-right medium density development, including office, retail, housing, and mixed uses to a maximum lot occupancy of 80% for residential use and 100% for all other uses, a maximum FAR of 3.5 for residential use and 1.5 FAR for other permitted uses, and a maximum height of sixty-five (65) feet. Rear yard requirements are fifteen (15) feet; one family detached dwellings and one family semi-detached dwellings side yard requirements are eight (8) feet.
Visually, 1701 H reminds me of a lot of newer buildings near 14th and U St NW. Nothing close to groundbreaking, but not offensive either. Pure vanilla; a nouveau-industrial minimalist skin with modern interiors. See renderings here and here.
1701 H is slated to deliver sometime in 2018.
|The future H Street portion of 1701 H Street.|