Thursday, May 31, 2007

Arlington Strip Mall to Receive Mixed-Use Makeover

In an effort to revitalize the “neglected” neighborhood at the intersection of Pershing Drive and Arlington Boulevard in Arlington, Abbey Road Property Group is planning a mixed-use project that will include 35,000 s.f. of retail space and 188 residential units. 7 Blocks away from the Clarendon Metro, the 287-acre site at 2201 North Pershing Drive is currently home to two older strip malls; Abbey Road has requested that the area be rezoned to allow for the residential portion of the development.

At its completion, the project will consist of two buildings. The first will have five stories, the second, four, each with retail below and residential space above. The retail portion will have at-grade structured parking behind the buildings while residential parking will consist of one below-grade level of parking per building.

Matt Birenbaum, Principal at Abbey Road said the development would be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, one of the first in Arlington and the metro area. The development has also been recognized by the Washington Smart Growth Alliance for its reuse of an old shopping center. According to Birenbaum, the retail space will target a small format grocer for the corner of the intersection and restaurants and smaller shops for the remainder of the space.

“I think that this (the project) represents an opportunity to redevelop an older strip center and turn what was an automobile-oriented, 1950’s setting into a more pedestrian development pattern. It will be mixed-income, mixed-use. We are really reworking the streetscape, bringing the building up to the street. It could be a model for the redevelopment of old strip centers into more pedestrian-oriented sites,” he said.

The development’s zoning hearing is scheduled for the fall. Developers hope to start construction in the middle of 2008 with occupancy beginning in late 2009 or early 2010.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Full Monty – More New Residential Units Coming to Bethesda

In the next week, the Montgomery County Planning Board is expected to approve the application submitted by Monty LLC for The Monty, a 210,000-sf, mixed-use development to be located in (surprise) the Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda, specifically the rectangle of land between Fairmont and St. Elmo Avenues (4915-4917 Fairmont and 4914-4918 St. Elmo, now home to one- and two-story storefronts) to the northeast of Old Georgetown Road and southwest of Norfolk Avenue. The planned 17-story development will contain a maximum of 133 residential units (20 of which will be moderately priced dwelling units), and up to 7,700 sf of ground-floor retail, with 197 underground parking spots. About 5,500 sf will be public space, including a fountain, public art, benches, and a mid-street passageway between the two avenues. Architect for this project is SK&I. The Monty will be directly across Fairmont Avenue from the recently approved 118-unit 4900 Fairmont project, and is yet another addition to the rapidly developing residential market in greater Bethesda.

Previously: More Bethesda Development! 4900 Fairmont Avenue Project Up For Approval
Previously: Boomtown Bethesda – Yet More Development

Foggy Bottom’s Square 54 Project Receives Final Approval

Foggy Bottom Retail served by Boston Properties real estate development in Washington DC
Last week, the DC Zoning Commission unanimously approved the revised Planned Unit Development (PUD) application submitted by George Washington University and developers Boston Properties and Kettler to redevelop the 2.6-acre, former GW Hospital site bounded by 22nd and 23rd Streets, and Pennsylvania Avenue and I Street NW (the southeast corner of Washington Circle), into Square 54, a mixed-use "town center" with office, residential, and retail space. The Commission had asked GWU in March to rGWU, Boston Properties, Kettler to develop Square 54 at Washington Circle, designed by Pelli Clarke Pellievise the height and density of the proposed buildings, so the school took 18,000 sf off the office portion and 15,000 sf from the residential. In April, the National Capital Planning Commission recommended that the Commission approve the new proposal. The $250 million Square 54 project will feature approximately 336 "luxury" residential units (non-university housing), with over 80,000 sf of retail space (including a 27,000-sf supermarket and outdoor café space) and 440,000 sf of office space overlooking Washington Circle. There will also be over 1,000 underground parking spaces. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, LLP and Sasaki & Associates, the project will also include an open space courtyard with pedestrian walkway, and landscaped plaza for outside dining that will have gates at I and 23rd Streets. Completion is expected in 2011.

