Friday, February 27, 2009

Eden Comes to Adams Morgan

Bonstra Haresign DB Lee Development, Adams Morgan condos, DC real EstateDC developer D.B. Lee Development is planning the final architectural details for The Eden, a 9-unit boutique residential building coming soon to Adams Morgan. Designed by Bonstra Haresign Architects and interiors by D.B. Lee subsidiary Capital Design Group, the 21,000 square foot project will feature an underground parking garage. Though the developer has yet to decide whether they will market the Eden as condos or rental apartments, progress on the development is nevertheless ongoing. Bonstra Haresign DB Lee Development, Adams Morgan condos, DC real Estate
"We've already started demolition of the existing townhouses. We expect to be into permit in the next couple weeks," said President Dennis B. Lee. “Once we get our building permit, it should three to four months [until construction]."

At 2360 Champlain Street, NW, the Eden backs up to the Adams Morgan's nightlife strip, and will sit across the street from D.B. Lee's last project, The Erie and a block over from the developer's 2424 Lofts on 18th Street. As a matter of right, the Eden does not require approval from the local ANC; nonetheless, the developer says it is consulting with the community on matters of design and placement. “We’re meeting with the neighbors to the north and we’ve met with the ANC…and told 
Washington DC retail for leasethem what our project is about,” said Lee. “As soon as we get our drawings back, we’ll meet with them again to show them what we’re up to.” According to Lee, the project’s cost is undetermined, but delivery is currently slated for fall of 2010. 2424 Lofts sold out in 2007, the Erie has sold one of its eight units, and sell for above $1m each.

Washington DC retail and commercial real estate news

Southeast DC Hospital Set for Mixed-Use Expansion

Though currently in the midst of a $79 million renovation, the District’s sole hospital east of the Anacostia River - the United Medical Center at 1310 Southern Avenue, SE - will soon be expanding beyond the confines of its medically-oriented mandate. UMC Development, LLC, in partnership with CMC Realty, LLC, are reviewing five teams of urban planners to add between one and two million square feet of new, mixed-use development to the hospital’s 17-acre campus.
Following a Request for Qualifications issued late last year, UMC has narrowed their list of contenders to five: Hord Coplan Macht, Land Design, Inc., RTKL, Beyer Blinder Belle and Perkins Will –SMWM. Once a final selection is made in the coming the weeks, the chosen architects will work side-by-side with UMC to re-imagine the hospital’s surroundings with new medical offices, mixed-income housing, affordable senior or veteran’s housing, community space and ancillary retail. According to representatives of UMC, they’re in the early planning stages of a development scheme that will be a boon to both greater Ward 8 and the hospital itself.
“We are focusing on the immediate needs of the hospital for the campus. This is the only hospital east of the river and we need to make sure it offers the same healthcare choices that people living on the other side already have available. Additionally, we need to enhance the lives of the surrounding community, which is desperate for retail. Banks, drug stores and restaurants have already approached us about space on the UMC Campus,” said Noah Nordheimer of UMC. “You have a large hospital sitting the middle of the site that’s not going anywhere...We just need to build around it, enhance it and enhance the community.”
Formerly known as Greater Southeast Community Hospital, the facility was acquired by Specialty Hospitals of America in 2007, the parent company of CMC Realty – a move funded in part by $79 million approved by the DC City Council “to help with the purchase, buy equipment and improve infrastructure.” Additions to the hospital itself, including construction of a new MRI Center, continue at this time, but according to UMC, the parties “would like to have a shovel in the ground within 12 months” on the mixed-use component of the redevelopment initiative.
UMC will be holding private meetings with potential architects and their teams over the course of the next months. Presentations will be publicly unveiled at a community forum currently scheduled for May 6th at the United Medical Center Auditorium.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

JBG’s Whitman-Walker Revamp Approved

A few redesigns later, the JBG Companies and Shalom Baranes Architects have now received approval from Washington DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) to move forward with their redevelopment of the Whitman-Walker Clinic headquarters at 1800-1818 14th Street, NW into a 130-unit residential project.

Following a December denial from the HPRB, JBG this month presented revised conceptualizations to the Cardozo Shaw Neighborhood Association (CSNA), who previously voiced concerns –along with the Board of Zoning Adjustment, ANC 2B, Dupont Circle Conservancy and local residents - about the project's design and accessibility.

