Monday, December 09, 2019

Valor Development Moving on New Residential near H Street Corridor

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Developers are set to break ground this month on an $11 million dollar residential project that will bring 84 new condominiums to DC's H Street Corridor.  The five story building will  replace vacant church buildings at 1350 Maryland Avenue NE, at the intersection with 14th Street and south of H Street.

1340 Maryland Ave. - Rendering: Valor Development
Will Lansing of Valor Development, project developer, told DCMud plans call for one and two-bedroom units and a roof deck.  Former plans called for a mix of retail and residential, but the latest of the iteration of the project is residential only.  Eichberg Construction is the general contractor on the project and the architectural firm is PGN Architects.  Launched under the moniker The Maia, the name of the project has also changed, Lansing said.  The building's new name is The Maryland.

"I think it will be a nice [building] for that neighborhood," Lansing told DCMud.  "For the most part, that neighborhood is all row houses, a scattered bunch of small condo buildings, but otherwise mostly apartments, so we’ll be pretty much the only condo inventory coming online in that neighborhood for a while."

DC's District Department of Transportation (DDOT) says it expects to start streetcar service with 10 stops along a two mile stretch of H Street by 2014.  The city also says this first of several lines in the proposed future $1.5 billion DC Streetcar project, when it goes online, will raise property values all along the H Street corridor.  Now, two retail clusters anchor the east and west ends of the corridor, and The Maryland is on new developments are sprouting up beyond the street too.

*Amanda Abrams contributed reporting for this story.

Today in Pictures - DC's First Walmart

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Washington D.C.'s first Walmart may be a year from completion, but the building is already well underway.  The mixed-use building at 77 H Street, NW, broke ground this spring, the first of 6 planned for the District to get underway - an 80,000 s.f. Walmart in the middle, apartments on either side.

"The planning and preparation is moving ahead quickly," said Charlie Maier, an outside spokesman on behalf of Chevy Chase-based JBG Companies. JBG Rosenfeld, JBG's sister company which focuses on mixed-use retail and will also partner on the project. Walmart has already signed its lease for the site, which will be known going forward as 77 H, as it will line up along H Street on its southern edge.

MV+A Architects, which designed the Whole Foods at 15th and P as well as mixed-use projects in Tyson's Corner, Alexandria and Herndon, along with The Preston Partnership, creator of the Kentlands plan in Gaithersburg will serve as designers, Maier said. JBG has already gotten its construction and zoning permits for the apartment and retail complex that will be built on the site, he said. "We've already started planning for a groundbreaking," he said.

Earlier this week, parts of the Ward 6 site along H Street, not far from Massachusetts Ave., and Union Station had been fenced-off and signage erected. The complex will include about 300 apartments on 280,000 feet along H Street and an 80,000 square-foot store. 












Washington, D.C. retail and real estate news

Eat Stay Love: LEBANESE TAVERNA

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Q and A with Francisco Beltran and Angel Betancourt
by Beth Herman


Very much a family affair, the revered late 1980's-era Woodley Park Lebanese Taverna, 2641 Connecticut Avenue NW, is one of six restaurants, four cafe's and a market in the industrious Abi-Najm kin's epicurean gallery. Undergoing a complete demolition, Principal Francisco Beltran of Design Republica and project manager Angel Betancourt of Potomac Construction Services reimagined the 165-seat, 4,300 s.f. space. DCMud spoke with Beltran - veteran of more than 100 restaurant designs - and Betancourt about the venue, which reopened in early November.

DCMud: From a general perspective, what did the renovation entail?

Betancourt: It was a total demolition resulting in a more open feeling and contemporary design.

DCMud: Did anything survive the former design?

Betancourt: We did retain the cross-vaulted ceiling, though removed a lot of beams so the ceiling looks higher.

Beltran: The cross-vaults were something the family had invented back in '88, and that became the heart and soul of the restaurant. However previously, they'd had bulkheads that concealed air ducts and crossed the dining room horizontally that connected at points of the cross-vault. When we removed them, the illusion of a much grander ceiling, though it was already at 15.5 feet, was created. Removing the bulkheads gave a lot of verticality to the space as it's very linear and narrow.

DCMud:Was the space reconfigured in any way, and if so for what purposes?

Beltran: The restaurant had taken over an adjacent space in the mid-90s, making it into the private dining room - but it had no connection to the front of the house and people felt they were not dining in the heart of the restaurant. In the new design that space became the kitchen, and the new private dining room was conceived as a part of the main dining room.


DCMud: There appears to be a lot of sumptuous custom mill and tilework.

Beltran: The way we chose to finish the walls, floor surfaces and more was based on the Lebanese tradition of using hardwoods like walnut, much of which is reclaimed wood.Tabletops throughout are reclaimed walnut.

