The District and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) are, at least for now, giving up on the Arts at 5th and Eye, the Donohoe Companies and Holland Development project, and installing a parking lot on the undeveloped District-owned site. Though the project team won the right to develop the promised high-end hotel, retail outlets and jazz club in September of 2008, no final agreement has been reached on the land exchange with the District Government since that time. The District Council is scheduled to review the revised project plan in March or April of this year, though that will not happen without an agreed upon land value.
In August, Memphis Holland, a Partner at Holland Development, told DCMud that the group hoped to have a resolution to their negotiations by the end of September. More than four months later, Holland indicates the developers are continuing to meet with the District in order to finalize a contract for the land and determine an appropriate land value. It would seem the District grew tired of underutilized land, opting for a paid parking lot in the meanwhile (not that Mount Vernon really needs more of those).
The ANC had resoundingly supported the development during the RFP process, but the protracted negotiations and new surface parking lot have set some neighbors on edge. ANC Commissioner Keith Silver is protesting the DMPED's parking lot decision and the District's alleged exclusion of the community from conversations with the developers about the proposed development.
According to Holland the developers had "absolutely nothing to do with the final decision by the District to have a parking lot as the temporary use for the site," but "we have been told this will not impede our objectives to develop the site, as planned, for a mixed-use development." Holland added that the group is continuing to work with project partners including Sol Melia and Boisdale as well as the neighborhood retail mix including Zenith Gallery.
That said, the parking lot decision shows a lack of faith by the District government for the near future of construction and development at 5th and I Streets in Mount Vernon.
Washington DC real estate development news