City Interests Memo of 5/21

Since we're dealing with a very complicated set of projects I've published the asks on a seperate page from the project descriptions. Here is the text of the memo that was sent to City Interests on 5/21 that details community concerns idenitifed in recent community meetings.

Retail Asks/Questions/Process

1. The community and commission want to see a grocer that represents the aspirations of our neighborhood. We want a store that people in the community want to go to, rather than something they'll drive by on their way to stores in Maryland. Something people want, and would attract quality tenants to other retail and office spaces. Compromising on quality is a nonstarter.

2. How can we create a process moving forward that reassures the community and the commission? Residents are invested in the community. To commit to supporting PUD cases we will need process that gives continued influence in brining retail to the community.  We know everything cant be done by the 31st. At the very least we need a timeline for the next 30-60-90 days. The commission has to demonstrate to the community there's solid footing on how we are going to get there. Need to schedule additional meetings with Joe Falcone

3. The Community and Commissioners are very concerned that the applicant's  approach to promoting Parkside seems to be less than aggressive. There does not seem to be a lot of coordination and support from DC government to secure support for Parkside. The community needs to see more about how Parkside is being promoted. Highlighting mix of professionals, retires, mix.  The community wants to see examples of the retail broker's successes elsewhere. What are the quantitative and qualitative measures that City Interests are using to promote Parkside?

4. City Interests should collect and provide more data. City Interests should conduct an economic data study using methods similar to the following: focus groups, metrics. How recently have you spoken with your retailers? How recent is your data? A: Conversations are ongoing, will be ongoing. Can the consultant provide concrete data around small format grocers?  What do they look for? Why can't we be a concept store.

5. Provide data that confirms that the provided space is sufficient for a grocery store. Details on what each company uses as a metric. City Interests has stated that fewer grocery stores that fit into the 15-20 than 8-12. Fewer tenants in the 15K-20K square feet retail space. Can examples of these stores be provided? What amenities do they feature? What market segments do they target? Has City Interests considered having a larger space (such as adding second story).

6. What developments has City Interests used as a model for the retail at Parkside?

7. The applicant seeks flexibility to convert ground floor retail to housing. What are the implications of this in terms of treating Kenilworth Terrace as a commercial corridor? (relevant to 05-28S as well)

Housing Composition Concerns

1. Diversity of Housing Options: Concerned about the diversity of housing being presented in 05-28Q, R, S. All residential buildings presented recently are all Studios to 2 bedrooms. Overall there is a shortage of family sized housing in DC. Families also tend to be less transient.

2. Provide more homeownership opportunities. The community is very concerned about how rentals may create a more transient community where renters may not feel very invested in the area. As one community member recently put it “you don’t see a homeowner throw trash on the sidewalk in front of their house”.  I’m glad to see the introduction of condos in 05-28Q and Townhouse in 05-28R, S. We want to make sure that the Parkside PUD has adequate opportunities for family housing as well as young professionals.  There is also some broader economic issues such as creating opportunities for residents of the community to create wealth via equity. This is something that homeownership opportunities can produce.

3. Please provide your response to the following two issues raised by Office of Planning: Provide the methodology that will be used to calculate the sale prices of the workforce units  and how those will differ from the comparable market rate units. Consider the addition of a green roof or solar panels on the residential buildings. Now that we are getting to the larger buildings it would be great to see rooftop solar generation included on this as well as other plans.

Transportation Concerns

1. Parcel 12 Alley: There is a concern that drivers will use the alley for cut through traffic at a high rate of speed and will not use Foote Street. We need more features to deter folks from speeding or using the alley as a cut through.

2. Please provide a draft version of the Traffic Studies for these cases and TDM plan for the parcels.

3. What are the impacts of closing the two streets and replacing it with one street?

4. How will handicap parking be provided at this site?

5. How will the underground parking be managed? Will retail spaces have access to this parking? Will the office parking be available for general use after business hours? In general office parking peaks during the day whereas residential parking peaks during the evening, a parking management plan should capitalize on this as much as possible.

