Showing posts with label DCS Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DCS Design. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hoffman Towers Will Stand Tallest, Despite Being Two Stories Shorter

Fifty-three years ago, an entrepreneurial young man known as “Dutch” – Hubert N. Hoffman – purchased 71 acres of land that was at the time swamp-scrub-trailer-park landfill, now the continually expanding Eisenhower Valley in Alexandria, Virginia. More than 5 decades after predicting a 35-story building for the site, heirs predict construction could begin as early as this year for a complex that could reach 33 stories - the tallest high-rise in the DC-metro area.

As reported by the Washington Post in 2006, Hoffman paid $200,000 - “every nickel” to his name - a small fortune amassed by trudging through the ranks; from a lowly rank in the back of a bakery, to become a successful agent at New York Life. The payment didn't seem to match the parcel, and onlookers scoffed at what appeared to be a risky financial move for Hoffman. “My learned friends, other developers, assured me I would lose my family,” he told the Post.

Why blow it all on one place? According to Hoffman, the real estate salesman “promised that the Beltway would be coming through.”

He was right. The Capital Beltway was included in the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 and today it cuts right into the Eisenhower Valley, just south of Hoffman's land, and loops itself into the Eisenhower Avenue Connector interchange.

Hoffman kept his land, his family and his dream – to build a “35-story skyscraper on the site."

The Hoffman Company/Hoffman Management - the development company founded by Hoffman - has been developing a mixed-use “urban center” known as the Hoffman Town Center across 56 acres in Eisenhower East for the last decade. Upon completion, the area will contain approximately 7m sf of built area (orange buildings on the master plan below) and includes commercial, residential, and hospitality enterprises.
The signature built element of HTC - The Hoffman Towers - is comprised of 3 towers of mixed-use residential/retail, rising up from block 11 and 12, with big-name tenant Harris Teeter in the ground floor of block 11. An additional 17,000 sf of retail will be incorporated, including "pockets" of 200-sf spaces. The grocer will take up two stories and approximately 50,000 sf. First phase of construction will need to be completed before December 31, 2013 as Harris Teeter has a legal agreement to assume the space on or before that date.

Approximately 1200 residential units will be spread across the 3 towers, including a percentage of affordable housing.

The rendering shown here is the most current design - by architect DCS Design - submitted by the Hoffman Company to the City of Alexandria. Original plans were for two mirrored 24-story towers; new plans are for a three-tower configuration, tiered in height (33, 28 and 22 stories).

Although the tallest tower will be 33 stories, two shy of Hubert Hoffman's vision, and also of Monday Properties' 35-story office building underway at 1812 North Moore in Rosslyn, it has been designed to stand 396 ft from the ground up. Monday Properties' building design is 390 ft tall. However, the Eisenhower Valley sits at approximately 18 ft above sea level, and Rosslyn 80 ft above - this means that the Hoffman Towers will claim the crown of the tallest high-rise inside the Beltway by a mere six feet, with a structure that is one-seventh the height of the Burj Khalifa, but will reach a skyline height approximately 55 ft below 1812 North Moore, thanks to a low-lying valley locale.

Although structural heights in the DC-metro area are scrutinized, Eisenhower East combined with the Carlyle Neighborhood is increasingly building up, as well as building out, thanks to generous amounts of land. Development is further spurred by the proximity of the Beltway, the interchange, and the Eisenhower Avenue Metro stop.

The area is home to significant public and private sector organizations, among them the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Federal District Courthouse, as well as a massive 22-screen AMC theater, fringed with national retail chains.

The Towers will sit adjacent to the Metro stop – which currently spits passengers out into parking lots - and will be boxed by new access streets including Port Street, Anchor Street and Dock Lane (which cuts through the towers). Port Street can be blamed for delays with site plan approval. Gwen Wright, Development Division Chief with the City of Alexandria confirmed that negotiations are currently taking place between the Hoffman Company and the owner of private land that falls into the future Port Street area. The Hoffman Company could not be reached for comment.

