Monday, December 31, 2007
Labels: Clarendon, Saul Centers Inc., Smart Growth Alliance, Torti Gallas
Because the project requires excavation, demolition and construction work close to the subway tunnel that runs under Clarendon Blvd., WMATA has to approve the project. As a result, Saul will have to put monitoring devices on the tunnel to make sure it isn't jeopardized in the construction process, and keep close tabs on its integrity. WMATA typically does this when projects are within a proximity of 50 feet near subway tunnels.
Plans call for a two phase development: Phase I will be a 244-unit, 12-story apartment building, landscaped courtyard and 80,000-s.f. office building, on the south side of Clarendon. Phase II, on the smaller north block between Clarendon and Wilson, will house a 6-story office structure. All three buildings will have ground floor retail totaling 42,000 s.f, and are seeking LEED certification. Back in 2003, the design plans were recognized by the Washington Smart Growth Alliance. This is also the first Arlington project that complies with the Clarendon Metro Station Area plan.
Saul was able to plan for the gargantuan buildings with a little help from its neighbors; in order to increase building size, Saul obtained density rights from two historic buildings: The Leadership Institute on the SW portion of the south block, and the Underwood Building, at the northwestern-most point of the north block, in return for their historic preservation. In addition, Saul will safeguard two retail facades made of limestone and art-deco elements on the north block; the facades will be dismantled, cleaned and stored until the surrounding construction is complete, when they can be safely returned.
“The community involvement in the design and development of this project has been tremendous. By responding to that input, we believe Clarendon will enjoy a landmark project that will truly complement its distinctive character,” said Mary Beth Avedesian, Vice President of Acquisitions & Development at Saul Centers Inc.
Post construction, these two blocks may serve as the newest neighborhood hot spots, as there will be plenty of outdoor seating, with wider sidewalks and streetscape improvements thanks to the project design team of Silver Spring-based Torti Gallas. Most notably, a brand new Crescent Plaza will be built on the corner of Clarendon Blvd. and N. Highland Street, garnished with a fountain fronting N. Garfield and commissioned artwork by DC resident Lisa Scheer, a Professor of Arts at St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Initially, Roadside slated the market for renovations to accommodate new retail space, but heavy snow brought the roof down both on their plans and the building itself in February of 2003. Since then Roadside formulated a $250 million revised plan to not only bring the historic market back to its original splendor but to fill four acres of land between 9th, 7th, P and O Streets, NW with residential and commercial space.
"Our goal is to create a high quality, interesting project that will be the centerpiece of a great neighborhood," said Armand Spikell a principal at Roadside.
In August, the Historic Preservation Review Board approved revitalization of the site and the Mayor's agent for historic preservation ok'd partial demolition because of the development's special merit, leaving the Zoning Commission as the only entity standing between Shaw residents and their commerce. But a lack of agreement between Zoning and the developers led to three months of hearings; an October 15th meeting ended with Zoning's complaints about the 110-ft. building height, and despite fervent support from Councilmember Jack Evans who called upon the Zoning Commission to "Reconsider their decision and approve this project as proposed," they sent the project back to the design phase again on November 19th.
"Our patience is running out," wailed Evans after Zoning's decision, and who could blame him - the community has been patiently waiting since 2003 for their 70,000 s.f. Giant grocery store and more than 12,000 s.f. of commercial space. Add to that a mix of roughly 650 condos and apartments (80 of which will be affordable housing for seniors), two levels of underground parking, a 180-room hotel (not yet flagged) and the grand reopening of 8th Street, and Shaw would truly have its anchor...and some very happy campers.
But size matters. In the October hearing, Commissioner John Parsons was quoted as saying "I just think these 110-foot buildings are just totally out of scale with this community." Either Parsons' had never looked across the street at the three-block long, 110-foot Convention Center and the neighboring 108-foot residential building, or he chose to ignore them. According to Spikell, Zoning justified the adjacent 108-foot building because its livable area ends at the 90-foot mark, whereas Roadside would have used their upper two floors for residents.
Members of the DC Office of Planning appeared at the Zoning meeting in November to argue for the project, noting its proposed LEED certification, traffic alleviation in the form of underground loading docks and truck courts, and overall consistency with the community's desire to have a retail anchor. More importantly, they reasoned that the building is graded, and that the highest points of the buildings sit back from the street.
