Friday, August 20, 2010

Abdo Gets Equity Injection, Catholic Plans to Demo University Buildings

This past winter the Zoning Commission exchanged self-congratulatory pats on the back and awkward hugs with Jim Abdo as they approved plans for a large mixed use development project in Brookland. In late July the Greenbelt-based Bozzuto Group announced it was pairing up with Pritzker Realty Group LLC of Chicago to form a $75 million joint investment fund in multifamily housing; and early this week the joint-venture revealed that a significant portion of that fund was being invested in Abdo's plans to develop Catholic University's South Campus. The new partners would not reveal the exact amount of their equity investment, but it's deemed healthy enough to move forward with plans for the $200 million development to break ground in spring of next year. As part of the brokered agreement, Bozzuto Construction will operate as general contractor and Bozzuto Development will partner with Abdo as co-developer of the site. While the rest of the working world has gone on August vacation, and projects across the metro area have petered out and evaporated in the sultry summer sun, the Catholic University project offers hope that the market is showing small signs of life.
Starving artists will be well fed with high-end studio space.
The center piece of the new project and first phase of construction will be the Arts Walk buildings across from the Brookland Metro Station. The 15,000 s.f. ground floor will consist of 27 studio spaces where artists can work on, display, and sell their pieces. The wide, open public space between the two structures (the "arts walk" itself) will allow this creativity to spill out of the studios and onto the sidewalks, and will also be a place to feature sculptures, public art exhibits, and kiosks for rotating studio-less artists. The arts walk will dead end into a public piazza with a bubbling water fountain and more public space for artsy festivities. The tree-lined Monroe Street, beginning at the Michigan Avenue intersection and running to the Monroe Street Bridge, will serve as the main street of the campus, the backbone of the development. The wide thoroughfare will be home to 83,000 square feet of diverse, pedestrian-friendly street-level retail, much of it student-oriented: coffee shops, pubs, book shops, bike shops, you name it. On top of all this, the development team will stack several floors of residencies, 720 apartments units in all (approximately 63,000 s.f. will be reserved as "workforce" housing). Also included in the works are 45 townhomes to be marketed for purchase. The townhouses will help transition the taller Monroe Street and Arts Walk apartment buildings into the abutting lower-rising neighborhoods of Brookland and Edgewood. A total of 850 below-grade parking spaces will accommodate residents and shoppers alike.
New South Campus main street: a place to shop, and tailgate?
On Wednesday, the District received raze applications for three South Campus buildings (Spalding, Spellman, and Conaty Halls), showing concrete efforts to make way for the development, and further proof that these guys weren't joking around and real progress is being made. Catholic University requested the permission to destroy the three dormitories, writing: "CUA's expectation is that the South Campus development project will provide a financial return to support the renovation and construction of residence halls on its main campus, [and] will provide amenities that will benefit both the neighborhood and the students and employees of the university." Although ground will not officially break until 2011, The Berg Corporation, experts in the art of destruction, have been contracted to demolish these three buildings in the near future. 

Washington D.C. Real Estate Development News


Anonymous said...

Sweet! I'm guessing the first phase is supposed to wrap up around 2013 or so.

Eric said...

I'm guessing you might have mean that the 720 residences would amount to about 630,000 sf not 63,000 sf lol.

Eric said...


Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard any scuttlebutt about possible retail tenants?? It would be nice to get the Taylor Gourmet (shop on H st.) over here.

Anonymous said...

It's spelled equity!

IMGoph on Aug 23, 2010, 9:40:00 AM said...

anon: there have been rumors, i'm sure, but the term you use is trademarked by another blog in this city which shall remain unnamed. :P

Anonymous said...

Great news for DC and Brookland!!

Anonymous said...

Sweet, this should provide a good five years of juice to keep Abdo's ego sky high!

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