According to a letter from Linowes and Blocher LLP, the development firm's counsel, "a further extension of time is required and appropriate to ensure administrative efficiency for all concerned." The Montgomery National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) will be hearing the request at their April 3rd meeting.
Monday, March 31, 2008
According to a letter from Linowes and Blocher LLP, the development firm's counsel, "a further extension of time is required and appropriate to ensure administrative efficiency for all concerned." The Montgomery National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) will be hearing the request at their April 3rd meeting.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Labels: CBRE, Federal Capital Partners, North Bethesda, Triton Real Estate Partners
“The Monterey is an outstanding asset in a proven location. Access to capital and experience repositioning highrise apartments allowed us to structure a deal that appealed to the senior lender, the mezzanine lender, and contractors left stranded by a failed condo conversion. It helped that none of the apartments ever sold as condominiums and that a substantial part of the property was renovated to Class-A condo standards," said Lacy Rice, a partner at FCP.
North Bethesda real estate development news
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Labels: Alexandria, Alexandria condos, Carlyle, hotel, Old Town Alexandria, Regent Partners
The condo-hotel, located about 3 blocks from the King Street Metro station and clad in the ubiquitous red brick of Carlyle, officially opened the hotel to guests last November. The developer, Atlanta-based Regent Partners, is banking that extending four-star treatment to condominium owners through hotel services will lure buyers to its project, as happened in Arlington's Waterview Condominium, which sits above the hotel Palomar in Rosslyn and recently sold out of its 136 condo units. Regent built the 319-bed unit on land it purchased from Norfolk Southern in 2004
"Regent Partners is excited to bring this unique lifestyle option to Old Town Alexandria. The only condo/hotel highrise in Alexandria, The Jamieson is designed to offer residents luxuriously finished condominium homes and the advantages that come with living above a hotel like the Westin Alexandria," said Kristi Trogler, director of Sales & Marketing with Regent Partners. Units range in size from 700 to more than 1,000 s.f.
Labels: Mayor Adrian Fenty, Minnesota-Benning, Northeast, rfp
According to Sean Madigan of DC's Office of Planning, "We don't have a firm idea of what we're looking for, in terms of whether the development should be pure office building with street-level retail, or just have a retail focus, or housing focus. We really are looking to the development community to see what is really possible there." The site is adjacent to the future location of the Department of Employment Services' newly announced headquarters, a 230,000-s.f. building at the northwest corner of Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road NE, which will include ground-floor retail and and underground garage.
Potential bidders for the site are required to include a 20 percent equity partnership with
Local, Small and Disadvantage Business Enterprises. The chosen development partner must also show an effort to include Ward Seven contractors and businesses in their plans. The area is already under revitalization - it sits amidst about four million s.f. of new projects at Parkside and Ward Seven, and the city is pumping about $40 million into the neighborhood through the Great Streets Initiative. A new Benning Road Library may also be popping up soon in the neighborhood.
"It couldn't be better located," Madigan said. "The city sees this as a great site because it is located right there at the Metro, and is a really prominent corner at Minnesota and Benning. It really is the gateway into that part of Ward 7." Proposals are due by May 6th; the city hopes to narrow down their choices by the end of the summer.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Labels: Blue Skye Development
Though the project has been long sought by District planners, its renovation is really a sideshow to the larger development this will permit. Hayes Street will serve as temporary housing to families in the Lincoln Heights and Richardson Communities, two projects that can be revitalized under the New Communities Initiative, now that the District will have, in Hayes Street, replacement housing for residents of the two needy communities. Under the DC Housing Authority, the agency which owns both Lincoln Heights and Richardson, suitable replacement housing must be found before renovation work on existing housing can begin.
Back in 2006, the District began working with residents from both the Lincoln Heights and Richardson Dwellings neighborhoods, an area between 48th Place 57th Streets off East Capitol Street. In the fourth quarter 2006, the DC Council officially adopted the Lincoln Heights/Richardson Dwellings New Community Revitalization Plan, which would transform the public housing developments and the surrounding neighborhood into a mixed-income, mixed-use community. The District plans to bring at least 1,500 units of new housing, loads of retail, urban spaces, public facilities and transportation infrastructure to the area, as well has constructing a "vibrant mixed-used town center." Even more complex is the new residential street grid which the District is planning for the area, which is being viewed as one of the most essential steps to properly integrating the neighborhood into the surrounding areas.
