Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ft. Totten on the Rise

One of Ft. Totten's most transformative developments is at last on the way, and with it, a new neighborhood. The Art Place at Fort Totten, the 826 unit mixed-use complex that sits between the Metro station and South Dakota Avenue, is ready to begin construction "within the next few weeks." The project, conceived by the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, will form a new community with over 300,000 s.f. of retail, 2282 parking spaces, a children's museum, and senior's home in 4 separate buildings.

The plan has been on the boards for years - developers hoped to break ground in 2010 even after the market crash - as part of plans by the city to spur all local owners to coordinate development of the area, one of the last Metro centers that has not seen significant development. The first phase is expected to complete 30-36 months from now.

With construction fences now up, and raze permits all but finalized, developer Jane Cafritz says demolition will commence "in the next 3 to 4 weeks" on "Building A" at South Dakota and Galloway. The multi-phase project will start with the demolition of 5 of the 15 buildings on the 16 acre site in order to make way for 1 of the 4 planned mixed-use buildings. This phase will incorporate about 530 residential units and 110,000 s.f. of retail, though no grocery store at this point due to the Walmart planned across the street, which may be underway as early as this summer.
Cafritz says timing on the project was not affected by the announcement of Walmart. "We're there to be a catalyst in the neighborhood."

Phase 1 will also incorporate a small subsidized housing component and the senior living center; and about half of the 98 units of senior housing will go to current residents of Riggs Plaza. Cafritz notes that the project was designed in phases partly to accommodate existing tenants "that we have great repsect for that have been on site literally for generations." Ultimately all the buildings will be connected by an underground parking garage. All buildings have been approved by DC zoning officials but timing and design issues for Buildings B, C and D have not yet been finalized. While no office space has been planned, Cafritz notes that the first phase will incorporate flex-space that could be either retail or office. The Children's Museum is planned for the second phase of construction.

The Cafritz Foundation had earlier dangled the prospect of hosting both the Washington National Opera and the Shakespeare Theatre for storage, rehearsal space and related shops, a scenario that has now been shelved, but Jane Cafritz says her team is now talking to other similar non-profits. All residential units will be for-rent, the "Foundation owns this and intends to keep this," says Cafritz.

Master planning for the site was done by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut and Kuhn (EE&K), Shalom Baranes Architects (SBA) has designed the first of the four buildings, and MV+A Architects is designing the retail, all to meet basic LEED certification standards.

The eight-story Building C is planned as entirely residential, built in two C-shaped wings, joined at the second level, to accommodate the possibility of a new 3rd Street connecting the Arts Place property to the neighboring Food and Friends property, should the neighbors decide to sell or redevelop at a later date.

Washington D.C. real estate development news


Sivad said...

A Shalom Baranes Architects project in upper NE? I still am in shock. The building, although still leaves much to be desired, is at least more iconic than other DC architecture that has appeared. I hope the city uses this opportunity to create a streetscape similar to 1st street NoMa, which is one of the most successful sidewalk designs in the region imo. Now if they would raze the dreaded eyesore of an apartment complex to the west and do it correctly this time. How does Hyattsville, MD get better quality apartment design? Hopefully this project will make other developers see the light.

Anonymous said...

How many units will be available and affordable for purchase by federal employees?

Anonymous said...

that streetscape looks like shite! WTF?

Anonymous said...

If they are going to spend all this money, why are they not burying the utility-power lines!!??? The above ground power lines make it look cheesy.

Anonymous said...

We moved to Michigan Park (from Adams Morgan) in 2004, two miles down South Dakota from this site, a much nicer, stable neighborhood than the one that surrounds this site.

I am grateful beyond words that this project is about to start. Combine this with Lowe Enterprises' Fort Totten Square, and DDOT's $10 million re-construction of the South Dakota/Riggs intersection, this will be a different world in 3 to 5years. The design is beautiful.

Let's hope residents of the decrepit duplexes across the street from this site see the writing on the wall, and can laugh all the way to the bank with redevelopment of that side of South Dakota.

Good grief, Cafritz, bury the utility lines. That streetscape effort will be completely wasted if those lines remain elevated.

Tom in Michigan Park

Sivad said...

I believe "decrepit" is a bit extreme. The town homes you are referring to were actually state of the art at the time. Forced air heating and insulated aluminum wiring were the latest technologies in the late 40's. They are essentially half size versions of the detached colonials that are prevalent in Queens Chapel.

Anonymous said...

"State-of-the-art in the 1940s". Ha! Well, these duplexes are now 70 years old, and clearly suffer from physical and functional obsolescence. Perhaps I was too kind calling them decrepit; they look like crap.

One obvious advantage of redevelopment at this end of South Dakota: rising land values, which will serve as an incentive for owners of such properties to sell.

Let's hope so. That end of South Dakota/Riggs needs all the help it can get.

Tom in Michigan Park

Den on Mar 27, 2012, 10:46:00 AM said...

Okay, so I like the upper image...but WTH is with the soon to look dated lower image? It reminds me of the District Bldg at 14th & U! Ugh! The other thing that kills me: that neighborhood needs essentials before it needs a Children's Museum! Give me a REAL grocer instead!

C S Prince on May 10, 2012, 3:30:00 PM said...

This will be a boon for the community but I have mixed feeling about the never ending wave of gentrification coming to the neighborhood in grew up in. First my parents still in Brookland, I own a home in Lamont/Riggs. The development will be desirable however I find Tom of Michigan’s attitude insulting. Those are well maintained three story homes own by people that are responsible DC residents that have raised children and built a community. Hopefully their children will retain ownership of these homes creating increased wealth and cultural capital.

Anonymous said...

Wow Tom! You should have stayed your yuppie ass in Adams Morgan, you elitist piece of crap! You are the type of person we DON'T want in our communities! Go back to middle America and farm cattle and corn!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Wonder what "Tom in Michigan Park"'s house looks like? I happen to love my little 70-year-old house in that area.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Tom you really should have stayed in Adams Morgan. You really have no clue what this neighborhood ia about. I'm white, I live in one of those duplexes across from the metro, been here 6 years. I am forever grateful for the long time residents of this community who helped shape it and continue to work at keeping it a lovely safe place for all those who love it. I would much rather see those home owners stay and continue to contribute to the wonderful community of North Michigan Park. If "this end" of South Dakota bothers you so much, please stay away. We don't want you here.

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