In February, advocates for neighborhood-appropriate development at 501 Eye Street SW organized as the United Neighbors of Southwest (UNSW) and subsequently established a fund to pay for legal advice and expert studies.
We’ve been able to do a number of positive things with these funds including hiring lawyers and a company that analyzes traffic and parking issues. We also hired a firm to conduct a professional study to demonstrate that a low-rise building option would be economically viable at the 501 Eye Street SW site. The study included a conceptual budget, possible sources and uses of funds, and a returns analysis.
Of course, the alternative development option is just that – an option. But with it, UNSW proved that development at 501 Eye Street SW can meet current zoning requirements, conform with the existing character of the neighborhood, be amenable to members of the community, and still be profitable for a developer. This option was produced in a tight timeframe. With more time, no doubt other options that meet the criteria above could be identified.
UNSW still has a lot of work to do to encourage smart development at the 501 Eye Street SW site. If you’re interested in contributing to the fund or in putting a pro-neighborhood sign in your yard or window, feel free to contact me at eyeon501sw [at] gmail.com, and I will put you in touch with the right people.