Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lower Georgia Avenue Pines for Development

No one doubts that development throughout the greater Washington DC area has slumped. Minimal solace may be had knowing that DC is faring better than the rest of the nation, but even within DC some pockets seem destined to be condemned to all bust and no boom. Case in point: lower Georgia Avenue.

Despite much virtual ink being spilled on the development potential of the southern end of Georgia Avenue, the potential seems lost, as projects big and small fail to start. The same could once be said of the street's more northern leg, but thanks to recent projects like CVS (pictured, right), the District's RFPs and of course Chris Donatelli, Chris Donatelli and Chris Donatelli, the atmosphere is finally changing. But not to the south.

Park Morton and Howard Town Center are supposed to breathe life into the moribund boulevard, but neither project has begun. In fairness, Park Morton was only awarded in October 2009, though the timeline is still fuzzy and the District's budget to assist such projects is tight. The District's attempt to turn the Bruce Monroe school into a mixed-use project has failed, despite an RFP and ceremonial demolition. Even smaller renovations appear non-existent, with streetfront stores a window to DC's past.

For-sale lots sit vacant. The owner of a lot at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Kenyon Street in NW, is looking to sell his land and plans for $1.4 million. The property had been in the hands of Carthage Development, which asked $3m for the land and plans. 3205 Georgia Avenue LLC then purchased the lots in 2007 for a combined total of $1.4 million, but over two years of interest payments later, planning for a mixed-use project left the owner with construction permits in hand, but no construction. Designs call for a 21,000 s.f., five-story, matter-of-right development with retail, second floor office space and 18 residential units on the third through fifth floors in a building designed by Maiden and Associates.

Just to the south at Hobart Street, another vacant block long sported a for-sale sign until Howard University sold the lots in November to 2910 Georgia Ave LLC for $560,000. Now permits have been filed for a 22-unit four-story residential building with 11 parking spaces. As far as permitting goes, the project is on track, though the status of financing is always a guessing game.

Slightly to the north is another planned residential development, The Heights, which sits at 3232 Georgia Avenue, just down the street from the planned development at Park Morton. Despite inklings that project partners Neighborhood Development Company and non-profit developer, Mi Casa, Inc., were looking for a general contractor to begin construction this spring, work has yet to begin. The new, six-story, almost 86,000 s.f. project is among the more promising in the area.

In a neighborhood with so many potential projects, something may yet give, and the start of one large projects may be the shot heard round the city. But for now, long, hard fought battles for each development will be the way of lower Georgia Avenue.

Washington, DC real estate development news


Thayer-D on Apr 16, 2010, 8:03:00 AM said...

Get that trolley going and you'll start to see things rev-up

Anonymous said...

Agreed. The trolley is a game changer. One the Georgia Avenue Streetcars come back, so will the shops!

James on Apr 20, 2010, 11:24:00 AM said...

Any word on progress with regard to the streetcar on Georgia? What about public info on the plan for 2010 Georgia Ave? Are these high-end condos, low income apartments, somewhere in between?

Kar said...

Hi Shaun - Any answers to James's question? Can Jim Graham, Muriel Bowser, Kwame Brown chime in?

PleasantPlainer said...

That CVS up at NH and Georgia is a real mis-use of space. Given the proximity to the metro, the city should have had (or insisted) CVS team up with a residential or other project to get some density. A one story retail structure on that lot just doesn't make sense, and I am reminded of that everytime I go by!

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