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Fenty to Announce Developer for Tenley Library

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) will go to the site of a demolished branch library in the Tenley neighborhood of Northwest Washington this morning to announce that he has chosen a developer to build a replacement library and more than 120 apartments on the land -- a choice parcel located directly across from the Tenleytown Metro station.

Delays in rebuilding the Tenley-Friendship Library, and three others in the city that were closed four years ago, have been a festering problem for the city government, as Marc Fisher wrote in his column today. Among other issues, plans for the Tenley site stalled as neighborhood activists and city officials debated whether to use the lucrative opportunity to build apartments to generate revenue for a new library and benefit Janney Elementary School, which sits just west of the library parcel.

Some who live in the area vocally opposed adding housing (and the inevitable traffic it would bring) and decried any plans that could jeopardize the grassy area behind the schoolhouse, where Janney students run and play. Fenty and his economic development team, on the other hand, argued that it did not make sense to rebuild the library without leveraging the prime location and the city's still-strong housing market.

"It's a perfect transit-oriented development site, and we just want to make the most use possible of any site we have that is that close to a Metro line," said Eric Scott, the city's manager for the Tenley project.

Scott said Fenty has chosen a developer from among three teams who responded to a request for proposals issued in 2007. The three are LCOR Inc., a Pennsylvania-based company with offices in Bethesda; Roadside Development, a D.C. firm whose projects include redeveloping the historic O Street Market; and the See Forever Foundation, in partnership with UniDev.

The developer will build 120 to 130 housing units--apartments or condominiums--above a new library, Scott said. Most of the units will be market-rate, but some will be subsidized as "workforce" housing for low- to middle-income residents.

Scott said the project will use some of the land behind the library, but leave most of the schoolyard intact. He said some of the profit from the project will go to modernizing Janney, and emphasized that the development team will work with city and library officials to "minimize any library construction start delay."

The announcement is scheduled for 10:45 a.m.

-- Debbi Wilgoren

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 10, 2008; 9:31 AM ET
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Posted by: Tenleytown resident | July 10, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The mayor has reached a decision that goes against the majority view in the community. For example, the prime community forum, area ANC's, have strongly recommended against any PPP at the site. The is not government by the people or for the people. The library has alredy been closed far too long. It should not be further delayed by this complication. More troubling is the further loss of precious Janney real estate. Where does the mayor plan to move Janney school so that it can get back the land it will be losing -- and still be near enough to the metro for the out-of-boundary children who take advantage of the excellent education it offers?

Posted by: Janney Neighbor and parent | July 10, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The Mayor is representing me.

The ANC has never represented me.

There is an excellent library three blocks away. It is better than the old Tenley library. I am willing to wait until this new one is open. This is a better plan than a stand along library. Look at Marc Fisher's blog on this to better understand why this is a good idea.

Or continue to wring your hands in angst over the changing tide in the city. It is a city, afterall.

Go Mayor Go.

Posted by: Tenley resident | July 10, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to Fenty. The anti-growth neighbors in Tenley must be defeated. I hope this is the first step in finally developing our neighborhood into what it should be.

Posted by: Another Tenley resident | July 10, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It is an excellent idea to add housing, and the more the better. I use the Tenley subway station (I live in the neighborhood), and we could use better development in the area. Sticking with some old, cheap one and two story buildings on Wisconsin makes no sense at all.

Posted by: The Ref | July 10, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This assertion that ANC 3E represents the community or has any notion of what the community as a whole wants is absurd!

I attended all of the meetings about this project and the mood at the public meetings, including the ANC sponsored meetings, was hardly clear cut. Most people as far as I could tell were curious and wanted to learn about the project and what it would give to the community and potentially take away from the school.

And it is also worth pointing out that there is also some concern from folks who have attended the DCPL design meetings about both the new libraries architecture and its layout.

The city received 125 comments on the previous proposals - the two ANC's adjoining this site represent approximately 24000 people!

125 comments would not even represent the majority of Janney households weighing in on this project.

And 4 of the 5 "groups" opposed to the previous proposals are indistinguishable anti-growth groups who have opposed literally everything new that has been proposed in this community in the last 5 years so their oppostion is hardly meaning ful or representative of anything.

The ANC ought to simply have the backbone to stand on their own and state their personal opposition to the project rather than hide behind the notion that they know where their constituents stand.

Or they should attempt to put it to a direct vote but we should have either representative democracy or direct democracy not this silliness with 15 people showing up to an ANC meeting and 10 are anti-growth so the ANC "sides" with them and calls it democracy.

Posted by: Tom Quinn | July 10, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

To Tenley Resident, Another Tenley Resident, and "the Ref":

Where were you at the press conference today? About 40 neighbors came to voice their overwhelmingly negative reactions to Fenty's decision. It sounds to me like the ANC represents the neighbors who care enough about their community to show up.

Posted by: Tenley Resident for 22 Years | July 10, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Bad idea.

Posted by: Jonathan Rees | July 10, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Since it was announced at 9:00 this morning that there would be a press conference at 10:45, the only people who could be there are retirees and folks with nothing better to do.

Of course those are the ones opposed to the project. Everyone else with a life thinks its great.

Since you have been in Tenleytown for 22 years, who do you think has a better chance of using this development in 15 years. You, or the new family with one or two new kids?

Posted by: to Tenley Resident for 22 years | July 10, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

If Jonathan Rees thinks its a bad idea, then it must be a good idea.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

First off, the Tenley ANC has a long history of claiming to represent "the majority" of folks living here, while in fact loudly espousing a minority viewpoint. They don't represent my views on this, or on many other local issues, nor do they represent the views of any of my neighbors.