"The building behind me represents the past for DC...the untapped potential found in great neighborhoods," started Fenty, who went on to commend Blue Skye both for winning the contract and for being a 100% Local Small Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (LSDBE) that currently employs 20 Lincoln Heights residents and offers 30 apprenticeship positions for Lincoln Heights youth.
The redevelopment work at 4427 Hayes Street should start within the coming months. A keyed up Councilmember Yvette Alexander spoke about the imminent transformation of the area: "We're going to bring back the Nanny Helen Boroughs and Deanwood Communities that people once knew."
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The grant, in fact, is meant primarily as a relocation space for current residents of Barry Farms, while their neighborhood is being demolished and rebuilt as a "new community," and has the added benefit of increasing the overall housing supply in Ward 8. The District's plan for Barry Farm includes more than 1,100 units of new housing, both workforce and market-rate, as well as a school, community center and plenty of urban space.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Gateway, a subsidiary of Sang Oh Development, LLC, is not looking for project approval at this stage, but seeks action from the Commission to 'set down', or initiate, the zoning review process. Gateway Inc. would have been well on their way to realizing this project, as they had gone through very much the same steps more than a year ago in January of 2007. But the Commission deferred that case anticipating the results from the Florida Avenue Area Study, not wanting to approve the project without an up-to-date market analysis of the neighborhood. Now that the plan results are almost ready to be released, Gateway is going through the same routine, in the hopes of a better outcome the second time around.
Tonight's meeting will not serve to review the larger-in-scope plan for New Town, just the building at 4th and Florida, which is planned to be a single, mixed-use building, measuring 120 ft. in height, and serve as the gateway to New Town. The gateway building will be home to 116 'luxury' residential units, 40,000 s.f. of retail and about 60,000 s.f. of class A office space totaling about 300,000 s.f. of new real estate which will sit atop 200 underground parking spaces, half of which will be for residents of the building. The building is self-described as being the "cornerstone for further redevelopment of the greater Capital City Market site."
SGA Companies, a Bethesda-based firm performing both architecture and multi-family development, converted the site from a gas station and auto repair shop to a condominium over the past two years. SGA both designed and developed the Butterfield House, in what is likely to be the last new condo on Capitol Hill proper for the next few years, with no other new construction in the development pipeline on the Hill. About 2650 new condominium units are likely to reach delivery in DC within the next two years, nearly 60% of which will be concentrated in Mt. Vernon Triangle, the new stadium area, and the U Street corridor.
The developer will hold the Butterfield House Grand Opening on Saturday and Sunday, March 22 and 23rd, to celebrate what it hopes will be one of the more iconic buildings on Capitol Hill due to its design and address on Pennsylvania Avenue. The new condo sits just two blocks from the Eastern Market Metro station, and advertises such features as cork sound remediation layering between the floor and subfloor, reclaimed wide-plank cherry floors, underground parking, and video entry systems. Condos range in price from about $350,000 to over $1m. Sales and marketing by DCRealEstate.com.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Labels: Anacostia River, Capitol Riverfront, Davis Buckley Architects, Florida Rock
The Florida Rock lot, spanning 5.8 acres along the Anacostia River, has been under Zoning review since 1998, when the initial application was filed to revitalize the site and convert it to a mixed-use project. The final product looks far different from when it orginally started a decade ago, and now encompasses four buildings totalling 1.1 million s.f., which will together sit on a single, underground parking platform holding more than 1,000 spaces. There will be a total of 460,000 s.f. of office space, 80,000 s.f. of retail space, and 323,000 s.f. of residential space, apparently enough for over 300 units, with 25 units set aside for affordable housing. The 4th building will be a 325-bed hotel, all to sit behind a 719 ft. waterfront esplanade and riverwalk. FRP promises that the entire complex will be LEED Certified at some level.
According to Michael Stevens, Executive Director of Capitol Riverfront BID, one of FRP's requirements per the PUD is to build the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, a 20 mile series of boardwalk spanning both sides of the river, and running from the Arboretum to the southwest waterfront on the north side. Only the portion fronting the Navy yard has been completed, but even that is not yet open to the public. Stevens predicts that the first leg could be open as soon as this year. But don't get out your rollerblades yet, the Florida Rock section is at least a few years away, as is Forest City's crucial link, though their site should see construction begin this year.
