ANC 3F Feb. summary: Developers’ plans for 3101 Albemarle and Fannie Mae buildings

3101 Albemarle Street NW. (photo courtesy MRIS)

by Marlene Berlin

After reading through this summary you’ll marvel that ANC 3F managed to pack everything into a couple of hours. Chair Malachy Nugent has mastered the task of keeping a packed agenda moving. The February 21st meeting included lots of updates on happenings in and adjacent to the neighborhood. You can watch the meeting here. These are some highlights:

Real estate and development

Sidwell Friends School is negotiating a two- to three-year lease-back with the Washington Home and is working on its strategic plan. The school has also purchased the Fannie Mae building at 3939 Wisconsin Avenue. The purchase of these two properties will enable Sidwell to consolidate its campuses. Its lower school is in Bethesda.

4250 Connecticut Avenue (Nov. 2015 Google StreetView image)

Fred Underwood of Bernstein Management Company, which recently purchased another Fannie Mae building at 4250 Connecticut Avenue, introduced himself to the ANC and those in attendance. He is excited to be working on what will be a mixed-use development, including retail and the possibility of student housing for UDC. Underwood will seek community input on making this a center for vibrant retail in Van Ness.

Richard Lake of Roadside Development, which owns the property housing the Van Ness Potbelly, Parklane Cleaners and Wells Fargo bank, is seeking community input on yet another Fannie Mae building: the main headquarters at 3900 Wisconsin Avenue. When Fannie Mae moves to its new downtown headquarters, Roadside will build a mixed-use matter of right development including housing, retail, arts spaces and a park. Take the survey at the project website, 3900wisconsin.com, and share your ideas.

Marjorie Share, a next door neighbor to the vacated Polish Embassy residence at 3101 Albemarle Street, announced that real estate developer PG Gottfried completed the purchase of this property that very day. Share, Jane Solomon and other neighbors had been concerned developers would tear down the existing home and cut down trees to build five or six “McMansions” on the site, so they approached Gottfried about purchasing this property. Gottfried intends to preserve the residence and the property in front of it, and build eight aging-friendly townhouses on the western side while maintaining as many of the mature trees as possible and addressing stormwater management issues (a great concern of close-by neighbors). Rock Creek Conservancy is interested in using the residence as its headquarters once improvements are made.

3101 Albemarle is not zoned for higher density so Gottfried will seek approval through a planned urban development (Greater Greater Washington has a great explanation of PUDs here). Share also filed an application for historic landmark status to protect the site and the land in front of it, and Gottfried will write the ANC a letter to support the landmark. See the project fact sheet for a detailed description of the evolution of this project and the reason for the landmark application.

Public policy

At-Large DC Council member Elissa Silverman was a featured speaker. Silverman, a sponsor of DC’s new paid family leave law, said Council members Mary Cheh and Jack Evans had introduced new legislation that would reduce the taxes businesses would owe. The Washington Post provides further details.

ANC 3F voted unanimously to approve a resolution opposing Trump’s executive order 13769, which bars immigrants from seven countries. A representative from UDC commended the ANC for passing this resolution.

Getting around

Van Ness Metro west side street entrance with the escalator removed. (2015 WMATA photo)

The west entrance of the Van Ness Metro station, closed off and on since June 2015 for an escalator replacement project, is due to reopen at the end of March.

Beach Drive between Broad Branch Road and Tilden Street is scheduled to close in August for the next phase of the roadway rebuilding project, and a traffic plan given to ANC 3F would detour vehicles onto Brandywine Street through Forest Hills. Malachy Nugent wrote a letter to DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo, urging planners to direct traffic onto Military Road and Nebraska Avenue instead. For more information on the Beach Drive rehabilitation segments visit the project website.

Parks and schools

On February 15, the DC Department of General Services and Department of Parks and Recreation held a community meeting at Hearst Elementary School and presented the results of a community survey on an outdoor pool at Hearst Park (3999 37th Street NW). Out of 1,164 responses, 72% supported building a pool at the park.

Regarding the Murch Elementary renovation and modernization, Patrick Davis, DC Public Schools’ director of Facility Planning and Design, said plans for traffic management, storm water management and tree preservation will be brought before the DC Public Space Committee in April. For more information about construction plans visit anc3f.com/issues. In response to a question about public art, Jackie Stanley of the Department of General Services stated there will be a call to both local and national artists for a public art project at Murch in September or October 2018.


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