The fact that the News Conference was re-scheduled to mid-morning with under 2 hour's notice ensured that only a small minority of Tenley residents would be able to attend and have their voices heard. Certainly many of those most closely affected - parents of school-age children - are at work at this hour!

As for the project itself, the concept certainly has merit, but much of the benefit or detriment to the neighborhood lies in the details...which as of right now, nobody has seen! Doesn't it make sense to know what you are opposing before opposing it?

Posted by: Tenley Resident, Janney Parent x2 | July 10, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Dr. House | July 10, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Probably Jonathan Rees. Thanks for the racist images.

Posted by: ^^^^^ | July 10, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The ANC doesn't speak for me. It's 4 members have been opposed to ANY development in their ANC.

They claim to speak on behalf of all the thousands of residents in their ANC, but they do not. Take a poll of the community on the online listserve. See how many residents even know who their ANC overlords are, let alone support their NIMBY and micromanaging efforts.

The ANC speaks only for its 4 members.

Posted by: Tenley Resident | July 10, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

SvlWjT fasdfsdaf safasf saf safsa fsafasfsa

Posted by: 1800 | July 10, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Nobody asked us if it was okay. We like to read too!

Posted by: White Anarchists of Tenley Town Gang | July 10, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

This is preposterous! We are still working on the return of the Waffle House. They had the best sides in town.

Posted by: Basil Whetterburn, III | July 10, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I oppose everything including myself! Happy birthday to me.

Posted by: Jonathan Res | July 10, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The majority of families I know in the Janney community and the Tenleytown neighborhood want a good library and a solid school that can accommodate our growing student body. Both of these items can be achieved through our normal city services and in a reasonably short timeline. We don't NEED private interests or more density on that parcel of public land. Most folks who choose to live in the District are not anti-development but most reasonable people do not want school property auctioned off as surplus to the private developers, whose primary interests will always and naturally be PROFIT, not children's education or an awesome library. No matter what they tell us today...

Posted by: Janney Parent | July 10, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I was in high school when the "old" (1958) Tenley Library was opened. It worked fine for me; when DC awarded a demolition contract without any plan or schedule for construction of the new replacement building, I knew we were headed for trouble. The neighborhood associations should initiate litigation to prevent the award from doing forward and to revert to the initial plan. Even then, it will be at least 3 years before we get a new library.

As for the planned mixed use development, we should get the DC Auditor, Congress and GAO to examine in detail whose goose is getting fed by this version of the project.

Posted by: Steve Posniak | July 10, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Tell us where we can go to find information on how to support the library ONLY building, please! Thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post hates for citizens to become involved. It dilutes their influence. Fisher has raised the word "activist" to epithet level. He hurls it at anyone who dares to do something, who dares to get involved. Best not to listen to him.

Posted by: AntiInvolvement | July 11, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I like the combination Library-Taco Bell idea. We can eat delicious food while we look at the books. Kudos to the council for coming up with this idea.

Posted by: Grey Water Bug | July 11, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The NIMBY'd (not in my butt, you don't!) have it! We reached a compromise today at 2:00PM!

A Library will replace the St. Ann's Church building. No books in this new age library have actual words. They are speaking/picture books. Thank the gods that cooler minds prevailed.

Posted by: Felix Smallbottoms | July 11, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The ANC didn't base its comments on letters from 125 individuals -- DMPED supposedly did. The ANC only saw those letters after it FOIA'd them -- and they didn't say what DMPED claimed.

The ANC's work has actually been based on public hearings at which any community member could speak. One was held before the ANC submitted proposed revisions to the RFP and was the source of most of those revisions. The other was held before the ANC voted to reject all three offers.

The ANC has consistently made sure interested citizens have as much information as possible to evaluate whether this plan is a good idea. It disseminates that information and creates a forum for discussing it before it makes decisions. I wish I could say as much for the Deputy Mayor's office.

Before you dismiss the ANC as a bunch of unrepresentative NIMBYs, look at what they actually recommended. (It's available online at under meeting minutes or resolutions). What they care about is making sure we get a good school and a good library and rather than being "anti" everything, they provided reasonable suggestions about how the project could be made better and about what problems need to be addressed.

But DMPED never listens, so the project remains a disaster even if it doesn't have to be.

Posted by: tenleyite | July 13, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

The Nimby RFD'd the KFC in the NFES. To counter, the AMD of the ANC proposed a DYEMW action that would have stayed the HGRMW Rankin full stop. Itf it had not been for the decisive action of the NIMROD NBHR Co., we would be SOL.

Posted by: The ANC Chapter 5 | July 14, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm the parent of an incoming first grader at Janney and I have two more younger children who I hope to send there if this deal doesn't cause us to move first.

As I understand it, Janney's enrollment has been increasing steadily for the past decade or more. It is far over capacity and therefore has classroom trailers on its property to accommodate the excess students. It seems crazy to me that our only local public elementary school should give up any portion of its outdoor space for the construction of private residences when we need that space and more to increase Janney's building size and have playground and other outdoor space for our children.

I understand that Janney is now about 100 students over its listed capacity and its modernization is supposed to result in a school to accommodate 550 children -- many more than attend there presently.

Janney needs MORE open space; not less or even the same amount as it has today. This proposal may be great for developers but it stinks for the Janney community. Please stop it and focus on modernizing our school!

Go Jaguars!

Posted by: Janney Parent | July 16, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

NMSrBS htdioghrdeioh uerhuy h3oh iohgdfiogho isdfhio sdjhdf

Posted by: flow1800 | July 21, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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