A brief history of the development: The first plan for the site was preliminarily approved in 1998 for FRP to build a commercial project, and received final approval in 1999 for two buildings with a 55 ft. wide waterfront esplanade, but - perhaps fortuitously - the project never got off the ground. After a series of delays, the case was set to go before Zoning in September, 2004, but before the firm could have their day, the District announced the Nationals' Stadium which would be built right across the street. The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, the governing body overseeing development over the new stadium-area, requested FRP delay their P.U.D. re-submission so the two entities could coordinate. Finally in August of 2006, a modified P.U.D. was submitted, with a hearing following in September.
The new project reviewed at the September meeting has essentially stayed the same. The modified P.U.D., appropriately dubbed 'Stage 2', was a rethinking of the now extremely valuable waterfront property. It included four buildings: two offices, a hotel and a residential component. But Zoning outlined some problems with the plan. For starters, one Commissioner stated that the project "lacked the right civic character and [a] greater presence of residential uses, preferably apartment units, would be more appropriate." The rest of the commission agreedthat the project lacked a 'sense of place'. Along with these comments came recommendations for some minor tweaks, including complaints about the East Office building inadequately 'recognizing the location and nature of the grand stair of the stadium'.
FRP went back to the drawing board, and came back in July of 2007 with some modifications; by September some project changes and the new name had been agreed upon, which developers described as a "holistic rethinking of the P.U.D. proposal previously considered, especially regarding the civic spaces." Three public spaces were added to the project, all having retail borders: the Pitch to the east, an enclosed galleria called Potomac Quay, and an outdoor water-animated plaza called Cascade Plaza. Along with this new civic character, FRP engaged in a 'physical tightening of the buildings', increasing the residential uses by more than 100,000 s.f., and shifting the footprints of the East Office building to link the site to the stadium and Anacostia river. Zoning's comments were less biting after September's hearing.
Since September's meeting, FRP and architect Davis Buckley Architects and Planners, made minor changes to the P.U.D. for their February 28th re-submission, and which Zoning approved yesterday. The changes included significant details regarding the outdoor public spaces. The old 'Pitch' will now be called Anacostia Place, and adorned with a Raymond Kaskey sculpture called "Anacostia," it will now be considered the central focus of the east end of the project. Zoning Commissioners want it to be a "high energy and visually-active space." Cascade Plaza will, alternatively be the central focus of the west end, serving as a front door and circular driveway for the residential, West Office and hotel buildings.
Labels: 14th Street, Donohoe Construction, Level 2 Development, Shalom Baranes, U Street, UDR
The Nehemiah Center currently serves as a one-story retail building along 14th Street, within shouting distance from the U Street Corridor - currently a real estate hotspot surrounded by several ongoing and planned residential projects. Level 2 wanted to capitalize on the area, but opted to sell and concentrate on its View 14 project across the street, a project that it began as condos but that is now just beginning to come out of the ground as an apartment building. UDR's adaption of Level2's plans will replace the old retail with 17,000 s.f. of new retail, and add more units than the currently approved 225. Two weeks ago, UDR's team met with City officials to apply for an addition of 30 residential units to the overall scheme. The firm expects to receive comments regarding whether this increase is feasible within the next month, after which a Zoning Commission hearing will be required.
The building will rise nine stories above the 14th and U Street Corridor, advantageously perched as one of the higher buildings in the area on the slope that rises to Columbia Heights, offering the potential for the distant views rare in the District. The residential units will average 775 s.f. and were initially pushed through the planning process as condominiums, but according to sources at UDR, the market forced them to build out as a market-rate apartment building. There will be a number of affordable housing units as well as a 1,000-s.f. commercial space designated as educational, job training, retail space.
Behind the main building will sit a multi-level parking garage, half above-ground, an issue that has been one of the biggest sources of problems from the community. UDR held a public meeting in February to address the community's concerns about design and construction phases. Turns out the community is agitated over the abundant road and sidewalk closures that result from the numerous projects in the neighborhood. UDR will now phase the construction so that the parking structure would be the first to be completed, hoping to lessen parking and traffic concerns.
"Although we are a national multi-family developer, we understand the importance of local consultants who understand how things get done in their backyard. We want to bring people in who have those existing great relationships, who know how to develop projects in the city. So we felt comfortable," said Rodney Burchfield with UDR. Burchfield is referring to both Shalom Baranes Architects which is designing the new building, and Donohoe Construction, the General Contractor. "As an owner, we're looking to be a part of this new and emerging part of the District, and we want to be a great neighbor," Burchfield added.
