Wardman Development Fast-Tracked
Questions by Community on Affordable Housing Unanswered
Ward 3 Housing Justice | Wardman Hotel Strategy Team
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2022
Contact: Gail Sonnemann, 202-286-0845, email@example.com
A Wardman Update to Friends in the Greater Woodley Park Area.
In a January 25, 2021 article the new owner of the former Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Carmel Partners, announced plans to demolish existing structures and construct two new buildings for 900 rental apartments. Since the hotel bankruptcy was announced over a year ago, affordable housing advocates in Ward 3 and elsewhere in the city have viewed this site as a prime location for the Mayor to repurpose the hotel for 500 units of affordable housing and to make substantial progress in implementing her Rock Creek West RoadMap for Ward 3 housing that stated: ”The greatest need for rental housing is typically below 60% of the MFI and homeownership is difficult to achieve even for many higher income households.”
However, the city did not take advantage of the property’s availability, and in July 2021 Carmel Partners purchased the site for redevelopment.
Carmel Partners Wardman Park design proposal for two new buildings.
On January 26, affordable housing advocates from the Wardman Hotel Strategy Team (WHST), Ward 3 Housing Justice (W3HJ), and the Northwest Opportunity Partners Community Development Corporation (NWOP) met with Carmel Partners. NWOP proposed that Carmel donate the hotel annex building on the Calvert Street side to a community land trust for renovation as 100 affordable units.
What about affordable housing?
When asked about affordable housing, Carmel Partners has said that they don’t know yet, but 8% or approximately 72 affordable units required through Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) is the requirement that they must meet. This is not enough to keep Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio’s May 2021 Wardman promise “to set the conditions and express our desire to maximize the residential potential of the site with an emphasis on affordable housing and attainable, middle income housing.”
100 affordable homeowner or rental units where the people who work in Ward 3 could make their homes in Ward 3.
The groundbreaking ceremony with the Mayor and Carmel Partners dedicating 1/3 of new rental units as mixed income affordable housing.
When will Carmel Partners and the city meet with the Woodley Park community?
On February 1, Carmel Partners and architect Shalom Barranes presented their development plans to the Woodley Park Community Association (WPCA). The WPCA moderator and Carmel Partners spokespeople deferred as premature answers to questions about demolition details, total number of affordable units, impact on the local schools, traffic management, choice of building style and materials, landscaping, and interior plans. “The city is allowing Carmel to move forward without community involvement or planning”, said Jayme Epstein, Woodley Park resident and member of Ward 3 Housing Justice.
WHST and W3HJ ask the city to follow its requirements for planning and community involvement.
Conduct a Large Tract Review (LTR) to assess what this project needs for infrastructure (Oyster school classrooms, environmental remediation, traffic, etc.) The Office of Planning’s (OP) published summary indicates an LTR is required for a site more than 3 acres, such as the Wardman property (DCMR 10 Chapter 23). OP denies LTR is required.
Where’s the Woodley Park small area plan? OP says it will begin a planning process for Cleveland Park & Woodley Park in the Spring, but that will be after big decisions for the Wardman have been made.
Hold roundtable meetings of stakeholders in Woodley Park as soon as possible about development of the Wardman site. The Wardman is central to community inspired “vision and goals for redevelopment that can integrate a mix of housing options, high-quality design, public space, and community-serving amenities” per the Mayor’s Rock Creek West RoadMap.
Write to Councilmember Mary Cheh (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio (email@example.com) to ask for Large Tract Review and for stakeholder roundtable meetings as soon as possible.
Share this letter with your neighbors.
Share your testimony, questions and comments with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you for your continuing interest.
Convenor, Wardman Hotel Strategy Team
DC Council set the policies for Rock Creek West Development
Where is the implementation?
From the Comprehensive Plan as amended in August 2021: Action RCW-2.1.A: Large Hotel Sites Future development and operational proposals for the Omni-Shoreham hotel should include analyses of impacts on adjacent residential and commercial areas and appropriate mitigating measures, prepared by the property owner. Proactively address ongoing issues at the hotels, such as a motor coach and visitor parking. The redevelopment of the Wardman Park hotel site should be studied and included in neighborhood planning efforts. 2311.8
Policy RCW-1.1.6: Metro Station Areas Recognize the importance of the area’s five Metro stations to the land use pattern and transportation network of Northwest Washington and Washington, DC as a whole. Each station should be treated as a unique place and an integral part of the neighborhood around it. Mixed-use redevelopment at the area’s Metro stations should prioritize the production of affordable and moderate-income housing and retail uses in a manner consistent with the Future Land Use Map, the Generalized Policy Map, and the policies of the Comprehensive Plan. Design context-specific transitions to be more aesthetically pleasing from development along the avenues to nearby low-scale neighborhoods. 2308.7