18 Responses to “Steuart Properties in MVT ** UPDATED **”


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  1. Indeed they have said they don’t intend to put any retail in the residential project on square 515. Personally I’d like a little & I agree with everything you have said. I also think the community should address the maintenance issues which were certainly touched on at some of the ANC meetings. From the weeds to snow removal (lack of), this company needs to understand this is a neighborhood that people live in and walk thru. Having this funky blight persist for years & years is really not cool!

  2. Sam Farmer

    I agree with you on the retail design and positioning. Adding truck service points on 6th makes sense although there are no curb cuts on 6th but they would be giving up many on K so no big deal there.

    I think I lean slightly towards having 50/50 residential/office on both lots but not that strongly either way.

  3. FourthandEye

    According to Guy Steuart, by attempting to stay away from terms like FAR that aren’t meaningful the the typical reader I seem to have oversimplified the explanations on the residential requirements. He’s going to fax me additional details and explanations. I’ll update the posting accordingly later this afternoon.

  4. I have no objection to Steuart’s proposal for treating the properties as one unit for regulatory purposes. I think the neighborhood’s best interests are served by getting financially viable projects under way and the two lots are very close to each other.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t be so quick to rule out NY Ave retail. I think the neighborhood’s long-term goal should be to calm the traffic on NY Ave and have it be a nice, boulevardish thoroughfare rather than a semi-highway.

  5. tom veil

    they would like to put all the residential on Square N-515 and all the commercial on Square 483

    Really? That is the reverse of what I would expect. No offense to those of you at Yale Lofts, but I really don’t see the appeal of a condo in N-515 with windows facing either New York Avenue or I-395. The noise alone would be a deal-breaker. For a business, though, that’s a wonderfully accessible location for supply trucks and for commute-by-automobile employees. And then there’s elementary schools. Right now, both locations would be within Walker-Jones, but Square 483 is right up against the border for Thompson, and would stand a good shot of being redistricted into the better school.

  6. Jeff

    No more! We need some parks or other spaces in this area. There are not enough people to fill the units we have now. With Dumont open now and Yale West under construction, we have a lot of people coming to this hood soon. We also have many places still for sale or rent that are not occupied..Yale East, CIty Vista, etc…

    Where are the Parks, the restaurants and other places for people to go? City Vista is a good start, but not enough.

  7. John Thompson

    I’m in 100% agreement with Matthew Yglesias:

    “…I wouldn’t be so quick to rule out NY Ave retail. I think the neighborhood’s long-term goal should be to calm the traffic on NY Ave and have it be a nice, boulevardish thoroughfare rather than a semi-highway.”

    @tom veil:
    “…Really? That is the reverse of what I would expect. No offense to those of you at Yale Lofts, but I really don’t see the appeal of a condo in N-515 with windows facing either New York Avenue or I-395. The noise alone would be a deal-breaker.”

    If they put in good windows (and I mean GOOD ones) – this won’t be an issue at all. When I was in residential development in Logan Circle, good, solid, virtually sound-proof windows were a must. We did the condos at 15th & P (Metropole), 14th & P (Cooper-Lewis) and both condos at 14th & Church (Lofts 14 1 & 2). The windows there were AMAZING. I couldn’t hear a thing on 14th St. (I lived in Lofts 14).

    Now a resident of The L at City Vista (if I had my way), both projects would have retail. All of our Logan Project incorporated retail in them as we knew of the positive impact it would have in the community. Compare the 1400 block of P street and the 1500 block of 14th St now to what they were 15 years ago. Could you imagine if the buildings didn’t have retail? It would be a completely different atmosphere. I would love to have someplace to shop or eat across the street from me, it would really put a lot more foot traffic further down L St. and add to the overall safety of the block. The last thing I would like to see is another dead zone with no vibrant street life. I think NY Ave retail & restaurants with cafes, shopping & landscaping would subconsciously slow down traffic & really give our neighborhood more of a walkable feel vs. that of a freeway. If it looks like a highway, it’ll be treated as such – if it looks like a neighborhood, maybe people will treat it as such. Buildings without retail & blocks without retail have historicly resulted in “dead zones”, which have been the source of complaints for many residents. I’d hate to imagine if Gallery Place or City Vista didn’t have retail or restaurants. I’ll continue to do my best to express that developers in MVT incorporate commercial into all upcoming projects.

  8. Warren

    Re: “they would like to put all the residential on Square N-515 and all the commercial on Square 483.” I don’t like that idea at all. Square 483 is located at the very heart of the Triagle; having more residential along 5th, and perhaps K, would breathe more life into the center of the neighborhood. Also, I agree with Tom that Square N-515 is better suited for commercial, given that it’s next to a freeway. The development of Square 483 should “bridge” CityVista and Douglas Development’s plans for the west side of 6th Street (i.e., I hope we don’t end up with just another cold “flash cube” office building that closes up at 5 pm). Having ground-level retail along NY Ave. between 6th and 5th would advance the cause of making NY Ave. more of a “boulevardish thoroughfare.”