6. Historic Trees on Property: Five of the seven trees on the site will be preserved and relocated. How will this be done? Where will the trees be moved to? What logistical challenges do you anticipate from moving these trees?

Data Sharing Requests

1. Please provide all data on groundwater at these sites. The community is very concerned about potential groundwater contamination from the neighboring PEPCO Benning site. There are methodological concerns regarding how PEPCO's contractors have done research and we would like City Interests' data to compare with PEPCO's data.

2. The community would like to see shadow studies of all parcels currently up for review.

3. What is the projected number of units for a completely built out Parkside PUD?

4. What are breakdowns of studios, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom units in each building in 05-28 Q,R,S?

5. We would like to see City Interests share its economic data and collection additional data. The community was promised a retail interest survey in 2015 but this has not been produced. We would like to see this data collected through methods such as surveys and focus groups.

6. When is the website going to be updated? How often will you be updating this to keep the community and those interested informed

Amendments to the Community Benefits Agreement

1. The Commission would like the long-term local hiring clause extended to include permanent jobs such as facility management.

2. Green spaces on this project should be available to the public.

3. Projects should include facilities publicize, advertise, market for community organizations. For example, through the electronic boards in the lobbies of buildings. Another amenity could be a community corkboard where announcements could be placed in prominent locations on the promenade.

4. Amenity space within one of the buildings for hosting smaller meetings hosted by community organizations or the ANC. This space would seat no more than 50 people. Zoning Commission would want the rules regarding usage to be agreed to before hand

5. Discounted organization office space. Office condo to youth or CBO. Organization that services the community in the actual building. 

6. Home Improvement Subsidized fund. The fund should be part of the funding ask in the CBA to provide subsidized loans (max. $7,500 approx. to throw out a starting number); these loans should be made available to low-income homeowners in the Parkside community (boundaries to be defined) to fiancé home upgrade projects. The Civic Association could partner with a Community Bank to design a target loan program or work to have the funds placed with a CDFI to administer the loans. Residents would benefit from:

1.       Access to funds;

2.       Improved credit file (as loan performance should be reported to the three major credit reporting agencies)

3.       Revolving the funds for a defined time period ensures that the funds will serve the maximum number of residents. At the close of this period a portion can stay with the CDFI as an investment and the residual allocated to the civic association to fund community activities.

7. Consider including a clause concerning non-performance; that outlines if a pre-selected third party deems that City Interests has not performed in the CBA as required (add arbitration clause to facilitate this), then City Interests should pay the civic association (or coalition group) a pre-negotiated sum (max. 1%) of the project cost, so that the civic assoc. can step in and complete the performance requirements.

Parcel 12 Project Questions

1. How many people are expected to work in a building of this size?

2. What happens to this space if a GSA tenant is not secured in the current round of RFPs? How long is City Interests willing to wait for other opportunities to present themselves?

3. What is the anticipated mode share for this project? What are mode shares like at similar federal office buildings elsewhere in the region?

4. Can you provide more information on how loading will be accommodated on Kenilworth Terrace?

5. What are the anticipated consequences of creating an alley between Kenilworth Terrace and Kenilworth Avenue. I can see this being used heavily for cut through traffic. What features would you be willing to implement to prevent cut throughs?

6. The stage 1 PUD approved a total of 750,000 sq ft for all the projects on this parcel. This proposal lists this building as 500,000 sq ft. If a similar sized building were placed next door this would be a 25% increase in floor space but with approximately 25% of the parking of the original? Am I reading this correctly?

7. What saftey and security features will this building use? What security features are demanded as part of the RFP? How will these impact the surrounding community?

8. OP stated: “Finalize and justify the number of parking levels and the number of automobile and bicycle parking spaces proposed to be provided, including applicable drawings demonstrating the proposal as the second parking level is labeled as optional.” on p1 of exhibit 37. What is the applicant’s response to this request?