Local library’s renovation plans proceed

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has chosen a $150 million proposal to renovate the West End fire station and library located just off campus, echoing recommendations from two neighborhood groups.

EastBanc Inc. will redevelop the library at 24th and L streets and the fire station at 23rd and M streets, and construction on the two buildings could begin by 2012 if EastBanc’s proposal is approved by the D.C. Council and Zoning Commission.

“We are very pleased to have been chosen. We are looking forward to working with the city and community to build outstanding, world class, new facilities on these sites,” said Joe Sternlieb, vice president of Acquisitions at EastBanc Inc.

The Foggy Bottom and West End’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission weighed two submitted plans for development and supported EastBanc’s plans.

The city’s decision was largely due to EastBanc’s inclusion of changes to the fire station, said Sean Madigan, communications director for the Office of the City Administrator.

Eastbanc proposed developing both the library and fire station site, while the other team proposed just the one site. “We’re looking to maximize the development potential of those sites and to have better public facilities,” Madigan said.

The mixed-use development is expected to cost $150 million to build.

Along with the renovated new library and fire station, plans call for 10,000 square feet of retail, 235 parking spaces and 205 units of housing -with 50 units set aside as affordable housing.

The Metropolitan Police Special Operations Division at 24th and L streets is adjacent to the library and will be part of the development site, as the division is moving to Southwest D.C., according to a news release from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

“The most important thing [to the community] was the location, size and accessibility of the library. On the private side they did not want the residential units to be attractive to students,” Sternlieb said.

Asher Corson, president of the Foggy Bottom Association and a commissioner for ANC 2A, said he was pleased by the city’s selection.

“Although I had hoped that there would be more proposals to be submitted to the city, I think that we got a high quality developer and will get a good product,” Corson said.

This is not the first time EastBanc has been chosen for the redevelopment. Back in 2007, the city chose EastBanc for the project but neighbors objected and the deal was called off, but Corson said he is happy with the decision.

“There is no question that Eastbanc’s scheme was more appropriate for the location. I am very thankful,” he said.

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