“PN Hoffman is excited to create a mixed-use development and thoughtfully enhance the plaza area to activate the corner at 18th St. and Columbia Rd. NW”

by Prince Of Petworth May 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm 54 Comments

pn hoffman rendering

Suntrust/plaza redevelopment update from PN Hoffman:

“Dear Neighbor,

PN Hoffman is excited to create a mixed-use development and thoughtfully enhance the plaza area to activate the corner at 18th St. and Columbia Rd. NW. I’d like to share with you the key aspects of this development, explain our collaborative approach, and invite you to provide us with your feedback and support. The community benefits offered by the redevelopment plan for 1800 Columbia are numerous, and a few are highlighted below:

PN-Hoffman-letter-regarding-1800-Columbia (PDF)

Upcoming ANC Meeting:
Wednesday, May 4th, 2016, 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Mary’s Center
2355 Ontario Road NW

Washington DC 20009″

  • BoA

    this is ridiculous. where am i going to deposit checks?

    • Chris


      Looking forward to this development.

  • Rainman

    PN Hoffman better make sure their plans cannot be attacked because local NIMBYs are gearing up for a major assault. The ANC meeting tomorrow night is a foregone conclusion: unanimous opposition.

    • Chris

      Other than the farmer’s market on Saturdays, the current space is an eye sore and waste of space.

      • Chad

        I disagree on the waste of space, it is used by those that live in the community. I do however, agree that the space needs a facelift. That corner and the one diagonal from it, is the heart of Adams Morgan. Replacing it with generic “luxury” condos hurts the neighborhood.

        • anon

          That corner and the one diagonal from it, is the heart of Adams Morgan. Replacing it with generic “luxury” condos helps the neighborhood.
          See how easy it is to make absolutist statements? i’m glad that this is an of-right development, as many people think differently from you.

        • C_petworth

          but what would you propose and with what money. I use to spend a lot of time in adams Morgan and sat on this corner between teaching classes and meetings. I feel like the proposed development offers a much more welcoming community gathering space then the current dirty concrete. Although i agree with other commenters below the yellow brick is so generic and over used in DC

        • neighbor

          That space is not public. It’s a small piece of privately owned land that the current owner has generously let the public use for many years.

        • Shebamarie

          Is Ontario 17 not a generic luxury condo?

        • NUNU

          Bravo Chad…Bravo…some people just dont get….these are the people that will leave here for 5 years then go elsewhere…but i’ve lived around there for 35 years and I enjoy that plaza…

          • MoldieOldie

            HAAAAAAAAA! You enjoy that ‘plaza’ (remind you of something in Italy?). It’s not a plaza, it’s a shitty concrete spread. At best it’d be good for skateboarding (but even NOT good for that). Sorry, I just don’t enjoy the drunks, juvies, and crazies that hang there yelling at passersby (which I’ve been for over 40 years).

          • victoria

            Game on! NUNU vs. MoldieOldie. I vote for “shitty concrete spread” but do like fantasy, so will listen to arguments for an “enjoyable plazza” while I pet my baby unicorns.

          • Nathan

            That’s great that you enjoy their private property that they graciously let people use.

    • Anon

      My understanding is that this is a by-right development, so the ANC will at worst just get in the way. PN Hoffman can afford the lawyers/delay, so I’m not too worried.

      • C_petworth

        what does By- right development mean?

        • Timebomb

          It means they don’t need any kind of approval or a zoning variance in order to build what they want to build on their own property.

          • crin

            Except HPRB because of the historic district.

      • textdoc

        If PN Hoffmann wants any kind of variances, though, the project will become a PUD (Planned Unit Development) and they’ll need to offer concessions of some kind if they want the ANC’s buy-in.

        • Not necessarily, see the church at 18th and P. The ANC went WAY too hard demanding concessions, the variance got approved without the ANC and they got nothing. All over 6% more lot coverage. What a joke.

          • textdoc

            Interesting. FWIW, the BZA is legally supposed to give the ANC’s opinion “great weight.”

          • JS

            And there’s no legal clarification for what exactly “great weight” entails. There’s no implication the BZA is legally obliged to vote in accordance with whatever position the ANC adopts.

          • victoria

            Thank goodness! If BZA had to give ANCs any real weight we would all be crocheting doilies in our great aunt’s parlours, waiting for the chance for any place else to live.

      • Anonymous

        Their letter makes it clear that it is not an of-right project, but that they will require a special exception from the BZA for rear yard relief. And they have a hollow threat that if they need to get a PUD the limits on that are higher, citing limits that wouldn’t pass the other required reviews, like a 90 foot height

        Also, the plaza that they show in the drawing seems to largely be their landscaping in the sidewalk area at the corner, and the area in front of the building is largely being used for outside service for the bistro. And the perspective of the drawing seems to have been selected to exaggerate the size of the public area, which is mostly is a combination of land that is publicly owned and their land outside the building restriction line.

  • Mighty Morphin AdMo

    corner at 18th and Columbia Rd. NW…ACTIVATE!

