Donatelli Development and partner Gragg and Associates acknowledged today they will convert their iconic Highland Park condominium (pictured, top) at the southwest corner of 14th and Irving streets in Columbia Heights, into rental units. The mixed-use development was the neighborhood's largest condominium, with 229 residential units, 20,000 square feet of retail, and three levels of underground parking, directly above the western entrance to the Columbia Heights metro.
“In light of recent shifts in the condominium market, we decided that we would be in a better position to serve the Columbia Heights market with a luxury rental building,” said company president Chris Donatelli, who developed the project in conjunction with NCRC and has done as much as any individual to bring about the revitalization of Columbia Heights. Despite its location above the Metro and across the street from DC-USA, the massive retail center opening in late winter, only about 75 of the 229 units were ever under contract, never matching its sister project across the street, Kenyon Square , a 153-unit condominium also by Donatelli that began delivery in July and is now more than 70% sold out, according to sales agents Domus Realty.
Silver Spring-based Torti Gallas designed the building, which had been offering a 24-hour front desk, two-level fitness center, an "unusually large...hotel-style lobby" (pictured, below), and one of the most inviting roof decks of the city. The condos had been priced from the mid $300's to the upper $700's. Donatelli points out that conversion will have no adverse impact on the finishes or amenities, as the building has been mostly completed, with delivery scheduled for early next year.
At the same time, Donatelli Development announced it has reached agreements with six retailers, helping to round out the burgeoning area as the northern tip of the 14th Street retail corrider, as planned by the city, and bolstering Columbia Heights as a retail center in its own right. Retailers at Highland Park will now include Hank's Oyster Bar, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pete's Apizza, Zinnia - a Caribbean food restaurant, and Signal Financial Federal Credit Union.
“With two large buildings in the neighborhood, we’re in a position to understand what’s happening in the market on an extremely local level,” said Donatelli. “By pulling a large chunk of units from the condo market, we make a whole new class of product available to the Columbia Heights rental market.”
Construction began in mid 2005, sales began in November of the same year. Donatelli has experience in both the condo and rental market, having developed the Ellington apartments that helped transform U Street while remaining nearly 100% tenanted; Donatelli is also currently developing Park Place, a 156-unit condo in Petworth, also above the Metro, that is expected to begin delivering late next year.