Shalom Baranes' design will feature floor to ceiling glass views, private terraces, a rooftop pool and garden as well as a massive lobby and outdoor atrium. UDR will be going for LEED points but has not decided whether or not to strive for LEED certification.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Labels: 5th and I, Downtown DC, Mt. Vernon Triangle, Neighborhood Development Company, Shalom Baranes
The District received proposals from Buccini/Pollin Group; Clark Realty Capital (which recently won the Poplar Point bid); Donohoe Development Co and Holland Development Group; JBG Cos.; MVT Associates, LLC; NDC-Jarvis; and Potomac Investment Properties, Inc.
"This is really one of the last sites left in the Mount Vernon Triangle," Albert said, speaking of the lot that will almost certainly have competition nearby, as several developments have been announced in the immediate vicinity. "This neighborhood has basically sprung up overnight and this site presents a great opportunity to add some dynamic uses to better serve the existing community and the new mix of office, retail and housing." The site will have the advantage of high visibility on Massachusetts Avenue, making it a dream at least for the marketers.
Proposals for the site include high-end retail such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, fitness clubs, spas and live entertainment venues. Some also included a residential aspect with apartments and condominiums (didn't they get the word that no one would finance condos?), which would include 30% affordable housing, according to the District's rules. Each plan featured underground parking with 100-plus spaces.
NDC-Jarvis proposed building a luxury boutique hotel connected to upscale condominiums (see rendering below), with the pair sharing concierge services and amenities. Proposed retail included a small home furnishings store, an upscale restaurant to serve the hotel and neighborhood. A small jazz performance venue would also be on the site.
"I think we are very invested in this neighborhood," said Adrian Washington, Principal with NDC, and former Anacostia Waterfront Commission frontman, whose current company has performed a number of apartment renovations and conversions throughout DC. "I think our proposal would be a great addition to neighborhood. It's the type of development that is not in the neighborhood right now. It is a boutique, high-end, architecturally distinctive project. And the restaurant would be a great addition to the neighborhood."
Robert Holland of Holland Development Group, co-developer with Donohoe Development Co., said their design would include a Shalom Baranes-designed hotel. "As far as I know, many of the developers were proposing hotel/apartments, a mixed-use development, with some local neighborhood retail," Holland said. "Our difference is that we have identified a Spanish hotel chain to go in there, along with a 10,000-s.f. restaurant jazz venue. It's a London-based established jazz club, not a big commercial destination jazz club, but more local, with very excellent food. It should be a great a compliment to the neighborhood."
Mount Vernon Triangle spans 15 blocks over 30 acres, and already includes more than four million square feet of development, such as CityVista, which is well into the back nine of its 441-unit condo project next door.
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development will study the proposals over the next few weeks and will schedule a public meeting for the community to hear presentations from each of the development teams.
Washington DC real estate development news
Under earlier plans, AHC would have demolished the roughly 32,000-s.f. center building and constructed a 5-story, 110,000-s.f. building in its place, but decided in the Spring of last year to forego demolitions and simply renovate all of the buildings and their units instead. "Building the new building was not feasible," said Joe Weatherly, project manager at AHC. "The historic folks here in Arlington did not want us to demolish 'building 5,' It was really a component of the historic requirements, and the rezoning of that piece of land, which currently does not allow for density like that." All eight buildings in the complex are 'historic' because they were built in 1939.
Finance also played into the decision; because the allowable density would have been so low for the new construction - the new building would have been five stories but would have required a more expensive steel frame by local code - there was no way to justify the construction expense or the amount of time necessary to fight density critics.
The renovation process, based on the interior designs from Neale Architects of Alexandria, will be divided into three phases, which should total about 18 months beginning this summer. Each phase will renovate roughly 50 residences, most of which are two-story, townhouse-style units. AHC will be giving all the mechanical, plumbing and electrical infrastructures an overhaul and add new cabinetry and appliances. In addition, AHC will eliminate the centralized boiler system and replace it with individual HVAC units. Finally, after the entire complex gets a window replacement, the firm will add a single new unit to the complex, which will be created out of the old management office - AHC's new office will be built in the basement of one of the buildings and will hold the management and maintenance headquarters, as well as a community recreation center.
"From the outside, if you look at the buildings now and you come back and look at the buildings when we're done, you're really not going to see a substantial difference. The biggest difference will be on the interiors and the infrastructure" added Weatherly. The project is estimated for completion by 4th quarter of 2009.
