The last undeveloped corner in one of the most high-traffic areas of Washington has just been acquired by McCaffery Interests Inc. and Douglas Development, at 675 H Street N.W., encompassing the iconic corner building, long since boarded up, and the vacant lot behind it.
"This is the best intersection in metro D.C." said Juan Cameron, Managing Director of McCaffery, comparing it to Georgetown's Wisconsin Avenue and M Street hub. "It is a central location with a lot of pulse, narrow streets, tons of foot traffic, a heavy daytime population, tremendous residential presence, plus the energy of the Verizon Center. In our eyes, its the closest thing Washington has to Times Square."
Though "everyone has their ideas for how the property will take shape," said Cameron, in these early stages the venture is dubbed as a state of the art, mixed use development. "Step one is looking for a marquee tenant," said Cameron.
General partners for the venture Douglas Development and McCaffery Interests acquired the property yesterday at auction. The property had gone into foreclosure thirty days ago, after Yeni Wong of Riverdale International had been unable to secure financing for the building. This past month was the last of many times the building had fallen into foreclosure; in 2009, Wong was given a notice for this property as well as 801 7th Street for $13,491,471 plus attorney's fees. Wong bought the two properties in 2006 for $10 million dollars.
This isn't the just the first or second try at developing this corner. DRI, a Transwestern Company, had slated 675 H Street as a two-building project: one that would restore the corner space and rise nine stories over the arch, the other a Class A office building behind the main storefronts. The total project would have yielded 110,000 s.f. of office space and 50,000 s.f. of retail. McCaffrey owns Georgetown Centre, leased by Barnes & Noble, and Mazza Gallery, which it bought in 1997. Douglas owns pretty much everything else.
Update: Alex Cooper Auctioneers states that the lot was purchased for $9.1 million.