Brookland Square, formerly known as 1300 Rhode Island Avenue, will now go forward as an apartment building. The 326-unit condo project was initially approved as such back in 2006, but Columbia General Rhode Island, LLC and Republic Land Development sent a letter to the Board of Zoning Adjustment on March 4th requesting modification of the approved plans, to switch the condo to a rental building. In a BZA order dated Tuesday, the Board approved the modifications.
"The Applicant contends that it has spent a considerable amount of time attempting to reduce construction costs and improve the economics of the project, particularly given the very difficult economy and housing market," the approving order stated.
BZA, obviously no Pollyanna when it comes to the economy or housing market, stated gloomily "Because the condominium market in the District of Columbia (and nationwide) has stalled and is predicted to not recover for several years, and the economy, and in particular the credit markets, has dropped to recession or near-recession levels, the Applicant has been forced to redesign the project and convert it from a condominium to a rental apartment building and to undertake numerous and significant cost-cutting efforts in order to reduce construction costs and make the units affordable to the rental market."
Developers will re-work the design plans to meet the needs of an apartment building, including reducing the size of the units and adding two units per floor, for an overall increase of 10. Each of the fourth-floor private rooftop terraces have been eliminated; alas, doing away with the need for the spiral staircases leading up to them. Finally, an on-site leasing and management office will be added to the ground floor, reducing the size of the ground-floor residential units.
Eric Colbert Architects is the designing the building while Republic irons out the project's financing - a groundbreaking date is anticipated by the third quarter of this year.