Greater Greater Washington

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WMATA poised to sell parcels above the Green Line tunnels

WMATA is finally nearing a sale for 3 lots it has been trying to sell for 9 years. The drawn-out saga illustrates how financing struggles and board politics bogged down a real estate decision for nearly a decade. A sale plus DC's urban design requirements for the area mean that walkable urban buildings will likely finally fill these empty spaces.

The 3 vacant lots are on the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue NW, on the east end of the U Street corridor. The agency has just put the lots out to the development community for the fourth time in 9 years. Judging by the brief sales window and by developer JBG's previous hefty offer, I suspect the lots will be sold for a mixed-use development quite soon.


Looking southeast along Florida Ave. NW from 9th St. NW

First let's revisit the past 9 years of ill-fated sales attempts.

The agency acquired the lots decades ago to build the Green Line, which cuts under them as it turns from U Street to 7th Street. The lots have remained vacant, save for weekend flea markets, ever since.

In the 1990s, WMATA considered selling the easternmost lot to Checkers, which likely would have built an asphalt-heavy, auto-oriented drive-thru like their location at 14th and Maryland, NE in Capitol Hill. The deal fell through and nothing was built.

In 2002 WMATA put the lots out for proposals and tentatively set a deal with Howard University in 2003. The university already owns the lot occupied by the CVS and its surface parking lot on 7th Street between Florida Avenue and T Street NW.


These 3 lots are above the Green Line between the Shaw and U Street stations.

Litigation brought that Howard deal to a halt, and WMATA offered the lots again in 2007, this time for a long-term lease. Banneker Ventures LLC, infamous for its park contracts, won that round and aimed to lease the land for redevelopment into apartments and retail space.

The deal with Banneker was ill-fated at best since it appears that DC's representatives, Councilmember Jim Graham and City Administrator Neil Albert, were at odds over the lease. On the Kojo Nnamdi show, Banneker's head, Omar Karim, accused former WMATA board member and current Ward 1 councilmember Jim Graham of delaying the project so it could be awarded to another developer. Albert, a Fenty appointee, was supportive of Banneker, which was accused of receiving undue favorable treatment in city contracts.

Leasing rather than selling the land brought in other complications. Some parcels adjoin others and some developers were hoping to combine parcels to create a larger development project. But it's difficult if not impossible to structure a lease where someone then builds a building half on the leased land and half on adjoining land owned by someone else.

A lease doesn't require the developer to put much money down, and therefore some, possibly including Graham, feared that as a less experienced developer, Banneker might not ultimately be able to make a high-quality project work. That could either leave the property mostly vacant for longer or result in buildings not worthy of being the eastern end of the U Street commercial corridor.

Finally after multiple extensions, the WMATA Board last year voted to end its engagement with Banneker and the agency put the lots on the table yet again. This time, they structured it as a much simpler "excess property land disposition" process rather than the more complex and collaborative "joint development" process, for either sale or lease. U Street land baron JBG offered WMATA $11.5 million, by far the highest price for the lots.

For esoteric technical reasons, the agency recently determined that in this round, none of the offers were "technically compliant," and no sale could be completed. (WMATA used a bid procurement process typically used for buying very specific items with no variation; adapting it to real estate is challenging for anything except an outright fee simple sale. WMATA included a standard lease form in its package of bid materials, and a successful bidder would have to meet all bid forms' criteria precisely with no deviations or risk being disqualified.)

Now, more than a decade after the initial Checkers idea, WMATA is requesting bids again. These will be due May 2, leaving a 3-week window for offers. It's less likely, therefore, that any new bidders will come in, though the previous bidders might change their offers for this round.

Despite these delays, there is some good news as to what must go on these lots. WMATA's RFP for the lots mandates a mixed-use development in compliance with the Office of Planning's DUKE Plan:

WMATA parcels should be developed to include active, ground floor arts and retail with offices and residential above. Preference may be given to projects which include specialty restaurants, a small-format anchor and/or a cluster of retail shops, small clubs, and/or museum uses themed to the African American culture and experience of the district.
For this specific site, the DUKE plan has several requirements which WMATA has incorporated into their solicitation:
  • Any tall building must provide a "meaningful cornice" at 65 feet and then step back at a 1:1 ratio above that point.
  • The ground-floor commercial or cultural bays must be 14 feet tall, thus creating welcoming retail spaces.
  • No parking will be permitted on or above ground.
  • All buildings must have zero setbacks, meaning they must be built up to the street-fronting property lines.
The tops of the Green Line tunnels are about 30 feet below the surface, thus limiting the size of any underground garage. Since the lots are with within 900 feet of two Metro stations, any project shouldn't need a lot of parking.

