- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2008

Deadlines are approaching this week and next week for developers to get in on two projects sponsored by the D.C. Office of Planning and Economic Development.

The first one, arriving tomorrow, is the deadline to submit development plans for the 3.6-acre Tenley-Friendship Library/Janney Elementary School site in Northwest Washington.

The winning proposal is expected to end three years of controversy over how to develop the property, the site of a demolished public library and a cramped school.

Exactly what will replace them is a mystery and provoked an argument that pitted residents who wanted retail against their neighbors who wanted no new development. Meanwhile, different agencies within the D.C. government jockeyed for a bigger public school, a bigger public library or a mixed-use project to stimulate economic development. The property is owned by the D.C. government.

The planning office decided to resolve the dispute by soliciting proposals and leaving some of the choice to developers.

“We left it broad,” said Sean Madigan, spokesman for the D.C. Office of Planning and Economic Development. “We’re looking for big ideas from folks.”

A final selection would require community input from Tenleytown residents. The site is located less than one block from the Tenleytown-American University Metro station.

Some features of the new project are nearly certain, based on specifications in the request for proposals. Janney Elementary School would be doubled in size from its current 43,000 square feet. A 20,000 square-foot library would replace the one that was demolished. Thirty percent of any housing units built on the site would be designated as affordable housing for low-income residents.

The District suggested retail for the project but is letting developers propose how much, what kind and the mix of retail and housing.

The deadline for proposals originally was set for Dec. 18 but was extended to tomorrow because developers competing for the project asked for more time, Mr. Madigan said.

A second deadline is set for Jan. 9 on bids to develop two sites in Northeast’s Ward 7.

The two sites are located at 4427 Hayes St. NE and on seven vacant lots in the 4800 block of Nannie Helen Burroughs Drive. The three-story apartment building on Hayes Street has been vacant and boarded up for more than a decade, despite the fact it is within walking distance to the Minnesota Avenue Metro station.

The D.C. planning office wants to redevelop them under its New Communities Initiative, a program of public-private joint ventures to rehabilitate public housing.

One of the program’s most high-profile projects is revitalization of the Lincoln Heights and Richardson Dwellings neighborhood to a mixed-use and mixed-income community.

Planning office officials say the two sites up for bid are part of the larger Lincoln Heights and Richardson Dwellings redevelopment.

“These two projects would sort of piggyback off of that,” Mr. Madigan said. “We expect both of these to be largely residential.”

Property Lines runs on Thursdays. Call Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail tramstack@washingtontimes.com.

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