Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Georgia Avenue Development Requires Dump Truck of Cash

An unassuming four-story residential building will pop-up at 2910 Georgia Avenue over the course of the summer and within in a year's time will have all 22-units sold. That, anyway, is the prediction of developer Art Linde, President of ASL Development Corporation, who has been working in "emerging areas" in the District for 20 years - areas like 14th Street in the '90s and U Street a decade ago. His fairly standard four- or five-story buildings often sit in the shadow of a larger project's spotlight, but today, a new condominium project with a firm timeline and construction financing seems like a relative star in areas hit by stalled development, like lower Georgia Avenue.

Linde purchased the property for $560,000 from Howard University in November 2009, applied for construction permits in December 2009, will begin construction this May and expects to deliver 10 months later. A stunning timeline in today's climate and no easy feat. Linde said he always signs his own loans, never takes financing from "the government or metro," but for this project he had to hand over a "dump truck full of cash" to secure a loan from Bank of Georgetown. Linde is unique in that he actually had a dump truck and enough cash to fill it. As he said, some developers today would not even be able to buy of one the units in his new building. A one-bedroom will run around $220,000 and a two-bedroom around $300,000. Yeah, times are tough.

The Developer described buying the lot as a "no brainer" because of its location on a "wonderful little street" in an area with a "rich history." Project Architect Eric Colbert and Associates said the design "gives harmony to adjacent structures" in the largely residential townhouse neighborhood. The project will be brick with large double-hung windows and bays that step out into the public space to "break down" any appearance of mass said Colbert.

The matter of right development will come in at five floors, plus a penthouse, and will be no higher than 50 feet. A side yard area will be covered in brick and provide 11 parking spots for residents of the one- and two-bedroom units. What about retail? Linde said the area has a dearth of quality housing and is rife with vacant lots. "You need to put heads in beds before you start building any retail," asserted Linde. Adding, "doesn't do any good to put in a Trader Joes... or a Starbucks if there aren't any people to drink the coffee." Considering his dump truck of cash, perhaps there's something to this philosophy.

Small though they may be, the developer said he takes care with his buildings, making sure the interiors are well built. They sand and finish the wood floors in place, no Masonite or cheap pieces of lumber. The windows are double hung wood, no vinyl. In short, "nothing that fell out of the back of a Home Depot truck," said Linde.

Though everyone seems to be "hoping" to start construction "very soon" and to deliver in the "next year," for once, it might actually be true.

Washington, DC real estate development news


Anonymous said...

I bought an Art Linde condo in 2003 and it turned out to be of poor construction. When the condo board went to settle with Art so that repairs could be made, he offered up a paltry amount. Unfortunately, the city had released the warranty bond so the board had no leverage. Buyer beware.

Anonymous said...

I bought a Art Linde comment in 2006 and it's great. Holding up beautifully and energy efficient. I had one issue and Art's team was super, fixed it right away.

Anonymous said...

Arthur forwarded me this article and while I can't speak to the 2003 experience mentioned above, in 2006, Art and his guys built my house and it was as painless as building a house could be. I made numerous last minute changes and Art was responsive to all of them - plus he came back months after finishing to adjust things once the house had settled-at no charge. I am thrilled with the final product. Top notch construction and an honest guy.

Cliff said...

This is the best news I have heard about Georgia Avenue in a long time. I am excited to see this strip starting to take off. Just think of where it was a year of two really is coming up!

Sylvia Robinson on Apr 29, 2010, 8:49:00 AM said...

Welcome to the neighborhood. Just want to note that there are already a lot of "heads in beds" here and people who drink coffee. I invite you to get to know the neighborhood, and would welcome the opportunity to introduce you.


Stronghold D.C. on Apr 29, 2010, 10:38:00 AM said...

I don't want to question him, since he has a dump truck of cash and I don't so I assume he knows what he's doing, but I'm going to go ahead and question him anyway! I really can't imagine that a Trader Joe's or a Starbucks would be unsuccessful in that neighborhood. The site it smack in the middle of Columbia Heights, Park View, and Pleasant Plains. I agree with Sylvia that there are plenty of "heads in beds" there. Build it and the people will come.

Anonymous said...

I am very concerned about your project at the corner of Georgia and Hobart. It appears you have no concern for the make-up of our neighborhood. You project will greatly impact the parking on the 700 block of Hobart Place. You are only providing 11 spaces, even though you will have 22 units. Given an average of 1.5 cars per unit, plus additional .5 guest per unit. You will be adding a min. of 22 cars on our street. There are no available parking spots on our street and I feel we are getting the shaft. You never spoke to any resident of the community and you are adding to our problems. You need to insure that your property has adequate off street parking. We are in a fight with the city to try and reclaim 8 spots at the top of our street. Your property, combined with Columbia Rd and Harvard St. resident parking on our street is far, far too much. Please solve your parking problem now by not impacting our already very limited parking. Thank you ...concerned property owners of 700 block of Hobart Pl NW

Anonymous said...

Hi Art,

Welcome to the neighborhood. Yo might not realise it, but your story made it to our neighborhood list serve that now has over 100 members from the 700 blocks of Hobart, Columbia Rd. and Harvard. You'll find a lot of us to be reasonable people who support your project. The average income for these new residents per household is probably well over 100k. That being said, it would be nice if you could introduce your matter of right project to the neighbors in case you ever need some good will if some City approval for something is needed.

Welcome to the neighborhood and let's keep the channels of communication open!

Dan said...

With regard to parking concerns expressed a couple comments above, I'm a resident of the Parkview (610 Irving), and I'd say less than half of the 24 units have a car. The location is perfect for taking the bus or metro, and having a car in the neighborhood is almost a liability. Of course, it would be even easier to go without a vehicle if they'd build a supermarket closer than the Giant...

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