Monday, April 05, 2010

Doomed Historic H Street Properties Hang On

A cluster of fifteen historic townhouses on Capitol Hill once set for demolition, then seemingly spared by the economy, has had its death warrant extended. The Historic Preservation Review Board signed a raze permit in June 2008 when the Louis Dreyfus Property Group received final zoning approval for Capitol Place, a 380,000-s.f. mixed use development with 302 residential units and 20,000 s.f. of retail. Almost two years later, however, the buildings still stand and the planned development is still just a plan as the zoning approval expires. This month, however, a two-year extension on the project's PUD (zoning) approval will go into effect, giving Louis Dreyfus more time to demolish and build.

Dreyfus's original timetable predicted demolition in fall 2008, construction within the following year-and-a-half, and delivery expected thirty-two months later. But in a recent conversation, Robert H. Braunohler, Regional Vice President for Louis Dreyfus Property Group, left the impression that movement on the project not imminent. "At this point we are actively trying to raise money to go forward with a project that will be part condo and part rental," said Braunohler, adding that the project does not have "a firm construction schedule." Thanks to the PUD extension, the developers will not need one for a while.

The townhouses, dating from as far back as the mid 19th Century, will be sacrificed as part of a deal that will allow development of the site in exchange for money to pay for historic structural survey that would potentially lead to the expansion of the Capitol Hill Historic District - an area covering from the project site to 16th Street. The block misses the Capitol Hill Historic District - a legislatively demarcated zone which ends at F Street, NE - by one block

Capitol Place, designed by New York-based Cook + Fox Architects, is in good - if not well-financed - company. The project will abut the H Street Overpass across from the recently foreclosed Senate Square Apartments, adjacent to Akridge's Burnham Place dream, and diagonal from another planned apartment building that has yet to start construction.

Washington, DC real estate development news


Anonymous said...

How I wish the government had enough of a spine to somehow (maybe by writing conditions in the PUDs) penalize developers for failing to commence development by a given date. That area on 2nd Street NE is a ghost town...

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