A brand new $55 million multi-use development is almost set to materialize in Mount Vernon Triangle as developers and architects put the finishing touches on design plans. 459 Eye Street NW will be the new site of Walnut Street Development's Eye Street Lofts, a 12-story structure which will house 164 apartments and more than 15,000 s.f. of community-serving retail space.
The lot, which spreads from 443 to 459 Eye Street, has been planned for development since 2005, when Walnut Street had originally proposed condos for the site. Unfortunately for the condo market, a historic preservation impediment hindered Walnut Street's vision. The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) halted the plans because of the Central Auto Works garage, a historically-designated structure that currently sits on the lot. Architects HOK Group have decided to incorporate the entire aged structure into the new edifice by piercing columns through the building. Once the columns are in place, Tompkins Builders will have to construct footings beneath the garage to support 10 stories of new construction. The auto garage isn't the only structure being preserved on the site; two existing row-houses are being used in the design-plans as well as an historic blacksmith shop.
The existence of historic structures on the site presented unique obstacles for Walnut Street. HPRB required 9 months to approve project - but subsequent to the extended waiting period, Walnut Street faced an invariably different economic environment. In reaction to the drastic change in the market, developers circular-filed the initial condo proposal and entered into a waiting game to stalk the perfect economic conditions for a rental project; it seems that time is now. Ground is expected to be broken by Spring of 2008.