Thursday, September 13, 2007

In Noma's Shadow, Eckington Mushrooms

As the next great construction site in the District, NoMa has attracted justifiable media attention as well as some of the heaviest-hitting real estate development teams in the area, Akridge, Douglas Development, Trammell Crow, MRP and the Wilkes Company, vying for the ability to write upon the blank slate of its startlingly empty surface. Admittedly not likely to be on any tourist agenda or history tour, the newly invented moniker still offers commercial developers an attractiveness that seems hard to have missed in the past - a downtown development site with major bisecting traffic arteries, a pair of Metro stations and a train terminus within walking distance of Congress.

Attracting decidedly less media attention, Eckington, its immediate neighbor to the north, has nonetheless been discovered by local developers not quite ready for an Akridge-sized purchase of air rights over railroad yards, but who view the more than 10 million square feet of commercial space being built on its southern edge as an invitation to develop the residential market. 

Bounded by North Capitol to the west, New York Avenue to the south, Rhode Island Avenue to the north and, of course, the proverbial railroad tracks, Eckington appears to sit on the right side of those tracks judging from development teams that have been quietly converting forlorn apartments into condominiums and vacant lots into loft-like housing for the inevitable office workers that will soon pour into NoMa. Zoned largely for residential and bounded north and south by Metrorail stations, the neighborhood has been populated by rows of single family homes, many of which still belatedly sport the once ubiquitous metal awnings, and small, forgotten apartment buildings, providing affordable alternatives to out-of-the-ground construction.

The area's conversion process began auspiciously when a joint venture between CSX and Fairfield Residential announced plans to build 650 condominium units, but braked in early 2007 as the condo market slowed as construction costs were rising. But by then other developers had used the momentum to build and sell condos like the Jordan (314 V St.), Eckington Heights (330 Rhode Island Ave.), and Basilica Lofts (1900 4th St.), adapting former apartment buildings and abandoned storefronts into modern homes even before the first ceremonial groundbreaking in NoMa.

With NoMa construction now underway, the pace of development in Eckington has now quickened, with new, modern projects now dotting the Eckington map, including Century Court at 14 S Street (14 units), The Indigo at 1901 Lincoln Road (30 units), Todd Place Condos at 302-310 Todd Place (12 units), Eckington Station at 1927 3rd St. (7 units), Capitol Overlook at 221 R Street (12 units), and the Winthrop at 1956 3rd Street (5 units); other buildings beginning construction include 219 T Street, 1921 2nd St., as well as a pair of buildings on 4th Street at V and U and several vacant lots, now under contract by developers. While the scale of development does not match that to the south due to height restrictions and its residential nature, real estate developments here seem more concentrated than any other existing neighborhood. 

"Eckington is is one of the rare neighborhoods in DC next to massive commercial development that has not yet matured, so the potential upside for buyers is tremendous", says Dan Lindsay, whose development team, Lindsay Development & Hillsborough Investments, recently completed a project on Capitol Hill and is now completing the full renovation of Todd Place. Most of the new projects have sold from $340 to $400 per square foot, a price that is difficult to match on the other side of North Capitol Street or anywhere closer to nearby Capitol Hill.

Washington D.C. retail and real estate updates


Anonymous said...

I think Trinidad is much closer neighborhood to NOMA.

Ken on Sep 13, 2007, 4:34:00 PM said...

Well, no. NoMa and Eckington share a boundary, which is Florida/New York Aves, or a bit higher, depending on how you define each. The NoMa bid actually stretches their domain into historic Eckington, so you might even say they overlap. Trinidad is on the other side of Gallaudet, 6 blocks by the closest measuring. I know the definition of 'neighborhood' is a nebulous opinion, but I still have to disagree with you on this one. Anyway, what's your point?

Anonymous said...

eh, ken.
dunno how familiar you are with the area, but the lots to the east of the tracks are mostly residential.

check you listings.

i live on the east side of the tracks and am seeing some overwhelming demand for brick and mortar houses with parking. the great thing is that you don't have to pay condo fees, and they're just as close to the atlast district as the new condos that charge up the butt for everything from parking to basic condo fees.

we all know that neighborhood boundaries are a bit dodgy.

those renovated condos near home depot (managed by you/yours) claimed they were petworth, when they were really eckington.

what is your point?

Ken on Sep 13, 2007, 9:50:00 PM said...

