Second Modification for Art Place at Fort Totten Phase II Submitted

Sep 3, 2021 | Alerts, News & Updates, Next Stop...Riggs Park

Originally printed in the online newsletter Next Stop…Riggs Park on August 31, 2021. 


Reprinted September 3, 2021


As expected, the Cafritz Foundation has submitted a second application for a modification of consequence for the second phase of Art Place at Fort Totten (also known as “Block B” or “The FEZ at Art Place“) with the DC Zoning Commission (zoning case number 06-10F). After a multi-year journey that is too much to capture in this post, the Zoning Commission approved the second phase of this planned unit development (PUD) with Meow Wolf, effective March 20, 2020 (see these posts for that discussion). On April 21, 2020, the developer filed an application for a modification of consequence with a few changes that was approved by the Zoning Commission, effective September 4, 2020. Now that Meow Wolf is no longer part of the second phase, the developer is back with another application for a modification of consequence due to the change in tenant mix.

The submission dated August 26, 2021, states,

As a result of the unprecedented impacts of the COVID pandemic, Meow Wolf determined that it was no longer able to move forward with the ratified lease for space at the Art Place at Fort Totten Phase B. While no longer pursuing the original plans, Meow Wolf and the Applicant remain excited about the vibrant creative community of Washington DC and the vision for the Arts Place at Fort Totten. Both parties agreed to keep open the option to work together in the coming years in order to find ways to honor each other’s social impact mission for the benefit of the metropolitan area.

Proposed modifications from the submission

  • Modification of Commercial Use
    • Meow Wolf being replaced with similar immersive arts experience
    • Previously approved uses remain (children’s museum, food hall, grocery store, arts uses, theater/entertainment space) – (Note: submission notes developer is in talks with the Venue Group to manage the theater/entertainment space and is in talks with Illuminarium, Super Blue, and Artechouse about being part of the family entertainment zone (FEZ)
    • Overall commercial use area reduced by 33,500 square feet
  • Modification of residential use
    • Extend north residential tower & eliminate amenity terrace to add residential units all the way to Kennedy Street (Note: all of the additional units would be market-rate)
    • Last remaining Riggs Plaza garden apartment no longer needed
    • Dog Park relocated to new corner of 4th & Kennedy
  • Architectural Modifications
    • “Fort” on corner of Ingraham & 4th removed to improve indoor/outdoor dining experience
    • Height of drum reduced by 2 stories based on replacing Meow Wolf
    • Terrace added above retail on South Dakota Avenue
    • Area of excavation for parking & parking count reduced based on revised program
    • Electrical transformers & switchgear relocated based on new garage footprint
    • Traffic study updated to show no adverse impact to new program with parking reduction (Note: parking reduced from 717 vehicle spaces to 494 spaces, believes fits more of the demand due to fewer peak hour trips, same access points into the site, removed one garage entrance)
    • Loading berth off 4th Street added to enhance flexibility for commercial tenants
    • Palette on residential towers revised based on more neutral colors
  • The Cafritz Foundation states they will abide by proposed mitigations in original PUD–full traffic signal at South Dakota Avenue & Ingraham Street NE, pedestrian improvements on Ingraham Street, improvements on South Dakota Avenue NE and on Kennedy Street NE

The developer believes that the changes are not so significant as to require a hearing and anticipates that the Zoning Commission will be able to consider the modification on the record at a public meeting on September 30, 2021.

The project sits in ANC 5A08. ANC Commissioner Gordon Fletcher (5A08) will likely hold a single member district (SMD) meeting sometime in September about the proposed changes, so stay tuned for that.

Some images of the proposed changes below: