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Adams Morgan’s contentious SunTrust Plaza project blocked by D.C. Superior Court

Yet another speed bump for this project

In January 2017, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) approved developer PN Hoffman’s proposal to redevelop SunTrust Plaza in Adams Morgan with a six-story, 54-unit condo project with 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail. Despite criticisms from locals in the neighborhood, it seemed like the $30 million project was able to clear its final regulatory hurdle and begin construction.

Washington Business Journal now reports that the developer’s project has been halted, thanks to two citizens groups who filed a lawsuit in protest. D.C. Superior Court Judge Todd Edelman approved the halting of the project due to an over 40-year-old easement that requires the property owner to dedicate some of the space for public use. No trial date has been set yet.

In the lawsuit, it reads:

“The plaza has been open continuously for public use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for about 38 years. The farmers market, political, social, cultural, and other public uses of the plaza have continued uninterrupted since Perpetual [the former owner] dedicated the plaza to public use ... The loss of the plaza would undermine community health and adversely affect the livability and vibrancy of the Adams Morgan neighborhood.”

In October 2016, a local community group, called ANC 1C, unanimously voted against PN Hoffman's project, located at 1800 Columbia Road NW, describing it as too big and too high. Prior to the meeting, the developer had lowered sections of the project by five feet. The original plan for the project was to construct 60 condos over 8,375 square feet of retail.

The reason why residents are so protective of the land is because of its historicity. The Washington Post described the area as "Adams Morgan's gateway," the focal point for the annual Adams Morgan Day festival, a farmers market, and a site where Jimi Hendrix once played in a theater that occupied the space.

PN Hoffman's Adams Morgan SunTrust project halted by court injunction [Washington Business Journal]