"The previously proposed large glass facade would overlook a very busy and noisy 14th street - and its useful to note that several busy establishments, including the Black Cat nightclub, are directly across 14th Street. On paper, the use of glass was creative and may look nice, but the real life application and impact of so much glass is the creation of a sounding board for street noise,” said CSNA President Bryan Martin Firvida, following this morning’s approval. There was [also] the general feeling that the November 2008 plans displayed a poor connection between the old and new buildings. This was addressed by JBG in the current plans by different use of masonry and a complimentary vertical design."

JBG’s initial plans call for the 7-story residential building to measure in at 120,000 square feet with a sizable base of ground-level retail and “high design, efficient [residential] units." The as-yet untitled development could still hit its targeted groundbreaking date of late fall 2009, and the project remains scheduled for a 2011 completion – a date the CSNA looks forward to seeing

"It’s always exciting to see another project move forward in the U Street neighborhood, especially with a developer that is committed to working with the neighborhood throughout the life of the project,” said Martin Firvida. “Ultimately, this project will bring new residents, new activity, and a new experience to the west side of 14th Street. Where we currently have a mix of buildings and parking lots, we'll have a full block of daily activity and life.”

Broker's Open Cocktail | Fabulous Penthouse


Three Teams Compete in SW Fire Sale

Officials from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development held a community forum at the now vacant H20 nightclub on the Southwest Waterfront last night to highlight proposals from three development teams vying to revitalize land currently occupied by Fire Engine Company 13 at 450 6th Street, SW and a neighboring parking lot. The three teams present at the meeting originally submitted their proposals last June. According to Mayor Fenty, a final selection is expected “late next month.”

Each of the three teams would relocate the fire station from its current 6th Street location to the 4th Street corner in order to provide for better access and response time. Team 1, Potomac Investment Properties (City Partners and Adams Investment Group, formerly submitted as E Street Development), intends to“animate E Street,” according to Jeff Griffiths of City Partners. Griffiths said that his vision is for the station to occupy the lower two floors of a 10-story, 191,000 square foot office tower with a prominent fire-engine red facade, in keeping with the building’s primary use. The Beyer Blinder Belle-designed edifice would also sport 3,000 square feet intended for community use by Kid Power and the DC Central Kitchen. The building would be topped off by a green roof and feature LEED silver certification.

Phase II of construction would see another 9-story, 301,000-s.f. office tower on top of the fire station’s present 6th Street location, with a ground floor retail base. Phase II, like its predecessor, would include a green roof and LEED silver certification. In between the two corner-to-corner projects, the team would “create synergy between the two parcels” with improved streetscape and landscaping.
Team 2 (JLH Partners, Chapman Development and CDC Companies) would place the station infrastructure on the bottom two floors of a new 103,000-s.f. office building. Bachelor number 2, however, noted its advanced scouting efforts for potential tenants, including the General Services Administration (hellooo stimulus). But the real centerpiece of their development scheme was their plans for 6th Street, where they propose a 208-unit, extended-stay hotel adjacent to an 11,000-s.f., publicly-accessible atrium that could be utilized for arts purposes, including performances by the Arena Stage and Washington Ballet.

Team 3 (Trammell Crow, CSG Urban Partners and Michele Hagans) highlighted their ability to unify the 4th Street intersection. CSG principal Charles King said CSG had submitted a proposal for the fire station three years ago, with the intention of transforming it into a DNC headquarters or hydrogen fuel station (insert hot air joke). Further, Trammell Crow is nearing completion on its million-s.f. Patriot Plaza project across the street. If accepted, the new buildings would be thematically consistent.

As if that wasn't enough to seal it, their Gensler-designed office building/fire station would top out at 190,000 s.f. and feature a number of upgrades for the firefighting staff, including additional truck bays. Meanwhile, their plans for a 306,000-s.f. office building on 6th Street would include 16,000 s.f. for a mixture of retail and community purposes. Team 3 plans to secure financing for the project by sharing parking with Patriot Plaza, and said that with initial funding secured, they could begin construction as early as 2010. “We don’t enter into partnerships we can’t finish or finance,” said King.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Addition to Affordable Arlington

Helping to cement its place as the most affordable-friendly county in the region, the Arlington County Board yesterday approved up to $35 million in financing to facilitate the purchase of Buckingham Village 3, a 140-unit, 16-building historic development on the 300 block of North George Mason Drive. In the same session, the Board also approved a 75-year lease of the property to the Telesis Corporation and National Housing Trust-Enterprise Corporation (NHTEC), which will “begin to renovate the property within 12 to 24 months, then operate and manage the dwellings.” The price of the lease was not disclosed by County representatives.
The County is billing their purchase from 4319 North Pershing Drive Apartment Investors LLC, as “one of the…most ambitious efforts to date to preserve affordable housing on a single site.” 

