Friday, March 18, 2011

Largest Residential Development in Years Breaks Ground in NoMa

One of the largest single-phase residential developments in the city's recent history broke ground in NoMa this week. Mill Creek Residential Trust LLC will build NoMa West, three five-story buildings on a 4.3 acre site that will add 603 predominantly market rate apartments to the burgeoning neighborhood. The Preston Partnership LLC is responsible for the design, and R.D. Jones & Associates will do interior work.

Formerly owned by Trammell Crow Residential, which had promised work was "imminent" at several points in the past, the land was transferred by two former principal partners who left Trammell Crow to join the Dallas-based firm. Financing was orchestrated through Berkshire Income Realty and PNC Bank. The site was purchased in 2007, at which point the developers adjusted the 2005 PUD to what amounts to the current plans.

"We are lucky to have weathered the storm that has halted so many development projects in the area and around the country," said Sam Simone, Managing Director of Mill Creek Residential Trust LLC. "We're also lucky to be developing in a city that's been as protected from the economic downturn as Washington, D.C."

Positioned at Eckington Place immediately behind the FedEx shipping center, within the NoMa BID, Q Street will run through the development (see map), allowing for the creation of a pedestrian thoroughfare between the three buildings, which "actually look like six, because we wanted to break up the elevation," said Simone.

Building 100 (for now, until it's renamed) offers warehouse loft designs while Building 200 features more glass and a modern feel. Building 300 is parsed in two parts: one offers traditional rowhouse architecture while the other riffs on the modern design of Building 200. Amenities for the complex include two pools, two club rooms, a media theater room, a small park, and e-lounge, not to mention a paltry 1250 s.f. of retail - downsized from the initial plan for 15,000 s.f. unveiled back in 2006. Simone anticipates the project will span three years to complete.

Development has been a musical chairs game, with owner CSX having selected Fairfield Residential to build the project in 2004, before handing off to Trammell Crow, with each successive developer intending to begin construction in the short term.

Washington, D.C. real estate development news


Critically Urban on Mar 18, 2011, 1:22:00 PM said...

Where's the map?

Melissa McCart on Mar 18, 2011, 1:34:00 PM said...

All of our posts have an orange map on the top left hand corner. When you click on it, you'll be led to the google map.

Anonymous said...

whoa. learn something new every day re the map. i doubt i'll ever have the urge to live in this area, but anything that lowers rents in real neighborhoods (I dont mean that derogatively, but there's no way you can just build a group of buildings, put a label on it like "NoMa", and think that makes it a neighborhood) is fine by me.

B on Mar 18, 2011, 2:51:00 PM said...

@ anon: How about Eckington South? Bloomingdale East? You're right that the NoMa name is silly (they should stick to being a BID and not try to build a "neighborhood" de novo) but they are filling in the void that separates those two neighborhoods from Near Northeast and Capitol Hill. All of which have real history.

That being said, there's still a lot of land left to develop south of NY and FL aves - I'd rather see that fill in first.

Anonymous said...

I would like to understand more why some readers think the NoMa name is silly.

How do you think other neighborhoods got named in the past? Do you even know? It didn't happen all the same way. Some well-known neighborhoods today got their names when estates got converted into residential developments and they applied those names to rather large areas all at once. The names were largely unknown then, but they eventually turned into neighborhoods.

I don't see what the problem is. New neighborhoods were born in the past, and they will continue to be born in the present and future.

Anonymous said...

"New neighborhoods were born in the past, and they will continue to be born in the present and future."

Right, but neighborhood definitionally requires something more than "a group of buildings all built at once that are next to together." NoMa is no neighborhood. Certainly not one worth the $$.

Anonymous said...

"NoMa is no neighborhood. Certainly not one worth the $$."

To you. You have made a value judgment for yourself. And that is fine. Are you assuming everyone else is thinking just like you? I hope not. People are moving in to NoMa and the lease up rates are impressive.

As a new place as other places were in the past, it will be a neighborhood one day and fairly soon whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

Saying it's not worth the money is opinion. Saying it doesn't meet the definition of a neighborhood is fact.

I'm glad it's being built. Anything that increases inventory in less appealing parts of the region will help tamp down pricing in the more appealing zips. Here's to another dozen builds and phase 2s in "NoMa!" Same goes for "NoBe" to keep pricing down in Bethesda and Silver Spring.

brig97 said...

great news! is this groundbreaking like the o street market ground breaking? or for real?

the development model of noma is exceptional and like no other area in dc. smart growth, urban buildings conecting to the fabric of the city and generally maintaining the grid.
stick to your more easily digestable notions of "neighborhoods" if it makes you uncomfortable. you sound like time has passed you by.

the statements that this development will bring prices down is puzzling. time will tell.

Que said...

