Friday, February 25, 2011

Neighborhood Report: Georgia Avenue

Much has been promised of Georgia Avenue, without fulfillment. Some developers, like Chris Donatelli at the Petworth Metro, have made an impact, while miles of underutilized land changed little on one of Washington DC's major corridors. At last, investment on the avenue has arrived. Below is a summary of the improvement now underway.

The Great Streets Project, a centerpiece of the revitalization of middle Georgia Avenue, is in full swing with single lane closures tying up Taylor to Upshur Streets for much of the month. Plans include better lighting at intersections and at pedestrian level, more trees, and repaved sidewalks.

The Heights, at 3232 Georgia Avenue, will offer 69 units and 10,000 s.f. of ground floor retail, is behind schedule. The Neighborhood Development Company (NDC) project had been slated for completion for early 2011, but has been pushed to a third quarter opening. Half the units will be offered as affordable housing.

The Vue is a smaller, privately financed project at Georgia Avenue and Morton Street; 7,000 s.f. of retail space and 112 market rate apartments. Also an NDC project, the completion date is farther on the horizon since the zoning hearing was rescheduled for late this month.

3813 - 3829 Georgia Ave: This Donatelli project on a neglected strip will provide 5000 s.f. of retail and 5000 s.f. of restaurant space. It also includes Chez Billy, formerly Billy Simpson's House of Seafood, at 3815 Georgia Ave. The restaurant, to be run by Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton and brother Ian Hilton, had been designated for the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the social and political culture of D.C.'s African American community.

Opening has been delayed because of the owners' focus on other projects, namely American Ice Company and the soon to open Blackbyrd Warehouse next to the Hilton-owned Marvin at 2005 14th Street. Projected opening date for Chez Billy is June.

At the southern end of that strip is 3801 Georgia Avenue: Donatelli's seven-story multifamily - The Griffin - is near completion, slated for July or August, 49 units for sale or lease (not yet decided). Designed by Eric Colbert and Associates, the building is residential only, no retail.

6925-6529 Georgia Ave: Blue Skye Construction has been chosen by the city to build 24 mixed income units in this fenced off, undeveloped lot on upper Georgia Avenue. The District bid the project out in 2009 and chose Blue Sky in early 2010, but the District is still grinding through the approval process.

Howard Town Center: In negotiations for an anchor grocer, Howard Town Center is seeing delays that bump the completion date to 2013 or beyond. Ongoing negotiations to obtain a grocer for what would be Georgia Avenue's largest mixed-use project have been inconclusive, and CastleRock Partners, Howard University's chosen developer for the site, has yet to move forward. CastleRock was selected in early 2009 to build up to 450 apartments, a grocery store, and a large retail component.

Georgia Ave Safeway: According to Duball LLC, groundbreaking for what will become the second largest Safeway in the city at 3830 Georgia Avenue won't occur until a year to a year and a half from now. Duball said at this month's ANC meeting that they will focus on permitting and securing approval for the Planned Unit Development. Expect completion in two to three years, at best.

Park Morton: Though Hamel Builders is on site to break ground in the joint venture between the Warrenton Group and Landex Companies on the $130 million dollar, 500 unit housing project, they're still waiting for permits says Tom McManus, Studio Director of Wiencek Associates Architects and Planners, the firm responsible for the project's design.

Dubbed "The Avenue," the development located on the southwest corner of Newton Place and Georgia Avenue includes public housing. DCMud reported that the project was to take 14 months to build, but it has to start first.

2910 Georgia Avenue: The construction of this 22 unit, all-residential development is well underway. Developed by Art Linde of ASL International, the designer is Eric Colbert and Associates. Linde bought the property from Howard University in 2009 for $560,000.

Washington, D.C. real estate development news


Thayer-D on Feb 25, 2011, 12:59:00 PM said...

Just build that trolley and watch it explode. There isn't such a long and lovely main street in all of DC, it's just hard to see it through all the corner liquor stores. With town centers scattered at perfect 5-10 minute walking radiuses, all the way to Silver Spring, it's amazing that this project isn't DC's top priority. Just say'n...

Anonymous said...

