Thursday, February 26, 2009

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.


Anonymous said...

I like the first two the most, but I like the red one the most. The alternative uses for the second one sounds the best but the first one looks better IMO. The third one is alright but boring and the fact that it's similar to the one across the street is a turn off.

Chris Loos on Feb 27, 2009, 9:22:00 AM said...

Office space above a fire station? They better have some deal worked out with the fireman to not turn the sirens on until the outgoing trucks put a little distance between themselves and the building. Hearing sirens 5 times a day at full blast would excruciating for office workers. I used to live a block from the fire station at 13th and L and that was bad enough.

Nope on Feb 27, 2009, 3:02:00 PM said...

Most of the proposals, I believe, include some type of insulation to dampen the noise. Nonetheless, office space appears to be a compromise, as the material used isn't effective enough to allow for residential or a hotel.

Anonymous said...

That would be Geoff Griffiths, no?

And I prefer that option as well.

Anonymous said...

No, that would be Geoff Griffis.

And yes, that is a really great design, and good to include DC Central Kitchen too. Re: the "public" uses in the second one, what's the point of having space for Arena Stage when they are just a few blocks away? And, without rigging, lights, etc., how do you use it for the Washington Ballet?

Realistically, at this point, if you want to actually see something built, you need to go with a large developer with established institutional relationships and access to capital. I don't see the first two as having that.

IMGoph on Mar 3, 2009, 10:38:00 PM said...

isn't there a restaurant/catering service in the old h20 space? seem to remember that it's called hogate's something-or-another...

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