Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The Arts at 5th and I will keep Mount Vernon residents waiting for just a bit longer. Donohoe Companies won the right to develop the promised high-end hotel, retail outlets and jazz club in September of 2008, but the District has been negotiating the terms of the land lease for the project with Donohoe. According to Memphis Holland, a Partner at co-developer Holland Development, the group hopes to have a resolution to their negotiations by the end of next month.
Assuming the land disposition is approved by the City Council, the developers can then begin the planning process. Planning will take at least 12 months and construction would not begin until an unspecified time thereafter. The group is not expecting any zoning issues at this time, but in this business, you never know.
The 475,000-square foot development will center around a new 260-room ME Hotel from luxury Spanish hotelier, Melia, and also include a bicycle retailer, hardware store, book store/café and new outlet for the Zenith Art Gallery. One update to the original plan is that the Boisdale Jazz club will likely not be in the hotel, but rather at a location down the street at 5th and K, which Donohoe is negotiating terms for, leaving the in-house space for another restaurant. The building at 5th and K falls under the confines of the Historic Preservation Review Board so the structure would be preserved and renovated for the club and restaurant.
According to Holland, the developers have been in constant communication with the community and once they have approval from the City Council will re-engage the local ANC and the downtown neighborhood association. Zenith Art Gallery recently closed its physical location and is functioning from an online gallery. According to Judith Keyserling of Zenith, the gallery founder anticipates that the new space is still several years off.
It is unclear when the plans for the remainder of the 5th street project will fall into place. For now we know that the hotel, restaurants and retail are in the works, but the music won't be heard for a few more years.