Thursday, March 08, 2012

Today in Pictures - Rhode Island Row


After years of urban planning-speak about the untapped potential of Rhode Island Avenue, many false starts notwithstanding, its first major project is now coming online. Rhode Island Row, the joint venture between A&R Development and Bethesda-based Urban Atlantic, is on the way to a September completion. The 8.5 acre, $109,000,000 project with 274 new residential units above 70,000 s.f. of retail broke ground in May of 2010, with some District help, and sits along a new and expanding bike trail, just a scoot away from bustling NoMa. Rhode Island Row - formerly Rhode Island Station - was designed by the (now defunct) Lessard Group, but switched to Lessard Design.

Developers completed the first few residential units in December, and have now delivered 2 of 8 phases of the two residential buildings. 59 of the units are now open, and most of those have already been leased, according to Caroline Kenney of Urban Atlantic. "There's a seriously wide mix of people geographically and demographically," she notes, and that despite the Avenue's inglorious past, "this part of the city is finally getting to be on the map." Of course being right on the red line and bike trail is not a bad marketing hook, and the development team has capitalized with "a ton of bike storage". Kenney said she hopes to have a Capital Bikeshare location on site in the future. Retail tenants are also on the way, with CVS the first to sign on. While Kenney won't divulge names of other retailers, she says 60% of the retail is unofficially spoken for. In all, the project will have 531 parking spaces, some of which will be short term retail parking, plus the new 215-space Metro garage.









Once just a theory...

Washington D.C. real estate development news

28 comments:

Critically Urban on Mar 8, 2012, 2:31:00 PM said...

I pass this everyday on my way to and from work, and think that it's great to have this development. On the other hand, the architecture is exceedingly two-dimensional, boring, and uninspired. Other than the Fort Totten apartments (above the 7-eleven), this is the cheapest-looking TOD I've seen in the region. It doesn't look like it was meant to last as long as the architecture shown in the old (perhaps ancient) rendering you showed at the bottom of the post. That is what most bums me out about this whole thing.

Steve D said...

Cheap cheap cheap. And cheap. This is a classic example of pursuing short-term profit at the expense of long-term gain and placemaking and value for the city. Look at the very last picture, the rendering. You think that main drag is ever going to be that vibrant, especially with buses pulling through every 30 seconds all day long. And from what I could tell, that ground floor on the 'main street' is devoid of proper windows and doesn't appear to have much retail space on that corridor, though it could still be coming.

None of that would change the fact that this is a stick-built cheap piece of crap that's going to age terribly and be in need of replacement long before the value-creating concrete-structured buildings built near the Petworth or CH metros, for example.

And the worst part? One day, when someone wants to redevelop this tract of land and put up something better, they'll tear it down, and there will be absolutely zero actual structure or framework created for capturing value — like a street grid. The next developer will have to start from scratch.

Long term, this is waste of land and most importantly, we missed a great opportunity to create the underlying framework to help build resilience and capture value in the future. Yes, it's next to transit, it's probably more affordable than some of those other places I mentioned. But it's shite urbanism and it chases tomorrow's dollars at the expense of dollars from ten years from now and a better use of land next to the metro station one stop removed from our city's core.

Mango said...

Agreed all around. Love the concept. Hate the execution.

Anonymous said...

I can't improve on what was said before me. Agreed.

Anonymous said...

This development looks like some cheap new-urbanist development in outer Gaithersburg. Stone veneer and wood siding? In the city? It's better than nothing, and I love that they've installed the classic DC street lamps on RI in front of this, but the architecture is blah.

Anonymous said...

"looks like some cheap new-urbanist development in outer Gaithersburg"

Look at what MoCo's developments look like (the post before this). For Gaithersburg, heck out the plans for the science corridor. Sadly, DC proper architecture lags behind plenty of suburbs.

Anonymous said...

I think the place looks good. The biggest drawback is the mega church which owns all the property around the metro.

Anonymous said...

our own little piece of rockville town center.


this is such a poor development. it turns its back on rhode island avenue and created an urban strip mall.

Ben said...

In addition to the poor architecture, 530 parking spaces for 270 units directly next to the metro station?

Anonymous said...

Shame that this does nothing to improve the street. Its tucked away, like a sub-division. It had the chance to have more presence.

JJ said...

Wow, talk about value engineering. I bet $1000 it has hollow doors and cheap ass floors.

Anonymous said...

thanks Lessard, for another cheap-ass, no-vision architectural realization.

im torn between liking and appreciating the fact that something is getting built here, and the fact that this cheap sub-subarban construction and aesthetic is built not to last. sigh

Anonymous said...

Now, that is one nasty, sub-standard, cheap looking development.

The side of the buildings facing the metro have no retail at all. lol. Not even windows either. lol

You can see a big opening to the massive garage from the metro. Only a four story development right at a metro? The garage actually sticks up above the residential building closest to Rhode Island Avenue. The developer/architect's solution to this? They just cinder-blocked it up. Down right unsightly.

