Plans for the former Babe's Billiards site at 4600-4614 Wisconsin Avenue NW in Tenleytown have been knocked around, and ultimately scratched, since early 2004, three years before the well-known neighborhood hangout was forced to give its final last-call-for-alcohol. The site, dormant now for four years, is owned by Douglas Development, and the developer plans to rekindle an earlier vision for the parcel: a six-story, mixed-use development with a significant retail component.
Douglas Development, flying as Jemal's Babes LLC, purchased the site at auction in February of 2009 for $5m - in what many insiders considered an overly aggressive bid - after previous owner and developer, Clemens Construction, went into foreclosure and was forced to fold on its plan to turn the site into the 70-unit Maxim Condominiums, first conceptualized in 2006.
In 2009, Douglas asserted it would re-establish the site as simple retail, but then filed a request with the Zoning Commission in September of 2010 to rezone the property and develop the site into a significantly more dense mixed-use project incorporating anywhere from one-to-three floors of retail topped with residential.
This plan, however, was scaled back in December of 2010 - back to a one-story, one-tenant redevelopment of the existing structure, likely to be occupied by a restaurateur.
Following through with this downsized plan would have allowed Douglas to forgo the PUD and rezoning process and develop by right, in line with the property's current C-2-A zoning (low density, maximum height of 50').
Yet, eight months later, with the corner building still empty, Douglas is opting to go big again and has returned to the six-story, mixed-use plan for five stories of residential above 12,600 s.f. of ground-floor retail, confirms Paul Millstein, head of construction-related activity at Douglas (the rendering above is just a concept). Plans are currently in Shalom Baranes' design queue, although there are no active renderings yet, per the architect. The PUD-plans will be submitted to ANC 3 "by September" said Millstein. "If not September, October for sure."
Meanwhile, anyone looking for pool can head to Babe's new home in Silver Spring, where the watering hole relocated in November of last year. Anyone looking for vestiges of the neighborhood's seamier days of the '60s and '70s will have a harder time finding it.
Washington D.C. real estate development news