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Government and People
MAYOR'S OFFICIAL RESIDENCE COMMISSION
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The District of Columbia is experiencing a cultural, economic and political renaissance. The population of Washington, D.C. is becoming more diverse. Private sector investment is growing in District neighborhoods, and public confidence in local government is increasing. This renaissance is occurring while District residents and stakeholders are coming together, working together, and succeeding together to obtain the promises of the new millennium. This renaissance period offers a golden opportunity to establish a permanent mayoral residency in the District of Columbia, "America's Crown Jewel."
The act establishing the Mayor's Official Residence Commission states:
Many different suggestions have been made regarding the location of the Mayor's Official Residence. It is the belief of the Commission that the best way to evaluate the various ideas is to establish a framework that objectively articulates options in terms of . size, cost and programmatic considerations. Having done so, each specific idea and proposal can be evaluated on the basis of the established framework and criteria.
The Mayor's Official residence could reasonably range in size from 2,500 square feet to over 16,000 square feet depending on resources and programmatic preferences and choices. For purposes of framing a discussion, the establishment of a mayoral residence within the District of Columbia would be based on the following site selection options.
The benefits of establishing the mayoral residency in the District of Columbia are many and could take one of several different forms.
Regardless of the vehicle chosen to implement the establishment of a Mayor's residence one or more of the following activities, at a minimum, will need to be undertaken. These activities will have varying costs.
The costs for the proposed initiative to establish a mayoral residence will vary significantly depending on the specific site as well as the scale and quality of the accommodations. Prior to selecting a specific site and for purposes of this proposal, the options can be characterized in three alternatives. The actual site and project, when undertaken, will likely incorporate some combination of the variables outlined below.
This option includes the acquisition of a modest residence that would be approximately 2,500 - 3,500 sq. ft. and would include an adequate number of bedrooms and living area to accommodate an average family. There would be no provision for public space or entertaining other than the normal living and dining areas customary with this type of property. The Mayor and his/her family would live in this house much like any private citizen. The capital and operating costs necessary to create this residence would be the least of the alternatives.
This option includes the acquisition and renovation, if necessary, of a significant single family structure that would be large enough to accommodate private entertaining and meeting area, but would not include any public space.
The residence would be 8,000 - 10,000 sq. ft. and would include six to eight bedrooms and be adequate to comfortably accommodate the Mayor and family as well as room for guests. Though there would be no public space, the home would be elegant and of sufficient size to entertain formally and to officially represent the government of the District of Columbia.
This option includes the acquisition and renovation, if necessary, of a significant structure that would be large enough to comfortably accommodate the Mayor and family, including room for private meetings and formal entertaining, as well as having separate space available for guest quarters. In addition this option would include the creation of significant public space that would accommodate areas of display that would be dedicated to the history of the District of Columbia and the display of fine art that is indigenous to our remarkable and distinct city.
It is envisioned in this option that the mayoral residence would become the center of social, political and artistic activity in the nation's capital and the foundation would be funded adequately to further this vision. The structure would be approximately 15,000 sq. ft. or larger, would include both private residence quarters for the Mayor and family as well as the public space necessary to meet the articulated vision.
All wards and neighborhoods in the District represent the District. The site of the Mayor's residence should be chosen with regard to the impact on the on the neighborhood and the level of accessibility. It is the unanimous feeling of the members of the Commission that the site chosen for the Mayor's residence be a site that has dignity and is befitting the Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia.
Based on a preliminary analysis, the cost of undertaking the establishment of an official Mayor's Residence that is comparable to other official state residences is in the range of $40 million to $50 million. This is based on the capital costs of construction and rehabilitation and the capitalized costs of operating over a 50 year period. In brief, any of the three options described above will require a capital campaign or expenditure of District funds that would allow for an acquisition cost that would range from $150 - $250 per square foot and an annual operation cost of approximately of $35- $50 per sq. ft. A cost index increase projected at 4% per year for the foreseeable future is anticipated. The following is a breakdown of the projected costs of the three options outlined above.
Given the fiscal constraints, demands and pressures on the budget of the District government and the need to fund important programs such as affordable housing, workforce development, literacy, education, etc., funding for this initiative would best come from outside sources.
Based on the program for the house size and its intended function there would be some level of off street parking that would be warranted. The minimum amount of parking would be for five to ten cars, which would be adequate to accommodate the Executive Protection Unit and the personal vehicles of the Mayor's family. The cost for construction of surface level parking if required is projected at $1,000 per space and would be as follows:
If it were ever a requirement to go up or down via a structured garage, the cost increase would be substantial. In the event of a gift in kind, there would be no cost to the district.