The DUKE plan requirements mandate design features that create vibrant streets. Ground-floor retail or cultural space, and the fact that the buildings will go up to the sidewalk, are qualities that will enliven the sidewalk, especially at night. Prohibiting above-ground parking will prevent unsightly parking decks and will limit the ability for projects to induce car traffic.

Hopefully, this last round will finally transform these vacant lots into productive uses that enhance, rather than detract from, the area. With Progression Place and the Howard Theatre already in the works, and Howard Town Center just a few years off, these blocks are slated for some much-needed rejuvenation.

The WMATA Board still gets to ultimately approve or reject any winning bids, but this more straightforward process involves them less deeply in specific decisions. Plus, with new Board members less interested in managing details, it's likely the political fights of last year won't repeat themselves, and neighbors won't have to suffer another decade of vacant lots.

Eric Fidler has lived in DC and suburban Maryland his entire life. He likes long walks along the Potomac and considers the L'Enfant Plan an elegant work of art. He also blogs at Left for LeDroit, LeDroit Park's (only) blog of record. 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Metro tunnel make building difficult? Don't you need more than 30 feet of foundation for a building of any significant size, not to mention the parking (which you already got into)?

Also, was this section built cut-and-cover? Is that why Metro acquired the land? And if so, isn't 30 feet pretty deep for cut-and-cover?

by Tim on Apr 26, 2011 11:10 am • linkreport

Good to see lots finally about to see some use. I'm assuming metro also owns the large lot at 7th and S? I've never known why this prime real estate sits empty.

by Tim on Apr 26, 2011 1:25 pm • linkreport

Why is it so necessary to force the developer to make it an "urban" design? Basic economics tells you that they'll build that whenever they can, since it maximizes leasable/salable space. The fact that GGWash and all other liberal planners feel it necessary to force such development only tells me that you guys don't really have enough confidence in the idea of urbanism to just let it flourish without intervention, like it did 100 years ago, without any regulations.

Furthermore, this obsession with filling the lot is unnecessary. Yes, there were a lot of "towers in a park," ped-unfriendly designs in the '50s and '60s, but these were largely due to zoning incentives and outright gov't construction (in the case of public housing projects). Like I said earlier, it's highly likely that the developer would fill the lot anyway, but would it really be the end of the world if they out a short grassy strip in front or didn't fill the lot completely?

By laying out strict design rules, you're preventing any kind of natural variation and architectural experimentation. I mean, a "meaningful cornice line"?? Really?? Plenty of nice modernist architecture lacks a cornice line!

This whole smart growth thing is becoming just as totalitarian as the auto-oriented zoning it replaced. The truth is that nice urbanism will be creates naturally if we let it - after all, all those beautiful 100-year-old buildings that everyone's always trying to save weren't forces to comply with your idea of what urbanism should be, and it worked out just fine.

by Stephen Smith on Apr 26, 2011 1:59 pm • linkreport

Oops. I knew I shouldn't have types that out on a phone without previewing. Apologies for the rampant typos.

by Stephen Smith on Apr 26, 2011 2:01 pm • linkreport

@Tim

Cut and cover construction can go quite deep. Just think about how tall it is from the platform to the top of one of a station's vaults - that's a good 30 feet, meaning the platform is probably more like 40 feet underground. That's not uncommon at all.

Building over the tracks also isn't uncommon. For the other bend in the tracks as the Green line shifts from going under U to under 14th, both the Ellington and the other building (with Busboys in the first floor) are built over the tracks. There are other examples downtown of buildings built over the tracks.

@Stephen

The fact that GGWash and all other liberal planners feel it necessary to force such development only tells me that you guys don't really have enough confidence in the idea of urbanism to just let it flourish without intervention, like it did 100 years ago, without any regulations.

Really? There were no land regulations or interferences in the marketplace 100 years ago? None?

Is any regulation 'totalitarian' in your mind? Assume this particular regulation were the result of extensive public input - it was, in essence, as democratic as a regulation can get - is that still totalitarian? This is also publicly owned land - is it wrong for them to attach certain conditions to a sale of that land?

As you've noted, even places without such obvious zoning codes governing basic form and use of buildings are still nevertheless quite heavily regulated. This is not new. Nor would it, in this case, mean that removing said requirements would somehow reach this real estate libertarian nirvana.

