We’ve had some great discussion in the comments section on the four 5th & I RFP finalists since my last posting on the subject on January 8th. Many of you cast your support for the Peebles proposal for the Standard Hotel. In fact one reader started an iPetition titled “Bring Standard Hotel to 5th & I Street NW” in favor of the Peebles proposal that has collected 35 signatures.
Per the suggestion of one commenter I watched a video (Youtube, beginning 13 minutes into the segment) of the January 8th ANC6E meeting that covered the topic of the 5th & I RFP proposals. I would disagree with the characterization that the ANC mostly read comments that opposed the Standard Hotel proposal. Point of views that were both for and against elements of each proposal were orated. Putting the affordable housing from the Peebles proposal in Anacostia rather than MVT did garner slightly stronger words but I think everyone should be prepared for that as it was the most controversial aspect of any of the proposals. Unfortunately it was not a fair characterization as Peebles pledged to put the units in a mixed-income building, not a low income building. However affordable housing is an emotionally charged issue and supporters sometimes get tunnel vision and only see the negatives and disregard other details that don’t support their narrative.
After watching the video I agree with ANC6E’s overall approach. Commissioner Marge Maceda, who represents the impacted Single Member District (6E05), feels the MOST consistent feedback she has received over many months is that residents want a park. The ANC recognizes that this is the last parcel of land in the Mount Vernon Triangle that is not privately owned. This parcel is our last real bargaining chip for community amenities in MVT. ANC6E has recommended that each of the four finalists commit to putting $2.5 million into an escrow for the Seaton and Milian park improvements in their BAFOs (Best & Final Offers). I would infer that level of commitment would put a proposal on excellent footing to receive the support of the ANC.
In the end, the office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) will make the final determination and selection. Economic benefit to the city is high on DMPED’s criteria and they will not be swayed entirely by community benefits or ANC support. It will be interesting to see how this all bears out. The aforementioned BAFO proposals by the development teams with be presented at the February ANC6E meeting on February 4th. The meeting will be held at the Northwest One Library and begins at 6:30pm. Other topics are also on the agenda.