4250 Connecticut’s new owner plans to renovate and modernize the 37-year-old office and retail building when Fannie Mae moves out in November. Bernstein Management presented some early plans at ANC 3F’s March meeting.
Bernstein is seeking to modify the 1978 and 1980 Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) that allowed this structure to be built in the first place. It received the Office of Planning’s blessing on June 1st. It now needs the DC Zoning Commission’s approval – and to aid that, the community’s.
Bernstein will be presenting updates at a community meeting on its application and plans this Thursday, June 7th at 7 p.m. at Van Ness Main Street’s office (4340 Connecticut Avenue).
The Zoning Commission meets June 11th on whether Bernstein’s PUD application, filed as a “Modification of Consequence,” is appropriate in this case. The meeting is open to the public (6:30 p.m. at 441 4th Street, NW, 2nd floor hearing room). At this meeting, the Zoning Commission will also schedule its public meeting on the merits of the application. This will occur in either mid-July or September.
And between the 11th and the July or September meeting, ANC 3F is to review and vote on Bernstein’s application.
This timeline is included in this report on the process, as provided to ANC 3F by Bernstein Management:
Modification to Approved Planned Unit Development
Z.C. Case No. 79-19/78-7F / Z.C. Order No. 318
4250 Connecticut Avenue, NW (Square 2047, Lot 1)
- The Applicant is requesting a “Modification of Consequence” to the approved PUD at 4250 Connecticut Avenue, NW.
- The PUD was originally approved by the Zoning Commission in 1978 (first stage PUD) and 1980 (second stage PUD) as a commercial retail and office building. The building was constructed circa 1981 in accordance with the approved PUD plans.
- The Applicant now proposes to modify the plans approved in the original PUD to modernize and upgrade the building façade, replace and improve exterior elements, and reprogram the interior of the existing parking garage. Upgrades to the exterior landscaping and plaza level are also proposed in order to provide a more enjoyable pedestrian experience.
- There are several types of PUD modifications that can be approved by the Zoning Commission. The subject application was filed as a Modification of Consequence because it involves a “redesign or relocation of architectural elements and open spaces from the final design approved by the Commission,” which is included within the Zoning Regulation’s definition of Modification of Consequence. The Office of Planning has determined that the application has been properly filed as a Modification of Consequence, and has recommended to the Commission that the application should be approved.
- On June 11, 2018, the Zoning Commission will review the application at its public meeting and decide whether the case was properly filed as a Modification of Consequence (as opposed to a different type of PUD modification that would require a greater or lesser amount of review by the Zoning Commission). If the Commission determines that the case is properly filed, then it will schedule the case for a subsequent public meeting where it will review and deliberate on the substance of the requested modifications.
- Because the modification only involves minor upgrades to the existing building, the Zoning Regulations do not require the Applicant to provide any additional public benefits and amenities, since all of the benefits associated with the PUD were evaluated, approved, and delivered in 1980. See Z.C. Order No. 318, Finding of Fact No. 12, stating that “the Commission finds that the public benefits and other meritorious aspects of the project are sufficient…”
- The Applicant believes that the building modifications will benefit the community by providing updated streetscape improvements to the Connecticut Avenue frontage, including re-glazing the building, improving the retail storefronts, and enhancing the existing landscaping. In addition, there will be aesthetic enhancements to the existing bus lane. Doing so will enrich the pedestrian experience and improve walkability on this portion of Connecticut Avenue. In addition, the Applicant is making significant other improvements to the public space areas surrounding the building by incorporating new landscaping, seating areas, and an inviting walkway into the courtyard. The Applicant has discussed these modernizations with Van Ness Main Street, which has filed a letter in support of the application.
- Based on the foregoing, the following schedule is applicable to the case:
- May 4, 2018 – Applicant filed the Modification of Consequence application with the Zoning Commission.
- June 1, 2018 – Office of Planning submitted its report to the Zoning Commission case record indicating its support for (i) the application being submitted as a Modification of Consequence; and (ii) the proposed architectural modifications.
- June 11, 2018 – Zoning Commission holds a public meeting to determine whether the application was properly filed as a Modification of Consequence. The ZC’s meetings are held at 6:30pm at 441 4th Street, NW – 2nd floor hearing room, and are open to the public.
- Mid-July or September, 2018 – Zoning Commission holds a follow-up public meeting to deliberate on the merits of the modification application. The Zoning Commission will schedule this meeting at its June 11th public meeting. The Zoning Commission does not meet in August.
- It is important for the community to review and provide comments on the proposed modifications. In order to have input on the case, we would ask that the ANC review and vote on the application prior to the Zoning Commission’s second public meeting.