4th & M

Update: May 2022

In the May edition of the Southwester, Will Rich wrote a letter to the editor in which he shared that the east parcel, 375 M Street SW, was on the market. During the May ANC meeting, we learned that 425 M Street SW is also on the market.

In response, we are launching a petition for the DC government to purchase the parcels and transfer them to the Douglass Community Land Trust so that the same activities that occur at 425 M Street SW (Farmers Market, Friday Night Market, etc.) can be preserved and so that the land will be owned by the community and we can determine what gets developed there.

To learn more and sign the petition, go to bit.ly/save4thandMSW

On this page you will find a quick rundown of information about the 4th & M development, followed by additional resources.

Basic Facts on 4th & M

    • The project proposes two buildings, one on the west and east side of 4th St at M.

    • Because the site was originally government land, the developer is required to offer a "community benefit" in the development. The developer is planning to add a community center on the second floor of the east building.

    • SW Action has concerns about whether a community center is the best option for the community benefit, since there are already several spaces that already serve a similar purpose (churches, library, 2 other community centers).

    • Several members of the group filed a petition to the DC Court of Appeals in 2019, asking the court to return the plan to the zoning board to revisit concerns regarding affordable housing, the loss of the gathering space, and questioning its alignment with the Southwest Neighborhood Plan and Comprehensive Plan.

    • On January 31st, 2022, the Court of Appeals rejected the appeal and affirmed the approval of the development. You can read the Court's decision here.

    • By May of 2022, both parcels we put on the market.

History of 4th & M Street SW

4th & M Street SW is one of the central intersections for the SW neighborhood. Since 2012, it has become a very important community gathering space. This piece details its history:

History of 4th & M Street SW

The video to the left is an edited clip of SW residents, Coy and Pamela McKinney, testifying at the Zoning Commission on May 10, 2018 in regards to the project planned for 4th & M Street SW.

The clip also includes the Chairman of the DC Zoning Commission, Anthony Hood, talking about the dearth of truly affordable housing projects in the city and how the more housing he sees, "the more prices go up."

legal brief - DC Court of Appeals

December 23, 2019: Six residents filed their brief to DC Court of Appeals, requesting the decision of the Zoning Commission to approve the proposed development at 4th and M Street be vacated. The petitioners rely on case law and planning documents to argue that the plan does not fulfill goals of the current Comprehensive Plan and the SW Neighborhood Plan, in particular.

Petitioners also argue that the loss of health-promoting and cultural assets due to the SW Farmer's Market and Friday night arts market constitute adverse effects that the Commission failed to consider despite its statutory obligations to do so. Data on gentrification, threats to neighborhood diversity, and the impact of a minimum number of affordable units are discussed at length. Based on new, comparable units in Southwest and surrounding communities, rents are likely to reach well beyond $2,000 for studios and one-bedrooms.

To read the full 50-page brief, click here: 4th & M Brief.

The Southwester: Local Activists Appeal Developments At 4TH & M

The January 2020 issue of The Southwester includes an article about the press conference held on December 16th regarding the development at 4th & M.

The Southwester: Local Activists Appeal Developments At 4TH & M

2019 4th & M flyer

4th & M Press Conference (Dec. 16, 2019)

This is the audio/video from the press conference that was held by Pro se petitioners, who are challenging the planned development at 4th & M Street SW.

Dec. 9, 2019 Press Release - 4th & M Street SW

This is a press release for a press conference that will be occurring on Monday, December 16th, at 6pm across the street from the Waterfront Metro. The press conference is being organized by a group of SW residents who oppose the project planned for 4th & M Street on the grounds that it does not meet the goals of the Southwest Neighborhood Plan (which you can read on our Resources page).

Link to Press Release.