Previously: GWU Squaring Away Old Hospital Site

Washington D.C. retail and real estate development news

Sunday, May 27, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different ... Joule Now Extended-Stay Housing

Back in February, the Ed Peete Company announced that it was converting its nine-story, 87-unit Joule Condominium project at 3409 N. Wilson Boulevard (located between Clarendon and Ballston) into apartment rentals, despite the fact that 90 percent of the units had been sold and the project was just about finished (these contracts were cancelled). But now, in an interesting twist, it now appears this stylish building will become an extended-stay corporate housing location operated by PA-based Korman Communities Inc., which bought the property from Peete for $43 million and will manage it under its AKA subsidiary. One-bedroom units at the AKA-Arlington are leasing for $135 per day (two bedrooms for up to $215/day), with a minimum 30-day stay requirement – somewhat expensive, but given the high-end condo amenities featured in these units (including washer and dryer units), possibly worthwhile. As the market continues its upward climb again, we’ll watch to see the future fate of this and other projects.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

YMCA, Perseus Ready to Move Forward on 1325 W Street Mixed-Use Project

After months of negotiation, it appears that the nonprofit YMCA of Metropolitan Washington DC is partnering with DC-based developer Perseus Realty LLC to redevelop the existing YMCA Anthony Bowen center at 1325 W Street NW in Shaw (the oldest YMCA in DC, dating back to the 1850s) into a $100 million mixed use complex that will include a new, larger YMCA facility (45,000 sf), over 200 apartments, and 12,000 sf of retail. The Washington Business Journal reports that under the arrangement, Perseus will build and finance the YMCA’s new facility, and in exchange receive the land for the apartment building and retail, which it will own and control. The YMCA will own and run the new facility. In preparation for this development, Perseus has already purchased five buildings along this block fronting 14th Street between W Street and Florida Avenue – these structures will be preserved for the retail portion of the project. The architects for this project are the DC office of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum and Dorsky Hodgson & Partners. If all permits and approvals are received, Perseus hopes to break ground in late 2008, with completion expected toward the end of 2010.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bon Voyage to Vaughn Place Condo Sales

After two years of marketing and sales, the Carlyle Group of DC and Bethesda-based Ross Development have ended sales for Vaughan Place condominiums at McLean Gardens on Wisconsin Ave and 38th Street, NW, and have turned the project back into rental apartments. The 574 units included three living options – “The Tower” which offer 1 and 2 bedroom units, townhouses, and terrace homes that included studios and 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom units. Less than half of the units were reported sold as condos before the decision to revert the remaining units to leases. Sales by McWilliams Ballard began in the winter of 2005 and were halted in April of this year. Rents are now starting from $1,750/month.

Several condo projects in DC have gone rental in the past months in and around the DC area. While institutional lenders have continued to impose pre-construction sale requirements on residential projects, often demanding the same sales quotas considered reasonable only two years ago, public perceptions about the market have meant increasingly fewer buyers are willing to sign contracts up to two years before a project’s completion. The gap in between lenders' requirements and actual sales volume has been the catalyst for many of the post-sale conversion to apartments recently, often against the judgment of the development team.

Past projects have also converted to leased apartments for developers’ fear of buyers walking away from their deposits at the last minute, particularly in projects that had higher levels of investors. Representatives for Vaughan Place would not comment on the decision.