Following the completion of renovation procedures on the 5.4-acre site, Telesis is forecasting a mixture of rental and ownership opportunities available at Buckingham Village and is pledging to contribute to a new community center. As stated in the terms of the county’s lease, all of the residential units on site will be earmarked as affordable housing for at least 75 years.

In addition NHTEC, the Telesis team, which was selected after a 2007 RFP, includes architects Wiencek and Associates, CTA Inc. Consulting Engineers, general contractor Harkins Builders, property managers Neighborhood Partners and general counsel Bean, Kinney and Korman.
While Village 3 may have been the sole subject of the County’s landmark action, it is not the only development in store for Buckingham Village as a whole. In June 2007, the Board approved a $7 million loan from the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund for construction of 100 new affordable units in Village 1, while Paradigm Development leveled Village 2 to make way for 69 "luxury" townhouses - since rebranded as the Buckingham Commons. The latter move sparked protests from local advocacy groups, including the Arlington Green Party and the Matthew 25 Network, and subsequent legislation – including historic protections for Village 3 and the Telesis deal – are likely to be viewed by some as peacemaking tactic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mini-Boom on College Park’s Main Street

While College Park may be lacking in restaurants, nightlife and shopping, it is flush with something rarer: warm bodies in need of shelter. As the seat of the University of Maryland, the Prince George’s County hamlet has a virtual guarantee of student rentals. But given the general lackluster quality of most College Park amenities, two local developers are thinking of solving both problems when it comes to new residential projects on CP’s busiest artery – Baltimore Avenue (Route 1).

The Mark Vogel Companies received the go-ahead just last month from the College Park City Council for their aptly-named Varsity at College Park development – a mixed-use project that would see 258 residential units erected above 20,000 square feet of retail space. Possibilities for the retail space, which would be located next to a similarly styled, college-centric residence hall include a restaurant, coffeehouse and variety of small businesses uses.

The Varsity project, which was also endorsed by College Park Mayor Steve Brayman, barely eked through the approval process, due to concerns over harm to a nearby streambed. Vogel has since committed to spending roughly $750,000 on improving and fortifying the nearby creek. Though the developer has yet to secure all of the financing for the multi-million dollar project, construction is still slated to begin this coming June.

While the Varsity is planned to matriculate next to College Park landmarks like the Town Hall and, um, Jerry's Subs, another similarly-scaled project in the area will remake one. Formerly known as the Starlight Inn, owner Star Hotels, LLC is aiming to revamp their parcel on the 8700 block of Baltimore Avenue with the StarView Plaza – likely welcome to most as an addition to a route best known as the home of Jiffy Lube. The plans for the StarView prepared by Grant Architects include specifications for a 2.4 acre facility intended to include 177 residential units, along with 32,000 square feet of office and retail space. Additional amenities will include a pool and a green roof to accompany its LEED silver certification.

The six-story project was approved by the City Council last September and is currently slated to take on tenants in the fall of 2010. Folger Pratt will serve as general contractor, once the project gets underway, it is estimated, this coming November.

District Re-Shuffles SW Redevelopment Initiatives

Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty held a press conference yesterday to highlight the District’s shuffling of several government facilities to expedite redevelopment – despite the apparent delays that have skewed timelines on several of the named projects, including the Consolidated Forensics Laboratory, the MPD First District Headquarters and Fire Engine Company 13.

“We promised to keep these projects moving and get them finished as fast as possible,” said Fenty. “We are continually working to manage our public facilities more efficiently. In many of these cases we will save millions of dollars over the long term by moving our operations out of leased space and into government-owned facilities.”

The first project facing such a move will be the Metropolitan Police Department’s First District HQ, which will relocate from 415 4th Street, SW to one of the District’s recently closed public schools, Southwest’s Bowen Elementary. In the seven months since the school was shuttered, the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization and the Office of Property Management renovated to make a building once inadequate for fifth graders suitable for crime scene investigators. A figure for the cost of said renovation was not disclosed by the Mayor.

