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Is Another DC Firehouse Block Redevelopment in the Works?

by Nena Perry-Brown

Subject sites and owners.

Another firehouse block redevelopment is being envisioned in DC.

Jair Lynch Development Partners is seeking community support and neighbor consensus to rezone the south side of the 500-600 blocks of Rhode Island Avenue NE from industrial to mixed-use zoning. As the company's founder Jair Lynch explained to the Eckington Civic Association on Monday night, his firm controls 626 W Street NE (map) and represents the Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church for their properties from 605-649 Rhode Island Avenue NE (map). The Wilkes Company, which owns the site of the AutoZone at 519-533 Rhode Island Avenue NE (map), also supports the rezoning.

If approved, the zoning would change the designation from PDR-2 (production, distribution and repair) to MU-10 (medium-density commercial and high-density residential). Development is not envisioned as being a single project across all the sites, although there will be collaboration to ensure harmony. The residential component will likely include at least 150 units, with the proportion of affordable units dependent on whether the city's land is included. Lynch is also committing to set aside 15% of the retail space for local businesses.

Lynch also wants to connect Rhode Island Avenue and W Street via a curbless, pedestrian-friendly "public outdoor living room" with an Art Walk, pick-up/drop-off zones, and access to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The church would consolidate its facilities into a newly-constructed sanctuary across the street as part of the phased redevelopment of the Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center.

Similarly to another speculative effort on Georgia Avenue, realization of the potential development in the subject area would be contingent on the city's RFP (request for proposals) and land disposition process for the firehouse site at 501 Rhode Island Avenue NE (map)

The 2010 Small Area Plan contemplated a similar rezoning to mixed-use for the site, as well as a community benefits package that includes a new fire station. With the support of the community and stakeholders across the ten parcels, Lynch expects a map amendment application to be filed this summer. 

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/is-another-dc-firehouse-block-redevelopment-in-the-works/16905

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