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Northeast’s Michigan Park neighborhood is slated to see 82 new single-family townhouses by 2019 if a proposed development takes off without a hitch. They’d go up on property currently owned by the St. Joseph’s Society for Colored Missions—a community that runs a seminary near Catholic University.
Earlier this month, regional developer EYA submitted redevelopment plans to the D.C. Office of Zoning that cover eight acres at 1200 Varnum St. NE, for a project dubbed 12th & Allison. While some neighbors had expressed concerns over the proposed development’s scale as early as 2015, EYA has cut the total number of townhouses by almost half, from an initial 150, and boosted the amount of public open space to two and a half acres. The Josephites, as the Catholic group is known, will ultimately sell a portion of the land to EYA.
Three- and four-bedroom homes will spread across approximately 80,000 gross square feet, according to the plan. The seminary occupies 100,000 gross square feet and would remain as is under historic preservation, with no new construction immediately to its south, east, or west. The houses would be about 34 to 40 feet tall, per the plan.
All homes have at least three bedrooms, with most homes providing three bedrooms on one level as desired by many families with young children. The Applicant is also aware that few new homes in the District offer private backyard space, another amenity for families. The Project includes backyards for 24 percent of the homes, including two of the Affordable Dwelling Units.
The developer proposes that “no less than 12 percent” of the units will be designated as affordable. Of those 10 homes, four would be priced at 50 to 80 percent of area median income, and six would be priced at 50 percent of AMI. In 2015, the D.C. area’s AMI was almost $110,000, according to officials.
OZ hasn’t scheduled a hearing for the project’s developers before the five-member Zoning Commission, but one is expected before the end of the year. EYA anticipates that it will begin construction in the spring of 2018, and that the first townhouses associated with the project will be finished by that fall.
“A new public green space at the heart of the Project will be intentionally devoted to shared recreational use for use by residents of the new townhouses and neighbors alike,” the plan explains. “Across Webster Street [NE] from this ‘neighborhood green’ will be a more contemplative garden-like open space directly north of the Josephites’ meditation garden.” Neither a point person from EYA or St. Joseph’s could immediately be reached for comment.