Construction began only a handful of days ago on Canal Parc, a 34-unit townhouse development to take the place of the now-demolished Riverside Psychiatric Hospital at 4460 MacArthur Blvd, NW. The for-sale units are on track to occupy prime clifftop real estate overlooking the Potomac River in the Palisades, now that Duball has purchased the project and brought in a new architect.
The property was purchased in early 2006 by New York-based The Athena Group, who brought on DC-based Willco Residential LLC as lead developer of a 41-unit PUD project in July of 2007. A raze permit was sought in August of 2008 to level the controversial private, for-profit Riverside, which ran into trouble in 2007.
In 2008, the DC Office of Planning was in favor of the density-decreased, 37-unit LEED Neighborhood Development (ND)-certified version of the project, however the skimmed-down version was still an ire to the Palisades Citizens' Association (PCA). The plan was cut to 34 units in 2009.
The DC Office of Zoning approved the Willco Residential-run, and Lessard Group-designed PUD project in March of 2010, after a significant lapse of time from final plan presentation in late 2009. Due to the delay, rumors circulated about the solvency of project developers, which turned out to be half truths - there was financial trouble, but not on Willco's end, instead The Athena Group is currently liquidating many of its properties across the country.
Gary Cohen, president and founder of Willco, says the property was put up for sale by Athena in 2010, and a triple-joint-venture led by Duball LLC "blew away the competition," purchasing the land for $12 million early this year.
Getting right to work, the trio of Duball, Buvermo Properties and Stanley Martin Companies LLC, dubbed "Duball MacArthur LLC" completed initial site work this past spring, after the hospital was razed in February. Site grading, backfill and compaction is currently underway with Duball in charge of project management, and Stanley Martin in control of tangible construction.
Although the original Lessard Group design still holds, Pinnacle Design completed construction documents for the current venture, and is considered to be the architect currently on the project.
Marc Dubick, president and founder of Duball, says that the 34-unit project will deliver the first townhouse to the market by the end of the year. A 2008 estimate for the sale of the townhouses was between $1.3 and $1.7 million; updated prices have not been released. Foreseeing that construction will roll along at a two-townhouse-per-month pace, Dubick predicts that the project will be complete in 17 months.
The 2.7 acre property will contain over 100,000 g.s.f., and townhouse units will range from 2200 sf to over 3500 sf. Dubick says the variation in unit designs results in "two different products within the same community." Although there are two prototypes, Dubick adds that all units will be "state of the art, luxury" townhouses.
Other ongoings for Duball include its transit-oriented, Safeway-anchored multifamily development at 3830 Georgia Avenue NW, which will begin construction in mid-to-late 2012, says Dubick. The project is currently undergoing the entitlement process.
Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly estimated the percentage of built area on site.
Washington D.C. Real Estate development news