Any Mayoral residence should have certain security considerations at a level that is appropriate to the structure and site. The Mayor's security detail has been consulted and they have advised that the following issues be considered:
In summary there are a number of considerations that have to be factored into a decision. Legal structure, program, scope, location, cost, parking and security are all issues that must be weighed when considering any alternative for the official Mayor's residence.
921 Pennsylvania Ave.
The District currently owns a building at the above location, which is also known as the Old Naval Hospital building. It is large, four story stately masonry building built in the middle of the 19'h century.
Casey Foundation Proposal
The Eugene B. Casey Foundation proposes to establish the Casey Mansion Foundation to acquire a seventeen acre site on Foxhall Rd., build a significant structure and endow the Foundation sufficient to pay all operating costs in perpetuity.
A number of additional sites have been looked at by various members of the Commission. These sites include, but are not limited to:
Pursuant to the enabling legislation, the Mayor's Official Residence Commission held a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17. The public hearing was held in the Council chambers located at One Judiciary Square NW, Washington, DC. The hearing was an opportunity for the Commission to hear from the members of the public on the issue of an official residence for the Mayor of the District of Columbia. Copies of the preliminary report from the Commission, the enabling legislation and the letter proposal from the Casey Foundation were available at the hearing.
There were approximately 20 individuals who presented testimony. The majority of the individuals supported the proposal from the Casey Foundation. One individual believed that there should not be an official residence for the Mayor, one believed that it should be at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., and one suggested the Commission look at a different site on Pennsylvania Ave. that is currently being considered for development by a private developer. Additional comment has been received by the Commission through e-mail, as well as through phone calls.
It is the belief of the Commission that the Casey Foundation proposal offers the best opportunity to realize a residence that achieves the maximum programmatic goals at the least expense to the citizens of the District.
Based on the analysis presented above and the majority of the testimony received from the public, it is the recommendation of the Mayor's Official Residence Commission that the Mayor and the Council, on behalf of the citizens of the District of Columbia, accept the proposal from the Casey Foundation to designate the site located at 1801 Foxhall Rd. NW as the Official Residence of the Mayor of the District of Columbia.
APPENDIX A: MAPS AND AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS [not available on-line]
APPENDIX B: LEGISLATION
APPENDIX C: MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION
GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Mayor's Order 2001-129
SUBJECT: Appointments - Mayor's Official Residence Commission
ORIGINATING AGENCY: Office of the Mayor
By virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the District of Columbia by section 422(2) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, as amended, 87 Stat. 790, Pub. L. No. 93-198, D.C. Code § 1242(2)(1999 Repl.), and in accordance with section 4 of the Mayor's Official Residence Commission Establishment Act of 2000, effective October 21, 2000 (D.C. Law 13179), it is hereby ORDERED that:
1. GWENDOLYN HEMPHILL, BRENDA RICHARDSON and FRANK WILDS are appointed as public citizen members of the Mayor's Official Resident Commission (hereinafter referred to as "Commission') for terms of 180 days from the date a majority of the first members are sworn-in.
2. The following persons are appointed as ex officio members of the Commission representing District agencies and shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor:
3. EFFECTIVE DATE: This Order shall become effective immediately.ANTHONY A. WILLIAMS, MAYOR
ATTEST: BEVERLY D. RIVERS, SECRETARY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
November 3, 2000
The Honorable Walter E. Washington
Dear Mayor Washington:I am very pleased to appoint you as chairperson of the Mayor's Official Residence Commission, pursuant to section 5(a) of D.C. Law 13-179, the "Mayor's Official Residence Commission Establishment Act of 2004:" Enclosed for your information is a copy of D.C. Law 13-179, which became law on October 21, 2000, upon the expiration of the Congressional review period.
The other appointees of the Council Chairman are:
Thank you for your leadership on this matter and your willingness to serve on the Mayor's Official Residence Commission. The Mayor's Office of Boards and Commissions will be contacting you in the near future to inform you of the Mayor's appointments and to help organize the first meeting of this important commission.
cc: Mayor Anthony A. Williams
THE HONORABLE WALTER E. WASHINGTON, CHAIR
D.C. LAW 13-179
TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2001
APPENDIX E: LETTER FROM THE CASEY FOUNDATION
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