PN Hoffman Development in Adams Morgan Faces Major Public Opposition

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PN Hoffman Development in Adams Morgan Faces Major Public Opposition

Developer PN Hoffman seeks to purchase the Suntrust property at 18th Street and Columbia Road NW to build a 70+ foot tall mixed use apartment and retail complex at the heart of the historic Adams Morgan neighborhood in Ward One.

A cadre of suited PN Hoffman representatives, including Monty Hoffman himself was at the Adams Morgan ANC meeting last Wednesday, May 4, 2016, to show their plans to a packed room of residents and commissioners.

The public reaction was visceral.

Commissioner Jon Marc Buffa, Chair of the Commission’s Planning, Zoning, and Transportation committee led the rebuke, “The project is so clearly out of proportion [with the Washington Heights historic district]. . . and does not comport with numerous historic preservation guidelines.”

Commissioner Billy Simpson, former Chair of the Commission said the project, “… is double the height of 18th Street buildings and not proportional.” In comparison to the former Knickerbocker Theatre, Simpson said the the theater was “substantially shorter” and that PN Hoffman’s project “overwhelms” the surrounding area.

Mr. Bill Duggan, owner of the famous Madams Organ Blues Bar  pronounced that he was “aghast at the design and size” and asked Hoffman reps “who were they paying” given his troubles with historic preservationists in wanting to add some simple ironwork to his establishment.

Vikram Surya Chiruvolu, with Adams Morgan for Reasonable Development informed the commission that in just a few days, 100+ people have signed an online petition opposed to the development.

Chiruvolu: “Along with Capitol Hill, Georgetown, and Dupont Circle, our Adams Morgan is one of the few internationally known neighborhoods of DC. This plaza stands at the heart of our neighborhood, a crossing point of our transit lines, vehicle and foot traffic. It is the former grounds of the Knickerbocker Theatre, and the Ambassador where Jimi Hendrix once played prior to the 1968 riots.  There are records to suggest that the prior owner was beginning to make amends for a history of redlining by building an amphitheatre shaped plaza as a space for the public to assemble and speak out for justice and progress. So the notion this is purely private space to be sold to the highest bidder is not just uninformed, but an indignity to the history and future of our community.”

PN Hoffman representatives said no matter, they intend to show their designs to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) at the end of this month.

On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, the ANC passed several resolutions in opposition to the PN Hoffman’s project, they are on the ANC website.



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