Our next ANC 2B meeting is Wednesday, June 12, at 7:00 p.m. at 1717 Massachusetts Ave NW, Room 500. There are a few items specific to our immediate neighborhood on the agenda.
1637-1641 R St NW
This combined lot on the corner of R and 17th Streets, which at one point was three separate lots, has rich history being the homes of Cobalt, La Fonda, El Bodegón, Sol, Someplace Else, and more. It has been a cornerstone in 17th Street’s LGBTQ history and the immigrant history in Dupont Circle.
The owner of the property is local to Dupont Circle and is significantly renovating the interior, and intends to fill out some of the rear of the property which is currently in poor condition. The plans include adding a penthouse, inset so it isn’t visible from the street. They are also working with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office to receive guidance on restoring the exterior. The final use will be up to a potential 18 apartment units, with the ground floor a commercial space.
The owner has spent a significant amount of time this year meeting with people with deep connections to the buildings going back decades, as well as many current neighbors, and is working to make sure the new work respects the history of the space.
1521 Corcoran St NW
The owner of this row house is proposing a new roof penthouse (not visible from the street) and a small addition in the rear, as well as the replacement of their front steps and front patio to conform with historic preservation standards. They are also considering solar panels on the roof. They are working with an architect experienced with these types of historic properties as well as with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office.
The current building is three apartments, and upon completion will be four.
1620 Riggs Place
This project adds an accessory garage with roof top patio and new balcony and staircase. Normally work facing alleys are not heard by the Historic Preservation Review Board, but the alley between R St and Riggs Place has historical significance. The architect on this project has experience working on this block.
If you have feedback about any of the above items or want more detailed information, please contact me. As well, the three items will also be discussed prior to our full ANC meeting at the Zoning, Preservation, and Development Committee tomorrow, June 5, 7:00 p.m. at 9 Dupont Circle NW.
Scottish Rite Apartments Recap
Last month, the ANC 2B passed two resolutions regarding the Scottish Rite Apartments proposed for the corner of 15th and S St NW.
On the landmarking application, the effort to define the property behind the temple at 1733 16th St NW as a landmark, was thoroughly vetted by ANC Commissioners and our Zoning, Preservation, and Development Committee. The ANC 2B, as well as Historic Preservation Office staff determined that the land is not a landmark. Until the last few decades, the area at 15th and St St NW had houses, and there was no evidence the architect of the temple intended that the homes around it be destroyed. However, this application was an opportunity for the Historic Preservation Review Board to clarify the land boundary around the temple landmark. When landmarks were initially defined locally, it was the buildings that were landmarks, not the land around them.
You can read the full ANC 2B resolution, and the Historic Preservation Preservation Review Final report. The Historic Preservation Review Board ultimately determined:
The Board denied the amendment to the Scottish Rite Temple designation to establish the boundaries to coincide with Lot 108. The Board determined that the former Lot 800 upon which the temple stood when completed in 1915 was the appropriate boundary and voted to establish the boundary as such. Vote: 8-0.
The ANC 2B and the Historic Preservation Review Board also reviewed the concept for the proposed building. As this is the second time the building has been reviewed, the ANC 2B felt that the concerns brought up last year had been addressed, and added a suggestion that no physical barriers be put between the temple and the new building. Read the entire resolution here. Below is the HPRB’s action:
By a vote of 6-0, the Board found the revised concept for new construction and subdivision to be compatible with the landmark, the 16th Street and the 14th Street historic districts, and that final permit and subdivision approval be delegated to staff, contingent on the following:
- The projecting bays and window and door surrounds on the S Street elevation should be given greater articulation, depth and shadow;
- The doors and door surrounds for the townhouse elements should have greater visual interest;
- The stair risers should be developed to provide visual interest;
- The penthouse height should be further reduced and the penthouse windows reduced in size;
- The penthouse amenity room should be pulled further away from the back of the temple, and the roof deck railing for the amenity area should be pulled off the S Street elevation to eliminate it from being seen against the back of the temple;
- Lightening the color of the penthouse should be considered;
- The penthouse roof should not be used for mechanical equipment;
- The roof deck railings should be made more inconspicuous, ideally so that they are not visible from street view;
- The setback of the building behind the building line on 15th Street should continue to be evaluated as to whether the building could be moved forward;
- While acknowledging that it was outside of their purview, in response to the resolution of ANC 2B the Board encouraged the applicant to work with the community on the hours that the north-south walkway would remain open to the public.
As more information about this project is available, I will keep everyone updated.
1600 Block of R Street NW
Some neighbors have let me know about crimes in the last couple months, including break-ins at some of our local businesses. Last week, MPD released a video of one of these break-ins. If you have any information that may help the police, call MPD at (202) 727-9099 or text 50411.
Please contact me if you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to share! If you know neighbors who might be interested in these emails, the sign up form is here. Keep in touch!
Secretary, ANC 2B
Commissioner, SMD 2B04