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L'ENFANT PLAZA NORTH, INC. v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

May 22, 1972

L'ENFANT PLAZA NORTH, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY et al., Defendants


John H. Pratt, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT

JOHN H. PRATT, District Judge.

 This cause having come on for hearing upon plaintiff's request for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief after remand by the Court of Appeals and the Court, having considered the pleadings, exhibits and affidavits filed in the cause and having considered the argument of counsel for the parties made in open court, makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 Findings of Fact

 1. The original plaintiffs are seven corporations and two partnerships owning real estate or tenants under long-term leases of real estate with improvements commonly known as L'Enfant Plaza, The Reporters Building, Town Center and other related buildings and improvements located in what is known as the Southwest Urban Renewal Area C. Plaintiffs permitted to intervene in this action are lessees of space in L'Enfant Plaza who operate retail commercial businesses.

 2. Defendants are the District of Columbia Land Redevelopment Agency (hereinafter "RLA") and its chairman, the National Capital Planning Commission (hereinafter "NCPC") and its chairman, the District of Columbia and Walter E. Washington. David Nassif Associates (hereinafter "Nassif") was allowed to intervene as a party defendant.

 3. The Urban Renewal Plan for Southwest Urban Renewal Area Project "C" (hereinafter "the Plan") was adopted by defendant NCPC on April 5, 1956, and approved by the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia on November 30, 1956.

 4. Square 465, which is bounded by D Street, S.W., 6th Street, S.W., 7th Street, S.W., and E Street, S.W., was, at this time, designated for two land uses -- the western portion to be part of the proposed L'Enfant Plaza and the eastern portion dedicated to church purposes.

 5. In February, 1962, the General Services Administration (hereinafter "GSA") solicited bids for one million square feet of office space in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area (PBS Bid No. 03564). The solicitation required the bidder to provide an employee restaurant of 29,000 square feet and approximately 200 parking spaces. At that time, the general policy of GSA concerning commercial space in a building leased by the government was to allow the lessor to devote the first floor area or below to commercial space. The February, 1962 bid invitation recognized that commercial space could be included and specifically so stated in Section 6(b)(1) of the bid. Five addenda were added to this bid invitation but they are not pertinent to this discussion.

 6. In specific response to GSA's invitation for bids, Webb & Knapp, Inc., (hereinafter "Webb & Knapp") one of the early developers of Southwest Area Project "C", requested that the Plan be changed so that they could erect a building on Square 465 which would conform to the GSA invitation to bid.

 7. At the behest of Webb & Knapp, I.M. Pei Associates (hereinafter "I.M. Pei"), an architectural firm, in May, 1962, prepared and submitted plans for a building on Square 465 which would fulfill the requirements of the GSA bid invitation. In drawing the plans and designating the area for retail uses for the building on the proposed Square 465, I.M. Pei followed the directives of Webb & Knapp, which were based on Webb & Knapp's determination of the amount of retail space which could be supported by the people who would work in the building. A set of nine drawings were completed by I.M. Pei under the direction of Mr. Araldo Cossutta. The ground floor drawing contains a note as follows: "Note: 14,000 square feet of ground floor area reserved for commercial use in mutually agreed upon manner." Mr. Cossutta testified that the purpose of this note was to alert the RLA and the Planning Commission to the desirability of having certain auxiliary uses in the building, and secondly to suggest the number of square feet which would in a general sense be representative of such use.

 8. During the course of conferences with RLA officials, Webb & Knapp suggested that the 14,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of the building be increased to 100,000 square feet. RLA insisted that the building be dedicated to office use and steadfastly refused this request. Indeed, RLA never actually approved Webb & Knapp's initial suggestion that 14,000 square feet be allowed for commercial space.

 9. Nevertheless, modification of the Plan with respect to the land controls applicable to Square 465 was initiated. The original draft of such proposed modification provided as follows:

 
"(1) Uses. In Square 465, as indicated on Land Use Plan, all buildings and premises shall be used for governmental, professional or commercial offices including such incidental uses as cafeterias and off-street parking and loading areas which are necessary to serve the principal uses."

 10. The first draft of the proposed modification was revised and the final form of the land controls for Square 465 was adopted by NCPC on October 25, 1962, and approved by the District's Board of Commissioners on July 25, 1963, as follows (Section H.4.e of Plan):

 
"(1) Uses. In Square 465 as indicated on Land Use Plan, all buildings and premises shall be limited to offices for governmental, professional, institutional or commercial uses and accessory uses such as employee restaurants and off-street parking necessary to serve the primary uses."

 11. The testimony of Charles Hanke of the NCPC before an open session of that body on October 25, 1962, at which time the NCPC adopted the modification, ...


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