by Jane Solomon
A group of neighbors, many adjacent to 3101 Albemarle St NW (the ex-Polish Embassy residence), met on February 1st, 2016, to discuss the future of the property, which has been on the market since last June. To date, no prospective buyer has emerged and there is growing concern among residents that the 1.1 acre lot and $3.4 million listing will draw interest from developers.
Everyone recognized the importance of this prominent corner property as a gateway to Forest Hills. Moreover, the property involves some of the steepest slopes in Forest Hills, playing an important role in water drainage and storm water runoff. This role is rendered more significant because the property is directly adjacent to Soapstone Valley Park.
The ecological importance of the property has long been on the radar of the ANC, which has been working with city agencies for two years on storm water, erosion, water quality and other issues that impact the park. More recently, the ANC has formalized this effort by creating the Soapstone Valley Committee under the leadership of Commissioner Pat Jakopchek. Much of the work is focused on the trailhead area at Albemarle and 32nd Streets. 3101 Albemarle sits opposite the trailhead.
This was the first meeting of concerned neighbors, and the group will meet regularly to raise funds, explore relevant laws and regulations, and exchange information. A larger meeting will be organized in due course to engage the broader Forest Hills community. Contact Jane Solomon of the Forest Hills Citizens Association at firstname.lastname@example.org to become involved.
Also published on the Forest Hills Citizens Association/Neighborhood Alliance listserv. Anyone can join this email list.