Thursday, October 09, 2008

Skyland Readying for Take-Off


Despite years of false starts and a finicky housing market (to put it delicately), the long in-development Skyland Town Center in southeast Washington D.C. is now pacing itself for a 2012 delivery. Well, maybe. Described by the 5-member development team - which includes the Rappaport Companies, William C. Smith & Co., Harrison Malone Development LLC, the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO) and the Washington East Foundation - as a "prominent living, shopping and gathering place," the $285 million Skyland project aims to deliver more than 700,000 square feet of mixed-use development, mostly in the form of new housing.

Located at the intersection Alabama Avenue & Good Hope Road SE - across from the present location of the Good Hope Marketplace, the Skyland Town Center will boast 280,000 square feet of retail space and 460,000 square feet of residential housing. Of the roughly 475 residential units included in the project, 20% of the units will be available to families earning 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or less, 10% will be reserved for residents making 120% AMI. Torti Gallas & Partners also designed 21 single-family townhomes and three above-ground parking garages to serve the development.

Skyland replaces undeveloped land on the back of the site, and a small, dated mix of retail along the front of the property. Pre-development work on the project began in 2002 under the watch of former Mayor Anthony Williams and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation, which served as developer until the project was handed off to the present team in 2007. According to Steve Green of William C. Smith & Co., though the developers have made progress, the current economic climate makes a firm start date difficult to pin down.

And because nobody is planning to start a residential construction project in 2009 - and 2010 isn't looking much better - developers at Skyland are not inclined to rush. “Given the current market conditions, [a timeline] is particularly difficult to predict,” said Green, “but our best estimate…is that we would close on the property and begin demolition in the fall of 2010 and completion of the first phase would be 24 months later in the fall of 2012.”

William C. Smith & Co. expect to file a PUD for the Skyland Town Center on or around November 15th. The DC City Council has already approved $40 million worth of Tax Increment Financing for the project. Washington DC based WCS Construction will build the project.

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