  9. Guy Steuart’s response illustrates perfectly why I struggle to explain what they are going for in terms of zoning :) I am glad he chimed in, that is very helpful. I do think its great to have a mix of office, housing, retail and hotel in the triangle because it really creates an 18hr neighborhood with more eyes on the street and more pedestrian traffic. Avoiding those dead blocks is attractive to me and with more activity and pedestrians comes the slowing of traffic. Before you know it we will get those landscaped medians on NY ave turning it into more of a boulevard. As far as highway noise, there is 4th st & the bible way lots separating sq 515 from 395 – which is also down a hill. In the short term it’ll provide for an nice unobstructed view. (very) Long term plans will probably include bible way’s development & the 2nd phase of 395 air rights but we will all be old n gray. I’m very much looking forward to the Steuart’s visit, them establishing a relationship with the community and hopefully digging relatively soon!

  10. Jerry

    Has DDOT actually developed a plan for the redevelopment of NY Ave. that converts it from an ugly traffic sewer into a beautiful landscaped boulevard, or is that outcome merely a goal of many of the residents of the neighborhood? I attended the original scoping meetings for the redevelopment of the ugly Sherman Ave. corridor back in 2007. DDOT appears to have a good plan in place that will convert that corridor from an awful commuting oriented corridor to a street that serves the neighborhood. I’m curious if a similar process has been in place for this section NY Ave.? If so, what is the status of that process? And if redevelopment process for NY Ave. is in the works, do the Steuart’s plans make sense within the context of what DDOT envisions for that corridor? Seems to me that the ultimate configuration of NY Ave. should drive the development decisions for the Steuart properties. Retail on that corridor is a non-starter in its current configuration.

  11. Dan Maceda

    I agree with Matt Yglesias and John Thompson as a resident of the K at City Vista I want more retail and as a non driver a more walkable neighborhood

  12. sigh.. circa 2003

    In the meantime neighbors have been able to push for some cosmetic improvements and minor changes like repainted crosswalks, signal change at 9th & Mass, those weird posty things around the islands at 5th & NY and 5th & mass….with development also comes improvements to the streetscape and hopefully our little parks like the one at 5th & L.

  13. Tom G

    So an apartment building with no ground floor retail is a dead zone? We can’t even tolerate one block with retail in MVT? But you could have 5 consecutive blocks of rowhouses with no retail at all and nobody calls that a deadzone.

    I’m content with focusing the retail on 5th and K Streets as the master plan calls for. Hopefully the Square 483 retail can wrap around the corner from 5th to occupy some critical mass on NY Ave as well. But the comment that L Street needs retail or it isn’t going to be as vibrant at P Street in Logan Circle misses the mark to me. The master plan says 5th and K Streets are our “P Streets”. Not every street can be P Street.

  14. John Thompson

    Yes, I would call an apartment building with no ground floor retail a dead zone. Case in point: Mass. Ave. apartment buildings.

    Rowhome neighborhoods aren’t the subject matter here – the block I live on is (the 400 block of L Street). As a board member for my building and from discussions with board members of the K, as well as the word around our buildings from residents of The L, K & V at City Vista, we’re on the same page. Many City Vista residents chose this location for a vibrant street life, retail & restaurants, as opposed to a quiet rowhome neighborhood or a location without street retail. I’m sure we can tolerate one block in MVT without retail – but along with many other residents on the 400 block of L Street, we’d look forward to our block having more retail & restaurants. Besides, more people on the street for these types of establishments greatly contribute to the safety of the neighborhood.

  15. Tom G

    The residents of the 400 block of L Street had ample opportunity to buy on the 400 block of K Street if being 1/2 block from the retail spine wasn’t suitable to them. The MVT Masterplan does not require retail on L Street. I’m not sure how one feels entitled to demand changes to plans that are only 5-6 years old. The developer should build only what zoning requires and/or the market will bear. This is obstructionism and is only going to delay the project.

  16. FourthandEye

    I’ll try to dive deeper down on the retail discussion with another posting later in the week. Foot traffic and eyes on the street and are a valuable aspect that retail can bring. But MVT is not Manhattan dense nor is it the tourism district that Penn Quarter is with it’s proximity to museums and the Verizon center. There is a limit to how much retail this neighborhood can support.

    Right now I think we can support more than is currently present because City Vista is the only K Street development that’s been built. But when Square 483 adds 30,000 SF of retail, 425 Eye adds 30,000 SF, 5th & I and Mount Vernon Place add another combined 40-50,000 SF of retail, and Douglas Development (west of 6th Street) adds 50,000-60,000 SF plus we may eventually have all we can handle.

    If a streetcar comes down K Street that may change the equations a bit. MVT may be able to support more retail than originally envisioned in the master plan or it may simply accelerate the development timelines. I don’t pretend to know the answer to that.

  17. Making our opinions & desires for a vibrant mixed use neighborhood isn’t obstructionist imho – especially if we are having a civilized thoughtful, and inclusive discussion. The neighbors SHOULD be able to weigh in on what gets built in our neighborhood otherwise we are at the mercy of the all powerful developers who would like nothing better than to construct offices. Thats where the most cash is. We have zoning requirements for mixing it up but if no one pays attention, there are all kinds of swapping and exemptions granted. I think it is possible to avoid the aura of a dead block even without retail (for ex. minimizing concentration of loading docks/trash receptacles along the streetscape) but it is nice to have a bit of a mix. Right now there is nothing so even more reason to ruminate on what could be.

  18. fifthandem

    great post, great comments.
    our neighborhood is alive and the more we voice our opinions, the more we can influence its future.
    as for me, mix use is the key. give me a little bit of everything on all the blocks and i’m happy. the only thing i could do without, is cars :)