Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DCMud's 2009 Year in Review

DCMud looks back on 2009 by presenting the real estate year in review. In what might go down as "The year nothing got built," officials and builders at least found time set up the pins for 2010. And while 2009 is a year most real estate professionals would like to pretend never happened, it did.  Here's the best and the worst: 

Howard Theater Plans Approved (Jan 1) - The District approved plans to turn historic but dilapidated Howard Theater into an arts venue. Ellis Development expected work to begin by summer, but financing obstacles have left the building unmolested. 

Hilton Gets OK'd (Jan 2) - Lowe Enterprises received approval by the HPRB to renovate the "Hinkley" Hilton hotel and add a large residential tower on the site of its outdoor pool.  Renovation work got underway in the spring, closing the pool, but the condo tower appears far off. 

Work Begins on East-West Apartment Project (Jan 6) Post Properties began work on their 364 apartments in Hyattsville, MD. 

DC's Southwest Fish Market Loses Shacks (Jan 8) Several fish shacks on the waterfront were ordered razed as part of the plans for PN Hoffman to build its massive mixed-use waterfront community nearby, but the project remains a long way off. 

Ft. Totten Promises Development (Jan 14) Mayor Fenty joined Lowe Enterprises to announce the sale of 9 acres at Ft. Totten that will house nearly 900 new apartments, but work is not anticipated in the near future. 

Eckington Convent Gets Moving (Jan 15) In a literal push for affordable housing, Northstar Development tugged a historic convent to a new site to make way for a large, low-income housing project. Neighbors were less than thrilled about yet more affordable housing in the area. 

Montgomery County Votes to Endorse Purple Line (Jan 21) Amid copious argument, county planners said yes to adding a light rail line to the bike trail, enabling construction of the Purple Line from Bethesda to New Carrollton. 

Developers Propose Razing Meads Row (Jan 21) Owners of historic rowhouses on the 1300 block of H Street proposed knocking down the old beauty queens to replace them with a parking lot. Neighbors did not love the idea.

McMillan Sand Filtration Plans Get First Details (Jan 24) Developers chosen to build the crumbling McMillan site showed the public initial designs and ideas they hope will turn the vacant patch into a thriving town center.

Bethesda Post Office To Turn into Mixed-Use Project (Jan 27) The Post Office at 7001 Arlington Road received approval to turn it into a mixed-use development with 105 residences, thanks to Arlington-based Keating Development and KGD Architects, work has not yet begun. 

Eisenhower Ave Towers Approved (Jan 25) Lane Development's 22-story, 4-building complex on Eisenhower Avenue received initial design approval. The county voted June 13th in favor of the project. Much work remains before towers stand alongside the beltway. 

Alexandria Goes Green (Jan 26) - A working group adopted a LEED-certified plan for all buildings in Alexandria requiring special approval. The recommended standards are not binding. 

Auctioning Babe's (Jan 30) - Having kicked out rent-paying tenant Babe's Billiards, Clemens Construction was unable to get support for its years of effort to build a condo, and having paid $7.4m for the site, the wait couldn't last forever. The property was foreclosed, and Douglas Development added the real estate to its portfolio, intending retail, but the space remains vacant. 

Poplar Point Development Abandoned (Jan 31) - The District government and Clark Realty decided developing the 110-acre parcel of prime waterfront space wasn't such a good idea after all, calling the whole thing off.

Institute of Peace Gets Underway on the Mall (Feb 2) The five-story building, now nearly complete, took the place of a parking lot near the Lincoln Memorial. The building was designed by Moshe Safie and Associates, in the hopes of fostering world peace. Meanwhile, world strife continued. 

Kettler Produces Another Crystal City Project (Feb 3) Kettler began the third phase of its 10-building, 8-phase Metropolitan Park Development with a 411-unit apartment building designed by Dorsky Hodgson Parrish Yue

Fitz Condos in Rockville Auctions Remaining Units (Feb 10) Condo developer Elad ended nearly 5 years of marketing on the Fitz condos and sent the remaining 40 units of the 221-unit building to auction. In October, Elad did the same for the Colonnade, its Gaithersburg condo project. 

Metro station at Potomac Yards (Feb 11) Alexandria formally established a working group to explore the technical and practical viability of a metro station at the Yards, in preparation for further real estate development that does not choke area roads. 

