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How the Development Plans for a Georgia Avenue Strip Hinge on the Fate of a Firehouse

by Nena Perry-Brown

The firehouse at 5760 Georgia Avenue. Via Google Maps.

Last night, representatives of the Neighborhood Development Company (NDC) solicited ideas from the community regarding plans to redevelop a mostly two-story commercial block of Georgia Avenue along the 16th Street Heights/Brightwood Park border. The future of the site, however, may hinge on the fate of a historic firehouse in the center of that stretch.

NDC and the Marcus Asset Group (MAG) own several buildings and lots from 5756-5810 Georgia Avenue NW (map). The location is zoned for by-right, medium-density mixed-use development with a maximum height of 65 feet. Although no specific vision for the site has been presented, the overall idea is to deliver apartment units above commercial space.

Meeting attendees offered a variety of suggestions, including the desire for a grocer like Trader Joe's, a quality fitness center, health services, a dry cleaner, coffee shop, and/or a healthy sit-down restaurant. Some also expressed the desire to retain existing commercial tenants, create community gathering space, and incorporate a rooftop patio to take advantage of views. Others would like to see the inclusion of some sort of incubator space for nearby residents, a dog park or planted trees along the streetscape, and "stimulating" activities for pre-teens and teenagers.

While NDC doesn't anticipate pursuing a planned-unit development, the plans for the site will largely hinge upon which development team the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) selects via an upcoming request for proposals (RFP) process.

At March Madness last month, DMPED previewed plans to solicit proposals for 5760 Georgia Avenue NW, an inactive firehouse originally built in 1897. While the city's Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department may still retain some presence on the site, being able to incorporate the property in any larger plans for the strip would determine what the NDC-MAG team could do with the properties they currently hold. The RFP is expected to be released this summer.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/community-offers-neighborhood-development-company-suggestions-for-georgia-a/15288

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