142-Unit Apartment Project in Takoma to Make Design Modifications

by Shilpi Paul

Drawing of the Proposed Development

The ANC 4B monthly meeting last night got a little heated when developers presented a revised proposal for two five-story apartment buildings at 7051 Spring Place NW (map) near the Takoma Metro.

The two buildings would include a total of 142 apartments in an area currently occupied by auto repair shops and bordered by the Takoma Metro Station wall. The design is somewhat inspired by cohousing as it will include elements like courtyards, indoor common areas, and parking off to the side. The two buildings would be mixed income rentals, with 40 percent of the units set aside for residents earning less than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). Current zoning only requires the development to set
aside 10% of the units that meet affordable guidelines.

In response to past critiques, developers Bruce Levin and Donald Tucker revised the design, adding more red brick to the facade, pulling the building back from the Chestnut Street property line to 17 and 25 feet (from an original 15 feet), enhancing the landscaping, and frosting windows to give neighbors more privacy. Unfortunately, the changes didn’t do much to appease some vocal opponents, and the ANC requested that the developers go back and make more adjustments.

The affordable housing aspect was cheered by committee members and residents, but emotions ran high in regards to the project’s design and its proximity to homes along Chestnut Street. Specifically, residents were concerned that the design didn’t match the historic flavor of Takoma and that the facade was too modern. “It looks like Florida!” said one ANC member. Some residents were also worried that the large buildings would crowd out the neighbors, and came to the meeting to fight for their ground, hoping to push the building farther away from their backyards.

Levin and Tucker did have several supporters in attendance, including the Pastor of Promised Land Baptist Church, the Board of Directors of the Old Takoma Business Association and a homeowner on Chestnut Street, who all spoke of the improvements the development would bring to the neighborhood, specifically bringing in more residents to support local businesses.

Now, the developers are going back to make further design revisions, which will include making the project less “motel-like”, eliminating some of the balconies and increase the distance between the building and the Chestnut Street houses. Levin and Tucker have been working with staffers from the Historic Preservation Review Board which will be their next stop after ANC approval.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/two_five-story_apartment_to_go_up_in_takoma/4662

1 Comment

  1. Douglas Willinger said at 1:57 pm on Wednesday February 1, 2012:

    Its a wood framed death trap built too close to the railroad, within the derailment footprint:


Comments are closed.

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