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