This project looks like it was made not to last. Whoever has to redevelop this piece of crap property 10-15 years from now will have to probably start from scratch.

Last but not least, why would you make a multi-family residential building try to look like a townhouse development? Multi-family buildings are not townhouses. Architects - stop doing this.

Did DC contribute money to this piece of crap? Did this pig go through design review? Shame on DC if they didn't weigh in and make this project better.

Anonymous said...

Ugly as sin

Anonymous said...

"our own little piece of rockville town center."

I've been to that town center a couple of times - it's pretty nice. The building quality is about 100x better than this cheap POS. The urban design/retail/library/public space is infinitely better thought out as well. I wish a Rockville Town Square was built on this Rhode Island site. Sadly, it's never even close.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that one person is posting all the negative comments over and over again. You are entitled to an opinion, but still need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely doubt the same person is posting over and over again. This development was very obviously done on the cheap and is extremely disappointing in many, many ways (which have been outlined by a number of people).

Full disclosure: this is my second post on this thread, haha. Are you a builder/owner involved with the project? Who would be defensive of this junk?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments. It is really cheap looking construction. I guess the only good that could come out of this is that it brings different demographics to the corridor and spurs better quality construction elsewhere, like the land where Foreman Mills is.

Anonymous said...

I have no connection to the place but like seeing urban redevelopment. It's irritating when one person posts the same comment over and over again, ad nauseum. Full disclosure: your repeated postings affect nothing.

Anonymous said...

the parking is not just for resident of the apartments. everwhere east of this location has poor access to transit and many drive to the metro.

i'm one of the detractors of this place (anon 6:30) but i don't mind that it has parking.

this is only my second comment on this thread. it doesn't surprise me that there are many haters to the development. it sucks. we should have better.

Anonymous said...

My second post and I reiterate, it is a depressing eyesore. Shoddy workmanship and ugly design

Anonymous said...

My analysis is that the standard against which this project was judged (for both architecture and urban design) is the Home Depot-anchored shopping center immediately adjacent. By that super-low standard, Rhode Island Row seems thoughtfully designed and built to last. Unfortunately for the developer and architects, nobody else is using that standard. Everyone else has seen dramatically better TOD throughout the region, even outside the Beltway.

The other lesson is that people can tell when your "stone" is so thin that it isn't even a "veneer," but rather a sort of thick tile. People can tell that overcomplication of facades masks underlying cheapth and bad proportions. People, particularly urbanites, can distinguish between real urbanism and sad attempts at mimickry. People, astounding as it may seem, just aren't that stupid!

Anonymous said...

On a different subject than most of the (deserved) rants: Isn't the bike trail on the other side of the railroad tracks, completely cut off from this development? Or was a connection of some sort built? (Would help to explain how $109M, or somewhat more than $300 per square foot, was spent on this development, if the $109M figure cited is accurate.) If not, it's a rather circuitous route to get on the trail: Go to R I Ave, under the tracks, down 3rd Street NW for a while until there's a connection to the trail around T Street.

Ian said...

The future residents have the smell of the dump across from HD to look forward to as well.

Anonymous said...

If their website is a sign of their responsiveness and attention to detail, then I can see why there will be issues. I have not been to access their website to even look at their apartments. It just crashes and it's all messed up. I guess I know now where not to move. I saw something about being managed by Bozzutto? another red flag!!

Anonymous said...

Although these might be on the cheaper side, let us not ignore the fact that it is still bringing in a diverse group of residents that otherwise wouldn't think about living in that area. How much would the rent be if they spent more money and the development used only the best materials? The rent would be significantly more, and who is going to pay significantly more to live next to an old Home Depot and in an area that (let's be honest) is still quite sketchy and far from being the next desirable area. When taking into consideration the realities of that area, it is doing that area a favor!

My husband and I are moving into this development in May, and although we recognize that it is not the best quality, they are still fairly nice (stained concrete floors, granite, big-dog friendly, right next to red line) for the price. Neither of us are crazy about the area and would not have even considered it before finding RI Row, and I'm not sure I will be taking the metro after dark, but it is great for the price and gets us out of our Alexandria, carpeted, even more cheaply made, non-metro accessible apartment that we only pay $150 less for.

The design might not be great, but what about the people it will be bringing in? It isn't so cheap that it is bringing in an unwanted crowd of people, but it isn't so expensive (thanks to the "cheap" make) that it is bringing in nobody. You will have younger professionals (we paid close attention to the type of people who have already moved in) who will WANT to spend money at local restaurants and businesses, contributing to the growth and bettering the community.

It's not so bad!

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the preceding post. Most are complaining about the materials and design without considering the realities of the environment in which the development exists. It's absurd that there are so many complaints when this is the first residential and retail development in the past decade that looks like it has the potential to truly transform the area. This is an amazing start to what should be a great period of transition for the R.I. Ave corridor.

Humaun Kabir on Oct 18, 2013, 2:55:00 AM said...

Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site. It really gives me an insight on this topic. You can find more information about residential properties here.

 

DCmud - The Urban Real Estate Digest of Washington DC Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template