Life is a circle, of course. To underscore that point, the District government announced today that Eastbanc won its bid to redevelop three underused properties in the West End. The D.C. government issued the RFP last July, after a contentious process in which Eastbanc had been awarded the rights to develop the land in 2007, only to have a public outcry over no-bid contracts stop the process, and give the Council a morning-after moment and, shocked at what it had done, recall the land sale to Eastbanc.
That, in turn, led to the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to issue a fair and balanced solicitation last July, which received two offers, one from an Eastbanc partnership, the other from Toll Brothers, Paramount Development and Torti Gallas. Now, two and a half years after the Council pulled the plug on Eastbanc, the city has given it the official nod to develop the three sites.
To those few unfamiliar with the sites, the properties include the West End Library, fire station, and special operations police unit, all low-rise relics in a sea of pricey condominiums.
EastBanc had said in its initial proposal that Square 37, the current site of the library, would sport a 20,765 s.f. ground floor library with a 10-story residence above (rendering below). Designed by Ten Arquitectos, the plans call for approximately 153 market-rate residential units on the 2nd through 10th floors, 235 parking spaces and 10,000 s.f. of ground floor retail. LeMay Erickson Wilcox Architects will be the architects for the fire station and WDG Architecture will be the architect of record.
Eastbanc's designs for Square 50 - the fire station - include a replacement fire station and mezzanine with 52 affordable residential units on the 2nd through 4th floors. Eastbanc's Anthony Lanier predicted a renaissance, thanks to the $150 million project, saying "we want to make a community...not just a street with 10-story buildings." Asked about how the new plans differed from those he proposed more than 2 years ago, which could possibly have been built by now, Lanier responded "not much." Eastbanc had earlier said it "can and would build a supermarket on site if the community and city united to support it," but has voiced skepticism about the need for one.
The Toll Brother's plan for the library called for 48,000 s.f. of retail, including a 40,000 s.f. grocery store. The library would remain in place; 21,300 s.f. on two levels. To top it off, the building would have been LEED Silver and would have included as many as 220 residential condos. The group did not submit a plan for the site of the fire station.
Eastbanc's partners on the project also include the Warrenton Group, Dantes Partners, TEN Arquitectos, and WDG Architecture. Eastbanc also recently won the rights to develop a highly visible Capitol Hill property late last year. Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos said the District would work hard to "ensure what has been proposed moves forward as quickly as possible." Mayor Adrian Fenty added that he expects groundbreaking for the project "at the end of 2012, at the very latest."
Washington, DC real estate development news