The Long Saga of the Hine School Redevelopment

by UrbanTurf Staff

A rendering of Hine School redevelopment.

The redevelopment of Capitol Hill’s Hine Junior High School has been one of the most hotly contested projects in the city over the last few years. And the redevelopment remains in limbo, as the Zoning Commission’s ruling in favor of developer Stanton-Eastbanc’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) stands against a neighbor-led lawsuit.

Here is a quick refresher on the redevelopment. The PUD outlines a mixed-use project at 7th Street SE and Pennsylvania Avenue SE, adjacent to Eastern Market. The planned redevelopment would include 158 residences, 61,000 square feet of retail space, office space, a plaza, underground parking, and an area for the flea market section of Eastern Market, though smaller than what currently exists.

When Stanton-Eastbanc received approval from the Zoning Commission on the PUD last year, many thought that the long process of negotiations was over, and that the developers were on track to close on the property in July 2013 and break ground soon after. Stanton-Eastbanc won the right to develop the vacant, 132,000-square-foot school building and associated 137,614 square feet of land in 2009, and spent three years revising their plans over the course of intense community discussions.

However, a group of neighbors submitted a lawsuit to the DC Court of Appeals against the Zoning Commission’s ruling this past summer, stalling the process. The court heard the case in September, and it may be several more months before they issue their decision. Until the decision, the site will not be transferred to Stanton-Eastbanc.

Among other things, the opposing residents are concerned with the size, height and density of the multi-building project, as well as what they see as a lack of transparency regarding the deal between the city and the developers. On the latter point, the neighbors notched a victory recently. The blog Capitol Hill Corner, which has been diligently documenting the specifics of the redevelopment, reported Thursday that the DC Office of General Council reversed the decision by the Office of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development “to shield project documentation from an FOIA request” filed by the neighbors’ attorney.

If and when the developers receive a favorable decision from the Court of Appeals, they can begin the process of environmental remediation, demolition and construction. However, that decision may not come for several months.

We’ll update readers as any decisions come down.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/hine_school_redevelopment_stalled_by_lawsuit/7815


  1. JT said at 10:58 am on Friday November 15, 2013:

    At some point the imperative to just get rid of the rat and roach-infested eyesore and move on with the development has to overcome the stubborn minority that keeps delaying the inevitable. You fought the good fight and won many concessions, now let it go and tear this dump down!

    Great article and hope we don’t need too many more updates: demolition day and open house day are highly anticipated!

  1. JH said at 11:57 am on Friday November 15, 2013:

    As a cap hill resident, I couldn’t agree more with JT.  Move on and get rid of the eye sore.

  1. Long Time Hill Resident said at 12:50 pm on Friday November 15, 2013:

    I can’t wait for this to get started and finished. I am tired of the old school mentality of the obstructionists. The neighborhood needs density.

  1. JKB said at 1:26 pm on Friday November 15, 2013:

    Another Cap Hill resident here in agreement with the previous comments. I’d rather see this developed and thriving rather than the horrendous structure as it currently stands. It’s an embarrassment.

  1. Cap Hill Kid said at 4:24 pm on Friday November 15, 2013:

    Yet another Capitol Hill resident, a long time resident near the 7th St project - let’s get on with it and be done and move forward.

  1. ted said at 4:51 pm on Friday November 15, 2013:

    Cap Hill resident here.  Yeah, I wish there was a way to counter-sue these NIMBYers on behalf of the vast majority of residents who support this project.

  1. pete said at 5:29 pm on Friday November 15, 2013:

    And another Cap Hill resident here! I live a few blocks away and also want this project to start. It’s high time the school went down, the project went up, and all the BS lawsuits and bureaucratic games to stop.

  1. Fabrisse said at 5:52 pm on Friday November 15, 2013:

    I don’t like the NIMBY group.  I think the development should go forward.

    They do have a point about the Mayor’s office working around the ANCs and neighborhood organizations rather than working with them.  Too often projects come as a huge surprise, and that should stop.

  1. mona said at 8:03 pm on Friday November 15, 2013:

    This sounds a lot like the Mcmillian project in Bloomingdale. Small number of neighbors with nothing better to do, protesting a project that should have started forever ago and they have delayed and delayed and delayed. Hope if works out for Hines and for McMillian

  1. Bill said at 9:01 pm on Friday November 15, 2013:

    Counsel, not Council.

  1. Readthesuit said at 8:24 am on Thursday November 21, 2013:

    I live on 8th and know many of the neighbors involved in the suit although I myself am not a member.  I do encourage everyone who has posted here to look at the neighbors’ arguments. 

    The initially approved development was to include access for the public to open space on the site (Stanton sold the initial plan with pictures of happy little children playing in water fountains) and the revised plans include nothing for the public.  The height of the sturcture was to be limited and SEB revised.  They also committed to paying for a renewal of the park north of penn at 9th and while that revision is still slated to happen, it’s with tax dollars and SEB will not pay.  There is also the argument that SEB is getting a shocking low price for the property. 

    I want it to move forward as well, trust me, but even if you are pro-density, and dont mind the way in which such a large structure could change the feel of the neighborhood, one must conclude that the project could work better for the city and neighbors and SEB could still make plenty of money on the project.  You can’t blame the neighbors for expecting the developers and city to provide what they were sold.

  1. Friend of the Hill said at 3:37 pm on Thursday February 20, 2014:

    I find it interesting that almost all the responses to this are for “just moving forward” and getting rid of the “roaches and rats”. These are independent post, right? As a Hill resident, I concerned that what was proposed and what is being approved are two very different developments for the Hill and Eastern Market.

Comments are closed.

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