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D.C. appeals court allows Union Market-area project to advance



A D.C. court has rejected an activist group’s appeal of Foulger-Pratt’s $200 million planned development near Union Market.

Thursday’s ruling from the D.C. Court of Appeals upholds the D.C. Zoning Commission’s approval of the “Press House” project and could have implications for dozens of other District developments that have been appealed by groups such as UMN. Press House, like other projects in similar situations, has been on hold with appeals pending.

Potomac-based Foulger-Pratt was not immediately available for comment. Its project would renovate and redevelop an acre and a half, including the historic, 36,000-square-foot former National Capital Press building at 301 N St. NE, into 356 apartments, 27,000 square feet of retail, 26,000 square feet of office and 175 hotel rooms.

Construction was slated to begin last year, with targeted delivery in 2020.

In its appeal, UMN cited displacement, environmental issues and general neighborhood changes. The court found that the grounp failed to identify any basis to warrant rejection on legal grounds of the Zoning Commission’s order.

“In short, we see no legal basis to upset the Commission’s conclusions that ‘[t]he commission has judged, balanced, and reconciled the relative values of the project amenities and public benefits offered, the degree of development incentives requested, and any potential adverse effects,'” according to the ruling.

The court also noted, “It is decidedly not this court’s role to ‘reassess the merits of the decision'” from the commission. And it found, contrary to UMN’s arguments, that the Zoning Commission’s order is “replete with evidence that the Commission took into account the neighborhood impact of what it recognized as a major ‘redevelopment of an underutilized parcel.'”