Hine Redevelopment Proposals by Nichole

Eastern Market weekend flea market, originally uploaded by odradek23.

With Eastern Market having its grand reopening this weekend, the next big thing for 7th and Pennsylvania SE is the redevelopment of the Hine Jr. High site. This is going to change the face of Eastern Market and Capitol Hill as we know it, and go a long way to the unification of Eastern Market and Barracks Row. DCPS closed Hine and the city will be leasing the property to the developer in a 99-year agreement.

The crop of proposals for the site was recently whittled to four, and the four developers have all been doing their best to inform and woo the neighbors.

I’m not an urban planning expert. I took one urban planning class in undergrad, and though I think I got a B, that was 15 years ago, and I don’t understand a lot of the terms that get thrown around in these discussions. (Particularly the really intense ones over at Greater Greater Washington – I love those guys, but I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about half the time!) So, with that caveat, here are my very brief overviews (with some help from GGW, EMCCA, the CityPaper, The Hill is Home, and CHAMPS) of the 4 plans.
Continues after the jump

Hine Development Proposals:

DSF/StreetSense/Menkiti Group



Kimpton Hotels is interested in opening an 80-room hotel/spa with Robert Wiedmaier doing the cooking. Weidmaier won the 2009 Rammy Chef of the Year and runs the kitchens at Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, and Brabo at Kimpton’s new hotel/spa in Old Town, the Lorien. He was on hand whipping up snacks for the Street Sense wooing session at Hill’s Kitchen over the weekend. The restaurant will be more of a Brabo/Beck style, rather than a Marcel’s.

Street Sense also has a letter of intent from Busboys and Poets’ Andy Shallal.

Yes! Organic will move in from its current location further down on Pennsylvania Ave.

The Tiger Woods Foundation, which had its own proposal in the running at one point, has expressed interest in being part of the development.

235 units of housing, 20,000 square feet of open space and 40,000 square feet of retail.

Fewer than 350 parking spaces (below ground); encourages car sharing etc.

Below maximum allowable height in order to better fit in with the neighborhood.

C St. SE is open. (C currently ends at 8th St. SE and picks back up at 7th St. SE, interrupted by the Hine parking lot.)

Flea market (currently in the Hine parking lot) will move to 7th St. sidewalk, which will be widened to 35 feet.

This plan seems like it would fit the best, scale-wise, into the existing neighborhood. It’s also the most likely to turn the block into a destination. The Lorien/Brabo is really amazing (I had the chance to tour that property last month, and as usual, Kimpton did a fantastic job) and I’d be happy to have something like that in the neighborhood, even if it’s going to bring more traffic into the neighborhood, while simultaneously possibly not providing ample parking. This plan is also arguably the most green, surpassing all LEED standards. (I heard something about rainwater collection in addition to green roofs etc. which are pretty standard in all of these plans.)

National Leadership Campus/Western Development Group

These folks didn’t present an actual plan, so much as a concept. The gist is that it’ll be a mixed use campus for nonprofits who struggle with the city’s high rents and whose employees’ meager salaries don’t go far in the DC housing market. Apparently they’ve got about 80% of their financing secure, thanks in large part to Peter Lewis, Chairman of Progressive Insurance. The idea here being that the community will help build the design step by step through a series of brainstorming sessions.


  • Subsidized nonprofit office space and housing.

  • A 25,000 sq ft training/conference facility.

  • Nonspecific retail and restaurants.

  • 250-500 underground parking spaces.

  • A hotel.

  • Possibly reopening C St.

  • Low density.

  • Ambiguously “green” with lots of open space.

This one’s tough because it’s hard to know how it would shake out. I know how rough it can be to make it here on a nonprofit salary, so in theory, I think this is a cool idea. And, while I understand the premise behind high density development, I’m not sure that’s right for the neighborhood so the low-density, heavy on the green space aspects of this concept are appealing. I just don’t see the neighborhood going for something so vague.

Seven Penn Partners (Bozzuto et al)

The City Paper and GGW basically call this the Downtown Bethesda Plan. I prefer “the Trader Joe’s Plan.” There used to be a Safeway across from Eastern Market, and this plan wants to fill the gap left by that departure. This plan is definitely designed for the Capitol Hill community, and not really as a destination.


  • Trader Joe’s. (which will face Pennsylvania Ave.)

  • 56,000 sq. feet of nonspecific retail including St. Colleta’s which I think sells crafts of some sort.

  • 30,000 sq. feet of office space.

  • An apartment building. (It’s my understanding that because of the lease arrangement with the city, there can be no condos. All residential units will be rentals.)

  • 350 underground parking spaces. (1/3 would be for the building’s residents.)

  • C St. SE would be open, but closed off for the flea market and pedestrian traffic on the weekends.

