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MRP “Extiguishes” PUD, But Moving Ahead With Massive Rhode Island Avenue Project

by Nena Perry-Brown

MRP "Extiguishes" PUD, But Moving Ahead With Massive Rhode Island Avenue Project: Figure 3
Aerial site map. Click to enlarge.

Another planned-unit development in DC bites the dust.

Last month, the development team behind the PUD intended to replace the Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center (map) requested that the Zoning Commission "extinguish" the approved plans for the 13-acre site. The PUD was appealed to the DC Court of Appeals by the Ward 5 Alliance for Equity in January 2017, and that appeal is still pending. 

"Construction of the approved PUD is at the Applicant's own risk until the appeal is resolved," a letter filed with the Zoning Commission stated. "In light of this risk, the Applicant is not moving forward with the PUD development and its development timeline cannot absorb the delay caused by the appeal."

In lieu of the PUD, the development team, led by MRP Realty and shopping center owner/developer MBR Investment Partners, filed a large tract review (LTR) application for the same site with the Office of Planning (OP) in April 2017 in order to seek a similar matter-of-right project.

OP approved the project in July 2017, but the pending appeal must be resolved or the PUD must be extinguished before the developers can proceed with construction.

MRP "Extiguishes" PUD, But Moving Ahead With Massive Rhode Island Avenue Project: Figure 4
Newer rendering of the first phase of the development. Click to enlarge.
MRP "Extiguishes" PUD, But Moving Ahead With Massive Rhode Island Avenue Project: Figure 1
Previous aerial rendering of the first phase of the development.

The new project, designed by SK+I Architecture and retaining much of the same aesthetic as the first proposal, will still be a seven-phase development creating nine buildings stretching across six blocks bisected by an extended Bryant Street. There will still be roughly 1,550 apartments along with 272,000 square feet of commercial space.

MRP "Extiguishes" PUD, But Moving Ahead With Massive Rhode Island Avenue Project: Figure 5
Newer rendering of Bryant Street between Block 1A and Block B buildings. Click to enlarge.

The phasing and proposed buildings are as follows:

  • Phase I will deliver Blocks 1A, 1B and 5B. Assuming that the timeline anticipated in the LTR application is delayed by one year, this phase will break ground in 2019 and deliver in 2021-2022.
    • Block 1A, at the northeast corner of the site fronting Bryant Street, will deliver 214 apartments above 9,500 square feet of retail in a 65 foot-tall building. Eight percent of the apartments will be affordable. The development team will retain the right to convert 9,000 square feet of residential space into retail based on demand. An additional 500 or more square feet in this building will be for use by the Metropolitan Police Department. This building will share a 333-space parking garage with Block 1B.
    • Block 1B, at the southeast corner of the site fronting Rhode Island Avenue, will be a 65 foot-tall building delivering 152 apartments (8 percent of which will be affordable) atop 54,000 square feet of retail, some of which will conceal some above-grade portions of the shared garage.
    • Block 5B, fronting Rhode Island Avenue, will create the main entrance to the shopping center, delivering 155 apartments above 8,750 square feet of retail.
  • Phase II will consist of Block 2B, a movie theater fronting Bryant Street in a 65 foot-tall building. While this portion of the development is identified as the second phase, Popville reports that this will be an outpost of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and that it will open in 2019.
  • Phase III will consist of Block 2A, fronting Bryant Street between Blocks 2B and 1A. This 65 foot-tall building will deliver 282 apartments above 13,650 square feet of retail. Prior to construction, this site will serve as surface parking for the movie theater; its completion will deliver a shared 414-space garage for use by this building and the theater. This portion could break ground in 2023 and deliver 2.5 years later.
  • Phase IV will see the construction of Block 3, fronting 4th Street. Block 3 will deliver 355 apartments (8 percent of which will be affordable) above 90,000 square feet of retail, including a full-service grocery store. This site will also include open green space for the community. This phase would break ground in 2025 and deliver 2.5 years later.
  • Phase V would construct Block 4, a building fronting 4th Street with 193 apartments above 19,600 square feet of retail. Eight percent of the residential units will be affordable; there will also be 118 parking spaces. This could break ground in 2027 and be completed two years later.
  • Phase VI would consist of Block 5A, a 65 foot-tall, 149-unit apartment building with 17,685 square feet of ground-floor retail. This building will have 108 below-grade parking spaces and could break ground in 2029 and deliver two years later.
  • Phase VII will be Block 6, delivering 101 apartments above 10,000 square feet of retail and 88 parking spaces. This building and Block 5A will flank the Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church on Rhode Island Avenue. This phase could also break ground in 2029 and deliver two years later.
MRP "Extiguishes" PUD, But Moving Ahead With Massive Rhode Island Avenue Project: Figure 6
Newer rendering of Block 1B building as seen from Rhode Island Avenue NE. Click to enlarge.
MRP "Extiguishes" PUD, But Moving Ahead With Massive Rhode Island Avenue Project: Figure 2
Previous rendering of Block 1B building as seen from Rhode Island Avenue NE.

Bryant Street will also have outdoor dining and an outdoor plaza at the mouth, which will serve as a community gathering space and connect to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. 

The existing shopping center will be demolished in phases, and construction of Bryant Street will happen in phases also. All of the building heights are measured from 4th Street NE.

Note: The inclusion of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in this development was added after the article was first published.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/mrps-pulled-back-rhode-island-avenue-project/14525

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