Last night the Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to extend the allowed building height and expand the total square footage of the proposed office building at 250 M Street
in what is technically a modification to the Capper/Carrollsburg
second-stage PUD that this office building is part of. The building, which will be going for LEED silver certification and which will have ground-floor retail, will now be 130 feet high and have 233,405 square feet of space. The discussions at the hearing centered mainly on the penthouse structure, the "next generation" elevator technology that allows for less overhead space, and how exactly the agreement with ANC 6D should be viewed.
William C. Smith's Brad Fennell testified that the developer has agreed to additional amenities beyond those in the original PUD
(which included $325,000 toward the funding of Canal Park). He described the new amenities as "recruiting construction workers from ANC 6D by purchasing quarterly ads in the Southwester, creating an overall goal of 20% first-source employment for qualified ANC 6D residents, and providing contracting and new hiring opportunitiess for local residents and subcontractors by giving tiebreaking preferences to subcontractors headquartered in ANC 6D and for qualified construction workers living in that area." On May 12 the ANC tied 3-3 on the project, but apparently some subsequent tweaking of the proffer into this final form resulted in a letter from the ANC indicating that four commissioners would support the project with these additional amenities. The Zoning Commissioners felt that, since this was not an official vote of the ANC, it couldn't be given the required "great weight," but could be looked at the same as any feedback from a neighborhood association. The fact that no ANC members appeared at the hearing to testify in opposition also was noted.
You can read the Office of Planning report
for all the specifics you could ever want about the changes in the design; if you're really
interested, you can also read the original second-stage PUD approval
of 250 M from last July, that last night's ruling is modifying. (The original Capper PUD
is worth a look as well if you aren't familiar with what's been approved for the area's redevelopment.) Also, since I haven't mentioned it lately, it should be noted that this office building is technically a joint venture between WC Smith and the DC Housing Authority, with the monies from it helping to "financially leverage" the rest of the redevelopment of the Cappers.
This was the first vote; final action on this modification will be scheduled for a month or so from now. Earlier this year a WC Smith representative had told me that construction could begin in the middle of this year, but there was no mention of start dates at the hearing.