Trader Joe’s! I realize that there’s a Yes! Organic Market right down the street, but it’s really not so great, so it’d be nice to have a Trader’s across from the Market, even with the Safeway and Harris Teeter only a few blocks away – the neighborhood can sustain all of these. As a Capitol Hill resident, I like that this plan is being put forth with our community in mind, but on the other hand, Eastern Market is a destination, so it seems that any development might want to be planned with that in mind.

Stanton-EastBanc Part I Part II

Stanton has the closest ties to the Hill and Eastern Market. Sort of a “by the Hill, for the Hill” idea. I refer to this one as “the Shakespeare Theatre” plan because I’m really, really simple.


  • A large space for the Shakespeare Theatre Company to consolidate its office space, rehearsal space and storage.

  • International Relief & Development would move into office space on 7th and Pennsylvania.

  • C St. is open, except on weekend when the flea market occupies that space.

  • A piazza on C St.

  • Highest density of the four proposals.

  • Interior courtyard (which is inaccessible from the outside.)

  • 390 underground parking spaces.

  • Will pursue a LEED platinum rating, green roof and gardens.

  • Residential units on 8th St. SE.

Stanton knows the Hill. That’s going to be hugely important in winning over the community’s support. On the other hand, this is a really high density development proposal, and like the Trader Joe’s proposal, I’m not sure about the scaling relative to the rest of the neighborhood. I do love the idea of having the Shakespeare Theatre folks there, and it’s been floated that there will be free performances on the piazza, which sounds super cool. The main complaint I’ve been hearing about this proposal is that it’s an inaccessible “donut” with no through-access between 7th and 8th or C and Penn. I don’t know how much that will matter in the end.

So, what do folks think? I’m curious to hear what people from around the city have to say about the future of the Hill commerce corridor. I read a comment on another blog (I can’t remember which now) that said something to the effect of Eastern Market not just belonging to the Hill, but to all of DC, and should be developed accordingly. I’m obviously biased and think the needs of the Hill need to come first, but what do you think? Related question: There’s been much debate over in this neck of the woods about 7th Street reopening to vehicular traffic on weekends (it’s currently closed, but will be reopening soon) with the 7th St. merchants and many Hill residents strongly in favor of reopening. What do you think? Do you drive to Eastern Market? Should 7th Street stay closed on the weekends? Does whether or not it’s open to motor vehicles have any impact on if or how you come to the Market?

23 Comment

  • As someone who is moving to this very area this Saturday, I’m glad that you posted about this. I will be walking to Eastern Market and I feel that 7th street should stay closed on the weekends. I was just there last weekend and like the fact that you could walk around without having to dodge cars. It won’t kill drivers to avoid that block for two days during the market time. As someone who would visit Tunni’s late at night after work, I did appreciate being able to park out front. Just close the street on weekends during market time.

    I don’t like the Kimpton Hotel possibility because I don’t like Kimpton Hotels. I’ve stayed in two (The Monaco on 7th NW and one in NYC) and neither me nor my husband liked it. But that’s also just a personal preference. They are uber “hip”, sterile, and feel unfriendly. If I had folks visiting from out of town, I wouldn’t want them to stay there because it doesn’t match the feel of the neighborhood.

    How much sense does it make to have a grocery store right by the market? No snark, just an honest question.

    Lastly, I like the Shakespeare Theatre Company proposal with reservations (in the interest of full disclosure, I have been employed by them.) The STC relocation will only be cool if they consolidate everything there save for the scene shop. That means in addition to the offices, rehearsal space, and costume shop, they need to move props out of Hyattsville and onto the Hill.

    Apartments, not prohibitively expensive ones, would be great.

    My two cents.

  • WTF – where are this kids in this city supposed to go to school?!

  • How much sense does it make to have a grocery store right by the market?

    Not much. You’ve got Harris Teeter and Safeway both accessible via Potomac Avenue Metro, both with plenty of parking. And wouldn’t having another market next to Eastern Market be redundant?

  • @MegDC, Hine has been closed for over a year now; the kids now attend Hine-Eliot which is over behind Eastern HS, near RFK.

    Many years ago, there was a Safeway across from Eastern Market; the folks proposing the supermarket are drawing on that history. (I’m not necessarily for or against it, but that’s the reasoning I’ve heard.)

  • “Fewer than 350 parking spaces (below ground); encourages car sharing etc.”

    Usually, few dedicated parkins spaces means increased parking problems for the community. But the way you put it sounds so much better.

  • I don’t live near or spend much time on the Hill, so take this for what it’s worth, but whenever I go there I’m struck buy how low-density the area is for how close it is to downtown. Some residents might like that about the area, but to me it seems like under-utilization of valuable urban land. I don’t really have a favorite of the 4 proposals but I think higher density with residential units near the Market and the Metro would be good.