Wright estimated that a site plan will be approved by the end of the summer. If a general contractor is awarded shortly thereafter, construction should be able to take place before the end of 2011, and the first phase (of two) should in that case be completed in 2013. Wright says the city is currently trying to facilitate negotiations in order to move the project along, as it is viewed positively. “We are excited,” said Wright. “It’ll be a game changer for the Eisenhower Valley.” For the past few years, the Hoffman Company has been in cooperation with the City of Alexandria's Office of Planning & Zoning.

Hubert Hoffman might not be around to see it, he passed away in 2002, but it's happening, skyscrapers are rising out of the Eisenhower Valley. The Towers may not be 35 stories, but they aim to have a better story to tell, to be the tallest high-rise building (from the ground up) in Metropolitan DC. At least for awhile, 396 feet may send builders skyward.

Update: A previous version of this story was published May 25 which did not address from-the-ground-up heights.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

County to Develop Arlington Mill Residences as Low Income Housing

As promised at the Arlington Mill Steering Committee meeting in September, during which details for the five-story, Davis Carter Scott-designed Community Center were presented to the public, Arlington County has selected Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) as the official developer of the residential portion of the Arlington Mill project. Groundbreaking on the Community Center is expected in early spring of next year, while construction on the 122-unit Arlington Mill Residences is expected to begin in June of 2012.

The low-rise apartment building, designed by local firm Kishimoto Gordon Dalaya Architecture (KGD) will offer six efficiency units, 18 one-bedroom units, 73 two-bedroom units, and 25 three-bedroom units. The entire building will be marketed as affordable housing, the majority of the apartments offered at 60% AMI, with a smaller portion (roughly a tenth) priced at 40% AMI. Developers boast that the design both complies with Columbia Pike Form Based Code and "will be constructed utilizing green building design and will be Earthcraft certified." Earthcraft offers a sustainability designation less rigorous than LEED certification. An open field for public use will provide ample green space for residents, and hoping to further encourage green transportation and exercise, developers designed the site with a direct link to the neighboring Four Mile Run park and bicycle trails.

Developers have projected the total cost at $30 million. To lighten the financial burden, APAH will seek financing from the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) through permanent mortgage financing and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Paradigm Companies will serve as general contractor and property manager, Studio39 is slated to shoulder landscaping design duties, and VIKA will assist the team as civil engineers. Paradigm and APAH worked together with Arlington officials to complete the Parc Rosslyn affordable housing project in 2008.
Arlington, VA Real Estate Development News

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Arlington Mill In Process of Selecting Newest Suitor

Plans for a mixed use development set for 4975 Columbia Pike that couples the construction of a new Arlington Mill Community Center with a large mixed-income residential project have been brewing for several years now. Originally devised as a three story multipurpose center with several levels of residential units stacked on top, the now 5-story Community Center stands solo and starkly modern in its newest configuration; the residential building will be constructed separately on the adjacent land. In its inception the development was billed as a large public/private partnership, packaged as a singular entity. But fed up with the roller-coaster-like search for development partners, and having lost their most recent teammate in Edgemoor Real Estate (a subsidiary of Clark Construction) to the slow economy, Arlington County officials decided to press on with their publicly funded side of the development (the community center) while they issued yet another request for proposals for the residential half of the project.

The County steering committee and involved public officials held an open meeting last night at Walter Reed Community Center to unveil the latest redevelopment plans for the Community Center. Looking to make up for lost time, planners are moving forward aggressively with the intention of demolishing the current building in October, breaking ground in early 2011, and opening the doors of the new center in the spring of 2013. The public development team will meet with the Transportation Commission, the Planning Commission, then wrap up proceedings with a final Board hearing on September 28th. With plans finalized, a request for general contracting bids will soon follow.

