Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Knee Deep in New Development at Fort Totten

DC Mayor Adrian Fenty was joined by representatives of Lowe Enterprises today to announce the sale of a city-owned parcel at Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue, NE, in the Fort Totten neighborhood, that will soon be transformed in a million square foot mixed-use development. Although initially unveiled as "The Dakotas" way back in 2006, new details concerning the project are now being released. The project will be built in three phases and include 898 residential units, along with 94,000 square feet of retail space.

"If you've ever been to Riggs Road in the area of South Dakota Avenue, you know it is an area of boundless potential...We are at the point where we are going to maximize that potential,” said Fenty.

The first phase, to be entitled Ft. Totten Square, will occupy the site of a vacated strip mall on the intersection’s northwestern quadrant. The 4-story building will house 468 residential units – 94 of which have been earmarked for affordable housing - and 71,000 square feet of ground floor retail, which is to be anchored by a full-service grocery store. 500 parking spaces will also be included in the development. Construction on Ft. Totten Square is slated to begin later this year and will be followed shortly by a second phase, the so-called Dakota Pointe across the street, which will include 170 units of housing and the requisite parking.

The project’s third and final phase – the Dakota Flats – will include the triangular parcel relinquished by the District at the development's southern-most point. It will feature 260 apartments with 52 reserved as affordable, 23,000 square feet of retail. According to the Mayor, construction of the Flats will “be set to close in 2011.” In addition to Lowe, the development team also includes Jack Sophie Development, City Partners Development and mixed-use planners StreetSense. Hickok Cole Architects are designing the project. Ellis Denning will serve as general contractor. The total cost of the project is currently estimated to be roughly $80 million.

Both the City and development team were keen to highlight the infrastructural improvements they have in store for one of the city’s busiest intersections. “We are working on making this a safer intersection because traffic is fast,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser. “We have thousands of hardworking, taxpaying citizens in Riggs Park who take their lives into their hands to get the Fort Totten Metro. We’re going to change that.”

In doing so, the District plans to eliminate the highway-style on-off ramps that guide traffic onto Riggs Road and include improved pedestrian crossings – while serving as a gateway to nearby Prince George’s County. “There’s not many more thoroughfares with much more traffic than this one right here,” said Marc Weller of Ellis Denning. “People came across the line into DC and the first thing they’d see is just a sign and vacant parking lot. We’re trying to create something much different than that.”

That change, however, has been a long time coming. Weller told DCmud that over the course of two years “overall market conditions [have] repositioned the project so that it could work in today’s markets.” Neither party would disclose the terms of the LDA, but details will be revealed as the project moves closer to fruition.


Anonymous said...

Great project, but no way they'll get financing for this thing in a reasonable timeframe... I'd guess they could put shovel to dirt BY 2011

There are a lot of "sure thing" projects that even include public subsidy that don't yet have financing...

Airennnnn on Jan 31, 2009, 5:20:00 PM said...

I personally think it is ridiculous to build a grocery store in the area because there is one right up the street about two minutes away. I was exited to find what they were going to build there but I am dissapointed.

Anonymous said...

I had hoped that the project would be much further along--given that it was being planned about two or three years ago--now I'm concerned about whether it will happen by 2011. My goal is to purchase a condo this year, but unfortunately it will not be in the Fort Totten area that I had desired.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good, but in this dire straits of an economy...who knows when this will see the light !!!
As for developing this area..its great. I have lived in DC for almost 25 years, and this area has been declining. Drug infested, loiters, liquor stores, young kids habging out late at night, etc..very unsafe, and bad image of DC.. I say build it, and push the low life people out. One can easily see the DC are transforming, and its not hard to see that DC with all the new construction coming in and being completed , sorry to say the blacks and residents who have lived there for years are being pushed out..GOOD !!!

Lia said...

I think developing the area is a promising idea but if they are not attempting to incorporate the maximum green building strategies and reuse at least some of the building material that is demolished then they are wasting money and anything that starts off with strong ideas in one area but weak mindset in another is doomed to fail in other areas.
One example of this is those "low-lifes" that everyone wants to kick out just so they can move in and live it up in some condo. This is the District of Columbia...if the people moving in are unconcerned with the betterment of the overall society and only interested in protecting their own interests, then that not only reflects upon the gentrification that ultimately affects this area, but it quite possibly will also start to reflect our government. No one wants a bunch of selfish, wasteful idiots developing, moving in, or running our government...there's already plenty of that. If the ANC commission's requests were largely ignored in the production of these plans....a commission that undoubtedly has been interested in the progression of this area for much longer than any developers Then how can this plan be that great? Like most things in life, some aspects will be great: promotes a better economy surely. But other aspects will suck patooty and further cause lower NE and SE DC to be full of those previously called "low-lifes" whose lives are deemed unworthy by so many unintuitive beasts.
Anyway I applaud some things like the Children's Musuem...I just hope innovative businesses and more importantly community-serving nonprofits will be renting these retail spaces; not just the typical commercial spaces.
PS: Family's lived around here since forever + a bazillion light-years. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've grown up in this neighborhood and any individual as IGNORANT as the one that left the comment on Sept. 23 should keep their RACIST and condescending behind out of the neighborhood. Unfortunately for you the "blacks" in this neighborhood aren’t going anywhere unless, God forbid, they pass on. Your kind isn’t needed nor welcome in the community so please do everyone a favor and soil your negativity somewhere else. If you look around the city, yes even in the most uppity communities of DC, there are “young kids habging out late at night” so, unfortunately, no matter where you go in the city that’s what you’ll find. The Lamond-Riggs community has done a lot of great things for many children growing up in the community and propelled many of us to higher education and excellent jobs and will continue to do so. I am glad to see the developments and improvements that have come under Mayor Fenty and I am looking forward to helping out with all the new beginnings.

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