Del Ray Apartments Roll Out (Feb 13) Work began turning vacant storefronts into 141 apartment units in the Del Ray section of Alexandria. 

Mixed-Use in College Park (Feb 24) The Mark Vogel Companies got the go-ahead for the Varsity, a 258-unit mixed-use apartment building in College Park. 

JBG Gets OK for Whitman Walker condos (Feb 25) After getting bashed by grumpy neighbors, the ANC, and HPRB for designs that seemed to please no one, JBG Companies and architect Shalom Baranes tweaked the designs to get the green light to build condos on the site of the Whitman Walker clinic on 14th Street.

JBG Plans 4-Star Hotel for U Street (March 2) JBG began plans to build a 250-bed luxury hotel in place of the Rite Aid, on a strip once known for its destruction in the '68 riots. 

Riverfront's Canal Park Steps Forward (March 25) Canal Park, a 3-block park through southeast's Capitol Riverfront, moved closer to reality when OLIN was named as the landscape architect for the project.

DCMud Chosen as Best Real Estate Blog (March 26) CityPaper selects this real estate journal in its annual "Best of DC."  Thank you, and thank you to our readers for all your feedback. 

Smithsonian Designs New Museum (March 30) The Smithsonian unveiled designs for its museum of African American History at 15th and Constitution on the National Mall. The Institute also said its costs had nearly doubled, to $500m. The following month, the Smithsonian announced that the Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates and Davis Brody Bond in association with SmithGroup were chosen to carry out the design. 

Frank Ghery Selected to Design Eisenhower Memorial (April 3) The memorial to the General and President will be built on Independence Avenue, between 4th and 5th Streets. 

District Selects Team to Redevelop SW Site (April 6) DC Selects Potomac Investment Properties, City Partners and Adams Investment Group to build half a million square feet of office and retail, and replace the fire station. 

Towers on the Way for New York Avenue (April 7) Bozzuto said it would soon begin building a 13-story residential building at 460 New York Avenue, and possibly makeover the abandoned warehouse too.

Donohoe Unveils Big Plans for Bethesda (April 16) The developer will build 81,000 s.f. of office, 457 residential units, and retail, on two sites in the Woodmont Triangle of Bethesda. 

Social Safeway Says Goodbye (April 20) The preeminent Georgetown grocer announced it would shut its doors and rebuild from ground up, but will it still be "social"? 

JPI unveils southeast DC apartments (April 22) JPI completed the 421-unit 909 at Capitol Yards, as well as the Axiom and Jefferson, a threesome of large apartment buildings near the new ballpark, bringing life to the "Capitol Riverfront" neighborhood. 

Arlington's First Platinum Residences (April 28) Erkiletion Development wonErkiletion Development, Arlington real estate approval from Arlington for a LEED Gold, 16-story apartment building in Courthouse, a 254-unit apartment designed by the Lessard Group. (see picture at right)

JBG wins approval for Bethesda Row centerpiece (May 5) The Planning Board said yes to Woodmont East, a 250-unit residence and separate office building built around the bike trail. 

High-rise Planned for Downtown Bethesda (May 23) The Clarrett Group announced plans to build an office building on the site of the McDonalds and its parking lot. 

Noma Gets its First Hotel (June 3) The Finvarb Companies and Marriott joined for a new hotel, one of many new Marriotts in the DC area, but the first place to sleep in Noma. 

Floridian Goes South (June 9) Sales at Kady Development's condo project, a bit of South Beach on Florida Ave., were stopped by the bank. 

Room and Board Picks 14th St. for DC (June 10) The retailer added to the growing 14th Street retail corridor. The store should open in the 2nd half of 2010. 

Founders Square Begins Demolition Work in Ballston (June 17) Work begins on the WMATA site that Shooshan will turn into two office towers and a sizable residential building. 

W Comes to DC (June 24) After a few changes in ownership, the Starwood Capital Group purchased the fading Hotel Washington, making it hip once again. 

Eastern Market Reopens (June 25) After a fire gutted the beloved market, the city had a new one built, with improvements to boot. 

JBG Gets Approval for Massive Twinbrook Project (June 29) The developer plans for Twinbrook Station, a 2.2 million square foot complex at the Twinbrook Metro. 

Florida Avenue Gets Jazzed (July 7) Banneker Ventures promised it was partnering with Bank of America to get going on the Florida Avenue project it won from WMATA more than a year ago, but which had not gotten underway; work has not yet begun. 

