We Don’t Want Your 9-Story Building Here

501 I Street SW Buildings Rendering 06.30.15 - Copyright Shalom Baranes Associates
501 I Street SW Design (June 30, 2015) Prepared by Shalom Baranes Associates

In a troubling twist, Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Construction Corporation now plan a 10-story building at 501 I Street SW. The design, prepared by Shalom Baranes Associates, is pictured in this post. Shakespeare and Erkiletian shared their plans with Townhouse Management I-IV residents at a meeting on June 30, 2015. Maybe we should have been more specific about what “We don’t want your 9-story building here” means.

New designs for buildings on the property now include even less parking – 69 spaces underground and 8 spaces aboveground – than the previous design. Shakespeare and the developer offered no clear path to manage any of the many infrastructure and quality of life problems that will result from adding 200-300 new residents to the corner of 6th and I Street SW. In addition, Shakespeare proposes to have 75 people working in the main building.

Over 50 people attended the June 30th meeting, and many attendees spoke up. Not a single audience member spoke in favor of the proposed buildings. The site would need a change in zoning and a Planned Unit Development (PUD) to be used as Shakespeare and Erkiletian propose. In lieu of a meeting summation, below are quotes from a dozen neighbors who spoke out against the proposed buildings.

“I welcome Shakespeare Theatre, but you’re going about it the wrong way.”

“You haven’t engaged in a substantive topical way on options.”

“We don’t want your 9-story building here.”

“Now you’re proposing a 10-story building. Instead of listening to our concerns, you’ve gone one story higher.”

“If you’re stuck on a building of this character, you’re not going to find many partners in this neighborhood.”

“This is for-profit housing.”

“Why haven’t you done any fundraising [so you don’t have to partner with a developer who says they need a high-rise to make a profit]?”

“While you’re putting on a good face here, you’re working with the City Council and people who don’t live here to go directly against us.”

“What you’re doing is manipulating the situation.”

“Now you’re trying to circumvent the process.”

“You have this problem because you’re trying to build a high-rise in a residential neighborhood.”

“There really is no benefit to the community.”

“You’ve declared war on us.”

“We don’t want this.”

“We’re willing to compromise in the context of 3-story structures in keeping with the neighborhood.”

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