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2 Anacostia Sites, Including Barry Farm, Seek Mixed-Use Rezoning Approval

The development pipeline in Anacostia continues to grow, with two new applications filed that would pave the way for mixed-use projects in the Southeast D.C. neighborhood. 

A rendering of Redbrick's 2.3M SF Columbian Quarter development on Poplar Point

Redbrick LMD filed an application with the Zoning Commission last week seeking a mixed-use designation for a site it acquired this summer near the Anacostia Metro station and next to its Columbian Quarter project. 

Earlier this month, the D.C. Office of Planning filed an application to create a new zoning district for the 25.4-acre Barry Farm site in Anacostia, the latest step in a years-long process to redevelop the public housing community. 

The Redbrick application would allow mixed-use development of up to 130 feet on a site it acquired in July from WMATA near the intersection of Howard Road SE and the Anacostia Freeway. It paid roughly $2M for a property with 55K SF of land area that sits directly west of the WMATA parking garage, deed records show.

The property did not previously have a zoning designation because it was owned by WMATA, but Redbrick is seeking to classify it as the Northern Howard Road Zone District. The classification would allow a project of up to 130 feet tall with a 9.0 floor-area-ratio, and it would require 12% of residential space to be devoted to inclusionary zoning units. 

"Rezoning this site will not only allow for an increase in the District's housing supply, but also it will provide an opportunity to revitalize the use of land that is currently vacant and underutilized," said the application, signed by Goulston & Storrs attorneys John T. Epting and Meghan Hottel-Cox. 

The Anacostia property Redbrick acquired from WMATA and is looking to rezone, outlined in red.

The site is directly to the east of the 8-acre property along Howard Road SE where Redbrick is planning its Columbian Quarter development. The Zoning Commission in February approved Redbrick's application to rezone that site to the new NHR designation.

Redbrick went through the map amendment rezoning process for the Columbian Quarter site after a group filed an appeal of its Planned Unit Development approval in June 2018. The project has been planned to feature 1.6M SF of office space, about 700 residential units and 52K SF of retail along Howard Road. 

The developer tried to land the Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters at the Columbian Quarter site, but the General Services Administration eliminated it from competition, and Redbrick's subsequent protest was rejected by a federal judge in March. 

The Barry Farm application also comes after a delay caused by an appeal of a PUD approval. In April 2018, the D.C. Court of Appeals vacated the Zoning Commission's approval of the 1,400-unit redevelopment plan. 

A map of the Barry Farm property, including the area designated as a historic landmark.

The 25-acre public housing community, sitting about a half-mile from the Anacostia Metro station, has been eyed for redevelopment since 2005. The D.C. Housing Authority is seeking to redevelop the property in partnership with A&R Development and Preservation of Affordable Housing.  

In January, the Historic Preservation Review Board approved an application to designate five of the 32 buildings on the Barry Farm site as a historic landmark, shrinking the size of a redevelopment. Portions of the Barry Farm community have already been demolished, and residents were given vouchers to move, WAMU reported.

Rather than go back through the PUD process, the District is looking to rezone the Barry Farm property with a text amendment to allow for a matter-of-right development. The application would divide the site into two zones: BF-1 would allow mixed-use buildings up to 65 feet, and BF-2 would allow residential buildings up to 40 feet. 

The development team has not unveiled the exact plans for the project, but the new zoning designation would allow for fewer units than what the PUD had envisioned. D.C. Director of Planning Andrew Trueblood said the District is choosing to pursue the rezoning process and sacrifice density rather than continue to litigate the PUD and delay the construction of the replacement public housing units. 

"Of course we would rather have had the PUD with more density, but given the court decision, we know it's absolutely critical we support the replacement housing," Trueblood said. "We're talking about public housing residents and the fact that we don't have housing built yet means we're not serving those residents, so there's a sense of urgency."

The latest application would create a new zoning category, and then the team would need to go through another Zoning Commission process to map its site within the zone. It also must go through a review process with the National Capital Planning Commission