The project in question is known by the moniker "Big K," after the defunct liquor store that's part of the site where the new development would rise. Chapman Development proposed a six-story building with affordable apartments and retail, which neighbors criticized and the Historic Preservation Review Board unanimously rejected as out of scale with Historic Anacostia's lower profile. (At the same meeting where community members expressed their displeasure, Barry praised developer Tim Chapman, stated his support for the project, and said it would "transform Martin Luther King [Avenue SE] into a grand boulevard, at no one's expense.") Chapman revised his proposal and shaved a story off the building, but the HPRB once again rejected it, maintaining that it was still "too tall."
Chapman appealed to Mayor's Agent J. Peter Byrne, who can decide that the project has special merit that outweighs any historic preservation concerns. But Barry is trying to circumvent that process with his legislation and approve the development directly.