Luzon Loses Innards, Façade All That Remains

Driving down Pennsylvania Avenue NW into Georgetown, if you glance to the right at 24th Street you will see the familiar peeling yellow façade of the historic Luzon Apartment Building propped up with steel scaffolding … and nothing else. Late last year, Intrepid Real Estate LLC broke ground on the new Luzon, which will incorporate the existing facade at 2501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW into a new luxury condominium, plus new construction on the next-door lots. The Wrecking Corporation of America is presently working on the excavation necessary for the project (which involves both prepping the pad for this building, as well as shoring up the surrounding old townhouses), and expects to have this work completed by July. Plans call for 16 large units (2600 to 4000 square feet each) in the eight-story building (pictured), with elevators that will open directly into the condos. Pricing is expected to range from $1.8 million to $4.5 million, with the Milan-built kitchen units costing $100,000 per unit alone. The Luzon - originally built in the 1890s - was a 20,000-sf brick structure with wood framing, much of which was damaged by water and neglect over the past two decades while vacant. It was designated a historic building in 1990, which ensured its façade would be preserved during this renovation. In addition, the original bell tower at the top will be restored. The full project, which is directly across the street from the Columbia Residences and new Trader Joe’s grocery store, is expected to be completed by late 2008.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Petworth’s 4136 Georgia Avenue Condo Gets Zoning Approval

Last week, the DC Zoning Commission granted approval to Petworth Holdings LLC (Formant Development) for its proposed seven-story, 57-unit mixed-use condominium to replace the gas station now located at 4136 Georgia Avenue (at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Upshur Street) in Petworth, just four blocks from the Georgia Ave. Metro station. There is expected to be 5,000-sf of ground-floor retail, and the roof will be environmentally "green" in keeping with the current development trend. Four of the condo units will be priced below market, with Petworth residents given first priority. There will also be 37 below-ground parking spaces. Because the 75-foot building would exceed the 50-foot height limit of the site, zoning approval was necessary. In return for the zoning exception, the developer will donate $125,000 to the Petworth Recreation Center and Clark Elementary School. SGA Architects has been selected to design the building, with current plans including a brick structure with warehouse-style bay windows from floor to ceiling (pictured). Formant does not expect to break ground for another two years, with sales following.

Friday, May 18, 2007

NCRC Narrows Potential McMillan Site Developers to Three, Awaits Its Future

The National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) has whittled its list of potential development teams that responded to its solicitation for development of Phase I of the 25-acre McMillan Reservoir sand filtration site along N. Capitol Street down to three finalists: Republic Land Development, EYA, and Federal Development. Original plans call for a massive mixed-use development, including 1200 residential units, with affordable housing, 100,000 sf of retail, a community center, and a "cultural center," though it is unclear what the final product will eventually be. Phase I work will include site assessment, land use planning, and land development activities designed to deliver ready-to-build bases for a mixed-use project. The NCRC is moving forward with its plans despite moves by the DC Council to eliminate both it and the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. (AWC) and transfer their projects to either the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development or a new agency called the DC Economic Development Authority. A final decision is expected from the DC Council on this move in June.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Signs of Life at Silver Spring’s 1200 Blair Mill Project?

As is dcmud’s wont (and craving), we walk past 1200 Blair Mill Road on our way to secure our daily caffeine fix, and the last week or so has seen increased activity at this fence-enclosed site, including some surveying and the presence of heavy equipment doing demo work on the small 0.77-acre triangular lot where Blair Mill, Newell Street, and East-West Highway meet (previously home to a car detailer shop). And digging a bit reveals that in fact a building permit was issued in late April to MR Associates, LLC (Perseus Realty, LLC) for this lot. As first reported last year, Perseus – unless there have been last-minute unreported changes - is looking to build a $37 million residential development (pictured) containing between 99-118 condominium units, with 46 below-grade parking spaces. Approximately 15 units will be moderately priced dwelling units. Perseus is also expected to offer roof top deck and public green space, and the residences will include efficiencies, one, and two bedroom units. With JBG and Turner Construction’s quickly rising 460-unit Silver Spring Gateway project just across the street, this corner of East-Way Highway will get quite crowded in the next few years. We will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Digs for Riggs and Dakota

As previously reported in DCMud, Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group is planning the development of their 9-acre site at the intersection of South Dakota Avenue and Riggs Road. A partnership of Hickock Cole Architects, Jacksophie Development, Ellis Denning, CityPartners Development, and mixed-use planners, StreetSense, the development team is planning a mixed-use project that could include up to 900 condominium units, 100,000 s.f. of retail space, and corresponding parking.

