Timeline at 501 I Street SW

Wow! Picture STC 9-Story Building

June 22, 2017 – Shakespeare Theatre shows designs to those who attend a public meeting on the upcoming Planned Unit Development. A snap poll of the audience found the neighborhood opposed the new design by a margin of over 30 to 1.

May 2, 2017 – Shakespeare Theatre gives notice of its intention to file a revised zoning application by June 16, 2017. The application would seek to rezone the 501 Eye Street SW property to MU-4, which would permit a 50-foot tall building plus a penthouse.

July 7, 2016 – Shakespeare Theatre withdraws its Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the 501 Eye Street SW site.

June 30, 2016 – The DC Office of Planning recommends against the Zoning Commission setting down a hearing for the Shakespeare Theatre Planned Unit Development at 501 Eye Street SW.

May 19, 2016 – Neighborhood community benefits meeting crumbles over Shakespeare Theatre’s refusal to listen to the community.

April 4, 2016 – Commissioned by the United Neighbors of Southwest, Ernst Valery Investments produces a report showing that construction within the context of R-3 zoning would be profitable for a developer and beneficial to the community.

February 20, 2016 – Advocates for neighborhood-appropriate development at 501 Eye Street SW organize into the United Neighbors of  Southwest (UNSW) and subsequently establish a fund to pay for legal advice and expert studies.

February 9, 2016 – In a letter to the D.C. Office of Planning, the Washington Gateway Neighborhood Association reiterates its support for the neighborhood.

February 3, 2016 – Shakespeare Theatre files a Planned Unit Development for 501 Eye Street SW without incorporating any feedback from the display session on February 1.

February 1, 2016 – Shakespeare Theatre shows designs to those who attend a public meeting on the upcoming Planned Unit Development. The display session is not a comment session or a listening session since no comments will be incorporated into the Planned Unit Development scheduled to be filed on February 3, 2016.

January 25, 2016 – Over 50 neighbors signed a letter objecting to Shakespeare Theatre’s Notice of Intent to File Zoning Application for the 501 Eye Street SW site.

January 14, 2016 – Shakespeare Theatre distributes a Notice of Intent to File Zoning Application for the 501 Eye Street SW site.

August 24, 2015 – Neighbors witness more after-hours theft at the 501 I Street SW construction site and report it to the developer and the police.

August 23, 2015 – Neighbors witness after-hours theft at the 501 I Street SW construction site and report it to the developer.

July 14, 2015 – Councilmember Charles Allen successfully moved a resolution approving the Southwest Small Area Plan, which will guide and inform the development of Southwest for years to come. The City Council-approved plan states: “At this time, the Southwest Neighborhood Plan is not making a recommendation for a land use designation change for this site until further outreach efforts can be conducted by the Shakespeare Theater and their development partner to address community concerns.”

July 11, 2015 – Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Construction Corporation again present plans for 501 I Street SW at the Mead Center for American Theatre. The wider neighborhood learned about the meeting late the day before, and the meeting was attended by more people who are directly affected by changes at the 501 I Street SW site.

July 9, 2015 – Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Construction Corporation present plans for 501 I Street SW at the Mead Center for American Theatre. Only neighbors with phone landlines or those who knew about the Facebook page were aware of the meeting.

July 8, 2015 – In support of the neighborhood, the Washington Gateway Neighborhood Association writes to each  City Council member and urges them to approve the Southwest Small Area Plan “without any modifications that cater to special interests or undercut the unique character of our neighborhoods.”

July 1, 2015 – Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Construction Corporation launch a Facebook page and a twitter feed after hiring Mayor Bowser’s former campaign manager Bo Shuff for what is assumed to be public relations.

June 30, 2015 – Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Construction Corporation share their new plans for a 10-story building with Townhouse Management I-IV at a meeting in which attendees again strongly oppose the proposed buildings whose influx of residents and employees will introduce a host of infrastructure and quality-of-life problems to the neighborhood.

June 23, 2015 – Demolition begins as a portion of the Southeastern University building near H Street is torn down and left as rubble. Shakespeare Theatre remains unable to commit to a date and time to show neighbors plans for buildings at the site.

June 8, 2015 – Erkiletian Construction Corporation talks to the ANC about razing the 501 I Street SW building.

May 28, 2015 – D.C. City Council of the Whole meets to discuss the Southwest Small Area Plan. The vote is pending.