I ask as an honest question: What pragmatic changes would you make to a solicitation like this? Scrap the zoning code? Amend it? Alter the specific requirements? Let the building code rule alone? What about fire codes?

by Alex B. on Apr 26, 2011 2:36 pm • linkreport

@Alex B. – There were building safety codes (sort of), but I would have expected you to know that before 1916 in NYC, no, there were no zoning codes in large cities. If you wanted to fill a plot with a 100-story block of windowless concrete, you were free to do so. Similarly, you could fill it with a squat one-story building and surround it with a sea of parking. Of course, neither of these things happened, because at the end of the day the goal of developers is to make money, and creating completely inhospitable designs is not going to earn you much money.

The zoning codes were put into place because people thought they were suffering from a lack of "light and air." Now, I don't know about you, but when I walk through neighborhoods in NYC built before 1916, they seem perfectly fine to me. Much more dense than what we're used to today, but based on the buildings' rents today, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the lack of zoning didn't really hurt them.

So, in sum, no, "any regulation" is not totalitarian. But drawing up a code that, in practice, dictates the exact form of a building, yes, seems rather totalitarian to me (at least with regards to urban form – obviously nobody's bugging my phone and making sure I don't speak ill of The Party). I suspect that many here would agree with my "totalitarian" remark when that form is "squat, two-story buildings surrounded by a sea of parking," but somehow when the zoning code conforms to exactly what you want, it becomes not-so-bad.

But obviously we don't live in a libertarian nirvana, so here's my suggestion: Apply the safety and building codes to these U Street plots, obviously you have to apply the Height Act since that's a federal law, but other than that, is it really that outlandish to say that a few plots of U Street could do without the proviso that they have a "meaningful cornice"? Am I being an unrealistic libertarian utopian when I say that maybe it wouldn't be the end of the world if they were allowed them to stagger the building and leave a bit of open space abutting the street? Or maybe allow 13-foot ceilings? Or even – *gasp, the horrors!* – allow a parking spot or two?

Obviously taking out any one or two of these provisions isn't the end of the world, so why is taking all of them out somehow unreasonable? Why are we trying to dictate every little facet about development (and yes, mandating a "meaningful cornice" is, indeed, a little facet) when that's never worked out in the past? (Maybe you can say it's working now, but I look at the skyrocketing cost of housing and I'm not so sure it is.)

by Stephen Smith on Apr 26, 2011 2:53 pm • linkreport

I don't think many people would be comfortably with an extreme no zoning provision, but clearly many urbanists wish for a more relaxed zoning code.

Where do you draw the line? I think there's general agreement here that rolling back some provisions would be a good thing. (or you could say: at the margin, the zoning code should be made less strict) But which provisions? How much less strict? Sure, we all hate the Height Act, but in the short-run, it's here to stay. There are other provisions of the zoning code that should go.

I'm also curious why these particular restrictions should stay. It seems to me the burden should be on those wanting the restrictions. Is there a cost-benefit analysis of these zoning restrictions?

by WRD on Apr 26, 2011 3:04 pm • linkreport

@Stephen

I'm well aware of when New York's 1916 zoning code went into effect (I also know when they fought the war of 1812!), but zoning is but one of many regulations of land use and real estate. What about New York's Commissioner's Plan of 1811? What about the building codes? Health codes? What about deed covenants and other such items?

Real estate is (and has been) amongst the most highly regulated asset classes (as Chris Leinberger likes to say). I also like New York's pre-1916 areas, but don't pretend that built form isn't the product of a marketplace free of regulation or government intervention - quite the opposite.

As for your changes, you're ignoring the fact that this is a public piece of land to be turned over to the private sector - these are not regulations being slapped down arbitrarily on privately owned land outside of the existing zoning and other assorted land use regulations. What if this were a private entity selling the land with the same restrictions on what the buyer must build?

I do think there's a strong critique to be made of zoning codes and their often perverse impacts on cities - however, I think you're conflating several issues here and therefore eroding your own critique.

by Alex B. on Apr 26, 2011 3:09 pm • linkreport

@Alex B. – Why do you keep bringing up fire and building codes? Did I ever say that I want to do away with them? I apologize if I didn't make this clear, but I'll say it again: I am not talking about building codes. I'm talking about zoning codes, which unless you still believe in the miasma theory of germ transmission, have absolutely nothing to do with health or safety.