Addendum: Catherine Bucknam, Director of Community Relations at AHC, gave us insight into her firm's plan to take care of the current residents: "The relocation team is working with residents to minimize disruption for those residents living on the property. Our strategy has been that, as vacancies have come up over the last six or seven months, we have not rented them out so that we could move families to those vacant units when we start construction in the sections where they're living."
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The District government also partnered on the project by providing tax incentives to help finance parking for 150 cars. Bethesda's SK&I Architectural Group designed the retail and residential portion of the project.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Labels: Convention Center, Hines, Shalom Baranes Architects, Washington DC
The $850 million office, retail, and housing redevelopment deal is the largest undeveloped property south of Massachusetts Avenue, in what DC's administrators hope will be a thriving, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly center.
Included in the plans are, at a minimum, 25o,000-s.f. of retail, two office buildings totaling 465,000-s.f., two apartment buildings, two condominium projects, and 1900 parking spaces in underground garages. Each of the Class "A" office buildings will rise 11 stories and offer - uniquely for DC - two levels of retail. The two buildings (see rendering below) will be connected through an enclosed glass bridge at the third story. Each is designed to include double height lobbies with stone walls and floors, and an exterior shaded curtainwall and an atrium on each will face each other.
The residential portion will be divided into two apartment buildings with 455 rental units, and two condo buildings with 215 for-sale units, 20% of which will be affordable housing. Each rental building will be eleven stories high with one level of retail, with a pool on the fifth floor of one. The exterior will be adorned with terra cotta precast panels and a curtain wall system. Residents will apparently have ample terraces and courtyards, with additional landscaping on the roof. Like the offices, the pair of apartment buildings will be joined on the second story with an enclosed pedestrian bridge.
Moving on to the condominiums, at ten and 11 stories in height, architects again envision two full floors of retail, joined on the third story by, yes, an open pedestrian walkway. The building will also feature two floors of retail and elaborate landscaping on the roof, terraces, and courtyards. Two new streets will be created to have the effect of shrinking the blocks and providing better pedestrian access for the retail, and the northwest corner of the parcel will feature most of the 1.5 acres designated as open public space. A central plaza will sit in the middle of the four residential buildings, with fountains and landscaping, connecting to the street with paved pedestrian alleyways.
This past November, the city traded a parcel on the northeast corner of the site to developer Kingdon Gould III for a piece of land close to the new convention center, on the site now planned for the much anticipated Marriott. What Gould will choose to do with this plot of land is still unclear, as is an additional 100,000-s.f. on the site is still controlled by the city, according to Sean Madigan of DC's Office of Planning. Originally, talk of putting in a new central library was on the table, a goal of former Mayor Anthony Williams, although the city is now considering new options: additional retail in the form of an anchor store, another mixed-use development, or an entertainment venue. The city has not ruled out the possibility renting or selling the land to a developer, a decision that will reportedly be made within the next two or three months.
Hines Archstone is hoping to receive the Gold or Platinum rating for LEED certification on the office buildings, while expecting a Silver rating for the residential buildings. The project as a whole was accepted into the LEED Neighborhood Development certification, a pilot program of the U.S. Green Building Council.
"This is a tremendous milestone for the city and the Hines Archstone-Smith team," said William B. Alsup III, senior vice president for Hines Interests. "With the closing of the legal documentation with the City and approval of the schematic design, we will continue to work collaboratively with the city and its agencies to complete the detailed plans and specifications and secure the necessary building permits to enable us to begin construction by this time next year."
"This project is going to be a true city center - our downtown retail anchor - befitting a world-class city," Mayor Adrian Fenty said in a press release recently. "We are creating a place, designed by one of the world's most pre-eminent architects, which will complete the recent transformation of our downtown." Space will be offered to both national and local retailers, with 30% set aside for those with six or fewer stores in the country. Over half of the 2,500 new permanent jobs created are required to be given to qualified DC residents.
Planning has been taking place for over four years at this point. After months of hearing community input, the Deputy Mayor's Office of Planning and Economic Development approved the master plan for the site in October 2006. The District and Hines Archstone closed on their deal in December, which included approval of schematic design, zoning, and financial details, and presented revised designs and plans on January 10. Developers are now putting the final touches on designs, and will begin bidding and permitting by November. They expect to break ground in January 2009, and after the downtown endures a 35 month construction period, we can all look forward to completion in July 2011.
"This long-awaited project will set new precedents and rival the best live, work, shop, and play urban mixed-use developments the nation has seen to-date," gushed Ken Miller, senior vice president of Archstone-Smith. "This development will further the transformation of our Nation's Capital into one of the most thriving, dynamic, and culturally rich cities in America."