DC Passes Bill for Convention Center Hotel (July 14) Quadrangle Development is to build the 1100 room Marriott, but JBG protests the selection process, and the site remains a parking lot. 

DC Seeks to Finish Off West End (July 15) The District sought a developer for 3 low-density parcels, anomalies in the now-dense neighborhood. 

Curtain Call for Takoma Theater (Aug 1) Owners of the Takoma Theater promised to bring down the house, literally, to make way for an office building, then a theater, but the community is calling for an encore.Hanover apartment building, Washington DC commercial real estate 

Penn Quarter Gets Luxury Apartment Building (Aug 4) Hanover Co. opened its first DC-area project at Judiciary Square (see picture at right), while building another in Falls Church. 

District Cancels Lincoln Theater Development (Aug 6) Quietly, the District government withdrew its plans to redevelop the back lot, a scheme that would have helped fund the struggling theater.

Arbor Place Returns (Aug 7) Scrapping plans to build as many as 3500 market-rate residential units on outer New York Avenue, Abdo shifts in favor of less than half as many subsidized homes. 

DC Mandates Subsidized Housing (Aug 11) After the Executive Branch slowed the process, the Council finally got its way and forced builders to provide the city with cheap housing for the poor. 

Columbia Pike Lurches Ahead (Aug 20) After seceding from Virginia (bureaucratically), the Pike gets 325 new residences underway at Penrose Square. 

Southwest Towers Foreclosed (Aug 21) Fairfield Residential loses its grasp on The View, a refurbished apartment building in southwest DC, in another foreclosure statistic for the real estate market. 

Montgomery County Gets Taller (Aug 21) JBG caps its 24-story residential tower on Rockville Pike, making it the new tallest residence in Montgomery County. 

St. Elizabeths Team Chosen (Aug 28) The GSA selected Clark, WDG, and HOK to build out the new landlocked Coast Guard Headquarters, in what will be one of the largest construction sites in the District of Columbia. Less than a month later, the Feds broke ground on the site. Noma Stonebridge Carras apartment construction

NoMa Caps Largest Mixed-Use Building (Sept 1) Soon residents will outnumber construction workers in Noma, as StonebridgeCarras and SK&I Architects finish 440 apartments and a hotel, possibly in early 2010. (see picture at left)

A Giant Delay (Oct 1) Street-Works vision for a large mixed-use replacement for the forlorn low-rise Giant on Wisconsin seemed to please no one, but developer Bozzuto plows ahead and discussions move forward. 

Park Morton Team Moves Forward? (Oct 7) Washington DC officials picked the team to build the capacious Georgia Avenue project - now with the Central Union Mission site included. Probably. Someday.

Clarendon's Affordable Housing Breaks Ground (Oct 15) The Views at Clarendon starts work on 116 mixed-income units after a long zoning dispute, going up to the Supreme Court, gets resolved. 

Northwest One Team Selected (Oct 27) The massive project that could transform the area close to the Capitol Building is set in motion, but the Mayor's choice of real estate developer raises eyebrows on the Council. 

Silver Spring Designs Downtown Library (Oct 29) The county releases its plans for the urban repository; the new building will straddle the new Purple Line, someday, when further details are worked out. 

Capitol Hill's Big Dig (Nov 15) CSX says it needs to tear up Virginia Avenue to rebuild the train tracks, just when residents of southeast DC thought construction in the neighborhood was nearly complete.

Bethesda's Parking Quagmire (Dec 2) Montgomery County wantsBethesda parking Stonebridge PN Hoffman construction PN Hoffman and Stonebridge to build 1100 parking spaces below Bethesda Row, but the $80,000-per-space sticker gives some locals road rage. (rendering at right)

Street Cars are Here (Dec 16) At long last, H Street's public transport arrives from Europe, but DC officials say that getting them running in Northeast is another matter.


Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks!

Any word on the status of the Marriott Convention Center Hotel?

Anonymous said...

Wow that is a terrific summation of area development. Keep up the great work. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Great Job, and thanks for the coverage this year!

I am not sure why you suggest that no one is happy with the Zoning Commission with respect to the Street Works/Giant proposal in Cleveland Park. The majority of the residents want this project to move forward as quickly as possible. It has been almost 10 years, already.

It is only the close-in neighbors and a handful of stodgy anti-everything activists who are opposing the current plans.

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