May 26, 2015 – Erkiletian Construction Corporation began moving heavy equipment onto the 501 I Street SW property in advance of razing the building.

May 14, 2015 –  A representative from Councilmember Charles’ Allens’ office determines the razing, set to begin May 18, 2015, is being permitted under the raze permit requested in May 2014. Shakespeare Theatre along and Erkiletian Construction Corporation did not post notices about the impending razing and did not notify property line neighbors or any other neighbors about the impending action. Neighbors have not had time to confirm the appropriate health and safety mitigations are in place.

May 8, 2015 – A neighbor speaks with someone onsite from Erkiletian Construction Corporation and is informed that a raze permit has been granted by DCRA, and razing of the building will begin on May 18, 2015.

May 6, 2015 – A vacant building notice is posted at the 501 I Street SW site. A neighbor inquires about the meaning of the notice of vacant property posted on the fence at the 501 I Street SW site.

April 29, 2015 – DCRA grants a raze permit to the owners of 501 I Street SW.

April 3, 2015 – A neighbor inquires with DCRA about the apparent placement of the 501 I Street SW fence beyond the property line. That inquiry is not responded to.

April 2, 2015 – A fence goes up around the 501 I Street SW property. The fence appears to be beyond the 501 I Street SW property line.

March 11, 2015 – Magnolia Plumbing posts emergency no parking signs on 6th Street for numerous street parking spaces near 501 I Street SW through April 22. The signs note the requestor is as “As You Like It.” A neighbor contacts DCRA for more information. That inquiry is not responded to.

February 22, 2015 – Neighbors inform Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Corporation of the continued dangerous and icy conditions for pedestrians as snow has not been removed from the sidewalks.

February 18, 2015 – A neighbor inquires with DCRA about whether any permits have been requested by the site. That inquiry is not responded to.

January 30, 2015 – Verizon staff onsite at 501 I Street SW tell a neighbor that the site is being wired for a 9-story building.

January 28, 2015 – At the Mayoral hearing on the Draft Southwest Small Area Plan, neighbors express support for the Office of Planning’s decision not to endorse a zoning change at 501 I Street SW.

January 20, 2015 – As part of the comments on the Draft Southwest Small Area Plan, twenty-nine neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the 501 I Street SW property sign a letter opposing zoning changes in the neighborhood, particularly at the 501 I Street SW site.

January 19, 2015 – Neighbors call in a potential large water leak in the building.

Early January 2015 – Water can be heard pouring through the building. Neighbors assume it is because of the holes workers tore in the roof in December and the snow on the roof that has been melting.

December 23, 2014 – Interior and exterior demolition work ends. No permits for the work were ever issued.

December 22, 2014 – Neighbors request an illegal construction inspector be sent out to the site. No evidence is shown that an illegal construction inspector is sent to the site.

December 22, 2014 – Neighbors observe eight construction workers in vests and hard hats appearing to punch holes in the roof of the building. Trucks full of building material have been regularly driving away from the site. Neighbors approach the workers onsite and ask about active permits. Neighbors are told the permits are inside the building. Neighbors are not allowed to enter the building to see the permits.

December 19, 2014 – Neighbors request an illegal construction inspector be sent out to the site. No evidence is shown that an illegal construction inspector is sent to the site.

December 18, 2014 – DCRA confirms the site has no active permits. Neighbors request an illegal construction inspector be sent out to the site. No evidence is shown that an illegal construction inspector is sent to the site.

December 1, 2014 – Demolition work resumes at the 501 I Street SW site. The interior of the building appears to be completely gutted. The community is unable to obtain from DCRA any additional information about why the apparently illegal constructions / demolition work was allowed to resumed. Neighbors later discover that the site had no active permits when work began again.

November 21, 2014 – DC Office of Planning makes the revised draft Small Area Plan for Southwest available and requests comments through January 30, 2015. DC Office of Planning also notifies the public that a Mayoral Hearing on the Draft Plan will occur on January 28, 2015. The revised plan does not recommend a land use designation change for this site. Shakespeare Theatre is encouraged to continue the dialogue with the Southwest community through the upcoming Comprehensive Plan Amendment process which will get underway in early 2015.

November 19, 2014 – Per the agreement with SWNA, Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Corporation hold a charette with residents of Townhouse Management I and Townhouse Management III (immediate site neighbors) to present massing concepts that show reduced parking and 7-9 above-ground building stories at the site. Neighbors object to the massing concepts and Shakespeare Theatre’s and Erkiletian’s proposals for the site.

