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With New Zoning Application, Buchanan And Pinkard Hope To Revive Long-Stalled Brookland Project

Buchanan Pinkard Brookland Site Plan
The site plan for Buchanan and Pinkard's proposed rezoning of the Brookland site

A long-stalled development on a parking lot in Brookland could be getting new life, this time with a residential component. 

Buchanan Partners and Pinkard Group, through the entity MIRV Holdings LLC, filed an application with the Zoning Commission to rezone the 5.5-acre site at the intersection of Michigan Avenue NE and Irving Street NE to allow for residential, hotel and commercial uses. 

The development team hopes to break ground within 12 to 14 months on the first phase, a 260-room hotel with between 3K and 5K SF of meeting space and a restaurant, Buchanan Partners principal Kingsley McAdam said. The hotel would be dual-branded with Residence Inn and Courtyard Marriott as the two flags. It would sit on the northeast portion of the site along Irving Street and take up about 25% of the site's land area. 

The team would then be able to build another roughly 600K SF of development on the site, under the zoning it has proposed. McAdam said its next phase would be a large residential building with ground-floor retail on the southeast corner of the site where Michigan Avenue and Irving Street intersect.

The third and fourth phases on the western portion of the site could be residential, hotel or office, depending on market conditions, but McAdam said it is not thinking that far down the road yet. Perkins Eastman, the lead architect for The Wharf, is working with the team to design the project. 

The General Services Administration originally owned the site and transferred it to D.C. in 1990 under the condition it be developed as a hotel, conference center or restaurant. Neighboring Catholic University then got approval in 1991 to develop a conference center on the site, but the project was never built and the approval expired.

In 2009, a partnership that included Hospitality Partners got approval for a planned-unit development to build a 314-room hotel with convention and meeting space. Hospitality Partners filed several extensions to the PUD before bringing on Buchanan and Pinkard in 2015 to help move the development forward.

The team has had dozens of meetings with D.C. officials to reach an agreement allowing it to build residential on the site, despite the original plan limiting it to hotel and retail. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development wrote a letter in support of the new zoning proposal included in the most recent filing. 

Instead of going forward with the PUD plan, the team decided to file a map amendment to rezone the property to MU-5-B, which allows for commercial and multifamily uses and building heights up to 75 feet. The team then plans to build by-right under that new zoning, avoiding the PUD process all together. McAdam said it chose to do this in part to avoid the appeals that have delayed more than a dozen approved PUDs throughought the District, but the primary reason was to allow more flexibility for the project's future phases. 

McAdam said the team is designing the hotel and residential development to support the nearby Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center, Children's National Medical Center, plus Catholic University and Trinity University

“Our goal is to craft a 24-hour development with hotel, retail services and amenities for the medical users and the universities, and we think residential is a compatible use to all those activities," McAdam said.