As for the history of zoning, what regulations, pray tell, were enforced in NYC pre-1916? That is, other than safety/building/fire codes. Maybe I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the vast majority of developed land was developed completely free of any aesthetic regulation (what we now call "zoning"). There were certainly no mandates that people include 14-foot ceilings or a "meaningful cornice."

And as for the public/private sector stuff, why does it matter that the last, yesterday belonged to the government? Surely 100 yeas ago, before they acquired it to build the Metro, it did not. In fact, much of what is today publicly-owned land was taken forcefully from private citizens mid-century for hare-brained urban renewal schemes. If the gods smiled upon us and destroyed the tangle of freeways in SW, would it really be logically consistent to call it "public land," when it was clearly stolen from black people to build highways for white people? Now of course, the land beneath these plots wasn't taken from as racially-charged reasons as the SW highway land, but I still fail to see the analytical difference between it and a plot that was always private.

As for the distinction between private deed restrictions and public zoning codes, surely you must be joking, right? You really can't see the distinction between a private land owner voluntarily forsaking profits (his own profits, not someone else's!) to pick the next owner and a politician doing it who really has no skin in the game except a barely-democratic election in a few years?

(If you wanna reeeally get into the weeds, I'd actually argue that much of what we think of as private deed restrictions [i.e., Houston] were actually prompted by laxer gov't regulation of "deed restricted" land. So at least in Houston, where the practice is most common, the so-called "private" restrictions are really little more than backdoor, government-imposed zoning.)

by Stephen Smith on Apr 26, 2011 3:23 pm • linkreport

Now, I don't know about you, but when I walk through neighborhoods in NYC built before 1916, they seem perfectly fine to me.

This shows remarkable ignorance of both the conditions in 1916, and what constitutes health. You really need to do some more research before you claim things like this. I mean, you didn't go into the buildings? Or bother to check about how they were retrofitted to suit wealthy clients?

Communicable diseases are not the only element of health, and indeed, the building code covers most of the real threats to light and air, not zoning.

If the gods smiled upon us and destroyed the tangle of freeways in SW, would it really be logically consistent to call it "public land," when it was clearly stolen from black people to build highways for white people?

So, how do you feel about owning property that was stolen from Indians, private or not?

by цarьchitect on Apr 26, 2011 3:54 pm • linkreport

You really need to do some more research before you claim things like this.

I suggest you go back and read the history a little more closely. Much of the Progressive Era complaints about the health of cities were a thinly veiled form of racism mixed with some misguided ideas about disease (whether it was the miasma theory or the idea that "sunlight is the best disinfectant). Now that the market process (yes, the market process, not zoning – even before NYC's 1916 plan, the market was, for example, pushing garment manufacturing outside of the Garment District) has pushed industrial sites outside the city, there's not much in the original zoning codes that's still even relevant to health and sanitation. (Now, building and fire codes are a different story. But we're speaking here specifically of zoning codes.)

by Stephen Smith on Apr 26, 2011 4:03 pm • linkreport

I should say that the Garden City and Modernist planners with fixations on light and air went well beyond what health could justify in their plans, but let's not pretend that having sixteen people with no political power and little english ability in a four-room apartment with two windows isn't a breeding ground for disease or really hard on general wellbeing. This was quite common, both in New York and elsewhere around the world.

The Old Law of 1901 had requirements that resembled the building code, but the story goes that they weren't perfect, either, and the 1916 zoning law was designed to remedy its flaws. Of course there are differences, namely the inclusion of use zoning. But that did have real benefits in terms of health and safety. And there were other, unjustified design preferences, such as favoring a tower form for skyscrapers, as pushed by New York architectural groups.

This is not to justify many of the detailed prescriptions of most zoning overlays and the antiquated overregulation of areas, but don't fool yourself about history.

by цarьchitect on Apr 26, 2011 4:08 pm • linkreport

The hidden racism of a lot of Progressive fixations is pretty well established, but if you want to make the extraordinary claim that they are not grounded in real issues, then I would appreciate a citation, and not a general personal observation about some neighborhood you were in.

Moreover, it doesn't explain why zoning-like ordinances were proposed in England long before that - unless it's because if of class fears.

by цarьchitect on Apr 26, 2011 4:15 pm • linkreport

Isn't the Commissioners plan of 1811 dictating the creation of the NYC grid a form of zoning and regulation? Telling people you have to build within the confines of these street alignments even though the large majority of Manhattan at the time was either farms or unsettled?

by jj on Apr 26, 2011 4:41 pm • linkreport

...but let's not pretend that having sixteen people with no political power and little english ability in a four-room apartment with two windows isn't a breeding ground for disease or really hard on general wellbeing.

