It’s Heating Up Out There

Updates, meetings, gatherings, proposals gossip

As we’ve already noted, David Franco of Level2 Development, and his architect Eric Colbert will be presenting their revised plans for a structure to sit at the corner of Wallach Place NW and 14th.  Our neighborhoods have been blanketed with crisp notices of a meeting to discuss the proposal – 150 apartments and 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail.  Height and variances (for height and parking) aren’t specifically addressed, nor are the average apartment sizes (although you can safely say tiny.)

The point is: unlike the previous go-around where it seemed there was an end run around us, this time Franco’s firm is doing everything right.  Transparency about intent, intimate briefings and listening sessions for the community, and a laid out plan of who they will be seeking for approval from and when and where.

Putting to shame all those hyper-ventilating bed-wetters who tried to tar all of Wallach and the surrounding neighborhood as weathly, snooty, close-the-door NIMBYS, this proves to anyone with eyes that we mean what we say: we want that bunker that currently is home to Yums gone, and welcome anything that adds to our larger community.  But we also want to do it right, and buildings that “…lack imagination” as the HPRB put it, are not that.

We’re really looking forward to the meeting this Wednesday @ 7pm. 

While we’re on meetings, there are several of interest coming up:

  1. NC1B Monthly Meeting: Thursday, August 4, 7pm at the Reeves Center (14th and U), second floor.   Items on the agenda include an Voluntary Agreement with Alero, Dukem’s application for a serious change to Retail Class C license,  Habesha Market’s (1919 9th Street) application for a Retail Class DR Restaurant license, MMB LLC’s (913 U Street, this is the future “Matchbox”) application for Retail Class C Tavern license, Satellite Pizza’s (2047 9th street) application for Retail Class C Tavern license, and Lost Society’s (NW corner of 14 and U), renewal of Class C Restaurant license.
  2. Also on the agenda: an update on the Justice Park development project at Euclid, and a Raze permit application for 2221 14th street – this is the site that R2L and  Douglas Development hope to build at the SE corner of Florida and U.  Titled “The Floridian”, you may have seen the signs hanging from lampposts exhorting ‘now’s the time!’ to tie yourself into another U Street condo mortgage.  Details for the  building, slated to be 7 levels tall, can all be found here.

Not on the agenda, although we had requested, and will request again, is a comprehensive strategy for dealing with this summer’s exploding rat population.  By which I don’t mean exploding rats, but a rapid increase in their number and aggressiveness.

Mo Meetings! Mo Meetings!  Mo Meetings!

Next week on Thursday August 11, 7pm at the Source Theater’s upstairs room, the U-Street Neighborhood Association will hold a monthly meeting.  They have not posted their agenda yet (as of August 1), which is something that should be brought to their attention; however we do know that Level2 will again be presenting their design to the USNA for their approval – likely specifically the several variances they are seeking.   Again, we’ve tried to inquire about some discussion about controlling the vermin population – which is only growing with ever-more dense restaurants and taverns, and this is something the neighborhood is seriously needing to address.  You can reach the USNA website here – contact them with anything you want on the agenda.  And remember, there is an open period every meeting for short remarks from members on topics of their choice.

Beyond that, Level2 has several meetings on the books regarding the “Wallachzilla” proposal – which we may just have to drop following this Wednesday’s meeting.  First, they will be presenting the design to the ANB1B Design Review Committee on  Monday Aug. 15 at 6:30 at 1816 12th Street, conf. room 1 – that’s the Thurgood Marshall Center.  Later, on Thursday Sept. 1 at 7pm, on the 2nd floor of the Reeves Center, they will be seeking full approval form the full ANC1B.

Rumor!  Salacious Rumor!

We will later this week have several rumors about OTHER developments right in our little corner of DC.  They’re coming fast a furious – and there’s an economic and political reason for that.  But for now – let’s make these two meetings.

Also: MANY MANY THANKS to our neighbor Lisa for taking it on herself and help eradicate the rats from our alleys.  We need coordinated effort, otherwise they just run from one yard to another.  If there are chronic problem areas in the future, we may have to being those to the attention of the DC health authorities. 



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5 responses to “It’s Heating Up Out There

  1. Logan Res

    It sounds like you guys are coming around a bit and accepting change in the neighborhood. Your initial posts to this blog as you launched it were reactionary and used a lot of fear-based rhetoric which is why I and so many others dismissed you for NIMBYs. While we all want good design, there are better ways at working with developers to get your thoughts expressed. I’d agree with most that the formation of the Wallach group with all the flyers and fear blogging wasn’t a good start but seems like you might be able recover still. Forcing a developer to shave off a level or two from the height doesn’t accomplish anything. Whether the building is 6, 7, or even 10 levels doesn’t matter too much in the end for the residents because it’s still large compared to what was there and takes time to get use to. Wher you guys can really make an impact for the neighborhood would be to partner with the developer and get them to include or contribue to some neighborhood improvements such as street/landscaping improvements for Wallach and other small streets or perhaps get them to develop one of the small empty lots or abandonded homes left. Another way I’d like to see you get some influence is ask the developer to make the retails bays on the first level smaller so we get some great small businesses on the street rather than the large restaurants or CVS sized entities. Otherwise, nice to see you guys coming around….

    • Craig

      LRes: In a city of 12 story buildings, there is a huge difference between 6/7 and 10, especially when adjacent to two-story homes. And you’re ignoring the facts in saying we’re ‘forcing… to shave off a level or two..” It was the HPRB who told Colbert to restudy the 6th and 7th floors. To many of the residents, the lack of setbacks and the canyon effect on the Wallach Place elevation were more of a concern than the overall height.

      As far as improvements or amenities, Mr. Franco was receptive at the first meeting, but was unable to commit to any, and that makes perfect sense at this stage of the process.

      And for the record, we’re not ‘coming around.’ We’re in the same spot we were two months ago – engaged and active, and so far the results are promising. The Wallach residents are among the best partners any developer could have.

  2. Katie

    Thanks for bringing up the rats issue. We’re on the other side of 14th, and the rats have been horrible since they started work at 14th and Swann. Our neighbors and we have put out traps, but the rats just moved across the street and down the block. We reported to DC; they came out but claimed they saw no evidence of rats and did nothing. I wrote to Ramon Estrada months ago, but I’ve still received no response.

    Thoughts on where to go next?

  3. bryandc

    You’ll want to update the URL/link for the U Street Neighborhood Association; the updated link is

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