    Oh, and normally I would say having a grocery store next to a huge farmers’ market would be a weird / not so great idea but Trader Joe’s is an exception since they have such a different product mix. I can actually see them complementing each other really well, as you could go to the Market for fresh stuff and then to TJ’s for all the awesome frozen foods and things like chocolate covered edamame and triple ginger snap cookies.

  • i think they should be required to build thousands of underground parking spaces like DC USA. oh wait.

  • I like DSF or Stanton. Probably in that order.

  • I don’t see anything but the DSF plan moving forward, unless the other parties step it up and get some firm commitments and names attached to their plans. The hotel described would be a fairly small component (and not all Kimptons have a modern aesthetic). The overall plan has taken into consideration the traffic patterns and resident activities and has balanced the various uses–office, retail, hotel, residential, so that none are too dominating. The only downside is the parking and that is a minor detail that always gets negotiated.

    The second plan is essentially describing an office complex. Non-profit offices don’t look any different (except perhaps less opulent–sometimes) than for-profit offices. So they are planning on building an office complex in the middle of Capitol Hill. It is completely out of place and will likely offer no benefit to the surrounding community. Their plan to house non-profit workers on-site is noble but I’m pretty sure housing regs won’t allow them to turn away tenant applicants based on where they work.

    The Trader Joe’s plan seems workable but the whole proposal just seems quite vague.

    The Stanton plan sounds to me like they want to turn the site into a warehouse, which is less appealing than the office complex proposal. The other ideas included in the plan are very vague.

  • @monkeyrotica: That’s precisely what I was thinking. How many places do you need to buy your groceries?

    @anonymous 11:58am: The low density is precisely what draw people to that area as opposed to Penn Quarter or Dupont. The proximity to downtown without living piled on top of each other is the reason I’m moving down there and why many of my friends live there.

    “Fewer than 350 parking spaces (below ground); encourages car sharing etc.”

    I wish people would stop developing spaces assuming that people are going to act in the interest of “the greater good” and share. I’d rather they assume that everyone that works and lives in the building is going to drive every day and need to park there. Then, if they have extra spaces, they can sell the remaining spots for income.

  • Its going to be hard to strike the right balance between the hill’s residential charm and the need for more parking/retail/grocery. I do love me some TJ’s but I don’t want to loose the charm that is that area.

  • @not telling:

    “building an office complex in the middle of Capitol Hill. It is completely out of place and will likely offer no benefit to the surrounding community.”

    I have to respectfully disagree about offices “offering nothing to the surrounding community” – offices bring jobs, which can be filled by people who live in the community. They also bring workers, who spend $ in the local community (lunch, dinner, shopping, etc). I think the retailers on Barracks row wouldn’t mind having a couple hundred new customers every day.

  • “Fewer than 350 parking spaces (below ground); encourages car sharing etc.”

    I wish people would stop developing spaces assuming that people are going to act in the interest of “the greater good” and share. I’d rather they assume that everyone that works and lives in the building is going to drive every day and need to park there. Then, if they have extra spaces, they can sell the remaining spots for income.

    Well, that’s the whole point: they’re not “assuming that people are going to act in the interest of ‘the greater good’ and share.” They’re explicitly making it less convenient for folks to drive their cars over, park for free (or cheap), and drive away. It’s less convenient, but makes for better public spaces by allowing greater density, and makes for a more walkable community.

    It’s the reason my neighbors and I live on Capitol Hill, and not, say, in Laurel.

    “Ample parking” is synonymous with “shit hole.”

  • What it really means is that they want to build a huge building without providing adequate provisions like parking for the masses within that building. It’s all about their bottom line at the expense of the neighbors.

  • The non-profit campus has many tangible benefits to DC and the Hill, but is probably the least economically viable to the city in the way of tax revenue. A campus of buildings would be no more out of place than the current Hines campus, or for a better example, the Naval Hospital on Penn.

    The DSF plan is the sexiest, and I at least like that the scale is reasonable in relation to the current site. BFD on the name dropping however.

    The only thing I like about the Bozutto plan is the TJs (although name dropping still lame). The renderings look totally out of scope for the Hill, with both greater building mass and incompatible design. The Bethesda Row description is apt.

    Stanton Dev plan could use some revision due to the enclosed interior, but their exisiting work in the immediate area around Eastern Market is very impressive. The corner of Penn & 7th SE conceals its density very nicely. Not as crazy about some of their other projects on the Hill.

  • + 1 to MegDC.

    Hine should not have been closed. The Hine kids were shoved out to the combined Hine-Eliot in the old Eliot building near RFK. That was wrong for three reasons:

    1. This neighborhood is lousy with toddlers and strollers and in a few years we are going to really want those Jr. High slots at Hine, but too late, they’re GONE.