Finally, zoning approved the project for "set down" at the December 10th meeting - meaning it will be open to public participation, but it ended up costing Roadside. In order to get past Zoning's disapproval, developers nixed the residential space planned for the top two floors. In order to compensate for that loss of potential income, Roadside deleted 100 parking spaces and 20 affordable housing units from the overall scheme to reduce construction costs.
The next step is Zoning's public hearing which has not been scheduled - but it will be at least thirty business days from now due to statutory laws requiring advanced notice to relevant parties. Roadside hopes to be in the ground by late 2008, but with Zoning delays some will be happy to get CityMarket at O by the turn of the century.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
DC-based Georgetown Strategic Capital (GSC) is drafting a mixed-use development at the intersection of N. Glebe and N. Pershing Drive in Arlington. The retail-oriented project will create roughly 45,000 s.f. of commercial space replacing a number of existing stores currently on the site, which GSC has vowed to bring back to the new property, sans Glebe Market. Although figures have yet to be ascertained regarding the residential components, sources indicate that the numbers being contemplated by the developer are likely to drop.
GSC presented their design plans to the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) in Arlington last week, but no decision is being sought, yet. Board members gave largely disapproving feedback on the concept design plans, mostly finding dissent in the density, massing and size of the project, all but calling for the numbers to be reduced. The developer and architectural team, Cunningham + Quill Architects, to modify their proposal before the next meeting.
Arlington's historic review process makes such informational sessions routine, giving developers a chance to vet their projects before formal submission. GSC plans to sit in on sessions through 2008 in order to prepare a strong application for a Certificate of Appropriateness, the Historic Board's proverbial thumbs-up. Rebeccah Ball, a Historic Preservation Planner with HALRB, implied that the approval process is quite tedious; hence developers allocating months of foreplay for the board.
The project plans call for the destruction of several commercial buildings west of Glebe Road, including Glebe Market and a CVS, among others; replacing them will be a set of four-story structures with an undetermined amount of apartment units and workforce housing, and retail. Although GSC has development rights on all four corners, the majority of redevelopment will be taking place on the two sites that front Glebe Road: between N. Pershing and 2nd Rd. N, and between N. Pershing and 3rd Rd. N.
"HALRB made broad brush recommendations about how they would like to see this change, to be more compatible with the neighborhood in terms of massing, scale and design. These are recommendations the board is putting forward at this time, to make this a better project," Ball added. Despite the seemingly beneficial qualities of a better retail for the Buckingham Historical District, sources indicate the the impact on the neighborhood would be large, but the developer has taken a methodological approach to resolve the board's issues, presenting pieces of the project one at a time. HALRB expects to discuss the project again very soon.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The deadline for responding to the Tenley Library / Janney School RFP has been extended by the DC government to January 4th. Developers were asked October 31st to submit proposals for a "world class mixed-used development" (but don't even think of building more than 5 stories) on the site of the now-demolished Tenley Library at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street, which will include rebuilding a state of the art library as well as renovating the existing 43,000-s.f. school and constructing an addition for its cramped students.
Development of the land, currently owned by the District, has been addled by the incongruent needs of interested parties, pitting at odds the DCPS (public schools), DCPL (public libraries), the Office of Planning, retail-starved neighbors, and local anti-development activists that have a near perfect record in the community. As DCmud reported in October, the process began in 2005 when Roadside Development, developer of the just-completed Cityline Condominiums across the street, assembled its own development plan after discussion with neighbors, offering school renovation and a free library (the dated library having been shuttered in 2005) in exchange for the right to build residences above the new public library. The plan was obviated when DCPL came up with its own plan, but when that failed to launch, Roadside came back to the table to offer an amended plan. But by then Tenleyites had recently downsized another condominium on Wisconsin Ave. and successfully removed an adjacent (and admittedly monstrous) tower from the top of Tenley hill, and successfully petitioned the DC government to open the process to competitive bidding.