While no final plans have been made, potential retail options include restaurants, a grocery store, salons, and dry cleaners. Developers also plan to improve the traffic dynamics of the intersection to make it more pedestrian-friendly. The project is estimated to cost $300 million according to the Washington Post’s coverage of the development.

Located blocks away from the Fort Totten Metro Center, the development may also include a pedestrian pathway to the station which is served by the Red and Green Line. According to the Washington Business Journal’s coverage of the project, WMATA would like to extend the Yellow line to include Fort Totten Station.

It may be another month before plans are finalized as community support of the project is necessary. Developers plan to meet with community groups to present and discuss their plans. Their current community website gives a general overview of the project. We will keep you posted as plans are finalized.

Monday, May 14, 2007

JBG Eyeing Massive Complex for Courthouse Metro Site

Is Chevy Chase-based JBG Cos. the "Superman" of developers in the Washington region? It appears the company isn’t content just leaping the tallest buildings in Arlington in a single bound with its Central Place project at the eastern foot of Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. Now it wants to take us to court – namely, the Courthouse Metro block, just a mile down Wilson Boulevard between Rosslyn and Clarendon. JBG is now working with Arlington County on plans to redevelop an existing commercial strip along Clarendon Boulevard (at the corner of Courthouse Road, where it runs right next to Wilson Boulevard) above the Courthouse Metro stop (now home to long-time favorite Summers restaurant, Boston Market, Cosi, and the Strayer University building, among others) as well as the parking lot behind it into a block-long, 700,000-sf office and ground-floor retail complex that would be the tallest building (up to 16 stories) in the Courthouse area (but smaller than Central Place). The complex would connect to a civic plaza and culture center to be built on the parking lot site. The Courthouse development will be just blocks west of the new residential condos The Odyssey (2001 N. 15th Street) and 1800 Wilson, as well as the upcoming 2000 Wilson project .

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hashing Out New Condos on U Street

map: Washington DC commercial real estate

Once just a wrong turn off U Street, the neighborhood north of U continues to evolve, with sales of The Lacey set to begin this week as the developer breaks ground on U Street’s latest residential development. Designed by Division1 Architects (the architect behind Lima, one of K Streets trendiest night spots, and the acclaimed 1024 W Street), the Lacey will be impossible to miss, a strikingly ultra-modern, a 26-unit residential building that will incorporate extensive use of glass walls and concrete throughout its four stories, a clean break with the surrounding federal-style townhouses, featuring Hansgrohe fixtures and Snaidero cabinetry. The new condo will replace the parking lot next to the legendary Florida Avenue Grill - serving grits and hash since 1944 and regularly patronized by DC politicos – and is being developed by the Grill’s current owner, Imar HutchinsLacey condos, Imar Hutchins, DC commercial real estate development

The Lacey is named in honor of Lacey C. Wilson Sr. and Jr., longtime proprietors of the Grill. "The Lacey celebrates the vision, perseverance and ambition of two men, who symbolize the essence of this community," says developer Imar Hutchins. "It truly sets a new standard of urban living in the U Street neighborhood." Sales of the studio, one- and two-bedroom units start in the mid $300’s. The Lacey will be built by Eichberg Construction, construction began in April, completion is expected in Summer 2008. The new condo will sit only two blocks from the U Street Metro. And thankfully, the Grill will remain.

Washington DC commercial real estate news

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Affordable Housing, Historic Preservation for Arlington's Buckingham Village Apartments

Pending County Board approval, construction will begin in November on a portion of Arlington’s Buckingham Village Apartments’ redevelopment process that is being developed by Paradigm Development Company. The site is currently divided into three villages, two of which will be included in the development. The site plan includes renovation, preservation and historic designation of 140 units located within Village 3 as well as the creation of 68 for-sale townhouses and 504 affordable and market-rate rental apartments.

