Blagden Alley Micro-Units Get Final Approval

by Lark Turner

Blagden Alley Micro-Units Get Final Approval: Figure 1
The bridge design for SB-Urban’s project.

SB-Urban and Rooney Properties got a warm reception in a final appearance before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on Thursday for the team’s Blagden Alley project, which will house millennial clientele in 121 furnished, short-term micro-units.

The HPRB approved a design for the project’s pedestrian bridge and referred the developers and architect, Hickok Cole, to the HPRB staff for final tweaks to the project.

The board initially approved the concept for the project last summer, but hesitated on a key factor in the design: A pedestrian bridge traversing the alley and connecting the project’s two buildings. One of the buildings houses the project’s amenities, which are planned to be substantial given the small size of the units. Residents at the project may even have access to a continental breakfast, developers have said. For that reason, they felt it was important to connect the two buildings.

Board members approved the bridge concept, provided the developers make it open, rather than an indoor walkway. As a compromise, Hickok Cole gave the little bridge a glass roof, which HPRB ultimately approved.

The development team had trouble getting the project approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) due to its lack of parking, but prevailed before the BZA in late February. The company successfully argued that residents would walk, bike and take public transportation rather than use cars to get around.

Given that, one of the board members quizzed the architect on why, exactly, the glass covering over the bridge roof was necessary.

“We think if it’s weather-protected it’ll be much more used,” said Hickok Cole’s Devon Perkins.

“But these are people you’re expecting to walk two blocks to a Metro station!” the board member responded playfully.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/sb-urbans_blagden_alley_project_gets_approval_from_historic_preservation_re/9694

1 Comment

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 10:05 pm on Friday March 27, 2015:
    Although it's difficult-to-impossible to discern what's going on with the bridge, the imagery in the rendering is extremely appealing. One hopes that the Historic staff will watch carefully that the quality designs and uses which make the image so appealing don't filter out during the making-it-real process. DC desperately needs animated public areas narrower than streets. Unfortunately, City Center's Palmer Alley, even if the developer manages to fill its many vacant storefronts, isn't it, since luxury-brand shopping just doesn't draw crowds or produce urban energy. Blagden Alley has much more potential, and this project can be a vital part of realizing it.

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