Thursday, August 13, 2009

Office Condos Beat the Trend in NoMa

It has been almost 20 months since J Street Development and equity-partner Westbrook Real Estate Partners broke ground at 111 K St, NE, one of the city's first office condos, but the NoMa building is approaching the finish line. As pictured below, the low-energy glass curtainwall side is now complete through the 4th floor, thanks to Clark Construction. According to Colleen Scott, the project Senior Construction Manager at J Street, the developer should finish construction this year.

The 11-story, 90,000 s.f. office condominium building, designed by Gensler Architecture Worldwide, offers a quick escape from DC - just a block away from Union Station. The idea of office condos - sold as shells - will catch the ears of residential developers accustomed to spending a third of their time on selection and installation of finishes, nevermind post-settlement warranty issues. Or calls from cranky homeowners. Or replacing barely-knicked wood floors. Or arguing over color selections made two years before. Oh yeah, anyhow, Scott says the units are selling between $550 to $650 per s.f., which compares favorably to the normal range of new condos. The 111 K St building is the only new office condo project in D.C. at present.

Currently five of the eleven floors have sold, tenants include the Sierra Club, the YWCA, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, non-profits all. Scott suggests one of the reasons for non-profit interest is the availability of bond-financing for these tax exempt organizations at a time when regular mortgages are difficult to obtain.

The builder will not attempt LEED certification. Though Scott was quick to point out that their Gensler architects are LEED accredited and have included many "notable green elements" including a green roof, bicycle storage and shower facility (for bike commuters, so yes, that gives you green points) and landscaping that does not require watering.


Anonymous said...

I think the idea of selling unfinished condos is great! As long as it's cheaper, I would buy an unfinished unit so that I could design it to my own taste.

SWill on Aug 14, 2009, 8:54:00 AM said...

I believe Turnberry Tower in Rosslyn is selling partially unfinished residential condo units.

Anonymous said...

In Chicago builders sell unfinished residential condos in new buildings called "white box" units. Housing codes require that the units have one bathroom, a mini kitchen and the exterior walls need to be drywalled, but no ceilings, interior walls, doors or flooring are needed. Unfortunately these are usually the most expensive penthouse units. The uber rich actually pay more for these units so they can have a clean slate for their own designers and decorators.

dcdc said...

why do the walls need to be drywalled?

Anonymous said...

The walls have to be enclosed to complete inspection. The fire marshall wants to see the electrical wiring protected and finished off.

"White box" or vanilla box is not a Chicago concept, it is an architecture and development concept, wherein a space is defined but the finishing is left to the occupant. It isn't that uncommon in residential and it is the norm in commercial.

Anonymous said...

These are office condos, not residential.

Anonymous said...

An office condominium is just the sort of thing I am looking for. I would use such a space as a basic office for both telework and personal use. I would provide my own furnishings and flooring. A price of $650/sf is fine, but my needs are modest. I only want about 100-200 square feet of space, unfinished except for standard electrical wiring, drywall, and overhead lighting. Developers: if you can come up with a way to offer such an arrangement, I (and possibly others) will be eating out of your hand!

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