Gradually, gradually, the city is scrapping Adrian Fenty-era-and-earlier plans for redevelopment projects on government land—-either killed by the economy or fumbled by the last administration—-and throwing them back out for bid. Up this week: Parcel 42, otherwise known as the big empty lot on the northeast corner of 7th and Rhode Island Avenue NW, kitty corner from the Shaw Library.
Back in 2008, the city made a deal that entailed not only giving the land to the developer, but also about $10 million worth of subsidies, allowing all of the 94 rental units to be affordable for people making less than 60 percent of the area median income. As the economy tanked, the Fenty administration tried to back off that ambitious goal, spurring a tent city protest on the site.
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development killed the deal entirely last spring. This time around, the city isn’t offering anything in subsidies besides free land, and can’t make any promises about how affordable the apartments will be—-very likely, developers will want to go as market rate as possible. “I can’t make the project any more feasible than it is,” Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins told Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2C this evening. Developers are still asking for money to do the project. “I’m not even going to tell you how much they told me they needed to develop this site,” Hoskins said.
They expect to issue a request for proposals next month, it’ll take 90 days to get responses back, another three months to make an award, and a few months after that to get it past the Council and go through any zoning procedures. In the mean time, probably nothing will happen on the site—-the proposed angelic art project was pushed off until next year.
Image from last year’s tent city on Parcel 42, by Lydia DePillis.