As previewed here yesterday, significant changes were announced to the proposed Hurt Home development at a community meeting last night. While some reservations over the details remain, all in all the community appears to now support the project.
Unlike the disastrous meeting at Jellef last month, this meeting was much better planned. Attendees included Jack Evans, and representatives from the Argos Group, the ANC, and the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development. The meeting began with some introductory remarks from Jack Evans, Ron Lewis, and Freddie Peaco (who has a personal history with the Hurt home for the Blind and gave an emotional speech in favor of increasing the number of units set aside for blind residents). The point that Evans tried to get across was essentially that he got the message from the community and that he won’t let this project move forward until the neighbors are more comfortable with it. Continue reading
Two big events are on tap today relating to the Hurt Home property at 3050 R St. First, the DC Council Committee on Economic Development and Government and the Environment will continue its round-table discussion on the surplussing of the property (along with six other properties). According to statement made by Jack Evans at the ANC meeting this week, the main purpose of this meeting is for the government to present its case for why the property should be surplussed.
This has been a contentious point for the neighborhood. On June 9th, there was a public meeting held to solicit the public’s ideas for the property. It turned into a bit of a farce since the representatives of the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planing and Economic Development didn’t actually give a formal presentation as to why they thought the property should be surplused (even though they had already accepted an offer from the developer). Thus the public had to respond to an argument they knew nothing about.
So today’s round-table is mostly about the horse catching up to the cart. Continue reading
Wisconsin and M by Ehpien.
Last night’s ANC meeting was another brutally long affair, but it featured no less than the director of DDOT and two Councilmembers. So rather than dawdle, GM will jump right in.
Left Turns on Wisconsin
Gabe Klein, the DDOT Director, came to speak before the ANC on the possibility of allowing cars going eastbound on M to turn left onto Wisconsin Ave. As of now, that turn is prohibited, so if you are coming that way on M and want to head up Wisconsin, you have to turn left on Bank, 33rd, or 31st.
Klein appeared relatively agnostic about the change. It’s possible but some sacrifices will have to be made. So long as the community is willing to make those sacrifices, Klein stated, then DDOT can make the change.
Essentially it comes down to this: if DDOT were to simply to start allowing a left turn from M without any changes to the lanes, the wait time at the intersection would increase significantly (the average wait on the AM rush hour would go from 197 seconds to 358 seconds; the PM wait would go from 57 seconds to 177 seconds). So that’s not an option.
Dumbarton Oaks by John Weiss.
Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:
- Trees for Georgetown is reminding people to water your street trees! If you think you’re uncomfortable, imagine how they feel.
- Some confusion over the Council’s Hurt Home round table this week: GM was told it was going to be Wednesday, but it looks like it was actually supposed to be Monday, but in fact it looks like the Monday meeting was postponed. More info when it becomes available.
Last week, the DC Council held a hearing on the proposed surplussing of the Hurt Home, a large District-owned building at 3050 R St. Neighbors saw flaws in the substance and process of that decision, and several went to the hearing to have their voices heard. The Council did not act on the surplus request last week, but will vote on it this WednesdayCORRECTION: No Council Vote is planned right now.
What was revealed last week are the terms of the proposed disposition of the property to the Argos Group. The most salient provision is the proposed purchase price: $1.3 million.
As GM discussed a little while back, that purchase price was likely going to have to thread a couple of tight needles. Make it too high and the only way the developer can afford to recoup its costs to rehab the building is for it to build either too many apartments (as far as the neighbors are concerned, at least) or build the apartments too expensive to sell. Make it too low and you risk giving away a valuable publicly owned property for peanuts. Plus the developer may just go ahead and build too many apartments regardless. Continue reading
For the first time here at the Georgetown Metropolitan, GM is publishing a contributer’s piece. It comes from John Zirinsky, a neighbor of GM’s and someone who is concerned about the manner in which the District has gone about surplussing the Hurt Home at 3050 R St:
I live on R Street, two blocks down from the Hurt Home for the Blind. I’m a newcomer who is not active or well-known in the neighborhood, but after attending last Wednesday’s pointless meeting
on the proposed surplus designation of the Hurt Home I was steamed enough to do some more research about this issue. I also wasn’t at the December meeting
so much of this is new to me, but I’ve tried to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
To start, let me be clear: I fully agree with the consensus that we need to find a good use for the Hurt Home so it is no longer left derelict. I also acknowledge that selling the property for residential development may in fact be the best use–indeed, it probably is.
