HPA No. 1986-660 (In re. the Homer Building)
- HPA Number: 1986-660
- Case Name: Homer Bldg. Application for Revised Preliminary Design Review for a Building located at 601 13th Street, NW
- Location of Property: 601 13th Street, NW, Square 289, Lot 48
- Date of Decision: December 16, 1986
- Type of Case: Modification to Mayor’s Agent Order in HPA 1983-478
- Type of Permit Sought: Demolition and New Construction
- Disposition: Granted
Summary of Decision:
The 601 13th Street Association (the “Applicant”) sought a modification to the Mayor’s Agent Order of June 29, 1984 (HPA No. 1983-478). In the previous order, the Mayor’s Agent granted a permit to partially demolish a structure known as the Homer Building, located at 601 13th Street, NW (the “Homer Building”), and construct a new office/retail building on top of the portion of the Homer Building that would remain. Currently before the Mayor’s Agent were two design modifications to the project: (1) to improve the façade of the new portion of the building that faces F and G Streets; and (2) to reconfigure the lobby entrance to improve circulation within the building by enlarging an atrium. According to testimony submitted by the Applicant and the D.C. Office of Planning (“OP”), the modifications would allow the Applicant to move the loading from G Street to 12th Street and to provide increased retail space, all as requested by OP. The Mayor’s Agent approved the design modifications, concluding that the changes to the façade and the interior of the building did not “in any way change the findings or conclusions of the Mayor’s Agent in HPA No. 1983-478.” The order recapped the same discussion included in the prior order regarding why the Mayor’s Agent found the project to be one of special merit based on exemplary architecture, specific features of land planning, and social and other benefits to the community.
This new order also discussed a dispute between OP and the Applicant regarding whether the Applicant would commit to a certain amount of retail square footage at the project, which was resolved, at the request of the Mayor’s Agent, by an agreement between the Applicant, OP, and the District of Columbia Office of Business and Economic Development. The Mayor’s Agent incorporated this agreement into its order.
Mayor’s Agent – Procedural:
• The D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously to approve the Applicant’s revised plans.
• The Mayor’s Agent noted that there was no position stated by the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
• The Mayor’s Agent stated that there was no opposition to the proposed design modifications.
Project of Special Merit – Exemplary Architecture:
The Mayor’s Agent found that the proposed modifications contributed and enhanced the “special merit quality of the original design,” especially through enlargement of the atrium “which is representative of similar buildings of that period.”
Memorandum of Agreement:
The Memorandum of Agreement was attached to the Order and incorporated by reference by the Mayor’s Agent. Key points of the agreement include: (A) covenants of the Applicant to (i) design the new building to provide the opportunity for approximately 106,000 gross square feet of retail space, (ii) reserve all retail space for the longer of two years after substantial completion of construction or six years, and (iii) require the term of all retail leases to be for periods of not less than eight years; and (B) covenants of OP and the Office of Business and Economic Development to (i) make a bona fide effort to promote retail use in the downtown area surrounding the Homer Building, and (ii) support the Applicant in seeking variance relief from the Board of Zoning Adjustment if required.
As discussed, this property is the subject of a previous Mayor’s Agent Order dated June 29, 1984 (HPA No. 1983-478).
See the note in the case summary for HPA No. 1983-478 to the effect that there have been substantial changes in the Mayor’s Agent’s interpretations of DC Historic Preservation law since this case was originally decided.
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