Just got this message from Jim Berry:
At tonight’s ANC meeting, Mr. Thomas Gore, the Executive Director of Associates for Renewal in Education, is making a presentation about the above proposal to develop the Slater and Langston School buildings. After he concludes his presentation, he is likely to ask the Commission to support the proposal. I plan to strongly discourage the Commission from taking an action on this proposal at the present time, essentially, for the reasons that I shared with Mr.Gore when he and others made a recent request for the support of the Bates Area Civic Association, Inc.
That is, the DC Office of Property Management is currently developing a Request for Proposals to develop the Slater and Langston School buildings. Once that RFP is issued, Mr. Gore and ARE have an equal opportunity to respond to its elements in hopes of gaining the city’s final approval for their project. Similarly, other developers are likely to respond to the RFP and this will give us some measure of choice as to what uses we would prefer for those buildings in the future. The decision about the fate of these two buildings is a major one because whatever is developed at that location, we will have to live with for the next 30plus years.
As some of you know, we have been urging the city to develop those two buildings for a long time. And, now that we are in position to see what possibilities the market might bear, I think it would be unwise to pre-empt the RFP decision-making process by committing ourselves to a proposed project, without allowing ourselves any alternatives to consider and/or compare the ARE proposal with.
At this month’s BACA meeting, we referred the matter of ARE’s proposal to our Land Use, Planning and Economic Development Committee. In turn, this Committee is charged with the responsibility of examining and evaluating the details of the proposal to let us know what it really means for us and to make recommendations as to how we should respond to it.
It is also important to note that at the last meeting the BACA’s Land Use, Planning and Economic Development Committee made a recommendation that the civic association request a grant from ANC 5C to organize a “small area planning session” that would enable us to have a facilitated, community-wide conversation about the various assets that exist within our service area with an eye towards coming up with some recommendations that will reflect our vision of how we would like to see economic development evolve in our community over the next five to 10 years. Naturally, the Slater and Langston buildings would be two of the assets that we would be talking
about at this planning session to determine what we believe to be the most appropriate and productive future use of those buildings. The co-chairman of the Land Use, Planning and Economic Development Committee is scheduled to appear on the ANC agenda tonight to make the grant request. So, for this additional reason it would be highly premature to commit ourselves to any proposal at this time.
Specifically, at the BACA meeting, the gentleman from Chapman Associates talked about forming a partnership with ARE “to develop a state of the art early childhood education center and senior housing” at this location. In order to make the deal work, the developer said that he would propose to construct a nine story building of rental housing on the grounds in which the Slater and Langston buildings are presently situated. In addition, he plans to locate other rental housing in the Langston building. All of this to accommodate the business interests of ARE to operate an early childhood education program on the site. On these grounds, I am opposed to the proposal because I believe that the cost to the city and to us of,
basically, giving this valuable land to the developer to saturate the subject site with rental housing just to accommodate ARE’s business interests, is way too high a price for us to pay.
This morning, Mr. Gore circulate a flier around the community in an attempt to rally folks to attend the ANC meeting tonight in support of his proposal. He also urged residents to contact Council Member Vincent Orange’s office to “encourage me to vote in favor of” the ARE proposal. Be assured that I don’t take my direction on such matters from Council Member Orange and that tactics of this kind do not intimidate me. underlining by InShaw
If you support my position on this issue, please let me know and you can contact Council Member Orange’s office (202) 724-8028 to let him know as well.
Right now I’m too lazy to read between the lines or comment.