Friday, November 19, 2010

Hilton Residential Addition Gets 2-Year Extension from HPRB


After purchasing the iconic Hilton for $290 million in May of 2007, a pair of California dreamers (and developers), LA-based Lowe Enterprises Inc. and Beverly Hills-based Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds (CJUF), are still hoping to follow through on their intentions of adding an apartment tower to the 1,119-room hotel. Unfortunately the market has been rather uncooperative, to say the least, since their vision first started taking shape. With architectural drawings in hand, courtesy of Hany Hassan of Beyer Blinder Belle, developers earned the support of the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) in 2008. There has been little action since.

As Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Steve Calcott explained to the Review Board (HPRB) earlier this week, like so many others development, "this project has been put on hold due to the depreciation in real estate values, increasingly stringent lending requirements for residential projects, and general economic downturn." This time represented by Architectural Historian Andi Adams of Goulston Storrs, developers successfully acquired a two-year extension on their nearly expired HPRB consent as per Calcott's recommendation. It was a more somber success than their 2008 victory.

The extension is precautionary, as their approved plans and stated course of action are far from set in stone. Project developers recently submitted construction plans and a permit application, and reviewers determined that the plans are inadequately detailed and proposed alterations that would require further HPO vetting and HPRB final approval. VP of Construction Managment Mike Mansager at the Lowe's Washington Hilton confirmed that the project was on hold, and that details like number of units and architectural specifics remain up in the air. "This is entirely market-driven," he explained, "everything is in flux and subject to change." Dansinger did admit that a two year extension doesn't mean two years of inaction, as the project could get moving again quickly if the market continues to improve.

Washington D.C. Real Estate Development News

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