HPA No. 1998-116, 1998-117, 1998-119, and 1998-121 (In re. Anacostia Economic Development Corporation Vacant Buildings)
- HPA Number: 1998-116; 1998-117; 1998-119; & 1998-121
- Case Name: In the Matter of: Gateway - Martin Luther King, Ave., S.E.
- Location: 1901, 1909, 1911 & 1913 Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue, S.E.
- Date of Order: 7/29/1998
- Type of Permit Sought: Demolition and New Construction
- Disposition: Granted
- Date of Case
- Summary: 7/24/2006
The Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (Applicant) sought permits for demolition of four vacant buildings and new construction of a small retail and office complex on the same site in the Anacostia Historic District in order to reinvigorate development in the entire district. The Mayor's Agent granted the permit, concluding the project was necessary in the public interest as one of special merit based on its exemplary architecture, specific features of land planning, and social benefits for the community. The Mayor's Agent also concluded that it was unrealistic and inappropriate for the Applicant to retain the original facade, and that an appropriate archeological study should be done of the site.
Mayor's Agent - Procedural:
- The Mayor's Agent stated that for a demolition permit, the burden of proof is on the Applicant.
- The Mayor's Agent stated that a formal vote taken by the relevant Advisory Neighborhood Advisory Commission is required to be given great weight in the Mayor's Agent determinations.
Necessary in the Public Interest:
The Mayor's Agent concluded that the Applicant's proposed demolition and new construction of a 12,500 square foot retail and office development was necessary in the public interest as a project of special merit, based on its exemplary architecture, specific features of land planning, and social benefits of a high priority for the community.
Project of Special Merit - Exemplary Architecture:
The Mayor's Agent found the project to have exemplary architecture because it "respond[ed] to a number of urban design policies for Ward Six and the general area, as the design composition of the proposed building presents a contemporary, but sympathetic recall of several of the buildings currently extant."
Project of Special Merit - Specific Features of Land Planning:
In concluding that the project was one of special merit because of specific features of land planning, the Mayor's Agent took into account the Office of Planning's conclusion that the project would improve the physical condition of Ward Six as well as a main vehicular corridor into Anacostia, resulting in a functional, efficient, and attractive redeveloped commercial space. Also, the project would help stabilize and upgrade the existing commercial area as part of a larger effort to revitalize the entire Anacostia community.
Project of Special Merit - Social or Other Benefits Having a High Priority for Community:
The Mayor's Agent found various social benefits of the proposed project, including the following: 1) renewed economic revitalization of the area; 2) new retail and office development increasing daytime and weekend activity and pedestrian traffic; 3) the creation of new jobs and retention of current jobs; 4) significant contribution to the enhancement of the retail core of the area; and 5) the infusion of private construction capital into the area, followed by the infusion of retail and office rental fees on a sustained basis. These benefits contributed to the finding that the project had special merit.
Findings were made that the proposed design was compatible with existing structures surrounding or adjacent to the project site, and that they were reflective and to scale with those buildings, without simply copying the historical features. The Mayor's Agent's opinion also stated that the color of the brick used for the project should be compatible with the surrounding area.
While preservation of the existing facade was considered, the Mayor's Agent concluded that to do so was both unrealistic based on its cost and inappropriate "in light of the Act."
The Mayor's Agent also ordered that an archeological study be conducted of the site as part of the redevelopment of the location.
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United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit (1999-12-17)
United States District Court for the District of Columbia (1998-09-25)
District of Columbia. Court of Appeals (1995-11-17)