If the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission has its way, a Marriott hotel is coming to a long-vacant parcel of land in Shaw.
ANC 2C voted 2-1 tonight, with one abstention, in favor of a proposal from Principion Ventures and Baywood Hotels to bring an extended-stay Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel, a Milk and Honey grocery store, and apartments (including 22 affordable units) to Parcel 42 at the corner of 7th and R streets and Rhode Island Avenue NW.
The proposal beat out five others presented by developers at a Nov. 14 public meeting that included a building with more affordable housing and one with a public stair and a retail courtyard.
Two community groups spoke in favor of a plan from Jubilee Housing to create a mixed-use building with more affordable housing, at a lower income threshold, than its competitors. But the commissioners, haunted by a previous plan for the site that was 100 percent affordable housing but couldn’t get the necessary funding and was called off, decided that a plan requiring city funding was too risky.
ANC 2C chair Alex Padro said called that previous experience “very disturbing” and said, “Just like the president has evolved on issues like gay marriage, I’ve evolved on Parcel 42. The ability to get this development done is very important to me.”
The dissenting vote came from Rachelle Nigro, who supported a plan from the Neighborhood Development Company for its density but said she’s “not anti the hotel,” despite fears that it’ll mean fewer people around when the hotel’s not full.
Kevin Chapple, who made the motion in support of the hotel project, cited the jobs it’d bring to the neighborhood and the tourists it’d draw, which in turn would likely increase the police presence.
Buwa Binitie, one of the developers behind the hotel project, celebrated after the vote with a group of young people he said he’d dispatched to the local streets twice a day for the past two weeks to hand out flyers in support of the proposal.
Binidie says the hotel will serve as both an extended-stay option and a place for relatives of Howard University students to stay for a night or two when they come to visit.
“We have to go through a PUD [Planned Unit Development, which requires zoning approval],” Binidie said of the next step. “But part of the reason we’re out here garnering support is so the PUD process isn’t too lengthy.”
But first, the plan needs to win the support of the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development—-no sure thing, although the city is supposed to give “great weight” to the ANC’s recommendation.
“Even if we make a recommendation to the deputy mayor’s office,” said Padro, “they can use a different set of criteria and go with ‘none of the above.'”
Rendering courtesy of OPX via Parcel42.com