The District issued general specifications for the project, including doubling the size of the historic school, construction of a 20,000-s.f. library, and providing 30% of the new housing units for low-income residents, in keeping with the Comprehensive Plan's stricture for development of DC-owned property. The RFP also suggests that bidders incorporate retail into the project. Because plans for the library are already underway, DCPL has requested that residential units be built next to its new facilities, rather than over it, to avoid delaying its opening.
Offerers are being asked to provide their vision for the site as well as work with school and library officials to incorporate their uses, as well as provide a "meaningful community outreach." In accordance with the District's Comprehensive Plan, the site could also potentially be used for housing and retail, specifically street-level retail, that would enliven the Wisconsin Avenue commercial corridor. The site is less than a block from the Tenleytown-AU Metrorail Station.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Labels: Monument Realty, Shalom Baranes Architects, Southwest
MR Randall Capital LLC, a legal entity created by the developers, will own the entire mixed-use structure. Corcoran is selling their real estate to MR Randall for an estimated $8.2 million, and is set to retain a condo interest in the 100,000-s.f. facility it will occupy. All has not gone cosily for MR Randall however; the Planned Unit Development application has had some turbulence in the past few weeks. At the behest of the Office of Planning and the Department of Transportation, some minor changes had to be made to alleviate traffic concerns. As of the December 10th zoning hearing, new problems arose. A group called Square 643 Associates LLC, is worried about the project's potentially negative effects on their already-approved P.U.D. for the historic Friendship Baptist Church, just across the street. To add insult to injury, their legal representative from Arnold & Porter LLP, went on the record before Zoning to complain that the H Street facade was "not sufficiently rendered at the street level to enhance pedestrian experience." (Proving again that high fences make good neighbors.)
ANC Commissioner David Sobelsohn had mixed feelings about the project yet the "net positive" for the community, largely presented in the benefits package offered by Corcoran, pushed him and his colleagues into unanimous support. "We are concerned because its going to be a huge development, and the access to the [residential] building will be through one of four partially or fully closed streets. [But] after final analysis we were very pleased with the benefits that will come to the community."
Assuming no more impediments arise for the project, SW will soon see the construction of this 499,843 s.f. brand-spanking-new development, 100 feet high with roughly 480 condominiums, more than 100,000 s.f. of new Corcoran facilities and three levels of underground parking. In a conversation with DCRealEstate.com, Shalom Baranes Principal Patrick Burkhart described the look of the new building: "As a counterpoint to the symmetry of the restored Randall School buildings along Eye Street, the new residential structure set behind them is a studied assymmetrical composition of ochre brick, metal and glass, whereby the new compliments the old through contrast."
The $6.2 million that Corcoran coughed up (which was subsequently donated to the school system's maintenance fund - thank you Mayor Fenty) began a long list of "donations" the gallery will be making to the city, including: An "After School For All" program for DC Public Schools, 96 affordable condominiums in the new building for families earning up to 80% AMI, preservation and renovation to the "significant portions" of the Randall school, an assortment of scholarships to neighborhood undergraduate and graduate students, and a host of other community-oriented services including a Randall Neighborhood Day which will offer free admission to Corcoran's 17th Street Gallery (including special exhibits) every year, beginning next Thursday, December 27th. Corcoran is planning to move into its newest campus no later than 2011, making it the third functioning space after its main building on 17th and the gallery in Georgetown.
To be sure, the architectural team will be hard at work to assuage the recent dissidence. In the meantime, the NCPC will give their slant on January 3rd, regarding whether L'Enfant would have supported it. Well, that's not exactly their criteria, but that's a future story.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
DC-based developer Tim Chapman has created an affordable residential opportunity for the Fairlawn neighborhood, just over the Anacostia River and adjacent to its namesake park. Chapman is offering 100% workforce housing for residents earning up to 60% AMI in the 118-unit rental building. In a special public meeting last week, the community all but unanimously backed the project; 18 form letters were submitted as public testimony in favor of Zoning's approval - none in opposition. Chapman even received rave reviews from a few key politicos; including Councilmember at Large Kwame Brown and political wild-card Councilmember Marion Barry, who submitted his two-cents in approval.
