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HPRB Votes to Support Mount Pleasant Laundromat-to-Residential—Minus One Story

by Nena Perry-Brown

Rendering of proposed development. Click to enlarge.

Last week, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) unanimously voted in support of a concept to retrofit a Mount Pleasant laundromat into a residential project — if it is three stories.

As designed by KASA Architecture, the concept would restore the laundromat façade at 3215 Mount Pleasant Street NW (map) and deliver a four-story building with 15 residential units and 1,420 square feet of ground-floor retail. Two of the units would be inclusionary zoning (IZ). 

The original proposal by Velocity Property Management would have delivered a three-story building with nine units above 2,000 square feet of retail and no IZ; representatives from the ANC and the historic district preferred the newer design and the ANC voted in favor of the project with IZ units included.

"The ANC was interested in having inclusionary zoning in the project, as are we, and really, this fourth story is very necessary to get there," KASA's Kevin Sperry explained to the Board. "Without it, it would be a very challenging project financially."

Rendering of proposed development. Click to enlarge.

HPRB Boardmember Outerbridge Horsey summed up the consensus among his colleagues , a few of whom described the design as "massive" in its current iteration.

"I think we are all supportive of inclusionary zoning. However, when it's tied to a design that starts to make the compatibility of a project questionable, and I sort of sense you were tying it to that in your presentation, that becomes a little bit of a problem for me."

A few boardmembers suggested that there may be a way to design the building in such a way that a fourth story could be less imposing. The approved motion also gives the applicant the opportunity to redesign the project with a fourth story and return to the Board for review.

This isn't the first instance where the HPRB has voted in a way that seemingly contradicts the city's larger goals; for example, many have criticized the Board's apparent prioritization of aesthetic character over environmental sustainability. Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio tweeted that he would "look into it". 

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/hprb-votes-to-support-mount-pleasant-laundromat-to-residential-minus-one-st/16790

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