Village 3, bounded by Fourth Street North, Thomas Street, North George Mason Drive and North Perishing Drive, has been identified as a historic district and is scheduled to be purchased by Arlington County. According to Micheline Castan-Smith, the project manager for Paradigm, Village 1, which is bound by George Mason Drive, North Pershing Drive, and North Henderson Road, will be turned into a combination of affordable and market-rate apartments and for-sale townhouses.

The proposed site plan included review and comment from Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning and Housing Development, community advocates and residents. According to Castan-Smith, the main goals for the project are community and historical preservation as well as affordable housing for those who currently live in the villages and for those who will move into the area. The Arlington County Board will meet to discuss and vote on the project on June 9th. We will keep you updated.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cohen Companies Joins Southeast Redevelopment

It’s a one, two, three-phase development for the SE ballpark area. The Rockville-based Cohen Companies (working with ADC Builders) is in the process of attaining permits for its 820,000 s.f. mixed-use project that is planned for 1025 First Street SE (the former home of old-school nightclubs Wet and Edge). Three blocks away from the new Nationals Stadium, Phase One of the project will include Velocity, A Condominium, a 200-unit building with below ground parking for residents. The building will also include a central courtyard and restaurant retail space on the ground floor.

Phase Two will be identical to Velocity with another 200 condominium units. Plans for Phase Three have not been finalized, however candidates for the third building include a hotel with condos, an office building, and more retail space.

Speaking of one of many new developments in the area, Michelle Pilon, project coordinator at Cohen, said the project is an important part of the revitalization of Southeast. “The revitalization of Southeast is going to bring such vitality, urban art, and retail to the area – it will put DC into the 21st century. It will not just be this federal government city, it will have a vibe.” Construction is slated to begin on June 1st with completion scheduled for the end of 2009.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bethesda's 4900 Fairmont Avenue Project Up For Approval

You know you want it … you know you need it – more Bethesda development! Yes, would it be an official week of dcmud blog posts if we didn’t have at least one new Bethesda project to lay out for you all?

This week, the Montgomery County Planning Board is set to hold an approval hearing on 4900 Fairmont, a mixed-use development submitted by Fairmont Development LLC to replace the one-level row of shops and restaurants (including Haandi, a tasty Indian place) at the southwest corner of the intersection of Norfolk and Fairmont Avenues in the Woodmont Triangle section of Bethesda. Fairmont is looking to replace the current structure with up to 154,864 total sf of new development in a 16-story building, with possibly 118 residential condo units (15% being moderately priced dwelling units) on top of 5,500 sf of ground-floor retail. A four-level underground garage would hold 168 spaces. The developer will also be expected to improve the streetscape along Norfolk and Fairmont Avenues, as well as the land along the northern part of Norfolk in Veteran’s Park. The Planning Board is expected to grant approval to this proposal. No timeline is yet known for project completion. The 4900 Fairmont application can be viewed here.

The 4900 Fairmont project is just around the corner from Duball’s Lionsgate, a new 12-story building with 150 upscale condos on the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Old Georgetown Road, and joins other new buildings in the immediate Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda, such as the 71-unit Rugby Condominium, the 46-unit Woodmont View, and the 60-unit Auburn Avenue project), as well as the other new projects a little south down Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda Row.

