OUR VISION: square 50
The most important element of our plan (from a public safety perspective) is the new West End Fire Station - we have expended much effort to get this element right. At the same time, we recognize that the West End has a high-demand for more residential density, a good deal of which could be located in the unused air over the Fire Station. We have worked closely with the DCFEMS over the last 3½ years to understand their needs and desires in order to develop a plan for a mixed-use fire station that ensures a smooth-running public safety facility while accommodating a residential building above. Our new fire station will employ the latest sound/vibration isolation and electronic technology to reduce the impact of two seemingly disharmonious uses sharing the same footprint. We will also employ technology to reduce the noise impact on the rest of the community through state of the art soundproofing and traffic signal prioritization/recalibration to reduce the use of sirens.
The elements of the new fire station that we are proposing include:
• New 17,600 square foot, state-of-the art fire station
• 4 full vehicle bays with 14’ bi-fold automatic doors
• Officers sleeping quarters on the ground floor
• Firefighters’ bunk rooms on a mezzanine level only 10’ above the apparatus
floor (this shorter pole length is easier on the firefighters’ knees and backs)
• Below-grade parking
• Flexible “community room” space that can be used for training, apartment building meetings and community meetings during evenings and odd hours when the Library is closed.
The District has a long history of mixed-income neighborhoods, and while there may not be much demand for luxury housing above the new fire station, we anticipate strong demand for affordable housing units. We have proposed building 52 one and two bedroom rental units for working individuals and families. Due to the way that we have proposed financing these units, (with low income tax credits and tax exempt bonds) occupancy is restricted and fulltime students are not eligible to live in these units.
The apartment occupants are restricted from paying additional rent for parking (by the nature of the affordable housing financing that we propose using to build the building). Therefore only one level of parking will be built beneath the new fire station with 33 spaces – primarily for the fire department.