4th & M

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 land was owned by the government and sold in 2008 to a developer for $20 (photo).

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

    • Lot was originally zoned for office space.

    • In April 2017, the developer (Forest City, now Brookfield Properties) requested a zoning change to residential.

    • During the 12 years of delays from the developer, ANC 6D requested that the lots become "activated," thus they became an important community gathering space, home to the farmer's market, Friday markets, the DC State Fair, and other communal gatherings.

    • The two buildings will have a total of 598 residential units.

    • 50 units will be dedicated to families making 60% median family income.

    • Because the site was originally government land and was sold for a nominal value, 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.

    • Although many SW Action members have come to love the communal aspect of the space, we understand the land is privately owned. We believe the project should contain more affordable units, consider and adopt current usage of market space, and model the SW Plan's goal of being "an exemplary model of equity and inclusion."

    • SW Action has concerns about whether a community center is the best option for the community benefit, since there are already so many community gathering spaces in the neighborhood (churches, library, 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 these concerns.

A Brief 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 is a primer on its history.

A Brief 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

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.