HPA No. 1988-258 (In re. Tivoli Theatre)
- HPA Number: 1988-258
- Case Name: In Re Tivoli Theatre, 14th Street & Park Road, N.W.
- Location of Property: 3301 14th Street, N.W., Square 2837
- Date of Decision: 5/14/1992
- Type of Permit Sought: Partial Demolition
- Disposition: Granted
- Date of Case Summary: 6/15/2007
Summary of Decision:
The District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development (the "Applicant") sought a permit for partial demolition of the Tivoli Theatre, a designated Category II Historic Landmark, to rehabilitate the structure as part of the 14th Street Urban Renewal Plan (approved by the D.C. City Council) to "spur private investment in this economically deprived area," according to Applicant. The proposed project would include new construction of a supermarket, parking lot, and other retail and commercial uses. The Applicant contended that issuance of the permit is necessary in the public interest on the basis that the permit is needed to construct a project of special merit. Specifically, the Applicant contended that the project is one of special merit because of the specific features of land planning, its exemplary architecture, and its social and economic benefits, including jobs (according to Applicant, 35 full-time and 55 part-time) and increased revenues for the District (according to Applicant, an increased tax base of $300,000 per year). The Applicant also argued that the plan would aid in stabilizing the residential neighborhood by encouraging the development of convenience shopping and by upgrading deficient shopping areas in residential neighborhoods, thus creating a lively central area. The Mayor's Agent concluded that issuance of the permit is necessary to allow the construction of a project of special merit in that the project provides social and other benefits having a high priority for community service.
Mayor's Agent - Procedural:
- A former Mayor's Agent conducted a hearing on the application for partial demolition in 1988, but subsequently recused herself and did not render a decision in the matter. The Mayor's Agent requested that the parties examine the sufficiency of the administrative record and jointly stipulate the specific areas in which they wish to supplement the administrative record. The parties stipulated that, in general, the 1988 record "continues to present an appropriate basis for decision on the application," although they also identified several specific areas needing supplementation based on changed circumstances.
- The Mayor's Agent stated that where the claim is one of special merit, the Applicant "bears the burden of proof to establish that the granting of the permit is necessary in the public interest to allow construction of a project of special merit."
- The Mayor's Agent stated that a demolition permit shall only be granted if a new construction permit is granted simultaneously and the owner demonstrates the ability to complete the project, as stipulated by applicable District law.
- The Mayor's Agent stated that the filings and representations of the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission are to be given great weight. In this case, the Mayor's Agent stated that "the filings and representations [of the ANC] have been given great weight, but in the overall scheme of things they are outweighed by the benefits of the project to both the neighborhood and the City."
Necessary in the Public Interest:
The Mayor's Agent found that the Applicant's proposed partial demolition and new construction was necessary in the public interest as a project of special merit, because of its social benefits having a high priority for community service.
Project of Special Merit - Social or other Benefits having a High Priority for Community Services:
The Mayor's Agent concluded that the project was a project of special merit in that four years after the 1988 Mayor's Agent hearing, the demolition and restoration plan is still viable, the supermarket is still committed to build on the subject site, the project provides extensive employment opportunities, and the project provides economic growth opportunities. The Mayor's Agent stated that all of these factors "will provide social and other benefits having a high priority for community service."
The Mayor's Agent ordered that the proposed concept design, including rehabilitation of the remainder of the structure, restoration of the lobby, vestibules and facade, and erection of a curved addition on the auditorium site, enhance and be compatible with the landmark's character. The Mayor's Agent also ordered that the new supermarket structure "be compatible with the Tivoli Theatre and relate harmoniously to the adjacent residential neighborhood in texture, rhythm, and materials" and that the parking lot plan "successfully integrate the new development with the Tivoli Theatre."
Note that in response to a status hearing in 1995, the Mayor's Agent ordered that the parties jointly stipulate as to what needed to be supplemented in the administrative record. See HPA Number 88-258, July 28, 1995 Order.
See also HPA No. 2004-092 order dated July 6, 2004 for another case involving the Tivoli Theatre.
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