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  • W3HJ

Update for Friendship Heights Neighbors

News from the Office of Planning On November 9 the Office of Planning (OP) held a webinar in which they reported what they had heard from community members so far in the Wisconsin Avenue Development Framework planning process. OP promised to post a full recording here, but have not done so yet.

News update WMATA & the Lord & Taylor site: During the Q&A on November 9, OP revealed that WMATA has made an offer on the Lord and Taylor site and is negotiating purchase. When asked if they would be granted matter of right (MOR) to develop the site as WMATA wished or if there would be a robust community role in the planning, Erkin Ozberk from OP replied that those two things are not mutually exclusive, and that an MOR project could also have meaningful community involvement.

However, as we have learned from the MOR projects at the Wardman Hotel and Mazza Gallerie, there is almost no meaningful community input into an MOR project. This could mean that we are back to the same ‘done deal’ of allowing WMATA to control two prime sites for years and then develop the huge Lord & Taylor site as best suits them.

5333 Wisconsin Ave. The agenda for the November 16 ANC 3E meeting does not mention WMATA or Lord & Taylor. It does include a 45-minute discussion of the proposed redevelopment at 5333 Wisconsin Avenue (Friendship Center) by the owner, Federal Realty, which is not living up to the expectation that it will contribute to the revitalization of Friendship Heights. See this handout which compares the proposed 5333 Wisconsin redevelopment to a similarly-zoned project proposed near Audi Field in SE. Clearly 5333 Wisconsin could be much more and we should not settle for what the owner is offering.

Opportunities for action. Speak up at every opportunity for the Friendship Heights you want to see! See below:

  1. Attend the ANC meeting Wednesday, November 16, at 7:30. Register here.

    1. You can speak your mind about WMATA and the Lord & Taylor site in the very first portion of the meeting, which is an open forum to allow residents to make announcements, ask questions, or raise issues.

    2. Speak up about Friendship Center 5333 Wisconsin Avenue at the ANC meeting at the developer’s presentation to express how you believe this development should contribute to the life and affordability of the community. W3HJ will speak up. Add your voice!

  2. Ask OP to post the recording of the November 9 webinar about Friendship Heights Planning and watch it if you missed it Write Erkin Ozberk, Project Manager

  3. Register to attend upcoming OP Friendship Heights Planning events to make sure that OP hears what you want to see in Friendship Heights. These are your next best chances to communicate with them.

    1. Register here for the November 19 Community Design Conversation #1 in Tenleytown at St. Columba's Episcopal Church.

    2. Register here for the December 6 Community Design Conversation #2 in Friendship Heights at Chevy Chase Pavilion.


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