Currently, the 31,000 s.f. lot sits occupied by row houses. McLean-based design architects Computecture Incorporated designed the building to integrate the texture of the surrounding neighborhood. The structure's facade will be comprised of a two-tone light brick design and Hardie Plank siding around the 6,000-s.f. courtyard that the building encircles. The 59-foot apartment building, bounded by Prout Street, Pennsylvania Ave and two public alleys, will also house 8,000 s.f. of retail on the ground floor.
Chapman's CFO Steve Lawrence discussed his view on the firm's newest project: "Chapman Development is excited to participate in the construction of 2300 Pennsylvania Avenue. The company is dedicated to providing quality workforce housing in the District. We consider this a gateway project for Pennsylvania Ave, S.E." Although the development team has yet to determine the project timeline, their hopes are that ground breaking will start sometime early next year.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Labels: Capitol Hill
The three alarm fire caused an estimated $20 million in damage to the 134-year old building on April 30 2007, the same day the Georgetown Library burnt down, requiring more than 150 firefighters to quell the destruction. The market, designed by Adolf Cluss (the architect behind the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building), had been in constant operation until that fateful Monday morning in April. The fire destroyed most of the South Hall, where the vendor's stalls were housed, and destroyed the roof above. Vendors have since been moved to a temporary location across the street, until the South Hall can be returned to its former glory.
A Notice to Proceed - the governments nod to begin construction - will be given shortly after the council approves (hopefully in January). Once the thumbs up is given, contractors will have a maximum of 400 days to complete the project. If all goes according to plan, we should have the historic structure back in action by Spring of 2009.
The 90,000 s.f. addition of commercial space, only a block away from the bustle of Union Station, will be presented as an 11-story building with a self-described "grand two-story lobby," thanks to the design strategy of Gensler Architecture Worldwide. J Street has incorporated all of the necessities to facilitate commerce, a 3,000 s.f. conference center on the second floor, underground parking, 1,000 s.f. of retail, a rooftop terrace and most importantly, a prime commuter location. 111 K will serve as the first of a pair of offices J Street has planned for the 1st and K intersection. The second, just across the street at 100 K, will offer double the amount of office space and 7,000 s.f. of retail on a lot ten-times as large; a tentative construction timeline puts groundbreaking late in 2008.
111 K is not striving for LEED status, although green features have been incorporated into the overall design. As with most DC's newest buildings, it will house a green roof atop its tinted glass, use recycled construction materials and utilize an assortment of energy star equipment.
“We feel that 111 K Street is a terrific opportunity for office condominium owners," said Jay Bothwell Principal and Senior Vice President of Design and Construction at J Street. The design, Bothwell added, allows owners to "control their facilities costs in a uniquely designed Class A office building in an exciting and well situated area of the District." With regards to avoiding the typical leasing procedure, Bothwell added, "We're very pleased with the way the market has responded to this relatively underutilized product." 111 K Street is set for completion in mid-2009.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Labels: EDG Architects, Frank Schlesinger, Georgia Avenue, jair lynch, Petworth
JLC is the only developer that has two projects accepted into the eco-friendly pilot program LEED Neighborhood Development, which encourages Smart-Growth, transit-oriented development. According to the Congress for New Urbanism, an anti-sprawl organization with similar goals as Smart Growth, the new LEED program is "a joint venture of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council...just as other LEED systems have improved building efficiency and energy performance, LEED-ND will reward efficient use of land and the building of complete and walkable communities." According to Tania Jackson, Director of External Affairs at Jair Lynch Companies, the new LEED designation targets sustainability on a macro-level instead of just "sticks and bricks." JLC's two LEED ND projects are Georgia Commons and the upcoming Solea, a mixed-use project at 14th and Florida, NW.
When completed, Georgia Commons will hold five-stories of mixed-income residential apartments organized around a central courtyard, sitting atop one level of street retail and two underground parking levels. It will be a contemporary structure, fitting into the Georgia Ave overlay zone, which aims to catalyze retail activity. "It's contextual but contemporary," said Don Tucker, Principal at EDG Architects. The project is a bit behind its original deadline, but is said now to have the financing in place to begin construction within 6 months.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The Armstrong building, which served as an adult education center until being closed in 1996, once served as one of the first high schools in DC for African American students. Since '96 the building has been vacant; the interior has suffered tremendously but the facade of the building will be kept as-is.
