DC’s Office of Planning Proposes Raising the City’s Height Limit for Buildings

            The height of D.C.’s buildings have long been regulated by the Height Act of 1910, which limits a building’s height to the width of the street or avenue on which the property fronts.  After analyzing the economic impact of these restrictions, DC’s Office of Planning (OP) is proposing raising the height limit within the city and eliminating restrictions outside of Washington proper.  The new proposal recommends increases the building height standards from the current 1:1 ratio to a 1:1.25 ratio, which would allow for 200-foot buildings along some of the city’s widest boulevards.


            The OP estimates that between $62 million and $115 million in additional tax revenue could be generated over the next 20 years by allowing higher corporate, commerical and residential buildings.  They also argue that modifying the Height Act is necessary to accommodate population growth and increased job numbers, which they believe will require between 157 million and 317 million additional square feet by 2040.[1]  If this proposed change to the Height Act were to take effect, viewsheds would be established to protect iconic landmarks, leaving views of the Capitol, White House and Washington Monument unobstructed. 


Carless Condominiums – A Trend in D.C. Real Estate

            As parking constraints continue to tighten in Logan Circle, DuPont, Columbia Heights and Capitol Hill, developers are taking a new approach to mitigate the problem.  Specifically, they are prohibiting tenants from obtaining Residential Parking Permits (RPP’s), thus preventing them from parking on the street.  Douglas Development introduced this “car-free” concept with the Tenley View, which features over 19,000 square feet of retail on the lower two levels, and five upper levels of apartment units.  This structure, centrally located at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Brandywine Street, does not include any parking whatsoever.

 Image(Tenley View)

            Developer Brook Rose hopes to expand on this trend with his Church Street Project, where he seems confidant that he can attract 35 carless tenants to occupy his eight-story, “light and airy” complex centrally located in Logan Circle.  The development promises tenants a one-year subscription to Capital Bike share, a one-year subscription to Zipcar, and a $50 Metro card to ease their transition into the car-less lifestyle. 


(Church St. Project)