|The two buildings that complete the Congress Heights Metro project from Sanford Capital and CityPartners. Residential is to the right, and office is to the left.|
What do you feel about community benefits agreements? Who should negotiate for them? What (if any) are reasonable requests? Who should benefit?
It was roughly three years ago when the joint venture of Sanford and CityPartners struck a $3 million deal with Metro to purchase three Congress Heights parcels totaling 41,068 square feet of land.
The amended development blueprint calls for 208 apartments in one building, 230,000 square feet of office in another, 26,000 square feet of retail space “tailored and marketed to neighborhood-serving retail uses,” a “landmark gateway architectural place” at 13th and Alabama, and a new plaza at the Metro entrance.
The revised design, from Maurice Walters Architects PC, features lower building heights (90 feet), red brick (to appear “more residential”), a relocated penthouse (to reduce visibility) and a developed facade (to add “residential character”).
The developer also has submitted a draft community benefits agreement, which is quite different from one drawn up in February by “A Community Coalition for Responsible Development,” or ACCORD. The community group’s CBE sought a minimum of $2 million in financial support for ACCORD, 1,000 square feet of free office space for the local advisory neighborhood commission, and much more.
Square 5914 LLC isn’t going nearly that far. Among its CBE provisions: