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HPRB Would Like More Discussion on Frager’s Hardware Redevelopment

by Nena Perry-Brown

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A rendering of 1101 Penn

On Thursday afternoon, members of the development team leading the effort to redevelop the former site of Frager’s Hardware on Capitol Hill presented their concept and design to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).

Despite the reservations of some HPRB members, a unanimous motion passed to put their concerns on the record for the developer’s consideration, approve the report furnished by the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and put the issue on the consent calendar for final design review.

The development team, led by Perseus Realty, Javelin 19 Investments and Hickok Cole Architects, plans to transform 1101-1117 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (map) into a by-right mixed-use development that will see Frager’s Hardware return with other neighborhood-serving retail, while also adding underground parking and at least 34 family-sized condominium units.

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The new building will contain the entrances for the condos and for the new Frager’s

HPO’s Steve Callcott introduced the project with a statement of support for the design and the endeavors that the developers went through to ensure a design that was both unique and respectful of the surrounding Capitol Hill Historic District. ANC 6B Chair Kirsten Oldenburg was in attendance to read the ANC’s letter of support while also making record of their concerns. As UrbanTurf reported earlier this month, the ANC generally disliked the “wedding cake”-effect of the numerous setbacks and was also concerned with the abundance of glazing on the rear of the building.

While many on the board were comfortable with HPO’s report, some members felt as though the design could be improved in various ways. One change they would like to see is making the third story more differentiated from the historical facade rather than it being so referential. HPRB Chair Gretchen Pfaehler also specifically felt as though the palette and materials on the infill buildings and the fourth and fifth floors should be simplified. Many expressed their agreement with the points made by ANC 6B.

All of these points were entered in the record along with the HPRB’s support of the HPO staff report. The developers are requested to take these concerns into consideration as they continue to resolve their design. The item’s placement on the consent calendar means that additional hearings are not necessary, but that the developers return to HPRB for final design approval.

Frager’s Hardware was a long-time staple in this neighborhood until a 2013 fire gutted the building, leaving it since vacant. The damage has turned the question of preservation to one of structures rather than of buildings, as only the two facades of 1101 and 1115 remain. Those facades will be stabilized and incorporated into the building, whose stepped-back third story will closely approximate the original brick to give it an attic-like appearance.

The fourth floor will be more lightweight and contemporary, stepped back further with equal parts solid construction and glass, while the fifth penthouse floor, again stepped back, will be primarily of glass. More modern infill components will be built both between the two historic facades and as a separate building on the east side of the site, where the entrances to the residences and the returned Frager’s will also be located.

Correction: The article has been updated to reflect Javelin 19 Investments’ involvement in the project.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/hprb_would_like_more_discussion_on_fragers_hardware_redevelopment/11169

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