Following the move, the police facility’s current incarnation in turn will be razed to make way for a new $220 million, six-story, 240,000 square foot Comprehensive Forensics Lab (originally solicited as the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory). The building, which had initially been scheduled for construction last December, will consolidate the now disparate offices of the Chief Medical Examiner, Public Health Laboratory and MPD Forensic Services Division following its expected completion in late 2011.

Fenty also provided an update on the status of the proposals for the redevelopment of Fire Engine Company 13, just around the corner, at 450 6th Street, SW – a site the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development announced it was vetting for a new firehouse, along with 465,000 square feet of mixed-use development, last June. According to ODMPED, they are still evaluating the three submitted proposals (from JLH Partners, Chapman Development, and CDC Companies; Trammell Crow, CSG Urban Partners, and Michele Hagans; and Potomac Investment Properties, City Partners, and Adams Investment Group) and will make a selection “late next month.” In the meantime, they’ll be holding a community meeting outlining the pitches tomorrow, February 25th at 800 Water Street, SW.

Lastly, Fenty announced new plans for a 30,000 square foot MPD Evidence Warehouse at DC Village, a family-oriented emergency shelter on Village Lane, SW that was closed following accusations of "inhumane" conditions. It was noted that the District hopes to save additional funds by moving their current stock from leased space to the government-owned parcel.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Q-5 Townhomes Double Up In Shaw

Once just one of the many corner parcels crying out for redevelopment in the District's Shaw neighborhood, the intersection of Q and 5th Streets, NW, is currently in the midst of its first upgrade in over fifty years. It is there that local developer Patrick Vailes has christened a traditional rowhouse and adjoining vacant lot as the site of the Q-5 Townhomes.

Designed by McDonald Williams Banks Architects, the Q-5 Consists of two homes at 503 and 505 Q Street, NW. 505 Q is a complete renovation of a historic home at the site, while the corner home at 503 Q was built from the ground up on the the site of a former gas station.

Despite the difference in ages, the design of both homes will be thematically consistent, but with slightly different interiors. 505 Q will measure in at 1,885 square feet and sport three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and a third-story terrace. 503 will be significantly larger at 2,545 s.f., with four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, and large roofdeck with downtown DC views. Both will feature the ubiquitous stainless steel accouterments, granite countertops and gated, rear parking.

This is Vailes third such redevelopment project in the immediate area; he previously undertook similar projects at 146 W Street, NW in LeDroit Park, and 4127 8th Street, NW in Petworth. Work on the Q-5 is slated for completion this coming April.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Round II for West End Library Development


The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development is gearing up to issue a Request for Proposals for one the District’s more controversial – Square 37 in the West End.

Currently the site of both the West End Branch Library and the Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Operations Division, the site generated a heap in controversy in 2007, when the City Council passed "emergency legislation" to sell the lot to Eastbanc for redevelopment. In the face of opposition by the likes of Ralph Nader, public space advocates, and neighbors, the Council quickly rescinded the sale and promised their constituents that due time would be given for community input prior to redevelopment, while neighbors have continued to grouse about the underutilized site that functions more as a homeless shelter than a library, sitting incongruously between the Ritz-Carlton and other high-end condominium projects.

And while community angst has gone from overwhelming to negligible in the intervening two years, the City has held up their end of the bargain. In March 2008, numerous local bodies – including the Foggy Bottom/West End ANC 2A, Dupont Circle ANC 2B, the West End Library Friends, the DC Library Renaissance Project, and the Foggy Bottom Association - participated in a public consortium, where guiding principles for development of Square 37 - not to mention the entire West End - were established.

The ambitious “West End wish list” is divided into both macro and micro, if mutually exclusive, categories, including “livelier streets,” “more residential housing,” “public agencies [leasing] our public real estate assets rather than selling to or swapping with private parties,” making “ green as possible,” and “all public facilities should stay public.”

Utopian or not, ODMPED’s pre-RFP statement encourages prospective developers “to address all stakeholder concerns and requirements and demonstrate creative ways to incorporate them into their development plans.” While ODMPED’s outline stops short of specific requirements (i.e., zoning, parking quotas), bidders will be required to incorporate plans for a new library and police facility in their vision for Square 37.