"It was in pretty bad shape inside, because it hadn't been occupied in more than a decade," said Cecelia Blalock, Director of Communications at CAPCS. "The outside has held up well. We're very excited about the prospect of bringing back the Armstrong School to the position it once held as an important element in the community," Blalock added.
CAPCS currently operates four charter campuses in DC, and is seeking new opportunities; their governing charter allows them to educate no more than 4,250 students - they are currently at the 1,000 mark. Thus CAPCS's purchase of the Armstrong School back in 2005 from the District. With the help of a $25 million DC revenue bond, CAPCS will prepare their fifth location for more than 800 students. The school is expected to open in the fall.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Labels: Frank and Lohsen Architects
Carnegie donated an estimated $300,000 to build the Beaux-Arts style library in 1899. It was officially dedicated in 1903 as the Central Public Library - designed as a “closed-stack library,” meaning books and periodicals were stored out of public reach requiring visitors to request their materials from library staff. Slowly, the 60,000 s.f. structure became too cramped to serve the community and was replaced by a more modern Martin Luther King Junior Memorial Library in 1972, leaving the Carnegie vacant for the rest of the decade. Partial renovations were made to the structure in the 1980s to fulfill the needs of the University of the District of Columbia, but in 1999 DC’s Historical Society raised $19m in attempts to convert it into a museum dedicated to the history of our fair city. The City Museum of Washington DC opened in May 2003, but the projections of how many tourists would visit proved overly optimistic - consultants not realizing that tourists were trying to get out of Shaw, not into it - and the building was overtaken by the National Music Center in 2006.
"The students came to this project with no agenda," said Kara Kelly, Director of Communications at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. "They can be objective, creative, and are not hindered by any political situation." Graduate students, untainted by the doldrums of innumerable planning, zoning and ANC meetings, are apparently what the District needs to help inject life into DC's greatest symbol of Carnegie's altruism. Apparently, the students also required some time-off from the corn fields and countryside; DC served as a wise curricular choice. "What better Classical architecture can be found than in DC?" Kelly pointed out.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Councilmember Thomas' bill resulted from a draft created by the People's Property Campaign (PPC), a resident-led division of Empower DC. PPC's vanguard effort to compose legislation materialized with the help of myriad supporters: Tenley ANC 3E Special Committee, Save Our Schools, Dupont Circle Citizens Association, Foggy Bottom Association and Benning Library Dynamo to name a few.
The bill lays out prerequisites for public land disposition; "The People's Property Bill would require, before disposing of any public property, a detailed explanation of why it has no other viable public use," according to the Library Renaissance Project - an active member in the campaign to retain property in public hands. In addition, the bill calls for a comprehensive inventory of public properties, a community development plan and a master facilities plan.
"Public property has found its protector. With an open door, an open mind, and decisive action - [Councilmember] Thomas is setting a new standard for responsiveness," said Robin Diener, Director of the Library Renaissance Project.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Horning Brothers promised to reserve 63 of the homes for "workforce" housing, 20 of which will be set aside for families earning up to 60% AMI and the remaining 43 units for families earning up to 80% AMI. In addition, Horning will create a new chapter of the MANNA Homebuyer's Club, a "peer support group and homeownership counseling program," according to MANNA.
The project, including green space, is being designed by Vienna-based Lessard Group. Design of the new community will feature a pseudo anthology of architectural styles found throughout DC. "The fronts of the townhouses have a mix of Federal, Colonial and Transitional Victorian (...as opposed to Invariable Baroque) architectural styles," according to a Zoning Commission description of the project.
Stanton Square's assemblage of two and three story town-homes is self-described as "[Dazzling] your senses with an array of quality features and stylish design that add up to a homeowning (sic) value unmatched by anything available in the city," as stated on their website. Sales for the homes are to commence at the beginning of next year.
Less than 24 hours ago, the Planning Board decided on the record that the Silver Spring apartment complex is a "key part of history and should be preserved," according to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. This decision comes in the wake of community activity (petition-signing and all) to preserve the site.