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Labels: Banneker Ventures, CPDC, Forrester Construction, jair lynch, Northwest One, William C. Smith
The next stage of development will be to demolish Temple Court, which the District bought last summer and has begun relocating tenants in anticipation of tearing down the building this summer; both housing projects remain mostly occupied at this point. Ordinarily, the District would build replacement housing before evacuation of existing subsidized housing, but according to Sean Madigan of DC's Office of Planning, the condition of the projects is "so bad" that the Fenty administration decided to purge and demolish immediately.
The District currently owns most of the entire development site, part of which was acquired when it took control of and disbanded NCRC last year; the remainder is owned by the DC Housing Authority. Late last year, the District selected One Vision Development Partners, a joint venture between William C. Smith, Jair Lynch, Banneker Ventures, and CPDC, as its development partner for the entire project. Details of the project - both the scope of development and compensation to the development team - have yet to be finalized, but the team has proposed the construction of more than 1,600 new apartments, condos and townhouses priced for mixed-income buyers and renters, as well as a 21,000-s.f. clinic, about 40,000 s.f. of retail and 220,000 s.f. of office space. According to Madigan, an increase in density and the "right mix" will be crucial to the success of the project. Once the administration comes to an agreement with the developer, the project will be placed on the lap of the city Council for approval.
Immediately replacing Terrell Junior High will be the Walker Jones school, library, recreation center and athletic fields, a project that Mayor Fenty described as being "a first-class facility from top to bottom." "If we are to expect excellence from our students we've got to provide great facilities that promote an integrated environment for learning," Fenty added Monday during his on-site speech. According to the Office of Planning and Economic Development, Walker Jones will be one of the first new schools constructed during Fenty's reign, and it will be ready, says he, in time for the kick-off of the 2009 school year. The new Walker Jones will house 100,000 s.f. of classroom, a 20,000-s.f. community recreation center and a 5,000-s.f. library along with some new playgrounds and sports fields. The entire project is expected to meet the District's green building standards.
The complete project is said to be in the ballpark of $700 million in new development. After production of the new school and its amenities, the District will then focus on the new housing, of which a third will be market rate, a third will be affordable, and a third will serve as workforce, some of which will serve as replacement housing for current residents. Madigan referenced NPR's recent decision to build its new facilities across the street from the site as "a huge vote of confidence for Northwest One."
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
WDG Architecture designed the office building to sit 11 stories high, with a total of 200,000 s.f. of space within shouting distance of Nationals stadium, just south of St. Matthews Church and adjacent to the Opus office building currently under construction. The offices will sit atop three-underground levels of parking and a single story of ground floor retail. The rooftop will have dual uses: half will be a mechanical penthouse while the other half will be exposed with rooftop terraces.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Labels: Columbia Heights
In a statement to the press last week, Mayor Fenty said: “[I]t is fitting to call this project both the catalyst and the capstone to an unprecedented economic resurgence in Columbia Heights – where nearly $1 billion worth of new housing, retail and office space has moved through the development pipeline since 2001.”
Friday, March 07, 2008
Developers anticipate a start date sometime this summer, and will phase the project beginning at Valley Drive and building outwards.
ARCH, both a nonprofit development firm and nonprofit artist-training center, has already delivered on a residential project: a 4-unit, artist-residence at 1706 16th Street SE, half of which is used for complementary housing for artists doing community work in the area, and the other half as gratis housing for artists who are visiting the District. How can they offer free housing you ask? During Christmas of 2005, a fire tore through much of the building when it was briefly vacant, and thanks to a grant from the Commission of Arts and Humanities, the building was renovated in 2006 and continues to operate with a negligable overhead. Among the residents that Arch attracts to the building will be Delphine Perlstein a Parisian artist who will be exhibiting at ARCH's Honfleur Gallery and the French Embassy in April, and the crew from HGTV, who will come to Washington DC to revitalize three historic Anacostia developments (1, 2 and 3).
Duane Gautier, President of ARCH, gave input as to how his firm has a special advantage in neighborhood revitalization. "We believe that arts and culture can be one of the strategies that can revitalize the Anacostia neighborhood. What we're trying to do is develop a critical mass of arts and culture activities both commercial and residential, which should help to generate further development in the neighborhood. And that's what we want to see: more private sector involvement."