And, perhaps having learned a lesson from more recent community involvement debacles, ODMPED’s statement puts prospective developers on notice that the selected developer, not the Deputy Mayor, will be the one tasked with talking the community down regarding their list of demands for the West End. “If an offeror believes strongly that its development plan should include elements that are not desired by the community,” it reads, “then such offeror must convince the community that the proposed plan better serves the community’s interests.”

ODMPED will be accepting pre-bid queries from both developers and local residents concerning the RFP until Monday, February 23rd at

Friday, February 20, 2009

Designing the Mall's Next Museum

Smithsonian design competition, National Museum of African American history, Moshe Safdie, Moody NolanDCmud has obtained a list of architects now vying to design the newest addition to the Mall, and to the Smithsonian's downtown repertoire - the National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC), a 350,000 square foot edifice slated for construction at 15th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW. According to Museum Director Lonnie Bunch, Washington DC's newest museum will "help all Americans see just how central African American history is for all of us." Smithsonian design competition, National Museum of African American history, Moshe Safdie, Moody Nolan, National Mall

At present, there is no shortage of architects willing to take a shot at designing for what is, essentially, one the last "vacant" parcels abutting the National Mall - and also one of the closest to the Washington Monument. Current bidders on the $300 million project include Diller Scofidio and Renfro, Devrouax and Purnell Architects, Moshe Safdie and Associates, The Freelon Group, Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, Foster and Partners and Moody Nolan Inc. There is no word on when a final selection will be made, but construction is currently slated to begin in February (which also happens to be Black History Month) 2012.

Those interested in scoping out the NMAAHC’s exhibits in 2009, however, will have to hit the road; the museum’s inaugural exhibition, Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits, will travel the country until work on its permanent exhibition space is complete. The collection is currently on display in Detroit, with future bookings planned for San Francisco, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chicago and Cincinnati all the way through 2011.

The museum was made possible by legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2003. The same act charted the museum under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution, and it was that body’s Board of Regents that selected the 5-acre site bounded by Constitution Avenue, Madison Drive and 14th and 15th Streets, NW to be home of the first national museum “devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life.” Having already completed a preliminary Environmental Impact analysis, the Smithsonian is currently undertaking what it labels as the “architectural programming phase” of development, during which the space and system requirements integral to a fully functioning public institution, such as the NMAAHC, will be established, and then relayed to the prospective architects for inclusion in their designs.

Washington DC real estate development news

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tyson's Developer Thinks Condos

Quadrangle Development, Tysons Corner, retail for lease, DAvis Carter Scott, architectureWith its fourth high-rise approaching completion, the Towers Crescent office park in Tyson's Corner is finally a reality. Now the developer behind the project, the Quadrangle Development Corporation (QDC), is testing the waters for an additional three buildings that would add upwards of 900 residential units to Fairfax Quadrangle Development, Tysons Corner, retail for lease, DAvis Carter Scott, architectureCounty, while re-branding Tyson's as a place to live and not just the site of the nation's tenth largest mall. "The County has been seeking to encourage more residential development at the center of Tyson's Center - making it more of a 'live, work, play' 24-hour environment," says George Boteler, who oversees leasing operations for Quadrangle. "Right now, there's over a 100,000 people who work in Tyson's Corner; only about 17,000 live there. The County is anxious to increase that, as a way of combating congestion."

The three planned buildings would include between 750-919 units, for a total of 919,000 square feet, and stand next to their cubicle-filled brethren along the Towers Crescent Drive – a stone’s throw away from the Tyson’s shopping complex. The buildings - 1860, 1870 and 1880 Towers Crescent Drive (pictured) – would receive a significant marketing boost once they complete their planned pedestrian overpass. Designers hope a bridge over Fashion Boulevard will provide an infrastructural link between the development and their more than 300 neighboring shops and restaurants, and help in changing the perception of Tyson’s as one of the most unfriendly and perilous neighborhoods for pedestrians in the metro area, if not the universe. The McLean office of Davis Carter Scott is handling designs for the project.

Originally, the entire Towers Crescent project had been envisioned as office space; that changed in late 2007, when Fairfax County allowed the developer to substitute the aforementioned residential units in place of 300,000 square feet of office space. "It was a three for one density bonus - three square of feet of residential for one square foot of commercial," says Boteler. "The development of even more mixed-use project was viewed as beneficial." It was a logical adjustment, but one that was immediately followed by the housing market's shift from boom to bust. Nonetheless, Quadrangle is still dedicated to getting towers five, six and seven in the ground in the near future. Says Boteler: "The market will dictate [our timetable], depending on how long it takes to work through the overhang of condominiums on the market today. We're ready to start on design and development on the buildings, so whenever the market shows signs of life [we'll begin]...The plan is to build it regardless of whether it starts as apartments or condominiums, but to build it to a condominium standard."

