03 Feb 2011

Hine Site Slims Down, Much Space Use Still Uncertain


Hine has always been a site for youth--old Hine JH girls' basketball team, Feb. 1925, the National Photo Co., via Shorpy's vintage photo collection. Pic was taken exactly 86 years ago.

At a well-attended meeting dense with Ward 6 ANC members, bloggers, city council members past and present, community activists and Hine site neighbors, the architect of the proposed development for Stanton-Eastbanc revealed some alterations to the original plan amid fascinating old, archived photos of the area,  and a super-sized discussion on transportation issues.

So, as expected, the former proposed banner tenant –the 70,000 square foot  Shakespeare Theater Co. space — is not going to come, even if “we build it.” Indeed, the entire project will now be 85,000 square feet smaller, with the fifth floor penthouse pushed back from the crest of Pennsylvania Ave, SE and residential square footage increased by almost 100,000 square feet (now 244,074 square feet) since the team’s August 2009 proposal. Lead architect Amy “she practically built this block” Weinstein also noted that office space has been reduced to 150,156 square feet from 212,000 square feet.  There will be residential space for the traveling actors.

Tiger Woods Foundation has been off the table for a long time, but Ken Golding at Stanton Eastbanc didn’t really have anything substantive  to to offer as a substitute for the  lost youth services or youth space.  He said he was open to suggestions, and mentioned a hotel might have something to offer along the youth services line.

That’s right, a hotel  is still a possibility. Stanton-Eastbanc has been approached by several boutique hotels and is currently weighing options and in discussions.  Kimpton Hotels was a possible suitor under another proposal, but  Golding won’t divulge any names, yet. They plan to make a decision in 30-60-90 days, according to Golding, who added he loved “the dynamic” a hotel would bring to the  area. The hotel, should it come, would be built along 7th Street SE, but if that falls through, the area will be used for residential use, with retail along the ground floor and four floors of apartments above it.

The three residential areas of the complex will house apartments from 800 square foot studios to two-bed room with dens that could reach 1600 square feet.  They will provide the amenities needed to age in place, whether they are apartments or condos, the team said. The market at the time — the project won’t be completed until some time in 2015 — will determine whether the units will be sold or rented.  The developer has to make rent, too! Roughly 50% of the North Building residential space will be provided as mixed income units available to teachers in the area (for example) as well as seniors.

The plaza along the re-opened C Street SE (which looked lovely in mid-century vintage photos when it was lined with homes, trees, and was not a cut-though alley) has been enlarged but is not a stand-alone plaza anymore. Instead, it opens up into the corner along 7th Street. The lovely slide show of old and current photos also served to illustrate that there have been and still are buildings four, five and six stories high on the Hill — such as the lovely St. Cyprian on 8th Street SE, where the 60s-era brick town homes  are now — and that the Hine complex won’t be out-sized or too ginormous for words, or for the neighborhood.

Project consultant Nicole White, a principal from transportation and parking firm Symmetra Design, led the transportation discussion, sharing analysis of traffic monitoring over a period in November 2010.  White said she is  taking into account citizens’ concerns about pedestrian safety at 8th Street SE and C Street SE, and traffic flow around the area, and would reassesstraffic and parking at  the flea market, as urged, on a Saturday, rather than Symmetra’s analysis of a Sunday. Saturday   is busiest, argued the chair of the Eastern Market Advisory Committee, Donna Scheeder, contradicting White’s assessment. White acknowledged that though she had her firm are well-seasoned (St. Elizabeth’s Hospital), the traffic development part of the project is still a work in progress. Trucks will enter at 7th Street SE in a dock hidden from the street, and underground parking (270 spots, 162 for residential) will be accessed through C Street SE. The remainder of the parking spots would vacillate between office, retail and market use between weekdays and weekends.

A possible bone of contention for flea market vendors is the new requirement that trucks park underground and wares be brought up in an elevator and transported (by dolly, perhaps) to the vendors’ tents, a longer, cumbersome and more chaotic process if pottery, furniture and installations are involved, one would imagine.

The designs will be submitted to the Historic Preservation Review Board at the end of of the month, and work will plod along with transportation consultants and the public, but financial closing on the property by Stanton-Eastbanc is still at least a year away.  Demolition cannot occur until building permits are in hand with full ownership of the site and a general contractor has been selected. After that, construction is expected to take two years. So, there will be many more meetings, and we will try and update you on salient and interesting points here, or just see you at the meetings (which are well-attended but still lack many voices among the neighborhood’s constituency!

As Barbara Riehle of  neighborhood watchdog group EMMCA noted in a listserv email after the meeting, “the project has been scaled down a bit (85,000 less square footage) and many of the expected components are gone.  But the developer seems to have heard some of the concerns of affected neighbors and has taken steps to address them.”

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8 responses to “Hine Site Slims Down, Much Space Use Still Uncertain”

  1. Thanks to everyone who showed up last night, and to the smaller group of close in neighbors who went through the similar presentation the night before. The 200 or so people came out to see the plans first hand is a testament to the importance of this project and the engagement of the neighborhood.

    Through the handy scribing of Commission Jared Critchfield we have a complete list of the questions asked, as well as many more that didn’t get asked. There is lots more work to be done on this project and the next formal steps for the ANC will be the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting the first tuesday of March and the full ANC meeting on the second Tuesday. In that process we will be considering the ANC position for the Historic Preservation Review Board, scheduled for March 24th if the schedule holds.

