A few hours ago, David Alpert did us all a favor by decoding the planning jargon in a National Capital Planning Commission staff report on the Cohen Companies’ proposed development at 1333 M Street SE, on the Anacostia waterfront. Go ahead and read the post, but the short version is this: The NCPC is worried that the design will interrupt streets originally designated as streets in the L’Enfant Plan, turning them instead into pedestrian-friendly open space. And a planned bridge over the 14th Street section would interrupt the viewshed, which Alpert argues isn’t all that breathtaking anyway.
Curious about this yesterday when I heard about the Thursday NCPC meeting at which the proposal will be considered, I called up Cohen Companies—the folks who brought you the Loree Grand—to explain their position.
“We explained that we are adhering to the L’Enfant plan, and going past it in the sense that on the L’Enfant Plan, Virginia Avenue was a usable street,” said Eric Siegel, the company’s point person for the project. “We’re actually reclaiming the street for the District. We’re going to make it into a usable street…We’re looking to celebrate the water.”
Siegel says they haven’t yet begun to think about financing the project, but will be putting together a planned unit development application for the Zoning Commission over the next six to nine months. The NCPC is just “one of the boxes that have to be checked off” first.