Tuesday, February 21, 2012

AvalonBay's "Hipster" Apartment Building Aims for December Move-In



AvalonBay's "AVA H Street" apartment building (which is not actually on H Street - it's at 318 I Street, NE) is set to go vertical any day now, a critical milestone for one of the more unique projects in the booming H Street corridor.

"All the dirt's out of the hole, and they're pouring slabs," said Jeff Wood, development manager at AvalonBay. "We're on schedule for first occupancy in December of this year." The building will be entirely residential, with no ground floor retail.

AVA H Street will offer 140 rental units of "pretty sick apartments," according to the project's Facebook page. Jonathan B. Cox, Senior Vice President of Development at AvalonBay, previously told DCMud the building would be "more contemporary and a more unique architectural style than what's now on the market." Though he was coy at the time about the architect behind the building, it's since emerged that KTGY Group is spearheading the design, and the latest renderings, with their colorful facades and prominent branding, do indeed look more unique that most of what's on the market right now. Blake Dickson represented Avalon in the purchase.

AvalonBay acquired 318 I Street through a lender sale, after original owner Broadway Development lost the property (as well as the adjacent Senate Square) through foreclosure in 2009. AvalonBay, a Ballston-based real estate investment trust (REIT), has posted huge profits in recent quarters by taking advantage of depressed property values to accumulate parcels, and by catering to a rental market that remains strong due to the flagging economy. A recent Wall Street Journal story described AvalonBay's strategy as "hipsters and suburbia" - and if the H Street NE address wasn't a giveaway, AVA's Facebook postings ("so rad!" "awesome!" "sick!") make it eminently clear that this building targets the former group.

AvalonBay had planned to build two more apartment buildings near the future Tysons West metro station, but that project ground to a halt after county officials' request for transportation improvement funds were deemed too high by AvalonBay management. (They did proceed with another Tysons project, the 354-unit Avalon Park Crest.)

AVA H Street broke ground back in November, and is just one of a dizzying number of projects in the immediate area, the biggest of which is the Steuart Investments mixed-use behemoth. It's hard to believe, when you see the flurry of construction on H Street today, that just a handful of years ago over twenty percent of H Street storefronts were vacant - a rate that has been reduced nearly to zero in less than a decade. And when the long-discussed streetcar is up and running, the boom will kick into another, even higher, gear.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's not very "sick" that there will be no ground-level retail.

Drew said...

Agree. There's no reason all the retail has to be on H street.

Anonymous said...

Actually, not having any ground level retail is fine. Not every building needs to have retail, particularly one that's only a block away from H St., NE.

As for the "pretty sick apartments" terminology, that's a bit too hip and slick for my taste. Perhaps AvalonBay should do a rethink.

RR said...

Agree with last anon, better if retail is concentrated on H.

Alejandro on Feb 21, 2012, 7:07:00 PM said...

I am sure renters will wish there was groundfloor retail...

Andrew on Feb 23, 2012, 12:40:00 AM said...

It's not lack of the retail per se, but rather, the unsafe and hostile vibe that the building gives off when it presents a blank facade with no entrances to the street.

It doesn't encourage a lively or safe streetscape.

One of the few things that the Architects of the Loree Grand got right were the series of entrances (modeled after traditional rowhouse facades) along 3rd St, and the small restaurant space on the corner. It enlivens the neighborhood, makes the street feel safer, and draws people out of their apartments.

grid iron said...

i'm all for ground floor retail and expanding off of h as just a main street. we need to fill out our grid. it gives us real blocks, not just strips.

Anonymous said...

Is it zoned for retail? I know houses on the other side of the alley bisecting the square are R2.

Anonymous said...

Um, the retail at Loree Grand is still vacant. Why do we need retail on every block?

 

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