Could you please do a neighborhood report on Ward 7 Minnesota/Benning Road area? I have e-mailed the councilmember Alexander for an update on the Park 7 area and received no response. They were supposed to start re-building the East of the River shopping center this year and nothing has been done, and to make things worse, they are starting to lease some of the empty stores, which makes me think we may have lost the opportunity to re-build that and make it something really nice. I'm hoping you could have better luck determining what's still going to happen there. Any information would be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Thayer-D here. The areas just south of the Petworth metro have some homes that I think someone could make a good amount of money on if they held onto it for about 5 years. Parts can be sketch right now, but it is definitely taking off.

Anonymous said...

Georgia and Rhode Island are going to be the next 2 big things, no doubt.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to add that the Petworth Library at Kansas/Upshur/Georgia will open on Monday!

Anonymous said...

Downtown Silver Spring's success + the trolley mean this main street is most definitely on its way up for good. Glad to see it.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Thayer. DC and DCRA needs to get their act together and give out the permits. Howard Town Center folks need to bring in Trader Joe's. I live across the street from the Linde development and want to see GA move forward.

otavio said...

I really like Trader Joe's but its stores are between 8,000 and 12,000 sq ft.

I don't believe that is the range that Howard Town Center folks had in mind. I believe there were looking more in the 40,000 +/- sq ft range.

The Petworth library looks great! This was my neighborhood library growing up.

I give Georgia Avenue (as a whole) another 15-20 years for critical mass redevelopment to take hold.

I know my viewpoint on this part is a little off mainstream, but here goes. While the streetcar will be a nice addition as a local-stop service and improvement to current bus service, Georgia Avenue should be a candidate for dedicated right-of-way light rail. That type of rapid rail service would really accelerate things. Its just about 5 miles from Georgia/Eastern Ave to the Shaw Metro station, hence that's a whole lot of intersections and traffic the streetcar will be traveling through (aka slow).

Things are indeed looking up for Georgia Avenue.

ken rub on Feb 28, 2011, 2:03:00 PM said...

Right now, a lot of talk and no action. That being said, I believe we will reach a "critical mass" in the next two to three years where the sporadic development will start making a sea change, and mingled among the shiny new buildings we will see improved facades, higher quality retail, and more commerce being done - with less just hanging out on the street. I live at the corner of Georgia and Lamont, and am eager for the NDC projects to start as soon as possible!

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts on the proposed Wal-Mart at Georgia and Missouri?

JackinVA said...

Yeah, with Columbia Height's main streets - 14th and now 11th getting super developed, that ONLY leaves Georgia Ave as developable.

With or without a Street Car, Georgia Ave is reaching critcal mass - enough for retail to begin moving in to provide service to the thousands of young gentrifiers thathave bought into Columbia Heights and Petworth over the last decade.

The key will be buying in early enough to avoid paying through the noise once it becomes the "next up and coming" commerical district.

The Brightwoodian on Mar 1, 2011, 11:55:00 AM said...

@otavio, Agreed that dedicated right-of-way light rail would be great, as Georgia Avenue is looong. My only gripe about the streetcar is that it's unlikely to be much different time-wise from riding the 79.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, with Columbia Height's main streets - 14th and now 11th getting super developed, that ONLY leaves Georgia Ave as developable."

Well, there is always Sherman Ave, which is now mostly residential with a few sprinkling of liquor stores and corner marts. With that streetscape project underway, hopefully this street will contribute to the development going on on Georgia Avenue.

I think this area is a great value at the moment. You can get a lot of space for very cheap (compared to other areas of the city) and it appears to be going nowhere but up. I would venture to guess that this would be the #1 spot in the city to buy for someone looking to make the max profit on their place in a 5 year period or so.

Joel said...

You neglected to mention 3 tree flats at 3910 Georgia ave.
It’s a brand new 130 +/- unit rental building with great views and some really interesting unit plans. It’s a mixed income project with some income restricted units and some market rate units that are quite luxurious. Check it out.

yocahuna on Mar 14, 2011, 3:32:00 PM said...

@otavio, it would be great to have Trader Joe's. There is more than enough space for them beneath McMillan Park in the underground caverns that are at street level on Channing Street. The effect would be similar to their basement location at L Street.

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