closed sidewalk & dead project at 700 16th

The apparently dead redevelopment project at 700 16th Street, the old Clarion Hotel, which occupies the block between 16th and 15th, and H Street and Government Alley, has closed sidewalks for a long period of time, even though nothing is happening there. The sidewalks closed are on H Street, the entire block, and 15th Street, the half block. As seen in the first photo below, there is enough pedestrian traffic on 15th Street to have worn a path in the sidewalk buffer. The solution here is to require the developer to remove this fence. If fencing is needed, which is doubtful on this side of the building, it should be on the property and not in the buffer. Re-opening this piece of sidewalk until such time as there is active development is the right thing to do.

15th Street use path, north of H Street, old Clarion Hotel

On the northwest corner of 15th Street and H Street, the corner could have been left open so that the two crosswalks could be safely used, but it was not. Instead, a sloppy fencing job leaves a sidewalk too narrow for ADA use.

15th Street & H Street, northeast corner, no ADA access for crosswalks

The sidewalk closure on H Street might need to remain because there is building access on this side, but it should be properly signed approaching from the east, which is is not.

H Street & 16th Street no signing

Lastly, on 15th Street southbound at Government Alley, there is a fence but no signing, and there is no advance warning at G Street that the sidewalk is closed ahead.

15th Street at Government Alley, no signing

This property is apparently owned by SKK Development, Sotiris Kolokotronis, and is called The Bernice. This failure to accommodate walkers is both the fault of the owner/developer, for the poor job of fencing and signing, and of the city for failing to monitor the situation (and perhaps for allowing it to exist in the first place). This also points out that there must be bonds for construction zone fencing and signing so that if a owner/developer fails to proceed with development, the city can go in and partially or fully restore access at the developer’s expense.

4 thoughts on “closed sidewalk & dead project at 700 16th

  1. Any idea, Dan, which office/dept/desk in City bureaucracy is responsible for enforcement/approval of these non-bonded project public encroachments? How are the fees calculated & managed, restrictions of rights-of-way determined, etc? Is there any actual oversight over the course of a project lifespan?


    • I thought that the permits were under Construction Services within Community Development, but searching on the city website, what I find is Encroachment Permits under Engineering Services under Public Works ( The page does address fees, and there is an implication that a percentage of the fee is retained as a bond. To be honest, I don’t have a good understanding of this. It is even less clear how this works when the encroacher is the city itself, or developers working on city projects.


      • I’m barely process- aware, too, but your last reply sentence is somethung I’ve LONG contemplated: who makes final decisions and based on what criteria? And how does the citizenry know? 🎪


  2. P.S. And there’s the parking meter revenue loss to calculate, bill for, put into dept rev budgets, etc… 🤔🤐


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