Archstone says it will break ground in April on one of the first new developments to do so in the "downtown core" this year, increasing residential space in NoMa by over 50 percent. Archstone's 469 rental residential units, which will replace a surface parking lot at 1st and M Streets, NE, will be the first of two phases; the total project will bring 1.5 million s.f. If everything goes according to plan, the first phase should deliver in spring 2012, the second phase, also residential, does not yet have a start date.
When Archstone Senior Vice President Rob Seldin began working with his architects at Davis Carter Scott, the team realized they had a blank slate and could make a statement that would set the tone for the area with their design. As Doug Carter, a founding Principal at Davis Carter Scott, said about Seldin, "he has a record of trying to push the envelope and this building is no different."
Carter said the challenge of a large, phased project is to make something that is "interesting all the way around" and to avoid making the structure look "entirely long and boring." So his team changed the massing and the color and texture of the materials by detailing the masonry horizontally, using the precast concrete to create a wavy element in the facade and designing striking glass corner towers. Carter added that the design is meant to draw people in to want to live there and to be a "fixture of the urban landscape" that never bores passersby. Rather than design a traditional, conservative "plain Jane" building often found in DC, said Carter, his team strove to make Archstone's NoMa building "a little more forward looking" with a design that is "exciting and stimulating."
The 500,000 s.f. building will be almost entirely residential save one small ground-floor retail area at the corner of M and First Streets, NE. A parking garage, not included in the s.f. calculation, will provide 421 spots on three levels below grade. The ground floor will include 20,000 s.f. of amenities for residents, including a library, meeting rooms, kitchen, movie theater and even an outside movie area for up to 20 people. Then there's the rooftop pool, a hot commodity to be certain.
The new building will deliver in time for residents to take advantage of what will then be a fully operational Harris Teeter across the street. Liz Price, President of the NoMa BID, said the new residential is "key to the next wave" of commercial development and will help NoMa "continue to attract new retail and restaurants."
Archstone's Seldin said he has been "encouraged by the continuing construction and leasing" in other properties in NoMa. "Ours will be an outstanding addition to a great area." The general contractor for the project is Forrester Construction.
Washington, DC real estate development news