The “Pelos-Tree,” Hank’s Cocktail Bar, and a Scottish Rite Apartments Update

Neighbors and friends-

As 2018 comes to a close, I wish everyone peace and joy through the season and into the new year!

I have a few neighborhood updates:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi visited our neighborhood’s “Pelos-Tree,” honoring newly-elected House Democratic women. If you don’t already walk past it regularly, find it in front of Floriana on 17th St NW near Q.

Hank’s Cocktail Bar has closed in Petworth and is reopening in the second floor of Hank’s Oyster Bar on Q St NW, January 2019.

The Carlyle Hotel, home to The Riggsby on New Hampshire Ave NW, has changed hands.

The McDonald’s on 17th St NW at Corcoran closed for renovations. ANC 2B Commissioner Silverstein and I, talked with staff on separate occasions prior to the closure and confirmed workers there have been provided jobs at other locations or are being paid vacation until it reopens early 2019.

The tax abatement for the Scottish Rite Apartments on 15th St NW at S St NW is dead. This is thanks to, in part, action by the ANC 2B earlier this year to formally “oppose tax abatements that cannot be independently substantiated and validated to provide a public benefit.” The project is expected to continue without the abatement.

The proposed building was also before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). After hearing from multiple parties and individuals, the HPRB unanimously (7-0) agreed with their Staff Report and Recommendation, the ANC 2B’s recommendations, and added the following:

The Board concurred with the resolution of the ANC and found the general concept for new construction and subdivision compatible with the landmark, the 16th Street and the 14th Street historic districts, but that the following work was needed to improve the proposal’s compatibility: (1) the floor-to-floor heights should be reduced on all levels, including the height of the penthouse; (2) the proportion of glazing was too high and the windows should be more residential in character; (3) the corner elements should be redesigned, with study of reducing the extent of glazing, improving the proportions of the projections, and pulling back the S Street corner element and its penthouse to open up views to and to provide a more deferential relationship to the temple; (4) there should be more variety overall in the building mass and height, and pulling the building forward to the building line and increasing the depth of the projections should be considered; (5) the intent of relating the color of cladding materials to the neighborhood is appropriate but the specific materials shown appear too dark; (6) the stair to the basement areaway should be relocated to the courtyard so that it is not visible from public street view; (7) portions of the building should come directly to the ground and for those portions with areaways, the landscape plan should be developed to screen the areaway and guardrails, and to provide the impression from the sidewalk that the building sits on a base surrounded by foundation plantings; (8) the new square windows in the alley building should be eliminated; and (9) a north-south through-block connection or park area and improved views of the back of the temple should be considered. The project should return to the ANC and Board for further review when ready. Vote: 7-0

With this, we should expect to see changes to the proposed building sometime early in 2019, and it will be before the ANC again with appropriate time to provide feedback.

Swearing-in for elected officials, including ANC commissioners, is January 2, 2019. The first ANC 2B meeting in 2019 will be on January 9!

Lastly, readers of Washingtonian listed their favorite restaurants in D.C. for 2018. Our neighborhood was represented strongly with Sushi Taro, Le Diplomate, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Duke’s Grocery, and Milk Bar.

Keep in touch! Have a wonderful holiday season and have a Happy New Year!

Aaron Landry
Commissioner-elect, 2B04

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