    The Stanton Group has demonstrated a great deal of openness and responsiveness to community concerns and ideas, and that should be an invitation for continued input.

    (One slight correction I believe from the report above is that while vendors to the market will have parking in the underground lot, they will be able to unload from the street and then go park their van or car. There was some confusion about that but I believe Ken clarified that toward the end of the meeting).

  2. anti-NIMBY says:

    Why not just build a giant multi level parking garage? This would have the effect of quieting all of the NIMBYs who live around the Metro and own 2 or more cars and never take transit or walk anywhere. It is amazing that people like this choose to live in a city.

  3. Andy says:


    Your melodrama and extremely broad generalizations have grown stale. Move to another part of the city if you have such disdain for those on the Hill.

  4. ABC says:

    Thanks for the update.

    Fingers are crossed for a hotel, Wholefoods, and movie theater. (One can dream.)

  5. Dan says:

    Let’s get this thing started already.

  6. H Street Landlord says:

    It’s sad that the size is decreasing. Since the development group is unable to deliver what they promised, has the whole process been invalidated?

  7. Hine School says:

    I am catching up to this topic late, but where is the public benefit. This is public land that used to be a school. Now it is high end condos? No public green space? What year is this again…

  8. Jim Rowland says:

    I want to thank CHRS for taking on the task of reviewing the Hine development proposal so thoughtfully and seriously. As a member of CHRS, and the owner of a house on the 200 block of Eighth Street, S.E. featured on the 2010 House & Garden tour, I believe strongly in the mission of CHRS, part of which is to “…protect Capitol Hill’s residential character by challenging threatening and inappropriate development…”

    The most current Stanton-Eastbanc development proposal could not be more “threatening and inappropriate” for our historic neighborhood, in height, massing, and aesthetic design.

    I seriously question one statement in the article here: ” The lovely slide show of old and current photos also served to illustrate that there have been and still are buildings four, five and six stories high on the Hill — such as the lovely St. Cyprian on 8th Street SE, where the 60s-era brick town homes are now — and that the Hine complex won’t be out-sized or too ginormous for words, or for the neighborhood.”

    This statement is just simply untrue – because there are NO existing or demolished buildings on Capitol Hill, either commercial or residential, consisting of the same height AND massing of those proposed by Stanton-Eastbanc. It is misleading at best and disingenuous at worst for Stanton-Eastbanc to make a presentation referencing historic buildings which we love as justification for their proposal – when none of their proposed buildings are remotely similar to theirs in terms of BOTH height and massing – not to mention aesthetic design. (I am not including the Adams or Madison Library of Congress buildings, which bear more similarity to Stanton-Eastbanc’s proposal than the proposal bears to Capitol Hill.)

    We live in a historic residential neighborhood, which can and should be protected from exactly this sort of development proposal. I am not anti-development – far from it. I was and remain thrilled with the idea of making better use of the Hine School property through mixed-use development. But the development must be consistent and compatible with our historic neighborhood, and so far Stanton-Eastbanc has not been able to produce a design proposal that is remotely compatible with historic Capitol Hill.

    The current Stanton-Eastbanc proposal designed by Amy Weinstein contains buildings of height and mass appropriate only for Godzilla to attack. The design aesthetics are such that only Godzilla could love them. These proposed buildings will sharply and onerously reduce the light, air and sunlight of the neighborhood; will eliminate all public greenspace and public uses enjoyed by residents for over 150 years; will block views of the Capitol enjoyed by surrounding residents; and will dwarf the 2-story, 2.5-story, and 3-story residential and commercial buildings in the neighborhood (including Stanton’s own 2-story office on 7th Street).

    Why doesn’t Stanton-Eastbanc ‘s proposal include any single-family townhouses on 8th Street, which currently includes very small 2-story frame single-family houses at least 150 years old – but no house taller than 3 stories?

    Why do Stanton-Eastbanc and Amy Weinstein think it is more appropriate on 8th Street to build a city block-long apartment building that towers over the neighborhood like a skyscraper?

    Why does architect Amy Weinstein use words like “homage to Capitol Hill”, “reference to historic architecture” and similar wiggle words to refer to her design which she also says “is decidedly modern”? The Capitol Hill Historic District can absorb an in-fill project here and there of Ms. Weinstein’s “decidedly modern” design, but not an entire city square of it.

    What can’t Stanton-Eastbanc take more cues from (another Stanton development, albeit with a more historically sensitive architect) the beautiful townhouses built on the Lenox School property; or EYA’s very sensitive townhouses built at the Bryan School property? These projects blend seemlessly into the historic fabric of Capitol Hill.

    Why does the Stanton-Eastbanc proposal not preserve any of the existing community greenspace and public uses which have been enjoyed for 150 years by Capitol Hill residents? Where are the community benefits?

    The current Stanton-Eastbanc proposal is more appropriate in design, height and massing for Clarendon, Virginia, than Capitol Hill. The look and the feel of the proposal is 1.) nothing like what Stanton-Eastbanc claimed during the RFP process, and 2.) is amazingly out of character with our historic neighborhood.

    I strongly urge CHRS to decline to endorse or in any way support the current Stanton-Eastbanc design proposal for the Hine School as inconsistent with CHRS’ endorsed guidelines for use of the Hine School site, which included:

    * “Be compatible with the surrounding zoning and existing building scale.
    *Design the Eighth Street frontage as residential…
    * Provide for green space as well as an outdoor area for craft vendors, food vendors, and the flea market.


    Jim Rowland

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