The Planning Board's decision last night initiates a full historic designation process, which begins with the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), then comes back to the Planning Board for further review and finally goes before the County Council – who will make the ultimate decision on whether the property deserves historic landmark status.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
JPI still has two more projects coming into the home stretch; 909 at Capitol Yards (pictured) which will house 237 "luxury" rental units and 6,000 s.f. of retail and restaurant space, being delivered in mid-2009, and 23 Eye Street, a 419-unit (you guessed it) luxury rental building with 15,000 s.f. of retail space; JPI plans to break ground on this (anticipated) Silver LEED certified building in the fall of next year. In total, JPI will add more than 1,300 units to the ballpark district, accounting for 20% of the total number of new residences that are being built in close proximity to the new ballpark. The total cost of JPI's investment: $470 million - and they won't be selling a single square foot.
By the middle of 2009, JPI will have effectively gentrified a neighborhood in record time, pioneering the way for the near-dozen development companies that are currently building within the sector. The residential projects that will follow JPI's lead include: Capitol Quarter by EYA, Onyx on First by Faison/Canyon-Johnson, the massive Half Street development by Monument Realty, 1345 South Capitol Street by Camden Development, Velocity Condos by Cohen Companies and The Yards by Forest City. But wait, there's more. Together with the onslaught of residential developments set for the South Capitol Corridor, District residents will receive a slew of commercial space: SC1100 by Ruben Companies, 1111 New Jersey Ave by Donohoe and 1015 Half by Opus East, just to name a few.
According to our favorite chronicler of all things Southeast, blogger JD, "It is expected that in the next 15 years the "Capitol Riverfront" area covering both Near Southeast and Buzzards Point will include approximately 12 million square feet of office space, 9,000 new housing units, and 600,000 square feet of retail."
Home Properties is attempting to demolish a third of the apartments on the northern half of the site in order to clear the way for a collection of new buildings: a mixed-use set of apartments and stores which will create 1,059 residential units, a 50,000 s.f. grocery store and 15,000 s.f. of retail. Demolition of the existing housing needs to be cleared by the Historic Preservation Commission.
The site has been under historic evaluation since 1985; at that time Falkland failed to satisfy the requirements of historic designation. Unfortunately for Home Properties, the real estate may boast some intrinsic historical value. Aside from being the first garden apartment complex in Montgomery County, the Falkland Apartments were inaugurated by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1937. The Falkland residences were created to satiate the rapidly escalating swarms of people that were moving into the area following the inception of FDR's New Deal programs; Montgomery County's population grew by more than 70% during this period.
The apartment complex was reevaluated again on August 15 of this year, when the commission concluded that further investigation was required; on the whole, the site was deemed "eligible" for classification on the Master Plan for Historic Preservation. Home Properties has argued that the apartments are not suited for designation because of the failed 1985 valuation. Members of the community have opinions to the contrary; the Planning Board received more than a dozen letters pleading for historic designation of the site - there were no letters pleading for a mixed-use development. County Planners have recommended that the Planning Board consider all three of the parcels that make up the Falkland Apartment buildings as eligible for historic designation, leaving an all or nothing choice to the County Council.
A pair of District agencies are planning to redevelop a strip of Georgia Avenue just south of the Metro Station as part of a "New Communities Initiative." The partnership between the Office of Planning and Economic Development (OPED) and the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) seeks to develop the Park Morton community in Ward 1. Last week, the Office of Planning publicly considered a draft of the plan which proposes to broadly (and drastically) change the economic environment of the Park Morton area, a section of the Park View neighborhood located in between Georgia Avenue and Warder Street. The community response was unanimous in support for the draft that includes a compendium of objectives: protect affordable housing in the community, improve economic integration, decrease crime, replace publicly subsidized units, create workforce and market-rate housing opportunities, create better jobs, education, training, human services and other programs for the community; no word on whether it will solve our dependence on foreign oil.
The process for redeveloping Park Morton began in February 2006, when designated as a development site by a Council resolution. Despite a flood of new development over the past seven years, the Park Morton area is still beleaguered with areas of severe poverty that lack the fundamental elements of a healthy community. Park Morton, an area where only about 40% of residents own their homes and the median household income is roughly $45,000, was thereby recognized as a possible site for a New Communities program, a public entity described as a "comprehensive partnership to redevelop the physical and human architecture of neighborhoods characterized by violent crime and poverty," according to the District's CFO, Natwar M. Gandhi.