Could at least come up with a name that is not a acronym and is 100% unique to the area.

If you told you someone you live North of Mass Avenue that is 60 % of DC since Mass Ave extends from Western to Southern Ave.

How are they supposed to know what part of NOMA you live in ?

They could have named the area South Eckington, South Bloomingdale, North Capitol Hill or don't give the area a name at all.

Anonymous said...

"the statements that this development will bring prices down is puzzling."

Uh, not if you have even the most basic understanding of economics. Or has that "passed you by?"

brig97 said...

Anonymous said...
"the statements that this development will bring prices down is puzzling."

Uh, not if you have even the most basic understanding of economics. Or has that "passed you by?"

Mar 19, 2011 3:54:00 PM

lol. you keep thinking that if it makes you feel better.

Anonymous said...

It's not law of supply and demand, it's competition.

Noma compared to "real" neighborhoods (established ones).

Noma has nice new construction, new grocery store, new restaurants, convenient to downtown, metro.

A lot of people choose Noma over other "real" neighborhoods because it is better to them. It's called competition, and old school neighborhoods west of RC Park generally can't compete. Let's see, new HT in Noma or 1950's Giant on Wisc Ave that the community continually fight redevelopment?

Areas like Noma are the rising stars of the city. Sounds like some people are jealous.

Anonymous said...

What are the existing boundaries of the NoMa neighborhood? Thia seems a little to far north to be included from what I remember of the original NoMa map.

Just curious.

IMGoph on Mar 20, 2011, 11:56:00 AM said...

NoMa is a BID, as melissa points out.

eckington is a neighborhood.

the NoMa BID includes parcels in the eckington neighborhood.

all that said, this is in eckington.

the headline would be more accurate to say either of these:

"largest residential development in years breaks ground in NoMa BID"


"largest residential development in years breaks ground in eckington"

Anonymous said...

what is a real neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

What neighborhood is noma in, if noma isn't a neighborhood?

it's not near northeast, the residential neighborhood east of the tracks. it's not eckington. what is it?

Anonymous said...

The definition of "neighborhood" can be as vague or specific as people want it to be.

According to the dictionary (Merriam-Webster), a "neighborhood" can be as simple as "people living next to each other" or more specific as" a section lived in by neighbors and usually having distinguishing characteristics."

The thing is that researchers do not agree on what the specific definition of a neighborhood is. So, ones interpretation of what a neighborhood is remains subjective.

Just because you don't call a localized area of a city a neighborhood doesn't mean someone else won't for that same localized area. If people want to call NoMa a neighborhood, then so be it. And, whatever it is for now, NoMa will develop its own character in short order.

Your subjective view doesn't trump another person's subjective view on what is neighborhood and what isn't.

Anonymous said...

NoMa is a neighborhood, but this project isn't in NoMa. It IS in Eckington.

KD on Mar 21, 2011, 10:26:00 AM said...

Damn! My dog is going to be pissed! That is the best dog park in the city... Sorry bud, you'll need to go to the small gravel parks for your exercise from now on...

Anonymous said...

I guess according to the "it's not a neighborhood" crowd, SoHo in NYC isn't a neighborhood either. As much of NYC is South of Houston and it was a "new" area created from largely adandoned buildings. Yet today it seems pretty neighborhood like to me. For that matter SoMa in San Fran wouldn't be a real naieghborhood, nor the Docklands in London. I guess there can never be a new neighborhood again now that all of the "real" ones are already established. Just an observation...

Eckington Workerbee said...

Who really cares what the name is? I've worked across the street from this plot of land for five years and this is wonderful news. While development south of NY Ave has taken off, very little has happened north of NY and the street's noise and constant traffic creates a disincentive for those in the neighborhood to patronize the new businesses. A major residential development on this plot should go far to unify the Eckington neighborhood with the rest of the NoMa business community. Now how about a Metro pedestrian tunnel or just a better way to cross the street?

QofSlip said...

The PUDs (original and amended) approved by the Zoning Commission specified a two year deadline for getting permits for the first building. That deadline passed a year and a half ago.

Just wanted people to know what Zoning Commission orders are worth, because we'll be getting similar restrictions for other projects - which will also go unenforced (e.g., McMillan Sand Filtration Site, a historical landmark being turned into more unnecessary offices/condos).

Not only that, but now the city is giving the developer a multi-year property tax abatement.

For some reason, taxpayers are supposed to give developers all kinds of leeway during Bad Economies, even though they never offer to share their profits with us during Good Economies.

This city is run BY and FOR developers. They won't stop until the "last remaining pool of dumb unguarded capital ... taxpayer money" has turned into parched bits of cracked, dried mud.

Douglas Andrew Willinger on Feb 25, 2012, 7:55:00 PM said...

Get the f*ck off of our transportation corridors.

Our government is mad.

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