The southern portion of the historic Specialty Hospital at 700 Constitution Avenue NE might be getting more than a fresh coat of paint to entice new residents to the rapidly rising Capitol Hill neighborhood. As we mentioned previously, IBG Partners is hoping to convert part of the now-defunct Specialty Hospital into 140 rental apartments with more than 80 partially-underground parking spaces for new tenants. At a community meeting a few weeks ago several issues were raised that we have outlined after the jump after talking with a few people who were at the meeting.
· The concern that dominated the meeting was the impact on the neighborhood, especially traffic issues. Because part of Specialty Hospital is still being used, there are concerns about how hospital staff rotations and subsequent traffic will be affected by the comings-and-goings of the 700 Constitution Avenue renters. IBG representatives acknowledged that while alternative modes of transport, such as Capital Bikeshare or Zipcar, are not off the table, a market study still needs to be conducted to understand the best alternatives for the neighborhood. They also made it known the building will have a 24-hr concierge to help with deliveries and to manage any on-street issues as they arise.
· After concerns about traffic the next hottest topic was the size and make-up of the units. Many in the audience were concerned the building would be marketed to young singles who only need one-bedrooms. One takeaway from the meeting is that community members are going to try to find census data or other information that supports the need for places to house families and people in older demographics.
· IBG doesn't want to make their lease public, but they did agree to a third-party review of the lease by a lawyer.
· The building has to be rentals since IBG only has a seventy-five year lease from the current owner, Dr Shin. After seventy-five years the building reverts back to Dr Shin's heirs and developers thought it likely that as it gets closer to the seventy-five year mark people would be less interested in buying condos that they wouldn't own past the deadline.
· According to the terms of the lease Dr Shin, the owner, doesn't have any say in approving the plans for the building.
· Here are some specific details about the design said by one of the IBG representatives (Nick Giordano) as taken from the meeting's minutes:
We plan to take off the added metal addition at the top of the building. The in-fill on Constitution Ave comes out. Chimneys, etc. come off. The 8th St ramp comes off. The in-fill in court – coming off. We plan to build a full height addition in the back. The main entrance will be off Constitution Ave. English basements are not entered from the street and will be partially below grade. Below the terrace is a 2 level parking lot, for which we will dig down 15 feet. We are adding bays on 7th and 8th St, 3 stories high. We will repair cornice behind fascia. We will replace windows on 7th+8th St with 6 over 6 that matches what we see in historic photographs. There will be one central penthouse within regulation height: we are hoping to make it smaller once we know what equipment will go in. The backside will have a more contemporary look using a terracotta system with the same color as brick. The back side will have larger windows than on the street. In the current hospital, the 1st floor is 4 feet above grade – and the backside terrace will be at the same level with the garage below terrace. People drive in through alley and leave through C St. Currently the hospital has no plan about alley, and IBG wants to negotiate an easement with the hospital to make the 8th St alley one way, with egress on C St. 140 units, 86 parking spaces – a little more than zoning requires. · Scott Price, Commissioner for ANC6C06, said that they are 'cautiously optimistic' that the project will get off the ground.
· The First Attempt At Speciality Hospital's Reincarnation [CDC]
· IBG Partners [OfficialSite]
--Additional reporting by George Perkins.