Poo poo,

I always appreciate and respect your comments. Okay, yes, the lots east of the tracks are residential, I don't think I said otherwise - excepting of course the huge retail park off Brentwood with Home Depot, where there will soon be another big retail component. I'm very familiar with Trinidad, Eckington (Bloomingdale) and H Street, block by block. I'm not telling anyone they have to live there, I was only saying there is a great deal of revival in that neighborhood. What I personally like about it is that its a walkable neighborhood - to NoMa, which right now is not a selling point, but I can see the real estate ads in 3 years boasting how easy it is to walk to some hot new restaurant. That's a tough case to make in Brentwood, whether you like that more or less than Eckington. Anyway, I just thought it was worth pointing out under our noses - and let's face it, most people haven't driven through Eckington lately - a neighborhood is blossoming. Can we all agree on that?

Ken on Sep 13, 2007, 9:51:00 PM said...

And we don't manage property, for the record, so not sure what the Petworth reference is, but I've spent enough time in Petworth to know where it is.

Anonymous said...

hey, ken.
no offense, really...

i was talking about the row of condos near the home depot. you folks had some agents out there selling the joint, and they admitted that that the place was really within eckington boundaries.

i think you know what i'm talking about.

fact is that boundaries are a bit nefarious at best.

anyway, i know the area, and was interested in a condo already knowing exactly where it was.

the agent was smart enough to know not to try and push that it was an area that was clearly not petworth.

but the brochures stated PETWORTH.

not that i care, i'm just saying...

i mean, around 2200 wisconsin, they claim they are UPPER GEORGETOWN. uh.. ok.

it's all about smart marketing.

but you don't need me to talk about that.

i just think you're ignoring the vast potential of the area in NE DC.

one side of the tracks is one thing, but at the end of the day, it's only a ONE BLOCK difference between NOMA and North of H street.

just my opinion.

i dunno where you live, but i bet you have some funky ideas about boundaries around your home, no?

my point is... actually, i have no point. i'm just rambling. i dig your blog, and follow it religiously.

i just think that the whole SoFlo, NoMa, Trinidad, Near Northeast thing is a bit goofy.

it turns off potential buyers from the burbs. it's DC.

it's close to the metro, a bargain, and an investment.

let fenty deal with the cutsie nomenclature....

imhppo (in my humble poo poo opinion)

Anonymous said...

poo poo,
dude, the post is about ECKINGTON.
its a good post with good info.

no one dissed your neighborhood.
some neighborhoods have names, deal with it.

Ken on Sep 15, 2007, 8:58:00 AM said...

Poo poo - If anyone referenced Petworth on 4th St., NE, it was a typo, its no more Petworth than it is Georgetown. I can't imagine any brochures we produced said that. Yes, we are marketers, so our nature is to point out the best of things, but we would never be guilty of such flagrant misrepresentations. We took over the project from another marketing firm and were stuck with some of the material they had used, perhaps that's where Petworth came in. And the agent who sold it lives in the neighborhood, so there was no confusion on our part. Thanks for the lively debate.

Anonymous said...

all's good. i was just trying to make a point.

by far, you folks are the most objective blog out there.

but someone has to keep you on your toes.... ;o)

Anonymous said...

on all this boundary stuff... north capitol is not the border of eckington to the west. parts of bloomingdale south of rhode island, and east of 2nd street are also technically in eckington, and that's certainly west of north capitol.

Anonymous said...

hi i routinely follow this blog and was curious about Ken's comment. "excepting of course the huge retail park off Brentwood with Home Depot, where there will soon be another big retail component"..any news on what this will be? i do recall the commentary from earlier this year but I dont remember what new retail is coming. when will the metro parking garage construction begin?..real change in the neighborhood seems light years ahead on some days. AJ Wright was certainly a let down. 1300 RI Avenue when will we see any building there?..any thoughts are appreciated and thanks for maintaining this blog...has been very informative.

Ken on Sep 26, 2007, 6:12:00 AM said...

A Baltimore-based firm has been in the process of obtaining approval for Rhode Island Place, the next phase of the development near the Home Depot. It is supposed to have 70,000 s.f. of retail and 274 apartments or condos, and be much more pedestrian friendly. Very hard to pin down the timing on this.

CitySlurp on Oct 24, 2007, 12:25:00 PM said...

Anywho, I cant wait for my house value to jump.

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