Arlington County In Search Of Developers for New Columbia Pike Project

For years, Arlington County’s long-neglected Columbia Pike corridor has stood by while other areas of the county saw new residential and commercial development, the windfall of the hot real estate market. But the next few years will be the Pike’s time to shine, as a number of revitalization projects are about to deliver, break ground, or make progress (such as the 235-apartment Columbia Village, the 299-apartment Penrose Square, the proposed $150 million streetcar system planned for a five-mile stretch along Columbia Pike between Pentagon City and Skyline in Fairfax, and more . Next up: Arlington County’s proposal to redevelop the Arlington Mill Community Center site, located at 4975 Columbia Pike, just west of S. 4 Mile Run Drive. The County is now accepting proposals from pre-qualified developers interested in turning the Center into a mixed-use site, with a new community center, up to 250 residential units (no decision yet on condo or rental), and 5,000 sf of retail space. The County hopes to have a partner for this project selected and ready for the County Board’s approval this July, with final approval hopefully granted by year’s end. The Request for Proposals can be found here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

WMATA Solicits Bid for Florida Ave Development

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that it is soliciting bids on three of its properties on Florida Avenue in Shaw, opening the possibility of urban infill near one of the least developed Metro sites in Northwest. The three parcels abut 8th Street to the East and West, on the South side of Florida Avenue. Sited between the Shaw and U Street Metro stations, each two blocks away, the parcels are currently unimproved – excepting the regular local flea markets – and contain about 29,000 s.f. of developable space. The three small, noncontiguous lots may be a challenging development; each is currently zoned to allow a maximum height of 65 feet, though the Arts Overlay Zone may provide bonus density for ‘arts related’ uses, and are encumbered by the Metro tunnel that passes below, limiting excavation to 19 feet. WMATA is proposing to sell or lease the lots, likely for a mixed-use project incorporating residential development. Bids for the project are due May 31.

Friday, May 04, 2007

List Narrowed to Four Developers for Catholic U. Mixed-Use Project

Catholic University has shortened its list of potential developers for its planned mixed-use residential/retail complex to four companies, and hopes to have the winner selected by this June, according to the Washington Business Journal. The targeted site is an eight-acre area in the South Campus, below Michigan Avenue NE, just west of the Brookland Metro station, now occupied by three student residence halls (Spalding, Spellman and Conaty Halls), St. Bonaventure Hall, and empty lots now used by the Brookland farmers’ market (the halls will be razed and new halls will be located on the main campus for students). The four shortlisted developers are EYA, Monument Realty, Trammell Crow, and Abdo Development. Catholic hopes this private development will revitalize Michigan Avenue NE and the area around the metro stop, and well as generate revenue for the school.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bethesda’s Rugby Condominium Project Back on Track?

Last Fall, after months of discussion, the Montgomery County Planning Board denied the application submitted by developer 4851 Rugby Avenue LLC to build The Rugby Condominium, a 10-story, 71-unit building with 1,250 square feet of public art studio space planned for 4851 Rugby Avenue (on the north side of Rugby, at the intersection of Rugby and Auburn Avenues) in downtown Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle, saying that the planned building height of 101 feet would exceed the nine-story (90 feet) zoning limit. But now the developer is back with a revised application – to be considered by the Planning Board as early as May 3 - that has a lower height and larger public arts space. The Planning Board is expected to grant approval to this new application. The new application proposes 61 condo units (eight being affordable housing) and 2,000 sf for four art studio spaces (plus a 3,277-sf outdoor plaza) all in a nine-story building. There will also be three levels of underground parking. If approved, the developer hopes to begin construction in 2008.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Solea Condo Project in Columbia Heights Acquires Site, Groundbreaking Possible This Month

Last week, the Jair Lynch Companies, leading a team that includes the National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) and MacFarlane Partners, announced that the group has officially acquitted the land in Columbia Heights for its Solea project, a mixed-use and mixed-income live/work property. The Solea will be located on what was formally known as Parcel 34 at the northwest corner of 14th Street and Florida Avenue NW, just above the U Street corridor at the start of Columbia Heights. The 60,700-sf project will feature 52 residential condominiums (21 of which will be set aside for affordable and workforce housing), seven live/work units, and three retail condos (two of which will be affordable space for local business). Architecture will be by Sorg & Associates, with both Hamel Builders and Gilford Corporation as the general contractor. Tania Jackson, Director of Community Policy for Jair Lynch Companies, tells dcmud that the company expects to break ground on Solea later this month.

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