If Towers Crescent's prime location adjacent to the mall is any indication, they shouldn't have trouble dealing with either of those options. In the coming weeks, months and years, the site will be on the receiving end of two huge boons to the Tyson's area: WMATA’s addition of a Tyson’s Corner Metro station – planned for completion in 2013 – and the Hilton Hotel Corporation’s relocation down the block to competing office development, BF Saul’s Park Place II. Delays aside, Quadrangle may have real estate's three guiding principles - location, location, location - in check for quite some time.

Tysons Corner commercial real estate news

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Home Again" Hones in on LeDroit Park

Neighborhood Development Company, Washington DC, Shaw, PGN Architects, Ledroit ParkSeven years and a new mayor later, the Vacant and Abandoned Housing Initiative is still flush with properties for redevelopment. Established by former Mayor Anthony Williams in 2002, the initiative – better known to the public as “Home Again” – was tasked with converting “vacant and abandoned buildings into quality, affordable homes.” Now, two years after being awarded a bundle of unoccupied LeDroit Park properties, aptly-titledNeighborhood Development Company, Washington DC, Shaw, PGN Architects, Ledroit Park DC developer, the Neighborhood Development Company (NDC), is gearing up to begin work on the first installment of their “Home Again” redevelopment projects at 1915 6th Street, NW.

Currently a vacant lot straddled by several historic LeDroit Park homes, NDC is aiming to reinvigorate the long vacant parcel with a new three-story “historicist” condominium development. Designed by PGN Architects, the building will outwardly appear to be a brick townhouse with “a rusticated base, precast accents and wood windows” and measure in at 1,300 square feet. The project is currently scheduled to begin construction in July 2009 - after missing the mark last September. NDC previously accrued the approval of both the LeDroit Park Civic Association and Historic Preservation Review Board in summer of 2008.

Neighborhood Development Company, Washington DC, Shaw, PGN Architects, Ledroit ParkDiminutive though it may be, the 1915 6th project is just the first of ten “Home Again” properties under the control of NDC; next up for development will be duel derelict structures, just outside of LeDroit proper, at 902 and 904 T Street, NW. In all, NDC plans to squeeze 22 units – 4 of which of will be priced at affordable housing rates – out of their LeDroit Park lemons.

Washington DC commercial real estate news

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yards of New Retail in Southeast

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has signed off on Forest City Washington’s (FCW) plans for the second phase of development at their previously announced Waterfront Park - the public space component of their sprawling 42-acre development in Southeast, The Yards.

The centerpiece of the project is the rehabilitation and restoration of the so-called “Lumber Shed” – a 19,000 square foot, pre-war industrial building that will be re-purposed as a new retail pavilion. The Shed, included on the National Register of Historic Places, will be improved with walls of glass so that, according to the naval-gazing NCPC, its “concrete structure [will be] revealed and retained.” Two similarly-styled new retail buildings will be constructed next door and serve a combination of “restaurant, shopping and neighborhood retail uses.” Both of the newly constructed retail pavilions – measuring in at 6,288 and 10,277 square feet - will feature second story terraces intended for outdoor dining. Architecture firm Gensler is handling designs for both the renovation and new construction.

Phase II of development at the Park will also include the beginnings of a future Southeast Waterfront boardwalk. FCW has commissioned a “70-foot polished stainless steel structure” from designer James Carpenter that will serve as an “iconic statement about the rebirth of the Navy Yard Annex and Southeast Federal Center as The Yards, and the rebirth of the Anacostia Riverfront itself.” According to NCPC documentation, this “visual marker” will reflect the sky and water during the day and will be softly lit internally at night.”

Other improvements planned for the Waterfront Park’s 1100 foot span between the north bank of the Anacostia and Water Street, SE include multiple street art installations, newly planted trees, a bicycle network and a connection to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Despite the quantity and quality of FCW’s plans for the Waterfront Park and surrounding retail, they, in fact, have yet to definitively acquire the all of the parcels on site, including the Lumber Shed. According to the developer, it’s a unique kink of their deal with the federal government, who years ago utilized the site as a naval annex.

