Washington, DC

“Dear PoP,

I’ve just come from a neighborhood meeting at Wisdom about a new development to replace the old/abandoned KFC @ 1442 Pennsylvania Ave SE, [next to Wisdom,] being designed by R2L:Architects. They intend to have retail space on the ground floor fronting Pennsylvania with the aim of courting a cafe, [though the current plans do not show a kitchen area in this space as the tenant is not yet assigned,] and the rest of the building is to consist of 21 apartments with an extensive [un-inhabitable] green roof. Though there was only a small group of us who showed up to the meeting, there were a variety of interests expressed, from the liquor store owner across the street to neighbors on all sides.

Our biggest concerns were that while there will be 21 units only 7 parking spaces will be provided, and the height of the building – while within zoning code allowance – is more than twice the height of its neighbors. The architects [+ perhaps a member of the ANC who was present? I missed his name] expressed that they will be looking into not allowing residents to gain street parking permits. With the site being at such a proximity to the Potomac Ave metro, + with many designated bike parking spaces, + perhaps some sort of shared/zip-car parking, this seems like it may be feasible. The height is something that does not bother me, as approaching it from eye level it will not appear so massive due to the varied nature of the facades, [though I can see it perhaps being a bone of contention for some in the neighborhood,] + I will not be offended by the bit of the building I will be able to see from my back yard, as they have backed the upper floors away from the alley.

One other point discussed at length is the bus stop on the corner of 15th & Penn, which may detract from the desirability of outdoor seating for the retail on the ground floor. There were various ideas thrown out about the possibility of relocating the stop a block up or down Pennsylvania, though obviously this may be a difficult feat to accomplish.

Personally, I think the design shows promise, + is certainly more desirable than the abandoned KFC. As a neighbor, I am for the concept as it stands now – I think it an interesting design, + while not in the same style of the neighborhood, it seems to respect its surroundings. The architects expressed their desire to get these designs out to the neighborhood as soon as possible in order to get feedback from the community, so I thought I’d pass it on to you in case you’d be interested in posting it.”

The plans are for 21 apartments and about 3000 SF of retail area. The 4th floor apartments that face Penn Ave have access to private roof terraces. The target for the start of construction is April 2012.


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