Monday, April 18, 2011

Steuart Plans to Start H Street Giant by July


Steuart Investment's H Street residential project should be underway by July 1st, says the firm's principal, setting the stage for an early 2013 opening of the Giant supermarket and 215 apartments. The 3rd and H site is one block from AvalonBay project that should break ground later this year for an additional 140 units, densifying the H Street corridor as its retail renaissance continues to build up speed.

The Steuart project, designed by Torti Gallas, will add a 6 story, LEED certified building - a 5 story residence above a retail pad - with a 42,000 s.f. Giant supermarket. "We're down to the short strokes" says Steuart principal Guy Steuart, who "hopes to have a shovel in the ground by July 1st." Despite not yet having financing fully secured nor permits, Steuart has had zoning approval since late 2007 and is confident construction will start mid summer. The building will have 2 floors of underground parking, a residential lobby and small retail bay on H Street with a 22 foot high ground floor.

The project will face competition from the AvalonBay project and Senate Square's 432 rental units, and on the grocer side from the new Aldi at the opposite end of H and, just a few blocks away, Noma's recently opened Harris Teeter. The sudden concentration of quality supermarkets in northeast D.C., once devoid of such retail, leads to the question of whether northeast will be over-grocered. "Giant is still the dominant grocer in this area. Competition makes everyone keener, I think Giant will do a great job for the community," says Steuart in response.

The project has been a long time coming. Steuart first filed for the PUD more than 5 years ago, with up to 8 stories in mind, but was encouraged to shave some density from the east as a concession to the lower buildings. "Then the world changed and we had to try and make sense economically," says Steuart, who responded by taking out the 3rd floor of parking, limiting the height to 6 stories, and modifying the upper top 5 floors, which sit on the poured concrete retail podium, into a less expensive steel beam and concrete construction.

Steuart's family has been at it even longer, his great-grandfather having started the family business in 1904, according to Steuart, as an ice and coal delivery company that opened a Ford dealership in 1916, with his family owning land "the first time there was a trolley in the neighborhood." BP eventually bought land next door for its filling station and leased Steuart's parcel, at one point planning a larger truck stop for H Street. Steuart later bought out BP's site - the western 40% of the current site - and let them out of the remaining lease in order to start this project.

Steuart predicts an 18 month time frame to open the residences, with the Giant to open "shortly thereafter." Steuart is also building a 390-unit apartment building in Mt. Vernon Triangle with Paradigm, which it began last October.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to this project finally starting!

Critically Urban on Apr 18, 2011, 9:47:00 AM said...

It's difficult to be "over-grocered", especially in DC. It is one of the absolute last things I would be worried about.

Anonymous said...

H Street is so funky. What a shame that this new building is so bland and conservative.

Andrew on Apr 18, 2011, 12:36:00 PM said...

Yeah. Not loving this one...

Also, the Avalon Bay building behind it has probably already "broken ground," as demolition and site-prep work have been taking place all week.

(Pity too -- once the eastern-facing wall was down from the building being demolished, I started wishing that the developers had chosen to preserve it -- looked like it was neat design on the inside, with a butt-ugly eastern facade.)

Ken on Apr 18, 2011, 1:20:00 PM said...

Andrew,
thanks for the comment. You are correct that there is construction on site, but its demolition and site prep, not quite upward building yet.

Critically Urban on Apr 18, 2011, 1:56:00 PM said...

Anonymous #2: This building is not located in the "funky H Street" area. It's closer to the railroad tracks where pretty much anything is better than what was there before. Believe it or not, bland and conservative probably describes most of the fantastic rowhomes in this city. Think of these types of condo/apartment buildings as along the same lines. Their ubiquity is due to their cost-effectiveness and many of the previously untested locations. Unfortunately, it wouldn't make sense to build a crazy off-the-wall design here because it would cost too much.

I agree we do need to see a greater variety of funky architecture in the city, but there are already some great examples on the small scale if you traverse many of DC's neighborhoods. Until the height limit is raised, we won't get much more than the brick and mortar or all-glass boxes than we have now, although some developers who are not as cost-conscious will buck the trend here and there.

Kiki said...

Critically,

I will have to disagree on that one. If you look across the river at the huge buildings around Costco and Target, they all follow the same cookie cutter image, just on a larger scale. When I lived in Seattle up until '07, the exact same look was going in there too, with no height restrictions. To hide behind height is a scapegoat. The irony is, the properties would get more attention and renters, probably willing to pay slightly higher rents, if developers would start showing some backbone and creativity instead of just putting out cubicle-apartments.

I will give you the fact a lot of property owners have let their things go to seed, but I still think there is plenty of room to add some style. It's sad to see the unique architecture of individual cities being stripped away to be made to look the same.

Derek said...

I agree with Kiki. I had lived in Berlin for a couple of years sometime ago and they also have a height limit. Does that stop some fantastic architecture to happen? Of course not. It is the developer not wanting to challenge the status quo and the local ANC that wants the same old boring stuff.

Anonymous said...

A shame the buildings weren't a bit taller, say to the original 8 or even more, to 10 floors. DC is so provincial sheesh! We could use so much more density! More people, more money, more retail.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how long this has been in development but it seems like another project (with a GIANT!) that will be underway long before the ground is broken at CityMarket at O in Shaw...why is that?

not on parker said...

Let's not forget about the Walmart that Tommy Wells and the other crackahs were talking about going in between the AIPAC building and Gonzaga! Apparently there's still a food desert out there!

Anonymous said...

It's been "in development" for atleast a decade. I doubt it will be delivered before 2013. Guy Steuart's a slow mover...

Thayer-D on Apr 22, 2011, 9:24:00 AM said...

I've got to double down on Kiki. There's nothing that says the height limit is holding back "funky". These buildings will be great background architecture, focusing on the funky street culture rather than the look at me building type. Most funky neighborhoods had absolutley conservative row homes, warehouses, or tenaments. What makes them funky, besides the culture there is the varied heights and material colors.

 

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