Buzzards Point, the southern tip of the District above Anacostia, is about as desolate a neighborhood one can find in the DC region - empty lots, equipment storage fields, and an overall post-industrial decay that makes ballpark visitors quicken the walk back to their car late at night. An actual buzzard circling above would not seem entirely out of place. But all of that is going to change, and one local developer thinks that time might just be nigh.
The promise of the area is obvious, close to the Capitol and a focal point for DC's highways, the region is still secluded and private, and is surrounded by water, and the area's largest developers like PN Hoffman (along Water Street) and Steuart Investment (with more than 5 acres at the tip of South Capitol) and Akridge among them. But Duane Deason, who bought the empty 20,000 s.f. lot on the Anacostia back in 2004, when a new baseball stadium was maybe, just possibly, coming to southeast, has plans for an Eric Colbert-designed condominium, and thinks the time is right to start.
On the boards is an 80-foot high, 97 unit condominium nearly fronting the water behind the marina. "If you had asked me in the 3rd quarter of last year I would have said we were quite a ways away, but right now I'd say we are moving much faster...the market has notably improved, and I think its a good time to take advantage of that." Deason has an upcoming hearing before the Zoning Commission and is actively pushing ahead. "This is our first hearing before Zoning; there's no such thing as matter of right here, but we're sort of there, we don't need a PUD [zoning change] to do this."
Deason has little company at the moment, the other Buzzard Point developers are sitting on their hands, reasoning that there it makes little sense to develop in isolation without a pre-signed tenant. "Eventually I think it will be a great place" says one developer with skin in the game nearby that is choosing to wait. Deason is confident. "Eventually there's going to be other places, with the PN Hoffman development there, but there's a view of the water, the Coast Guard is there for another 5 years or so. There is the planned riverwalk, that will come. There are a couple of big landowners there that will cause a huge change." Deason says he paid under $1m for the property, including all costs associated with the acquisition, and that while he doesn't have a development financier, he has no financial pressure and will consider a joint venture partner.
"Being only 75 feet off there water, there's just not alot out there that currently that offers that, with a view of your boat...I love the waterfront and I just thought it was a fantastic location" said Deason. "The views are phenomenal because its on a point, almost every unit in the building will have an outstanding view of the water." Deason says most of the units will be less than 1000 s.f., and the new inclusionary zoning rules mean another 7200 s.f. of affordable housing.
While Deason may not have any immediate residential neighbors on the waterfront, another residential developer in southwest has the same sense of potential value and will break ground much sooner, you can read about that at DCMud this afternoon.
Washington DC real estate development news