Sounds like you're describing modern-day Flushing, Queens. Last I checked, though, it wasn't a breeding ground for disease, except maybe in the fever dreams of Sean Hannity.

by Stephen Smith on Apr 26, 2011 5:07 pm • linkreport

In some ways, yes, but the minutiae are often quite different. I mean, did you bother to ask the inhabitants whether they feel safe or healthy in their houses, consult public health data, or just decide that it seemed OK?

by Neil Flanagan on Apr 26, 2011 5:27 pm • linkreport

The point is that you claim to support the building code, while criticizing its actual benefits.

Likewise, you're attacking zoning without itemizing its parts, which means that the separation of heavy industry is condemned in the same breath as laws that regulate storefront projections.

by Neil Flanagan on Apr 26, 2011 5:32 pm • linkreport

The idea that zoning was necessary to separate heavy industry from residential industries is a complete fallacy. Industry was being priced out of dense cities long before the 1916 zoning code, and in fact that primary effect of industrial zoning in codes nowadays is to keep industry a lot closer to residential areas than the market would otherwise accept. The Florida Market in DC and all the light industrial areas to the south of it are the perfect example – if that stuff wasn't zoned for industrial/manufacturing, it would be turned into condos and cupcake stores in the blink of an eye.

by Stephen Smith on Apr 26, 2011 5:36 pm • linkreport

@Stephen

Why do you keep bringing up fire and building codes? Did I ever say that I want to do away with them? I apologize if I didn't make this clear, but I'll say it again: I am not talking about building codes. I'm talking about zoning codes, which unless you still believe in the miasma theory of germ transmission, have absolutely nothing to do with health or safety.

I did not see you single out zoning - I saw you use a broad rhetorical brush against all sorts of regulations on land use. There is a much longer tradition of that beyond Euclidian zoning, and it includes things like building and health codes.

You asserted that earlier forms of urbanism flourished without intervention, and I'm arguing that's a severe overstatement.

As for the history of zoning, what regulations, pray tell, were enforced in NYC pre-1916? That is, other than safety/building/fire codes. Maybe I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the vast majority of developed land was developed completely free of any aesthetic regulation (what we now call "zoning"). There were certainly no mandates that people include 14-foot ceilings or a "meaningful cornice."

If you want to argue against regulations, then argue against regulations. Focusing your argument against zoning in partiuclar is not an argument against regulation. As you yourself have noted, Houston has no zoning, yet it is still heavily regulated, its real estate market distorted.

And as for the public/private sector stuff, why does it matter that the last, yesterday belonged to the government? Surely 100 yeas ago, before they acquired it to build the Metro, it did not. In fact, much of what is today publicly-owned land was taken forcefully from private citizens mid-century for hare-brained urban renewal schemes. If the gods smiled upon us and destroyed the tangle of freeways in SW, would it really be logically consistent to call it "public land," when it was clearly stolen from black people to build highways for white people? Now of course, the land beneath these plots wasn't taken from as racially-charged reasons as the SW highway land, but I still fail to see the analytical difference between it and a plot that was always private.

WMATA took the land to build the Green Line tracks. The turning radius for the tracks was too wide for the curvature of the street rights of way above.

You don't think that's a valid use of eminent domain?

As for the distinction between private deed restrictions and public zoning codes, surely you must be joking, right? You really can't see the distinction between a private land owner voluntarily forsaking profits (his own profits, not someone else's!) to pick the next owner and a politician doing it who really has no skin in the game except a barely-democratic election in a few years?

(If you wanna reeeally get into the weeds, I'd actually argue that much of what we think of as private deed restrictions [i.e., Houston] were actually prompted by laxer gov't regulation of "deed restricted" land. So at least in Houston, where the practice is most common, the so-called "private" restrictions are really little more than backdoor, government-imposed zoning.)

I'm not talking about whether you find the political palm-greasing to be palatable or not, the fundamental form of the regulations is very different. It is relevant in this case because this WMATA lot has nothing to do with zoning.

DC has a plan for the area. WMATA wants to comply with that plan, therefore they are attaching requirements to the sale of the property. That is a very different from simply adding those requirements to the zoning code.