“The arrangement with the General Services Administration [is that] we acquire individual parcels, whether there’s an existing building on it or its open land where the GSA had formerly demolished a building,” says Gary McManus, FCW’s Marketing Manager. “There’s a takedown schedule for that. So once we start development on it, then we acquire the site. But that hasn’t happened yet, because we have yet to start construction.”

The NCPC previously ok’ed FCW’s initial plans for the Waterfront Park in February of 2008. McManus tells DCmud that their first phase, currently under construction, “will be done by 2010, probably mid-year. [A final date] on the park pavilions will have to do with retail leasing, but there seems to be alot of strong interest in locating down there by river for riverfront dining...we’re anticipating late 2011 or 2012 [for Phase II].” The project’s third and final phase remains unscheduled at this time, but is currently set to include the development’s maritime components, including piers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Glover Park Niteclub Comes Down

Washington DC's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has consented to a raze order filed in October by the owners of Glover Park's gentlemen's dance venue, J.P.'s Night Club. In their 20 plus years in business, the long-running, family-owned business had continually faced critiques from neighbors in the upscale community over matters of crime, alcohol licensing and, well, that other thing.

Local adversaries finally got their wish in January 2008, when a conflagration led to a dramatic fire-and-rescue operation, when eager firemen rescued a (fully clad) employee from the roof as J.P.'s went up in flames. The building was soon boarded up (not hard, it had no windows) and has remained so ever since, even as new businesses have moved into adjoining storefronts.

With the site now gutted, control of the property at 2412 Wisconsin Avenue, NW has reverted to landlords, the Alafoginis Family LP – local entrepreneurs who once ran the now defunct Chic boutique down the street. Alafoginis' representation, Deoudes-Magafan Realty of Bethesda, did not respond to several DCmud inquiries concerning future building plans. The demolition will be carried out by the Construction Guild, LLC.

In the meantime, those who still feel like supporting working mothers and college girls can still visit Good Guys across the street, which was always better anyway. From what we're told.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Apartments for the Commonwealth

Northern Virginia’s Del Ray neighborhood is set to lose 11 primarily vacant storefronts in the coming months, as the Mount Vernon Commons, LLC begins work on their so-named project at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues in Alexandria.
The Mount Vernon Commons development aims to deliver 141 one and two-bedroom residential units, along with 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail to what is currently 3015-3111 Mount Vernon Avenue and 3026 Commonwealth Avenue. Once planned as a new condo development for Alexandria, project managers are naturally pursuing rental apartments – with a possibility that units “may revert condominiums at a later time.” Alexandria affordable housing guidelines require that six of the one bedroom units and three of two-bedroom units be available below market rate.
Once completed, the LEED-certified Mount Vernon Commons will consist of two buildings, ranging from three to four stories, for a gross of 146,605 square feet of new development. The traditional apartment units will be accented by painted brick “townhouse-style” units fronting Commonwealth Avenue, atop two-stories of underground parking. Additionally, the southern end of the development will sport 3,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space with seating and an undetermined art element.
The project was initially under the stewardship of Fairfax-based Carr Homes, which, after receiving approval from the Alexandria City Council in December of 2006, sold both the site and plans to the Mount Vernon Commons, LLC. After the change of hands, the new owner moved for a one year extension on their 2008 construction deadline, a move backed by the Del Ray Citizens Association. In accordance with the Planning Commission’s approval of the extension, the development must now break ground by June 21, 2009, or begin the approval process anew. The project is being designed by Heffner Architects, PC and built by Clark Construction.

DC Breaks Ground on Southeast Waterfront Park

Diamond Teague Park at Capitol Riverfront, DC, Washington DC, JBG Smith, Florida Rock, Nationals ParkA cadre of District officials, including Mayor Adrian Fenty, were on hand today to start work on Diamond Teague Park, an $8 million waterfront esplanade in the shadow of Nationals Park at First Street and Potomac Avenue, SE, Washington DC.

Construction has already begun on the park’s duel waterfront piers that, once completed, will offer waterfront taxi service and other commercial boating services to service the baseball stadium. A separate,Diamond Teague Park at Capitol Riverfront, Washington DC, JBG Smith, Florida Rock, Nationals Park 200-foot "environmental pier" will also host space for school groups and personal watercraft, such as kayaks and canoes. The piers are expected to be completed by the Nationals’ Opening Day on April 13th; District officials anticipate work on the rest of the park, including a mural by artist Byron Peck and memorial to the Park’s namesake, Diamond Teague, to be completed by July. The Landscape Architecture Bureau-designed project is intended to serve as the linchpin between the ballpark and a projected 20-mile network of trails that wind through the redevelopment areas of both the Southeast and Southwest waterfronts.

