View14 condos, the high-profile project by DC-based Level 2 Development, will reportedly end sales on its project at 14th and Florida, NW, and build the yet unrealized project into rental apartments. Bethesda-based SK & I Architects designed the building to angle away from the road with walls of glass that, with the natural slope of the land, will supply many of the 170 units with a view downtown when completed in mid 2008. The much anticipated project is expected to realize the District's goal of creating a retail strip from downtown through Columbia Heights, replacing a once thriving row of auto dealerships that in recent decades became the archetype of urban blight. The 14th Street corridor's more recent rebound includes local developers like PN Hoffman populating the strip with pricey condominiums, and one of the higher concentrations of local retail in the city - at least up to W Street, where Busboys and Poets signals the end of the developed strip, until now. View14 is replacing the old Petrovitch body shop and a bevy of enormous Comcast satellite receivers, most of which have already been removed.
Many local developers have faced pressure from investors to move away from condos and toward the more lucrative apartment market, especially where investors require pre-construction sales up to 2 years in advance. Such requirements have been harder to accommodate as fewer buyers are finding it advantageous to sign a contract one to two years before completion, forcing developers to cancel condo projects early in the development projects. Level 2 is partnering with Centrum Properties, a large Chicago-based developer, to help realize the ambitious project, and retains further plans to replace the outdated Nehemiah strip mall across the Street, which it purchased for $13.2m in March of this year and intends to plow under next year in favor of a mixed-use development with condos and retail.