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March 28, 2015
1st at Potomac, Looking South (see more)

Way back when, the Cohen Companies' plan on Square 699N was to build the Velocity condo building at 1st and L and then almost immediately start work on a twin residential building directly to the north.
Velocity went up, but the twin did not follow for nearly four years--after Cohen sold the empty lot to Toll Brothers, which is now building the River Parc apartment building on the site. And having a different developer build the twin has brought about a sticky situation.
Within recent days, Velocity residents have discovered that Toll's layout for the River Parc roof includes a wall that completely obscures the formerly expansive Capitol dome views from Velocity's roof deck.
This Facebook page shows the old view from Velocity's roof--and the photo below, provided by a resident, shows the new one.
In addition, the new building's design appears to place the building's 237 air conditioning units on the south side of the concrete wall, facing Velocity.
A recent e-mail to Velocity residents informed them that "[T]he ANC Commissioner, The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the offices of Planning and Zoning have all been contacted and we are being told that all construction is being done in accordance with all plans, permits, zoning, and easements" and that "Every avenue is being pursued to somehow make this situation better for us." Alas, "[A]s long as they are within all legal parameters of their construction of this building, there is little we can do."
Capitol Dome views are a sticky wicket in the neighborhood, since almost all of the buildings that have already gone up stand to eventually lose their panoramic vistas as newer projects continue to fill in the empty spaces. (Just ask Nationals Park!)
The exceptions are 70/100 I (aka the Jefferson and Axiom) and the about-to-be-built 800 New Jersey, all of which border the freeway and so will likely keep their views pristine, as long as Capitol Hill north of the freeway doesn't suddenly start to allow 13 stories of construction.
But an impenetrable concrete wall certainly puts an exclamation point on the issue.
Comments (12)
   
 
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202_cyclist says: (6/14/14 8:42 AM)
Considering all of the knuckleheads in Congress, perhaps it isn't a bad thing to lose the view of the Capitol.

I am just going to be glad when the 6:30 AM Saturday construction is finished.


Whatevs says: (6/15/14 5:53 AM)
First world problems...did you people think that you would have an unobstructed views into perpetuity? What did you think would happen when you bought a unit in a building that had SEVERAL vacant lots surrounding it on THREE sides. Your sales agent hoodwinked you if they told you that there were any guarantees of an permanent unobstructed view. You've enjoyed an unobstructed view for almost 5 years.

Wait till you lose your view on the 1st St SE side...heh heh

Get. Over. It.


JES says: (6/15/14 5:13 PM)
Of course "we people" did not expect a permanent u obstructed view. We expected the building to be a twin of ours though, as that's what everyone was told when we bought. And with that twin, there would not be a giant wall there.

End of the world? Of course not. But d**K move by Toll Brothers? Absolutely.


JES says: (6/15/14 5:14 PM)
Sorry, that was supposed to say "permanently unobstructed." Stupid phone.


Whatevs says: (6/16/14 5:28 AM)
...as that's what everyone was told when we bought.

If it wasn't in writing,you weren't told that.


JES says: (6/16/14 9:50 AM)
Actually, I'm pretty sure when someone opens their mouth and words come out, that's the definition of being told something. Not having it in writing obviously means there isn't anything we can do about it, but this is a forum that allows local residents to present opinions, and that's what I'm doing here, nothing more.


Whatevs says: (6/16/14 10:23 AM)
Even if you were told that, and if the second twin tower had been built exactly the same as Velocity, the Congressional Square/Plaza on K parcel still has the potential to block the view of Capitol dome. So, even if you were told that, or if it were put in writing by the Velocity folks, the value would have been NIL.

So, I'm confused by your comment that it was a D**K move by Toll Bros. It seems unfair to them.

Just my opinion...


JES says: (6/16/14 10:35 AM)
Yes, congressional square has the potential to do the same thing, this is true. So maybe it would all be for naught anyway, but since that building is nowhere near ready to be constructed, that becomes a "cross that bridge when we come to it" problem.

In response to the d**k move comment, Toll Brothers has done a lot of annoying things during this entire construction process like starting too early, ending too late, not securing any of their crap during windstorms resulting in our balconies getting pelted by trash every time it storms, closing parts of our garage, and on and on. This is yet another move that paints them in a light where they're completely ignoring the concerns of their immediate neighbors.

That and the wall seems entirely unnecessary. It's not serving any kind of structural need, it's only there to block noise from their AC units (and direct that noise back towards us as a result). They could knock a few feet off that wall, accomplish the same goal, and make their neighbors view them less negatively.


Whatevs says: (6/16/14 10:50 AM)
Well, all folks in the area have to suffer through something during construction. I lived at the Onyx when Velocity and 909 were both still under construction. Some of the issues that you list, are things that Onyx folks had to suffer through in the early days.

So, I guess some days, you're the statue and some days you're the pigeon...


202_cyclist says: (6/16/14 10:55 AM)
@JES:

I completely agree with you that Toll Brothers has been an awful neighbor during the River Parc construction. As you're aware, there is regularly 5:30-6 AM construction, even on Saturdays. There has been 3 AM construction at times, etc...


Pcat says: (6/17/14 11:03 AM)
We have the same problem at our condo complex on 13th St. By right developments can be built without any input from anyone. We are losing our sun and our views but apparently can do nothing about it. Good luck.


JES says: (6/17/14 2:53 PM)
Thankfully our building (and everything down here) was built to the max allowable height, so losing sun isn't a problem. Could be worse.

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