Now the firm is finishing up their plan for V Street, which requires the demolition of the existing building, and will replace it with a three story, 8-unit, artist-housing condo. Its one and two bedroom units will range from 550 -1200 s.f., and the first five lucky buyers will get free access to each of the five work spaces located on the first floor for two years, as an added incentive implemented by ARCH in the hopes of selling the building as quickly as possible. Prices range from approximately $165,000 to $210,000 - four of the units will be affordable for households earning approximately 60% AMI, while the other four units will be sold at market rate. ARCH is currently finishing up permit drawings for the condo and plan on breaking ground in October 2008, setting up for a grand opening in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The Fendall Street condo building, at the corner of Fendall and V, sits just in front of the V Street condos. Arch is currently performing internal demolitions on the apartment building that sits on the site, with the plans of stripping it bare, and remodeling the entire three story building to house 29 condominiums ranging from 600 - 11,000 s.f. Like V Street, 10 units of the building will be reserved for artists, and it will house a number of artist studios in the basement; about 80% of the total units will be affordable and only 20% will be sold at market rate. Gautier expects the Fendall Street project do be finished by February, 2009.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
DC MUD: So to start off, what made you enter the real estate development business?
Wade: Good question. My family was in real estate. My father worked for Northwestern Mutual, and then actually had his own firm, so I guess I grew up in the business. And then, coming out of school (Carolina), I always knew I wanted to be in real estate. My brother is in the business and works with us. It's just a great business in DC too - it's a good social business. You can make a lot of money. But it's more than that; I think it's a good culture.
DC MUD: What about leaving Trammell Crow, how did that happen?
Wade: Crow had some of the best culture in the business, or has some of the best culture and people in the business. I had a great four years at Crow, working closely with Bob Murphy, Fred Rothmeijer who's with us, and Chris Roth who is still there. We just had a great opportunity with good partners and pretty good capital relationships. It was just a fortunate time in the market where we could actually do it and pull it off.
DC MUD: Are there differences between the way things were run over at Trammell Crow and the way you do things over here?
Wade: I think it's very similar. We have the open floor plan, where there's a bullpen. It's very open, very collaborative. I think decisions are made very quickly. I think they were in that environment, and I think they are here. We’re doing pretty much the same thing. We've teamed up with capital partners, with Rockpoint Group out of Boston, Mass Mutual, Brookdale Group, who we've done business with before. So it's just a different jersey.
DC MUD: So on to Gateway, what attracted you to that site?
Wade: We've done a lot of assemblage. We've purchased a lot of land in DC starting in the CBD, a lot in the East End, in the Mount Vernon Triangle. We've always been very fortunate controlling land in DC. Especially if you have a long time horizon. So look at just the height limits in DC, it pushes development east. That's the next market there, in Southeast. We've missed Southeast. We don't have any down there.
DC MUD: So most developments in NoMa are office space, for the most part. Why did you add a residential component?
Wade: The primary reason is we looked at how we could get the most product going at the same time, to create a sense of place, bring retail, and get it out of the ground. So we're going to build the office building, hotel, and the residential building, which is 80 percent of the overall development, in phase one. It allowed us to move into more phasing than a small office building. You can't build a million feet, all office, on day one. But we can with multiple property types. It also brings a sense of place and creates the environment.
DC MUD: So the phasing is important to the 'sense of place?'
Wade: If you have a million square feet of office, you'd build phase one for the office, and then you'd wait for the lease on the office. Whereas we're essentially going to build phase one and phase two at the same time. The ground is worth more as office, but marginally more, and waiting the extra couple of years is worth it to get it going. And also, going back to the sense of place, and having a hotel on site and mix of uses, it's pretty important. We have about 10,000 s.f. of retail here. The problem with NoMa right now, is it's not finished and doesn't have the retail.
DC MUD: So how do you make decisions on what's worth developing?
Wade: I think we're pretty focused, we're pretty good at buying land and understanding where the value is. We're pretty good at entitlements. We've been in every jurisdiction so we know what we're getting done, and we have a pretty good sense of the market. It's experience with the markets, and knowing what we can and cannot get done within the jurisdictions. We also focus pretty heavily around transportation solutions. For example, in Loudon, we bought a site that has just come to fruition. In our Tyson's project deal, we actually donated land to the HOT lanes Consortium. So they're going to put HOT (Hight Occupancy Toll) lanes literally right into our project.
DC MUD: What do you look most for in architecture?