The main floor is assimilated wood plank flooring that's made of porcelain. It provides the illusion of warm hardwoods but is much more durable and non-slip. Custom concrete tile was used on the bar faces, and will be used on the storefront facade later on.

Carpet tiles in the restaurant are recyclable and have an oversized print and more of an antique look, which gave a warmth and character to the main dining room.

DCMud:  The private dining room appears to be swaddled, if you will, for luxury and sound.

Beltran: In that space, we used a floor-to-ceiling striping pattern where we alternated walnut hardwood planks in between 18-inch wide fabric panels, actually Homasote boards with batting, for dimension. We wrapped green tea leaf velvet fabric. All three major walls are encased in wood and velvet panels.

In the other part of the restaurant, we used copper velvet fabric for the banquettes treated with Nanotech stainguarding.

DCMud: Can you speak to the lighting?

Beltran: All lighting is LED. Chandeliers were custom made in Egypt specifically for this project. The chandeliers in the wall that divide the private dining room from the main dining room are Moroccan lanterns that we find in most Lebanese Taverna restaurants.

DCMud: Does the new restaurant resemble any of the others?

Beltran: From the time I first starting working with the family, in 2000, it was clear they didn't want their spaces to look like anything cookie-cutter, or a franchise. Each restaurant is specifically designed and detailed within the community - each has a different look and feel. And it's always a team effort, as the family, chefs and staff are deeply involved. The food, service and friendliness may be the same, but the experience of the surroundings is completely different. And the family treats each restaurant like it's their only one.

DCMud: More like Louis Sullivan's contextual architecture, perhaps.

Beltran: Each speaks the language of its community or neighborhood.

DCMud: You began working for family in the restaurant business when you were 14 years old, something that evolved to later experiences with renowned chefs/restauranteurs Victorio Testa, Roberto Donna and others. Is your hospitality design work a strategic outcome of this?

Beltran: I knew in junior high school I wanted to be an architect. Combining food and design was more of a coincidence, though, when the first architecture firm at which I worked  did a restaurant. I said, 'I know all this,' so it was a natural blending and I never looked back.

DCMud: Is there a particular D.C. building that has impacted you as an architect?

Beltran: It has to be the Holocaust Museum. It's not so much the displays but the actual path through the building - the lighting. It's the way the walls enclose and direct you to experience the space - something very successful, very powerful and moving. I try and do that with my restaurants. I want to tell a story and give a different experience in any point of the restaurant - not just have it be one big open space where you see everything and know what it is. If you sit in different areas, they should evoke different feelings and emotions.

Downtown Bethesda Project Heads Back to Planning Board

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A hotel is back in the plans for Woodmont East, the long-planned JBG Companies development on Bethesda Row, if the Montgomery County Planning Board accepts the latest amendments to allow redevelopment of an additional site -- Artery Plaza -- that is an existing 11-story office building at 7200 Wisconsin Ave.

New plans include a hotel with as many as 230 rooms along with additional retail and office space, to be considered by the planning board during the April 12 hearing. JBG nixed plans for a hotel in 2009 because of market trends, instead designating the area as office space.

The County already approved the Project Plan and Preliminary Plan in 2008, and approved an amendment to those plans in 2009. The board also approved the site plan in 2009.

JBG now proposes another amendment to allow additional development of an adjacent site. Total development including new and existing space now could include the hotel, 81,165 s.f. of retail space, 755,739 s.f. of office space, and 210 residential units (with 12.5 percent MPDUs), according to the revised staff report prepared for the hearing. The additional property brings the site to 5.82 acres with 4.85 acres available for developing the more than 1.2 million square foot project.
2009 rendering of Woodmont East

Matthew Blocher, Senior Vice President at JBG, said the company is unable to discuss the project until after the hearing.

But according to the staff report, proposed construction will take place in three phases with some office and retail space created in all three phases. Residential units will be built in the first phase. The hotel will follow in the second phase. The third phase entails redeveloping the Artery building with two upper floors of office space and ground-floor retail.

Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT), owners of half the Woodmont site, partnered with JBG for the development project designed by Shalom Baranes Architects.

The planning board is no stranger to Woodmont East proposals. The board first heard plans for the site in 2007, at which time it denied the application for further consideration of the project’s impact on Capital Crescent Trail. The developers agreed to reroute the path along Bethesda Avenue.

Other concerns included the impact on buildings already onsite. The new staff report states only a stand-alone restaurant and an office building fronting on Bethesda Avenue will be removed, while Landmarks' theater will remain. Already approved plans call for third-phase construction of residential space to replace an existing parking deck.

Staff-recommended conditions on approval of the new amendments still include specific measures to keep the trail open during construction, provide an alternate route and install signs to guide trail users. Other conditions in the report require a green roof, LEED Rating Certification with an effort to achieve LEED Silver, and traffic mitigation measures. This will take place directly across the street from redevelopment of the parking lot into condos and apartments.

Bethesda, Maryland, real estate development news
 

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