Friday, April 01, 2011

More Art at 5th and I, but No Buildings

Art is coming soon to the empty lot known as The Arts at 5th and I - unfortunately, the art is not the beginning of the project by Donohoe Companies to build a high-end hotel, retail outlets and jazz club, but rather an open air market to draw crowds to the lot that remains empty. The Mt. Vernon Triangle BID has announced that the Liberty North Community Market will open on the site on Saturdays and Sundays, more than 80 vendors hawking
"arts, crafts, produce, prepared food, and home improvement goods." The news is a reminder that development of the lot, announced in September of 2008, is still not ready for action, but development leader Jad Donohue says the newest timeline points to a presentation to the DC Council in the next few months and construction possibly by the 2nd quarter of 2012. Donohoe also struck a less committal tone about the retailers. Previous announcements listed Spanish hotelier Melia for a 260 room hotel, 100 apartments, Boisdale Jazz Club, and Zenith Gallery's new home, but Donohoe would say only that "we're committed to doing a boutique, lifestyle hotel" but that they are "keeping all options open" regarding retailers. 

The site does not require a PUD, so zoning is not an issue, but the land is still owned by the District, so the Council has to approve terms. Donohoe says details "are still being finalized," but that he expects a 99 year ground lease. He also says that while financing has not yet gelled for the project, there is "alot of interest" from those that had pulled back on financing over the past few years. Promoters initially projected groundwork to start in early 2010, spokesmen for the project then said in August of 2009 that an agreement would be concluded within a month, and in November of 2010 that financing would be cinched up by the end of the year. But the District of Columbia implemented a plan to put parking on the site to generate short term income in February of 2010, an indication that construction was not imminent. The new market will include live music, arts and crafts, from the promoters of the market that once occupied the CityCenter site. Here's to hoping they will have to hunt for yet another site next spring... 

Washington D.C. Real Estate Development News


Anonymous said...

Can't come soon enough! Thanks for the update.

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