Wade: We spend a little bit more in the buildings than some of our competitors. We try to build the top end of the market. If you look at our Tysons building, it's going to be the best building in northern Virginia. It's going to be over the top, trophy quality, the best that Virginia has seen. And I think you'll see that in Washington Gateway. You'll see a high quality design. So we just need to make sure if we deliver in the wrong market, that we have a great product.
DC MUD: Can you talk a little bit about some of your upcoming projects, like the Tyson’s project (7940 Jones Branch Drive)?
DC MUD: What about the Courthouse site (pictured below)?
DC MUD: And Potomac Yard?
Wade: We're in the entitlement process now, working with Alexandria. We have 1.8 million s.f. total, 400 residential units, 800,000 s.f. of office, 600 hotel rooms, and about 200,000 s.f. of retail, with an emphasis on food services and entertainment amenities to really create a town center. We haven't programmed it, but we're going to have a major theme in the open space,like Reston has with the ice skating rink.
DC MUD: What do you think is the most important aspect in developing a successful project?
Wade: I think high quality, and probably the right real estate, the right area and location - and also team. One of the benefits is, back to being able to work with anybody, that we can pick the best people to work with on each individual project.
DC MUD: What affords you that luxury?
Wade: The fact that we don't have any in-house services. We're pure developers. We don't have management, we don't have leasing, we don't have sales, or finance.
DC MUD: Last one- which part of DC's development process would you like to see changed?
Wade: I just think it would be great to change the process for DC in literally any jurisdiction just to make it more efficient. It just takes a very long time to get anything approved. It's a very difficult predevelopment, entitlement process. But on the flip side, it's also the benefit, because it makes it difficult to do, so you don't have as much supply once you actually get through the process. Alexandria's probably the hardest. DC is, we've always found it to be fair. We've gotten through with what we needed to get through.
Todd Place is the total renovation of 3 separate apartment buildings, 302-310 Todd Place, into 12 condos, each with two bedrooms, deep walk in closets in each bedroom, vaulted ceilings, and beautifully finished interiors. Located within walking distance of the Rhode Island Ave Metro station and NoMa Metro stations, in DC's booming NoMa area, the fastest growing commercial real estate sector in the District. Off-street parking available for each unit. Interior finishes include solid bamboo floors, generously sized granite counters in the kitchen and bath, skylights on the upper floors, ceiling fans, walk-in closets in both bedrooms, and private security systems. Developed by Lindsay Development & Hillsborough Investments. Newly reduced prices range from $249,500 to $265,500.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Labels: J Street Development, Mayor Adrian Fenty, Neil Albert, NoMa, Shalom Baranes Architects
J Street Development, which had other plans for the site at 1111 North Capitol Street, NE, before deciding to sell to NPR, will develop the 10 story, 400,000-s.f. office building and the massive, 60,000-s.f. newsroom bullpen inside. The building will take the place of the old Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies warehouse, which is currently leased by the Smithsonian. Shalom Baranes Associates will design NPR's new global headquarters with space for more than 20,000 s.f. of retail while maintaining a number of facades from CPT's historic building. To begin the move, NPR will begin marketing their old digs at 635 Massachusetts Avenue for sale within the next two weeks. The organization will then leaseback the property until their move-in date, expected by the end of 2011.
"There are businesses within this city's boundaries that are important to the fabric of our communities. NPR is one of those businesses. We started working months ago to find NPR a new headquarters...This project will be an impetus for many things to come over the years," announced Fenty proudly.
"The new headquarters will be the physical manifestation of our broader thinking about NPR for the future...This translates to a setting that offers our staff the most creative, collaborative and interactive atmosphere to do their best work," boasted Ken Stern, CEO of NPR. With this openness in mind, Stern then discussed the vast amounts of public space that the development will include in the new campus, to be used for live broadcasts, lectures and for the community at-large.
Studley represented NPR in the deal, searching for a place that was close to the metro to serve commuting NPR employees, while at the same time attempting to remain within the District. According to Vernon Knarr of Studley, "For NPR to move outside of DC would have been a big change."As part of the development, the city will help fund the project with a dual phase, 20-year tax abatement which translates to roughly $40 million dollars, a factor that Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert said was "critical to the economics of this deal." Alongside those tax abatements will come a slew of streetscape improvements to make the project "feasible and aesthetically pleasing," added Fenty.
NPR was founded in 1970, and opened up shop on M Street, only to move to Penn quarter more than a decade later, in what many called a pioneering move. Stern likened their current move to that same pioneering mentality from the '80s.