March 6, 2008

Consolidated Planned Unit Development, 1000 F Street, NW
(File Number ZC-07-18)

At its March meeting, the National Capital Planning Commission commented on the proposed action of the D.C. Zoning Commission to approve a Consolidated Planned Unit Development at the corner of 10th and F Streets, NW. The Commission’s role is to advise the Zoning Commission on whether the project will adversely affect an identified federal interest. The federal interest related to this project is the Height of Buildings Act of 1910.

The site for the proposed development lies across the street from the historic Ford’s Theater on 10th Street. The Peterson House, where President Lincoln died after being shot at Ford’s Theater, lies just to the south.

The existing building on the corner of 10th and F Streets would be renovated and incorporated into the design of a new 11-story office building with ground floor retail.

With guidance from the Historic Preservation Review Board, the design of the proposed building is stepped back from 10th Street to keep it in context with the historic district and the surrounding buildings. The proposed exterior walls of the building consist of brick and terra cotta veneer on two sides and an aluminum glass curtain on the remaining walls with the historic two-story masonry building at the base.

The Height Act establishes the maximum height for this building at 120 feet, based on the width of F Street. The uppermost roof of the building is 120 feet high, but a parapet wall at this level rises above that height. In addition, the building has a penthouse that does not meet the Height Act’s setback requirements.

The Commission advised the Zoning Commission that the proposal would be adverse to the federal interest because it does not conform to the requirements of the Height of Buildings Act and recommended that the applicant be required to modify the design to set the parapet wall and the penthouse back from the exterior walls of the building a distance equal to their height above the adjacent roof.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation.


Informational Presentations

Update on District Streetcar Proposals
Commissioners received a status report on the District of Columbia’s pilot project to bring streetcars back to Washington, DC. NCPC first gave a brief overview of the history of streetcars in Washington and discussed the project in the context of NCPC’s plans and policies. Staff reviewed the Commission’s actions to date on the streetcar demonstration project, including the Commission’s request that the District explore alternative streetcar technology that would avoid the use of overhead wires in the historic L’Enfant city and Georgetown, where overhead wires are prohibited by federal law.

The director of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Emeka Monome, then provided updates on DDOT’s current activities on the project, including DDOT’s exploration of innovative streetcar technology that does not require overhead wires or supporting infrastructurein other U.S. cities as well as internationally. He indicated that DDOT expects to have the demonstration line operating in Anacostia in about 18 months. Solicitation of proposals from streetcar manufacturers for a citywide system may begin at the end of this year. That process is expected to take one to two years.

Update on Old Convention Center Site
The District of Columbia Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development briefed the Commission on the latest plans for the Old Convention Center site. The site, bounded by New York Avenue and H Street and 9th and 11th Streets, NW, will feature six buildings with office and residential space, ground-level retail, and underground parking.

The District envisions the redeveloped site as a major shopping attraction and a pedestrian friendly destination in the heart of downtown Washington. Environmental sustainability is a priority, and the design team plans to use low-impact development techniques to meet the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The site also will include Northwest Park, a new public park on Federal Reservation 174. The Commission expects to review plans for Northwest Park at its April 3, 2008 meeting.


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.