The D.C. Zoning Commission unanimously approved the University’s plan for the redevelopment of Rice Hall and 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. at a public meeting Monday night.
The University originally announced the project last year in partnership with Boston Properties, which led the redevelopment of The Avenue property at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave. that features apartments and retail locations like Whole Foods. Zoning commission members discussed the plan for relocation of the bike dock outside the buildings at the meeting and the proposed daycare in the cellar of the development.
Boston Properties announced in September that they planned to fund five projects to spruce up local parks and improve the Foggy Bottom Metro station as part of its proposal to secure zoning changes needed for the project.
At the meeting, developers said they plan to relocate the Capital Bikeshare on I Street during construction but have not yet determined a location for it.
Developers originally proposed placing the Bikeshare on the small lawn on I Street, which is a National Park Service reservation, but were met with concerns from commissioners. David Avitabile, the attorney representing Boston Properties, said they have a long history of working with the National Park Service but were open to changing plans in regards to the location of the bike dock.
Peter May, a Zoning Commission member, said placing a bike dock at that location would not be feasible and the developers should consider different locations.
“We don’t want to take up valuable green space for the sake of more bikeshare docks,” May said. “We love bikeshare docks there are locations where it makes a whole lot of sense, but not there.”
Members of the West End Citizens Association voiced concerns regarding the project, claiming that in the past resources have been allowed to “fritter off,” ultimately being forgotten and left uncompleted during construction and redevelopment projects.
Community members got a look at GW’s plans for the redevelopment of Rice Hall and 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. into a retail space at a neighborhood meeting in March of this year. The plan showed that the 130-foot building will incorporate outside seating, multiple entrances and a 19-foot ceiling.
Rice Hall currently houses administrative offices that will begin to be moved to current buildings throughout GW’s various campuses in early 2018.
Other concerns were brought up in the meeting about the plan. Zoning Commission member Matt Jesick discussed concerns about the proposed idea of holding a daycare in the cellar of the development. He said the idea would have to be referred to the licensors, regarding matters of regulation, including where daycare centers can legally be located.
One of Boston Properties’ proposed projects was to fund improvements to the entrance of the Foggy Bottom Metro station that will be identified in a planned feasibility study by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Sara Maddux, a member of the West End Citizens Association, said at the meeting that she wanted assurance that the neighborhood will be involved in the planning process of improving the Metro station’s amenities and accessibility.
Maddux said she wanted developers to spend the extra $80,000 necessary to provide an additional Metro elevator.
“We want better, more stable assurance that the 350,000 dollars will stay with WMATA, working with the neighborhood as the planning process goes along, to make sure it really does,” Maddux said.