    • Drunkards! NIMBYs! Empanadas! Obsolete Urbanism! Wasted Space! By your powers combined I am Captain AdMo!

      • TacoPants

        +1000 lol

  • Where is the bus stop?

  • simit

    A project on that corner is long overdue but does it have to be more yellow brick?

    I know they do it to save money on these high-end developments but I just don’t associate yellow with Adams Morgan. Columbia Heights let their neighborhood get overrun by that color brick so they should do something different. This one and the Tail Up Goat building are inching us in that direction.

    • ***

      100% agreed. Adams Morgan is probably one of the few areas in DC that can and should break out of the DC yellow brick mold and do something original and funky. These feels so unfortunately bland for this corner.

      • Simit

        They’ve done well injecting an industrial aesthetic in new development around the 9:30 Club. Seems this corner could be a statement property and not just another generic yellow luxury condo.

        People buying these should demand better for their money.

  • Neighbor

    One thing I’ve learned since moving into the neighborhood is that holy moly these NIMBYs are ORGANIZED. If you support this project, please show up to the meeting tomorrow. A number of supporters are planning on going, and we are bracing for a really, really unpleasant encounter. Come keep us company!

    • Neighborhood

      Though I’ll say the yellow brick is not my favorite, either. I’m just infuriated by the tyranny of the ANCs in the neighborhood.

      • elly2

        I have been following this project on the local blogs as a resident of this ANC. I certainly have been riled up as pro-development if only because the anti-development arguments I have heard are absurd (the once a week 3 vendor farmers market needing to move, 33 parking spaces causing an untenable increase in traffic).

        I emailed my SMD rep and asked him to outline the specific things the ANC hopes to gain through this process, wanting to keep an open mind and hear specific from the source. He requested I call him tonight, a bit frustrating since I would have preferred something in writing I could share with others. I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he just prefers a personal touch.

        Probably going to the meeting tomorrow, I imagine there will be capacity issues.

        • mvexplorer

          He definitely wanted to call you precisely so that it would not be in writing.

  • Guillermo Brown

    I think the letter is very thoughtful and disarms the main points of opposition. I found it particularly resourceful that PN Hoffman has already been meeting with the Office of Planning about an alternative site to the farmer’s market

  • Nancy

    So much has already happened to my poor old neighborhood (I remember it from the early 80s – hardware stores & such, before it became all clubs & restaurants). I hate to see one more nail in its coffin, turning it into just another gentrified DC block. Am certainly going to argue against this as much as I can.

    • neighbor

      Is this a joke?

      • ***

        I really hope so / where was “Nancy” when The Adamo was built? Did she prefer the run-down gas-station that was there?

        • Nancy

          “Nancy?” The quotations confuse. You don’t like my name? No it isn’t a joke. I’ve watched for over 35 years as the neighborhood has been taken apart bit by bit. I have argued against several of the changes “Nancy” did prefer the gas station to a bunch of condos nobody can afford. I miss the Omega and Ben Franklin stores and have watched so many changes. Some we shrug off, some are just repulsive.

          Does that answer your question “***” (seriously, at least I have a name).

          • Tui

            Oh, are we playing “I remember when”? Our family has your 35 years beat Nancy. I support this. Nancy, fortunately you are not the conscience or spirit of the neighborhood…it will continue to develop since the days of Adams…

    • mellodcd

      wait… AdMo isn’t gentrified yet?! Seems to me gentrification happened a few years back. At least this development is making an effort to connect to the neighborhood.

      • +1
        This sounds a lot like the “Save McMillan Park” people. They think an inaccessible field surrounded by barbed wire is a park, the same way Nancy thinks Adams Morgan is locked in time, existing only for her and what she wanted.

        • Nathan


    • elly2

      Well Adam’s Morgan has a hardware store now…. in the retail space of a new condo building.

      • lanier neighbor

        And it’s GREAT!

    • lanier neighbor

      this must be satire.

    • citieschange

      why stop in the 80’s? what about the days when it was just a field and forest. and slowly but surely it was built up over the next 200 years to be covered in hardware stores. bring back the pastoral setting of 1650!

  • victoria

    They better not block off that alley behind the current building or the drunks will have no place to piss and vomit.

    • anon

      I think there is a similar alley a half block down by Mellow, assuming it can handle the additional capacity :)

    • mellodcd

      NIMBYs teaming up with drunks to stop development… it makes my heart warm.

  • Whitney

    Does anyone know what the issue is with relocating the farmer’s market across the street where the BB&T is?

    • JS

      The issue is admitting this is possible and logical obviates a NIMBY reason for opposing the development.

  • TacoPants

    Why not relocate the famers market to the little triangle park right at Columbia and Euclid. I remember a few years ago there was a little market on the weekend where you could get tacos, pupusas etc. I think I recall it was shut down by some local complainers

  • James

    It looks exactly like the Barnes & Nobles in Bethesda. Not much for originality in architecture, which has been a problem with a lot of newer developments around the city. Construction projects like the Adamo do not take local architecture or communities into consideration, but slap a new modern facade on every project, regardless of locale.


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