    2. The Hine site formerly was home to the Wallach School, built during the Civil War, as the first school building welcoming African American and white students. Neither Councilmember / Former Schoolboard Member Tommy Wells, nor Chancellor Rhee, saw fit to recognize the historic importance of this site, part of DCPS since 1864, when they decided to hand the site over to developers. Shame on both of them for their ignorance or lack of sensitivity to history.

    3. The school building was vacant this year, and will remain standing and vacant for at least 2-3 more school years before demolition starts. Why? It was shut prematurely, and for all the wrong reasons–NOT for the benefit of kids, but for the benefit of developers.

    All those are reasons I am especially excited by the DSF/Street Sense decision to bring Tiger Woods Foundation and its programs for Jr. High and HS kids into the development.

    It’s clear Hine kids (their school was shut down, and then GET THIS–last year’s Hine graduates, the last class to graduate from that historic site, were informed in JUNE that Eastern HS, where Hine feeds, would accept no freshman this year) bear most of the burden for the hasty, greedy decision by Wells and Rhee to shut Hine down. Getting Tiger Woods Foundation on the site ameliorates the burden a little bit for those kids.

  • @Tom Riehle

    Hine was under-enrolled and not a choice of schools for familys making the Hill “lousy with toddlers and strollers”. Most of the Hine students were out of boundary, and the building was a better candidtate for charter schools seeking space. As a public school school Hine had trouble maintaining even half enrollment, let alone full enrollment.

    I wish DCPS made a stronger play to move its headquarters here rather than renting space, but at least Fenty realizes the economic potenial for the city presented by this project.

    The time to recognize Wallach was before bulldozing it. Wallach School has historical significance, but it’s irrelevant to this discussion. By your reasoning maybe we should also mourn for the historic Carberry, Lenox & Bryant schools, all of which were sold off by the city to condo developers years ago.

  • The next person who says “most of the students at Hine were out of boundary” (false) or “bussed in” (false) better back their statements up with proof. Most of the kids at Hine lived in the neighborhood. The school was getting better. Enrollment was up despite then School Board Member and now Councilmember Tommy Wells’s best efforts to run the school down then run it off.

    Do you think the parents with toddlers and strollers, who now plan to hike out to Hine-Eliot in the old Eliot building (under the same successful principal who was in the middle of turning Hine around) would have somehow been unwilling to send their dumpling darlings to a more conveniently located Hine Jr. High at the Hine Site?

    The current DC Office of Planning Comprehensive Plan still (belatedly) calls for the site to be developed in cooperation with DCPS, with a new, appropriately sized, appropriately situated Hine Jr. High, and plenty of room left over for development. That’s what should have been done. It wasn’t. Let’s move on.

  • Do you actually have school aged children in this community? I do, and I can honestly say I don’t know a single neighbor who had a child enrolled at Hine. It’s simply a fact, no matter how much you troll any message board that will have you

  • I know there are a lot of people who don’t like the reopening of C Street but truly I think that needs to happen. I think it will improve the movement of people on foot (currently to get from 7th to 8th you have to go all they way to Penn and back up or walk in the alley which is not safe) and car (dead ends create congesti8on) which will be good for the market – so I am glad to see that would happen with all three with the nice thought of closing it on the weekend with for the weekend flea market. I don’t know about the non-profit thing because without stuff/traffic there on the weekend it seems a bit of wasted space (much like the school was). I wouldn’t mind the spa – if it was open to anyone – but I don’t know about the hotel even though it might be nice to have a closer and nicer hotel in that area. All I have to say is NO to the luxury condos. There have been so many condo developments on the hill and there is a huge glut.

  • Hello, Anonymous,

    My kids went through Capitol Hill Cluster, my son is at Walls now. My wife worked her butt off to keep Hine in the Hine building, unsuccessfully. Who are you? Over 70% of the kids at Hine were in-boundary. You won’t know this, so I will tell you: That’s a very high percentage in-boundary for a DC middle school. I live right here near Hine, and I never saw busloads of these bussed-in kids arriving. Were they invisible busses?

    But I did not come here to argue with some Anonymous who puts up false misinformation and then states, “It’s simply a fact.”

    I came here to say, whichever proposal you are for, this is the final week for public comment.

    Go to [email protected], state your name, address, how long you’ve lived here, your community involvement, your preference for DSF or 7 Penn/Bozzutto or Stanton or Leadership Campus, and why. Rare enough residents are asked to get involved in this big a development decision. It would be a shame if anyone with a computer failed to state his or her opinion.

  • your kids went through the Cluster – ie they didn’t go to Hines. thank you for proving my point

  • FYI, National Leadership Campus was dropped by the Mayor’s office. It’s down to 3.

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