Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Lock7 Development Planning a 49 Unit Mixed-Use Project on Florida Ave
Local developer Lock7 recently purchased much of the north side of the 1300 block of Florida Avenue NE. Their property begins at the northwest corner (currently Open Studio, and formerly the Nifty Thrift), and ends just before CONNERMSMITH Gallery (1358 Florida Avenue). Current plans call for 49 residential units, and commercial space, in a four story building. Four of those will be studios (first floor), 29 will be one bedrooms, and the remaining 16 units will have two bedrooms. The developer is not yet sure whether these will be condos, or apartments. They will make that decision mid-way through the development.
The old Nifty Thrift in 2006 (now a screen printing studio & gallery)
At a recent community meeting the developers asked neighbors for their ideas regarding a potential tenant for the commercial space. The developers mentioned a bakery as a possibility, but said they are open to other options (including an art gallery, as shown in the rendering at the top of the post).
The presentation ran smoothly, until hit a bit of a snag when it reached the topic of parking. The developers said they to provide eight surface parking spaces…for 49 units. The current requirement is 17 spaces (they asked for that relief, plus FAR 3.5 versus 3.0). As you can imagine, the crowd was unimpressed with this proposal. Parking is frequently a hot button issue in the District, and our neighborhood is no exception. As H Street draws larger crowds, we see less available parking on/around this stretch of Florida Avenue. This project will be easily walkable to a streetcar/X2/X1 stop, & there is a Bikeshare station down the block (plus parking on-site for 37 bikes). So maybe many residents won't bring cars. Even if that's the case, I would still assume a full building would bring far more that eight cars.
One neighbor asked whether residents of the new development would be eligible for zoned residential parking passes. Some projects in the city have been supported by neighborhood groups after the developer agreed that his tenants would be ineligible. A Dock7 representative said they were open something like that, but that it remains unclear whether such a provision would be enforceable.
They are seeking a total height of 55', which is 5' more than matter of right. They are working with the local ANC rep to explore expanding the H Street arts overlay, under which the full 55' would be matter of right. The project will have a green roof. As required by law, it will also have a few affordable units (3-4).
We're looking at a May groundbreaking, with units hitting the market roughly a year later. This is one of several new multi-unit residential construction projects coming to this portion of Florida Avenue.
The above is all from my meeting notes/tweets, but Urban Turf is also covering the development.