Zoning Commission Unanimously Approves WhyHotel at 481-Unit Coast Guard Headquarters Conversion

by Nena Perry-Brown

Rendering of pick-up/drop-off area at RiverPoint. Click to enlarge.

Last fall, the development team behind the conversion of the Buzzard Point Coast Guard headquarters into a mixed-use residential project applied to convert some apartments into temporary WhyHotel units. This week, the Zoning Commission granted unanimous approval to the application despite opposition from ANC 6D. 

The RiverPoint development at 2100 2nd Street SW (map) is delivering 481 units above 50,000 square feet of commercial space (including a food hall and indoor/outdoor restaurants from the owners of Tony and Joe's and Spike Gjerde) and a new headquarters for DC Central Kitchen. Short term lodging company WhyHotel would lease up to 150 of the residential units for up to two years to operate as pop-up hotel use. 

"ANC-6D believes that a greater benefit to the larger community may indeed accrue should this request be denied," the ANC stated in a letter to the Commission. "Allowing the Applicant to put a hotel on site – albeit a temporary hotel (at the ANC’s specific insistence) – only helps to lower the availability of apartment units in this building and keep the rental price of such units artificially high."

The Department of Housing and Community Development made a similar point in its comments as part of the Office of Planning report.

"DHCD does not object to the Modification of Significance, we do however want to recognize that the temporary lodging use is expressly a means to establish a higher rent market where one currently does not exist and would welcome IZ units in addition to those originally required so that a greater measure of affordability is retained as the market develops."

The development has eight inclusionary zoning (IZ) units at 60% and 50% of median family income (MFI).

At their final vote this week, commissioners expressed some sympathy to the ANC's points, but noted that their purview in the current application only covers whether temporary hotel use is suitable for the site.

The applicant also upped the ante on positing the WhyHotel units as a community benefit, offering to give ANC 6D residents the option of a one-time stay of up to four nights in a one-bedroom at 50% off. Previously, the applicant had offered ANC 6D residents a staff discount on WhyHotel units. The Commission noted that they cannot make approval conditional on the benefits the applicant offered.

The development is helmed by Akridge, Western Development and Orr Partners, and Antunovich Associates and BCT Architects are the designers. 

See other articles related to: zoning commission, whyhotel, riverpoint, buzzard point, anc 6d

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/zoning-commission-unanimously-approves-whyhotel-at-coast-guard-headquarters/17064

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