Saturday, June 26, 2010

Buying Time for Utopia

This week the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) granted a two-year extension to Georgetown Strategic Capital LLC (GSC) for the planned Utopia development at 14th and U, painting a hazy picture for the future of the site. In April, Robert Moore of GSC hinted that his firm might make an announcement "hopefully in the next couple weeks" about financing and a timeline. To date, no announcement has followed and now the developers have secured an extension for the project, plans for which will not expire until November 13, 2012. Moore could not be reached for comment on the BZA action.

GSC received original approval in November 2008 and the zoning exceptions would have expired this coming November. A May filing by GSC was met with approval this week after the firm sent a notice to all involved parties, including the ANC, none of which submitted a response objecting to the extension.

In April, Moore said once the team secures financing for the $93.5 million project they will put together construction drawings and obtain permits, reportedly over the next nine months. Moore said construction would likely begin in 2011 and complete in 2012. Utopia will provide 220 residential rental units on the corner of 14th and U Streets, with the building and all entrances facing 14th Street and incorporating some of the historic facades on U.

The new project will offer 150 parking spaces to service both retail and residential uses. The building with be tallest on U Street at 90 feet, stepping down to 65 feet, then 45 feet on the south side as it moves away from U Street and will include 20,000 s.f. of retail and a roof top pool. Eric Colbert & Associates designed the mixed-use project.

UPDATE: Robert Moore of GSC reached out to DCMud to provide a brief update on the project. Moore said his team is still wrapping up financing and a joint venture partner agreement. Financing in terms of debt financing for construction is still "a long way off" he added. That said, Moore hopes to obtain permits "over the next 12 months" and that he is "pretty confident" that the project will be in the ground in the beginning of 2011.

Washington, DC real estate development news


U Street Neighborhood Association on Jun 28, 2010, 2:22:00 PM said...

Thanks DCmud for your great local coverage. We've highlighted your story and linked to it.

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