How is this WMATA sale different from a private property owner selling his land to someone with more capital to invest, yet attaching some stipulations to the sale (such as 14 foot high first floor retail spaces? Or a uniform cornice line?)

That's my fundamental critique - you're conflating several arguments together here, and some very nice criticisms of zoning (or other issues like eminent domain) get lost in the wash. I think it weakens your otherwise intriguing argument, but that's just me.

by Alex B. on Apr 26, 2011 6:22 pm • linkreport

Yes, it was being priced out of the central business districts, including the Garment District, as you mentioned. But the majority of cities are not densely zoned areas, and that is also where underclasses tend to afford housing, for the same price reasons.

I agree that the inflexibility of zoning leads to situations like Florida Market, etc. but I don't see these inefficiencies totally invalidating zoning, merely justifying a serious stripping down, and a mechanism that makes zoning less ironclad and permanent.

by Neil Flanagan on Apr 26, 2011 6:31 pm • linkreport

Well said, Neil.

There's also the fact that the academic exercise of whether we should completely eliminate zoning is quaint, but ultimately irrelevant. Zoning isn't going away, but we certainly can look to change it to make it less rigid and more beneficial.

Though I do want to say, again, that the particular requirements discussed for this parcel are not part of the zoning at all, they are requirements that were crafted as part of a plan, and WMATA is attaching them as conditions of the sale/development of the property.

by Alex B. on Apr 26, 2011 6:44 pm • linkreport

Stephen should take a tour of the Tenement Museum on the LES. There are reasons that codes were established and the LES is filled with examples as is Hell's Kitchen and parts of Chelsea, among other areas; hovels filled with families. Municipal improvements like running water and sewers made enormous dents in water borne disease. Improvements in work environments had impacts on communicable diseases like TB.

I used to live in Atlanta, the last city of any size to have a building code. There was a reason that Craftsman bungalows were popular there--absent a code, a kit house guaranteed a certain standard of materials and utilities. Euclid, the city where zoning was established happened to be literally next door to where I grew-up. It has always been a non-exclusive place, but it did have (and still does have) a major rail corridor from which industry has long radiated. Despite some problems common to inner ring suburbs in the past couple decades, it has continued to function as a middle income suburb with a good residential housing stock.

But then again, the right wing trolls are out in full force and we know that just means Asperger's like spamming.

by Rich on Apr 26, 2011 8:44 pm • linkreport

@Tim:

The tunnels between the Shaw and U Street stations are shield bored tunnel through sedimentary soils. The tunnels have an outside diameter of 21'. Their depth to the top of the tunnel is rough a 2' above the depth of the mezzanine in the U Street Station. That leaves enough space for two below grade levels.

As to the issue of foundations to support a structure of any significant, that's not that big of a deal as the layout of the piles can be done to distribute the load around the tunnels. If the structure requires column above grade that would land on top of the tunnel the column can angle to one side below grade to the pile cap or a beam can placed in the ground above the tunnel supported by piles on either side of the tunnel.

by Sand Box John on Apr 26, 2011 11:45 pm • linkreport

*Ahem* Can we call a mulligan and restart this discussion? This seems to have gone downhill rather quickly. "Highways for white people?" Really? Keep your race-baiting on the WaPo comment boards.

That said, I think this does demonstrate one instance in which holding onto a parcel of land has worked out for the better. While the site was only suitable for a Checkers 10 years ago, it's now being targeted as a potential site for a mixed-use high-rise that WMATA can sell for several times the original price.

I normally don't like seeing these undeveloped parcels, but I can't help but think that keeping this land vacant will be a win-win in the long term.

by andrew on Apr 27, 2011 11:05 am • linkreport

Also: What the heck is Howard doing with that empty parcel south of Florida? Seems like an odd bit of land for them to be holding on to.

by andrew on Apr 27, 2011 11:06 am • linkreport


Jim Graham's goal was to steer the project to large donor and pay-to-play partner LaKritz and Adler vs. Fenty admin's steering to Banneker.

http://www.lakritzadler.com/

by W Jordan on Apr 27, 2011 8:05 pm • linkreport

I have to say that regardless of whether or not zoning and/or regulation is good or bad or if these provisions would even be classified as such, I do agree with Stephen that the crap about parking spaces, meaningful cornices and 14 foot ceilings goes too far. It's just unnecessary BS, that could stifle a creative design and deter possible interested parties who might want to build there.

by Doug on May 1, 2011 11:19 am • linkreport

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