Last night ANC 6C held a special meeting to further discuss the 5th and I development proposals. Attendees included the full set of 6C commissioners, Clint Jackson from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (ODMPED), community residents and some members of the development team also attended merely to silently take in feedback.
Upon entry to the meeting each attendee was provided printed documents of the commission’s analysis and recommendation. The commissioners briefly explained what the documents represented, why they decided to have this special meeting two weeks after initially discussing the topic, and how the meeting would proceed.
Clint Jackson from ODMPED was then given the floor to explain how the recommendation from ANC 6C would be used in his departments decision. Basically the commission and community members are given most of the details of these proposals but not every detail is public. Jackson explained that companies would not compete in this manner if items like detailed financials of bids were publicly disclosed. Therefore ODMPED will give great weight to the feedback of the ANC but will use all the information at their disposal, including that which is not publicly shared, to select a proposal.
The commission then opened the floor to residents to share their points of view. While I lost count of the number of residents who took the microphone it was in the double digits and about 80% 555 Mass residents. I was pleasantly surprised that every resident who spoke agreed that the The Arts at 5th and Eye (Donohoe/Holland) was the best fit for the community. I had expected that some would prefer I5/Potomac due to the lure of a Tryst-like cafe, artist studios and to avoid having any kind of club in the neighborhood. However residents were lockstep in feeling the # 1 priority was to make 5th Street a vibrant and safe place. People were very vocal that they wanted to feel safe near their building and safe during walks to the Safeway and other future amenities at City Vista. Consensus was that, while I5/Potomac is an acceptable proposal, the Donohoe/Holland vision to expand the project up to K Street would have the greatest potential positive impact.
The ANC 6C commissioners reclaimed the floor and presented their recommendation. They unanimously agreed with the community to endorse the Donohoe/Holland proposal.
It is clear from comparative review of the RFP criteria and the additional community criteria that only two of the final four development teams submitted proposals that clearly address community concerns and identified neighborhood needs. Donohoe/Holland and i5 both focus on local retail, local amenities, and improvements that take into account the unique needs and resources of this community. ANC 6C believes that the Donohoe/Holland proposal (aka Arts on 5th) best meets the majority of the above criteria, particularly with regard to the development of 5th St NW, long-term job creation using the First Source standards, pedestrian safety issues beyond construction, and written agreements with the community and the ANC. ANC 6C recommends the Donohoe/Holland proposal as the best fit for the community and the future of 5th and Eye. The Commission notes that i5 is a strong proposal and our second choice.
Feels good to be at a meeting where everyone is on the same page. Hopefully the ODMPED follows suit. We’ll know in mid June. =)