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Developers apply to raze Hine Junior High, West End properties

Friday - 7/26/2013, 12:18pm  ET

The teams behind the West End Library and Hine Junior High School redevelopments have applied to knock down existing buildings on their respective sites, despite ongoing legal challenges.

Raze applications were filed in the last two weeks for 2301 L St. NW, the former Metropolitan Police Department special operations division, 2225 M St. NW, the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Engine Co. 1, and 335 8th St. SE, the 132,208-square-foot Hine Junior High School.

All three buildings are owned by the District government. All three are part of long-awaited mixed-use redevelopments currently being challenged, for different reasons, in court.

EastBanc Inc. has a deal with D.C. to build 172 market-rate apartments atop a new West End Library, and 52 affordable units above a new fire station. The Georgetown developer will construct the public facilities in return for the right to develop above them.

But the Ralph Nader-backed D.C. Library Renaissance Project argues the land at 23rd and L streets NW was "substantially undervalued." Because D.C. is giving up so much in return for so little, the nonprofit argues. D.C. Library Renaissance Project says the entire library system suffers -- even though the project will result in a new library.

The Library Renaissance Project lawsuit challenging the Zoning Commission's approval of the West End planned unit development continues before the D.C. Court of Appeals. If the raze permits are approved, all that will be left on the West End site will be the existing library.

Stanton-EastBanc LLC, meanwhile, plans a $150 million mixed-use community on the Hine site, to include roughly 130 residences, shops, restaurants and office space. But three Hine neighbors filed a petition for review with the D.C. Court of Appeals, again, challenging the Zoning Commission's approval of the PUD.

The D.C. Council recently provided the District an extra year to dispose of the Hine site, as the legal fight may take six months to work itself out.

Project delays aside, the District expects to win both court battles.

© 2013 American City Business Journals, Inc.