The overarching goal is to create mixed-income communities with "integrated services that offer...better housing, employment and educational opportunities," according to the draft plan. Their vision for Park Morton involves the replacement of 174 new public housing units, adding social services services within the community, creating east-west connection to break down barriers that segregate communities, and forming new open space and passive park areas. The overall site plan would create a "moderate density mixed-income community of...152 replacement units, 7 homeownership units for current Park Morton residents and 317 market/workforce units for a total of 477 homes," according to the draft.
The plan notes a lack of retail and office space in the general area, yet points out that although demand is high, Park Morton would not serve as the ideal commercial space for consumers. 53,000 s.f. of retail is in the pipeline for the Georgia Avenue corridor, with an estimated 40,000 s.f. of unmet demand remaining post-implementation. A deficient supply for office space was also found in the area, despite a 10% vacancy rate for rental office space.
The entire redevelopment window will span nine years, beginning in 2008, and is expected to cost an estimated $157 million. DCHA and OPED have an abundance of private firms collaborating on the project: DC-based development firm Banneker Ventures, nationally renowned environmental consulting firm Circlepoint, and design firms PGN Architects and WDG Architecture. Although the DC Council still needs to approve, OPED is determined to introduce the plan by the end for the month with the hopes of receiving approval by January.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Douglas has proposed 91,000 s.f. of office space and more than 6,000 s.f. of ground-level retail to be constructed in an L-shaped corner building on the site, a mere block away from the Metro Center station and two blocks from Gallery Place. In addition, the ubiquitous developer will provide more than five dozen underground parking spaces to facilitate commuting-ease.
Most intriguingly, the two-story "Waffle Shop" on the site, the lease for which expired in September forcing the proprietors down the street, is going to be rehabilitated...and moved. Douglas had initially received approval to destroy the eatery by the Historic Planning Review Board, but the local community was distressed about losing their beloved landmark. Douglas met with the Art Deco Society of Washington, the DC Preservation League, the Historic Preservation Office and the Committee of 100 on the Federal City regarding the matter and agreed to save the waffle shop, bowing to community requests, by dismantling the shop piece by piece and relocating it to an undetermined site near Mt. Vernon Square, though Douglas has waffled on the exact location.
Due to further historical presence on the lot, Shalom Baranes Architects will craftily engineer the new office building to incorporate a historic commercial building on the southwest corner of the lot. Douglas Development will preserve the building's battered facade, storefront, windows and canopies, "returning the building to the way it appeared almost 100 years ago," according to the Office of Planning's set-down report.
Douglas Development acquired the site in the fall of 2006 from Maryland-based Greenhill Companies, for roughly $15 million. The Historic Preservation Review Board has extensively reviewed the plans and approved the concept along with local ANC 2C, which voted unanimously to support the project. Shalom Baranes is designing the structure with terra cotta facade to "[evoke] a similarity with [the] historic masonry buildings," according to the Office of Planning.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
"After substantial analysis of the marketplace and viability of the condo market right now, it was determined that the property is most suited to the rental market," said Paul Martin, Executive Vice President of Portfolio and CDO Management at CBRE. "We've revalued our interest in the property, and determined that the best course of action is for CBRE to sell."
This particular property has changed hands three times in only two years. It originally began as the 432-unit Pavilion Apartment building, owned by Home Properties LLC. Triton purchased it from Home Properties in November, 2005, much to the dismay of the Pavilion's tenants, and reportedly planned to spend $45 million on renovation efforts for the newly christened Monterey condominiums (concept pictured). CBRE assumed its role as full owner of the project in May of 2007 when Triton was foreclosed on, both at the Monterey and at a second condo conversion project, the Rodgers Forge in Towson.
The fate of the 16-story, three-tower complex will ultimately be an upscale apartment community; the north tower currently has more than 50 units that are completely gutted, remnants of Triton's unfinished business, along with 143 units that need minor refurbishment. The south tower holds 228 units that are nearly-completed condo units, which will be going for much higher rates since they provide upgrades like granite counter-tops, hardwood floors and other indicia of condo conversion that the aforementioned units lack.