November 18, 2014 – A large group of neighbors from Townhouse Management I and III sign a letter to Ellen McCarthy, Director of the DC Office of Planning, in which the neighbors ask for the destruction of Southwest neighborhoods to stop. In the letter, neighbors express their opposition to proposals in the Small Area Plan to change zoning in the neighborhood.

November 18, 2014 – An inspector from the DC Illegal Construction office visits the 501 I Street SW site and issues a stop-work order after complaints that wide-spread interior demolition is occurring, which is not permitted on an asbestos abatement permit.

November 14, 2014 – An inspector from the DC Department of the Environment visits the site after being alerted to dust accumulating on adjacent properties. The crew at the site is advised of how to accomplish their work using techniques that are not harmful to human health.

Through November 12, 2014 – Many tons of material are removed from 501 I Street SW. The interior appears to be demolished. Walls are knocked down. No asbestos containment procedures are used in removing those walls. The site has not obtained an interior demolition permit and continues to work under an asbestos abatement permit.

October 15, 2014 – Shakespeare and Erkiletian obtain a permit for asbestos abatement work at 501 I Street SW. The permit runs from October 27, 2014 through November 21, 2014 – (permit number 2014-134).

September 30, 2014 – Sale of the property at 501 I Street SW is recorded for $6,500,000.

September 17, 2014 – SWNA withdraws its historic preservation application for the 501 I Street SW site in exchange for a package of community benefits from Shakespeare Theatre and $60,000.

September 11, 2014 – Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Corporation meet with neighbors from Townhouse Management I and Townhouse Management III to discuss plans for the site. The neighbors voice numerous objections to Shakespeare Theatre’s and Erkiletian’s plans for the site. Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian agree to keep Andrea Pawley and a point of contact at Townhouse Management 1 informed about developments at the site.

July 28, 2014 – Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian hold an open forum on the 501 I Street site to gather input about their proposal. The vast majority of those in attendance object to the plans for the site and cite numerous concerns about the proposal that range from infrastructure issues like overcrowding and parking and other issues about changing the fundamental character of the neighborhood by putting in a 9-story building where all other buildings are no more than 3 stories tall. Chris Jennings, Shakespeare Theatre’s managing director, says Shakespeare Theatre will not proceed with their plans if the neighborhood objects to the proposal. SWNA presents its case for historic preservation of the site.

July 24, 2014 – The Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) files a historic preservation application for the 501 I Street SW site.

June 25, 2014 – The DC Office of Planning sponsors an open forum to get comments on the proposed Southwest Neighborhood Plan. Numerous residents object to proposed zoning changes at 501 I Street SW. Proposed changes would permit a building to be constructed that is both larger and three times as tall as the current Southeastern University building.

June 22, 2014 – Townhouse Management III writes to city officials and expresses opposition to the proposal to raze the building at 501 I Street SW.

June 18, 2014 – Townhouse Management III meets to discuss its position on razing the SEU building and the proposed 9-story building. The vast majority of members who speak object to a 9-story building at the site.

June 9, 2014 – The Advisory Neighborhood Committee votes to oppose the issuance of a raze permit for the building at 501 I Street SW.

May 29, 2014 – “Notification of Application to Raze”, dated May 29, 2014, is posted at 501 I Street SW.

Throughout May 2014 – Neighbors attempt to meet with Shakespeare Theatre about the developments at 501 I Street SW, but those meetings do not happen.

May 12, 2014 – Shakespeare Theatre announces that company leadership will develop the Southeastern University property at 501 I Street SW in partnership with Erkiletian Construction Corporation.

May 2, 2014 – A small number of neighborhood representatives (Townhouse Management I and Townhouse Management III Board members, Westminster representatives, the Amidon-Bowen principal, the Amidon-Bowen PTA president, a Duck Pond representative, View Apartments representatives and the Washington Gateway Neighborhood Association Director) meet with representatives of Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s executive board (STC)—including their architect and lawyerat Westminster Presbyterian to hear about plans for development of the Southeastern University property at 501 I Street SW. The property is currently zoned as R-3, which allows up to forty feet of structural height. STC states they  wish to demolish the current school building and re-zone to SP-2, which allows up to 9 floors (ninety feet) of structural high. The new buildings at the site would include rehearsal space, 20-25 apartments for actors, 17-20 dorm-like accommodations for interns, two underground levels (one for parking), and 125 + market-rate apartments.

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