The prominently located park is named in tribute to Diamond Teague, a Southeast teen who was gunned down by unknown assailants in 2003. Teague was once a member of local volunteer organization the Earth Conservation Corps – headquartered in the neighboring Capitol Pumphouse – which works to purifying and preserve the Anacostia River

Washington DC commercial leasing, real estate, retail for lease, Anacostia River“Diamond Teague committed his life to restoring, protecting and preserving the Anacostia River,” said Fenty. “This park will be a fitting tribute to his legacy and it will mark our commitment as a city to carry on his work.”

According to the Mayor’s office, funds for the project are being “covered through dedicated revenue streams tied to a number of adjacent economic development projects that surround the park.” The JBG Companies previously contributed $1.5 million toward the project; this past October, the developers behind the neighboring Riverfront on the Anacostia development, Florida Rock Properties, made an $800,000 contribution in Teague’s honor.

Washington DC commercial property news

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jemal's Retail Trick on 14th Street

Washington DC commercial real estate, Douglas Development, Jair Lynch, GTM ArchitectsDouglas Development is in the process of acquiring the necessary permits to raze a vacant auto lot at 2221 14th Street, NW. According to Douglas Jemal, President of Douglas Development, his corporation acquired the bafflingly named "Latino Auto Sale" five years ago; now, under the creative title of "Jemal's Hookers, LLC," he’s planning to scrap it for a new retail development intended to service the increasingly crowded 14th and U Street corridor.Washington DC commercial real estate, Douglas Development, Jair Lynch, GTM Architects

Though Jemal has yet to set a timeline for when the diminutive brick auto shop and adjoining parking lot will meet the wrecking ball and shovel, he has already taken on George Meyers of GTM Architects, Inc. to design a two-story 10,000 square foot retail development for the site.

"We’re getting permitted and getting it designed, so that, hopefully, when this market does turn around, we can get something done,” said Jemal. Understandable, but just what’s the story behind the tasteful moniker of his limited liability company? “Long before you were around,” laughed Jemal, “there were always hookers on that corner [at 14th and Florida Avenue].”

These days, the intersection is decidedly more family friendly, with PN Hoffman's Union Row project just a few doors down, both Jair Lynch’s Solea Condominiums and Level 2 Development’s View 14 are currently under construction directly across the street. Damn you, gentrification.

Washington DC commercial property news

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Alexandria Eyes New Metro for Potomac Yard

Just in time to reap some juicy stimulus dollars, the City of Alexandria is now exploring an additional front in their ongoing plans for the redevelopment of the city's former industrial sector, Potomac Yard. This month, the Alexandria City Council formally established the Metrorail Station Feasibility Work Group with the express purpose of "assess[ing] the technical and financial analyses required for a potential new Metrorail Station in Potomac Yard."

Both the Planning Commission and City Council expressed interest in a possible Metro expansion into Potomac Yard back in May 2008, when they undertook a "preliminary analysis of concept." That study resulted in a Washington Metro Area Transit Authority estimate that priced the project at $125 to $150 million with an operating cost of roughly $1 million per year. The hope is that a Metro outlet in the currently barren Potomac Yard quadrant of Alexandria will kick start – or, at the very least, accelerate - the redevelopment effort that aims to add 1 million square feet of office space, 750,000 square feet of retail, 2500 residential units and an undetermined number of hotel rooms to Northern Virginia.

Members of the Work Group include William Euille and Timothy Lovain of the City Council; Eric Wagner of the Planning Commission; Noah Teates of the Potomac Yard Planning Advisory Group; and Jennifer Mitchell of the Transportation Commission. The Work Group will hold its first public meeting on Thursday, February 17th. The meeting will be held at the Sister Cities Conference Room at 7 PM.

Though the House and Senate versions of the stimulus package have yet to be reconciled with one another, both versions contain large - though differing - amounts for infrastructure spending. Once the money is routed to the State Legislature (and possibly WMATA), these seems like precisely the type of project they'd be willing to explore. Barring, of course, that it doesn't cut into the caviar fund.


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