One of the earlier site plans.
Although a construction team won't be selected until winter, architects at DCS Design (Davis Carter Scott) have already supplied the updated schematics. The boxy, glassy building brings a bold, urban flare to the Columbia Pike thoroughfare, but an aquatic inspired color scheme of light blues and greens give a calming sensibility to the imposing structure. The five stories will be stacked on top of two tiers of underground parking (140 spaces) and feature a full gymnasium (8,700 s.f.), an entire floor's worth of fitness center, a game room, visual arts studio, mini libraries, a career center, computer labs, and a variety of multipurpose classrooms, study rooms, and meeting rooms.

A County spokesperson explained that their strategy for the updated programing line-up was to create "one stop shopping for County services." The plethora (10) of multipurpose rooms, as well as several fixed classrooms and conference rooms, will provide flexibility for programing, especially as new relationships are built with nearby schools and libraries that may utilize the new space. The Community Center will be financed with general obligation bonds already sanctioned by County voters, most recently a $26 million bond authorized in November of 2006. Community members seemed supportive, but anxious about the dearth of details for the accompanying residential plan.

The Starry Night version
Arlington County issued a request for proposals earlier this summer, receiving several official plans before the early August deadline. When asked about the proportion of affordable housing going forward, Arlington Mill Steering Committee Chairwoman Linda LeDuc explained that "all six of the received proposals would at least meet the originally stipulated 61 units at 60% AMI. We accepted both mixed income plans," she clarified, "and entirely affordable housing propositions. But it's all kind of up in the air right now." For those who've been tuned in since the beginning, the project has come together at a snail's pace, but once a new developer is decided upon, the process should move more quickly. Officials are expecting the new development team to be poised and ready to apply for HUD's Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) by spring of next year.

Because previous plans have already been approved for a 2-5 story residential building, and because the site is to be developed to Form Based Code as part of the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District, the normally grueling planning process should be quicker and less painful. Financing and other details will of course remain obstacles, and so no time line has been issued. Vetting of submitted proposals will take place throughout the fall, and additional information will likely be provided as the County irons out their more immediately plans for the Community Center.

Arlington Real Estate Development News

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Virginia is for Lovers (of Height)

A mixed-use commercial project in Rosslyn at 1812 N. Moore Street has been given site plan approval by the Arlington County Board. If the project goes unhindered it will be the third building to heighten the Rosslyn skyline past the official 300-foot limit, continuing a trend started by The JBG Companies with its Central Place (not yet built) just across the street, consisting of two towers, office and residential. New York-based developer Monday Properties is seeking LEED Platinum certification, the highest official recognition offered by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it, potentially anyway, the first building in Virginia to attain such eco-prestige and the third in the DC Metro region, following the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis and Sidwell Friends Middle School in DC.

Arlington Fresh AIRE Initiative, an environmental task force conceived by Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson that focuses on reducing ozone-harming emissions by "using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal," played its part to give the gargantuan building its green cred. Fresh AIRE and the County Board offer increased building density "and/or additional height up to 3 stories for special exception site plan requests" to induce potential developers to create energy efficient projects.

Because the project falls into the Central Place jurisdiction (not to be confused with JBG's appropriately-named Central Place project), an area which receives relief from the C-O Rosslyn height limits of 300 feet, developers were allowed to max out building height which almost certainly pleased project architects DCS Design. The Central Place district surrounds the Rosslyn Metro Station in a two-block radius bounded by Lynn st., N. Moore Street, Wilson Blvd. and 19th St., and allows buildings to reach up to 470 above sea level. Because the 1812 N. Moore St. site sits 86 feet above sea level, the new building will measure precisely 384 feet. JBG's Central Place will also rise to 470 feet, and required FAA approval for its height and proximity to the flight path toward Reagan National Airport.

Obviously a project of this magnitude requires ample kowtowing, and Monday Properties has obliged, offering up a slew of fringe perks including an estimated $25 million in community benefits, transportation improvements and affordable housing funds. Another extra is Monday's proposed land lease to the city of its old Newseum Space at 1101 Wilson Boulevard, which Monday is offering to Arlington County free of charge for 10 years, with promises of a $100,000 donation to help lure worthy museums to the site. The Newseum opened its new office in the District last year, leaving the rental space vacant.

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