Friday, April 28, 2006

Hyattsville "Arts District" Community Moves Ahead

Bethesda- based real estate developer EYA's Redevelopment of Route 1 of Hyattsville into a city center with residential, commercial and retail takes a step forward next week with sales beginning for the first residential units. The project is the beginning of a $115m effort to redevelop the vacant site to eventually include approximately 300 townhomes, 200 condos, and ground floor retail.

The run down auto-oriented strip is intended to become a "walkable" community, essentially incorporating its own town center by concurrently developing both the residential and retail in one project, with the Lustine showroom being converted into a gallery, community center and gym. EYA’s recent projects have included similar large scale residential development in Potomac, MD and near the National’s new stadium in Washington DC. Smart Growth Alliance awarded the development its Smart Growth Award in 2005.

Bob Peck Chevrolet Drives Off Into Sunset

On Saturday, April 29, the last car will be driven off the Bob Peck Chevrolet sales lot in Ballston – marking the end of one era and the start of a new commercial and residential life for this prime piece of real estate at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and Glebe Road, across from the Ballston Commons Mall. The Bob Peck showroom, with its sheets of tall, angled glass and "Back to the Future" retro-circular design, has been an architectural fixture in Northern Virginia for over 40 years, evening garnering the cover of US News and World Report when first built. The land has been sold to JBG Development, which is planning to build a 12-story office complex as well as four-story townhouses.  The completion date is yet to be determined.

Arlington Virginia commercial real estate news

Woodward Building Begins Transformation to Apartments

The Woodward Building, an historic 11-story steel- frame landmark located at 15th and H Streets, NW (733 15th Street) near the U.S. Treasury, has begun a major transformation from shabby office space into a luxury apartment building. The Woodward, originally constructed in 1910 for the owner of the Woodward & Lothrop department stores, has housed untold numbers of lawyers, bankers, and most recently an eclectic bunch of associations. The Woodward Building's owner, SJG Properties, is constructing 189 high-end apartments renting from about $1,300 a month for a studio to $4,500 a month for a 1,500-square-foot unit. There will also be 10,000 square feet of retail space and parking for 130 cars. SJG hopes to have the renovation completed and the apartments ready for occupancy by the Fall of 2007.

Mayor Proposes Moving MLK Memorial Library

In a roundtable discussion this week, DC Mayor Anthony Williams announced his plan to move the MLK Memorial Library at 9th and G Sts. to the former Convention Center site, and to lease the troubled former library. The Mayor, who has previously called for a new library on the now vacant site, has proposed leasing the building now housing the library and using the revenue to support the new, state of the art library. The Mayor’s plan would preserve the boxy 4 story building, long troubled by inadequate space, design problems, and what many view as a less than inspiring design. Preservationists have fought to keep the library as the only DC example of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who designed the building in 1972.

Prescott (Old Town) and Lionsgate (Bethesda) Begin Sales

Sales are now starting for two new condo projects in the DC region – the Prescott in Old Town Alexandria, and Lionsgate in Bethesda. The Prescott, located at 1115 Cameron Street, will be a low-rise building with 64 condos (58 two-bedrooms and 6 one-bedrooms) priced from the $400s to over $1 million. Delivery date is expected early '07. Meanwhile in Bethesda, Lionsgate (7710 Woodmont Avenue at the corner of Old Georgetown Road) will be a 12 story building with 158 units, and will offer 1 bedrooms with den, two and two-bedroom plus den options with square footage ranging from 825 to 2500 square feet. Pricing from the high $600's to $2 million.

Washington DC real estate development news

The Flats at Blagden Alley to Start Taking Reservations

The Flats at Blagden Alley, a much-talked about project from Walnut Street Development, located one block from the new Convention Center in the rapidly developing Shaw community, has just announced that it will start taking reservations from interested buyers. The Flats will be comprised of 45 residential condos, ground floor retail, artist lofts, and office space for associations and small businesses. There will be a mix of studios, one, one with den, and two bedroom units, penthouses with balconies and terraces, duplexes, and lofts, with prices starting in the high $200s and going into the $800s for the penthouses.

National Harbor Developers Announce Hotel Plans

Developers at National Harbor announced today five new hotels that will occupy the 300-acre project on the Potomac: Residence by Marriott, Hampton Hotel, Westin, Fairfield Resorts, and Aloft. The site, in Prince George's County just south of the I-495 / I-95 intersection, will offer prime waterfront where the Potomac both widens and deepens, allowing waterfront vistas and a convenient marina and harbor that real estate developers say will be 15 minutes by boat from Washington DC. The project, which broke ground last year, will offer a strong southern pull for the area's large scale development long conspicuous in DC and across the river in Alexandria but comparatively rare in P.G. County. The impact could be stunning to a region with an industrial maritime history that now makes little use of its extended waterfront. While DC's own waterfront development takes shape near Nationals Stadium and, at a sloth's pace, in Southwest, developers at National Harbor had already announced plans for the regions largest hotel, a 1500 room Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center that will open in 2008. That great sucking sound is DC's tax base moving to P.G. County. DC hotels, with an occupancy rate currently below 70%, are projected to contribute $51m just in direct tax revenue in FY 2006 in the District, a fact not lost on planners in P.G. County. National Harbor has also been approved for 2500 residential units – all in the form of condos - with mixed residential and retail buildings slated to occupy prime waterfront and main street locations in 2009. 

Maryland, real estate development news

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nehemiah Center Faces the Reaper

Level2 Development of DC announced a preliminary plan for developing the Nehemiah Center, a block-long strip mall at 2400 14th Street between Columbia Heights and U Street. The developer, already marketing View14 condominiums just across the street at 14th and Florida Ave., is partnering with Chicago-based Centrum Properties for both projects. The team hopes the weight of the two projects will bring a transformation of the area into a “retail anchor” by adding parking, 20,000 square feet of retail and 225 residential units replacing the out-of-place shopping center, and 17,000 s.f. of retail and 170 condos at View14. Shalom Baranes will design the newest project, which should start construction late next year. A spokesman said Level2 purchased the Nehemiah Center for “approximately $13m” and envisions the area as a “gateway between Columbia Heights and the 14 th & U corridor, an area largely bypassed by local development.” No name has yet been adopted for the new project.

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