But one thing that brought my wife and I to Georgetown was the chance to live in a historic, residential neighborhood with an ideal density due to an appealing mix of single- and multi-family housing. I also understand that there are a wide range of opinions on the size and scope of the proposed Argos redevelopment and I believe that is an important conversation to have–but not yet. That’s because we’ve skipped over an important public safeguard that is written into the law. Continue reading
As discussed yesterday, GM attended a community meeting Wednesday night to discuss the surplussing of the Hurt Home. And as will be discussed here shortly, the process by which the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development is surplussing this property does not appear consistent with the spirit and perhaps even the letter of the new Public Land Surplus Standards Amendment Act of 2009.
But today, GM wanted to address a statement made by the DMPED representative that appeared to be accepted as true by the audience: namely that Georgetown is a neighborhood of single family homes. Continue reading
Last night representatives of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development met with a small group of Georgetown residents to discuss the proposed surplussing of the Hurt Home at 3050 R St. (the group was small because the DMPED didn’t do a particularly good job advertising the meeting. Although, GM will point out he did two separate posts on the meeting.)
As predicted by GM, this meeting essentially was a check-the-box procedure required by the recently effective Public Land Surplus Standards Amendment Act of 2009. In short: the DMPED office decided to surplus the Hurt Home last year, an RFP was issued, and only one party, the Argos Group, came forward with a bid. The process to dispose of the property to Argos was moving forward until this new law kicked in.
This new law is an attempt to decouple the decision to surplus a property from the process to actually dispose of the property. Thus, in the future properties will be identified for surplussing, the DMPED office will, among other steps, hold a public meeting to see if the public has any ideas for a public use for the building, and then recommend to the Council that it identify the property as surplus. Then, theoretically, DMPED would move forward with the RFP process and the ultimate disposition of the property will be determined. Before the law became effective, the surplus and disposition processes were joint.
Unfortunately, for this project (and other high profile projects like the West End Library and the Hine School in Eastern Market) the disposition has for all intents and purposes been determined already. Namely, the building will be sold to Argos Group to be converted into condos. In fact, Argos’s Best and Final Offer proposal has already been accepted by DMPED. Continue reading
Last month, GM reported that the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development had planned a community meeting for June 9th to discuss the sale and conversion to condos of the historic Hurt Home at 3050 R St.
At least two things have changed about this meeting. The first is the location. Rather than being hosted in the even more historic Renwick Chapel, the meeting will be held in the Jelleff Gym. The second change is a bit more nebulous. At this week’s ANC meeting, Ron Lewis announced that due to a change in the city’s policies, before a property can be identified as surplus by the city a public meeting must be held to determine whether there is any practical public use for the property.
This struck GM as rather odd, since he heard the property had already been sold to the Argos Group. But it appears that the deal wasn’t finished in time to avoid complying with the new requirements of the District’s new Public Land Surplus Standards Amendment Act of 2009 (this is the policy that Ron Lewis was referencing at the meeting). Under this new law, which became effective in March, the city must follow a string of new procedures before it can declare a property surplus. One of those steps is holding a public hearing to solicit public comment on the project. Continue reading
The District of Columbia is in the process of selling the historic Hurt Home at 3050 R St. Last November the city announced that the leading candidate was the Argos Group. Actually, they were the only party to submit bids for the property. In November they previewed their plans to convert the building (which was a home for the blind for most of its existence) to 41 condos. These plans were not well received by the neighbors. (Full disclosure: GM is one of those neighbors, although he is neutral on the developer’s plans).
The problem facing the developer is that the building is in terrible shape. To get the building up to decent shape will cost a lot of money. To recover its investment, the developer either has to sell a lot of reasonably priced condos or a fewer amount of more expensive condos. Fearing both a loss of street parking and an increase in traffic, the neighbors want fewer, but there’s a distinct possibility that the developer could end up building condos too expensive to sell (as was widely perceived to be the problem at Wormley Row, although GM has heard that recently they have made a good deal of progress actually selling those units). Continue reading