May 3, 2007

Consolidated Planned Unit Development and Map Amendment for Square 54 at Washington Circle
(File Number Z.C. 06-27)

The National Capital Planning Commission advised the D.C. Zoning Commission to approve the consolidated planned unit development on the site of the old George Washington University Hospital between 22nd and 23rd Streets, NW. An office building will take up the north side of the parcel fronting Washington Circle and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, and a residential building with ground floor retail will occupy the southern portion of the lot along I Street, NW. The site has been vacant since 2004, when a new hospital was constructed across 23rd Street.

The Commission determined that the project, which will add 842,552 square feet of developed space, does not conflict with the 1910 Height of Buildings Act or the Federal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital, nor does the project adversely affect other federal interests. Project amenities for the development include reserved space for affordable housing, a grocery store, environmentally friendly design elements, and a courtyard that will be open to the public during the day.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Reservation 174: Northwest Park (Old Convention Center Site)
(File Number 6690)

The Commission approved the concept design for a park on a triangular site in Northwest DC bounded by New York Avenue on the north, I street on the south, and 10th and 11th Streets on the east and west, respectively. Commissioners commended the development team on a high-quality, durable, and environmentally sustainable design that respects historic L’Enfant streets and reservations of the District of Columbia.

The proposed park is one component of a master plan for a large-scale, mixed-use development on the site of the old Convention Center near Mount Vernon Square. The park’s general design approach is guided by three primary goals: to connect the park to the rest of the city, integrate it into the emerging neighborhood, and create a unique and inviting destination. The design calls for several elements, including large- and small-scale fountains, reserved vendor spaces, fixed and moveable seating, and landscaping with flowering trees, street trees, and other shrubbery.

Reservation 174 is currently owned by the federal government, but Public Law 109-359 has authorized transfer of ownership to the District of Columbia. The transfer is expected to occur later in 2007. In the future, preliminary and final plans for the park’s design also will require NCPC approval under the Commission’s authority over District projects in the Central Area.

In conferring its approval, the Commission further recommended reestablishing the 10th and I Street rights-of-way with the street, sidewalk, and curb lines indicated in the 1965 Baist map. They also directed the applicant to work cooperatively with the National Park Service and the District Department of Transportation toward a final design that reflects the site’s contribution to the historic plan of Washington, relates the three other “bow-tie” shaped parcels around Mt. Vernon Square, and enhances the views along New York Avenue towards Mount Vernon Square and the White House.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Informational Presentation

St. Elizabeths Hospital West Campus Master Plan

Commissioners received an update on the master planning process to convert the West Campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital into a secure site for the Department of Homeland Security’s consolidated headquarters.

Representatives of the General Services Administration (GSA) presented five different development alternatives, two with approximately 4.4 million square feet and three with approximately 6.4 million square feet of space, including parking. GSA is communicating with dozens of local and federal stakeholder groups while completing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the site. NCPC anticipates reviewing both the EIS and the Master Plan later this year.

The St. Elizabeths West Campus includes more than 70 historic buildings with approximately 1.1 million square feet of space, 750,000 square feet of which is usable. The Commission does not act on informational presentations, but will take action when the EIS and Master Plan are submitted for formal review.

The study will identify six potential alternatives to current traffic patterns, examine potential impacts of the alternatives, and provide long-range goals to improve the traffic congestion. The Commission expects a final report in December.

The District of Columbia Department of Transportation and Office of Planning, the National Park Service, the U.S. Secret Service, Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments are helping to guide the effort.

Consent Calendar: The Commission voted on Consent Calendar items without staff presentations or public testimony.

Delegated Decisions: Projects for which the Commission delegated decision-making authority to the Chairman, Executive Committee, or Executive Director.