There is never a lack of development news on 14th Street NW. In the past week, we’ve learned that one project is not moving forward and another announced their timeline for completion.The Housing Complex blog (Lydia DePillis) at Washington City Paper reports that local developer Jim Abdo has withdrawn his zoning application for a planned residential building on the last piece of vacant land on the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue NW. The lot is just around the corner from Abdo’s office on 14th Street NW.
Abdo Development announced plans to construct a 70-unit residential building on vacant land at 1427 Rhode Island Avenue NW back in August. Development of the plot would have completed the transformation of the block that began a decade ago. The 1400 block of Rhode Island NW is now a very desirable stretch in the neighborhood — long-time Borderstanis remember when that was definitely not the case.
Meanwhile, a few blocks north on the southwest corner of 14th and U Streets, developer JGB released a timeline for the construction of a mixed-use project. Work will get underway this month, and is expected to be completed December 2013. The development will include 268 luxury apartments and 40,000 square feet of ground floor retail.
New construction aside, the historic facades of businesses , and the businesses themselves — DC Noodles, Stem, Coppi’s and Utopia Bar & Grill — are to remain.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B holds its monthly meeting tonight, February 2, and the planned development on Florida Avenue NW between 7th and 9t Streets NW will be at the center of the agenda. The plans for consideration come from JBG, the influential development group with “more control over the future of U Street than any other property holder,” according to The Washington Post.
JBG has already presented its residential/retail concept to the various ANC design committees, and now the firm seeks ANC approval on issues before the Historic Preservation Board. These issues will most likely have to do with the fates of historic facades currently on the properties.
The design, covering two buildings on three parcels, comes from the Seattle firm Miller Hull Architects. JBG principal Kai Reynolds told Washington City Paper that their aesthetic will be aimed at “transforming the warehouse vernacular into housing.” In short this means lots of metal, lots of glass and perhaps an affinity for exposed staircases. (Slides from the ANC1B design committee presentation in December are available here.)
JBG bought the three parcels from Metro last summer after they had been on the market for nearly a decade. Though the lots appear vacant, they are home to a lively and at times controversial weekend flea market. (Some neighbors have complained of vendors selling stolen goods.) Michael Sussman, who runs the flea market, had a lease with Metro due to run to October 2012. When JBG purchased the property, the company made overtures to end the lease early, by the end of January.
At the last ANC 1B meeting on January 5 (which I attended), approximately 25 vendors showed up to protest the end of the lease. Sussman told the commissioners that 40 vendors and their families earn a living at the flea market, and requested that the ANC ask JBG to continue the lease.
In an email message to several neighborhood groups sent on January 13, ANC 1B Chair Myla Moss (ANC 1B-01) said that an agreement had been reached between JBG and Sussman. JBG will continue offering a month-to-month lease until October, as long as the flea market accepts a list of terms meant to eliminate traffic, trash and the sale of stolen goods.
It will be interesting to see if this issue arises again at Thursday’s meeting. I will be there and will post an update on any developments.
See In Pictures: Development Projects Line the 14th Street Corridor (August 11, 2011).
In a press release issued this afternoon JBG Companies and Grosvenor announced that the much heralded condominium project at the corner of 14th and S Streets NW would be developed instead as a “boutique apartment building.” When delivered in fall 2012 the seven-story building will have 125 apartments.
Kai Reynolds, a principal with JBG, said “We received a substantial amount of interest in the condominium project, but the strong fundamentals of the rental market and our confidence in the opportunity to deliver an exceptional boutique apartment building ultimately swayed our decision to deliver the project as an apartment.”
The condo project was unveiled last fall at an event attended by Councilmembers Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 2). The project was to be called District Condos. The site includes the historic building at the northwest corner of 14th and S that once housed the Whitman Walker Clinic, and the now-demolished one-story properties north to Swann Street. Graham had once served as director of the Whitman Walker Clinic (now Whitman Walker Health) from 1984 until election to the City Council in 1998.
Whitman Walker bought the building for $1.25 million in 1986. When the District Condos project broke ground, James Nozar of JBG said the condo prices would likely start in the low $300,000 range, with a bulk of the units priced under $600,000 and a few running up more than $1 million.
Projects Underway on 14th & U Corridor
Numerous residential projects line 14th Street from Thomas Circle north toward Columbia Heights. Some of them include –
- Two condominium projects are underway a block south of the JBG / Grosvenor project — one in a former Verizon building the other on a former Zipcar lot next to AYT Auto Service (which is departing at the end of the year).
- At 14th and Wallach NW, Level 2 Development is also readying plans for an apartment building.
- Across the street at the southweset corner of 14th and U, work will begin shortly on a large 200-plus unit project that JBG is a partner in as well.
- South of P Street, a small condominium project is in the works for 1328 14th Street, just south of the 7-11.
- Around the corner on the south side of Rhode Island Avenue developer ABDO has plans for a building on the last bit of vacant land on that block.
Previous Stories On The Project
Just two months after the groundbreaking of the District Condos project at 14th and S Streets NW in Logan Circle, developer JBG/Grosvenor has ceased site excavation work along the western edge of the project.
The action was in response to an incident on May 8 in which fumes penetrated the two ground floor units of a neighboring residential condominium in the 1400 block of Swann Street NW. The project is on the west side of the block that runs from S Street north to Swann Street.
In a May 21 email to neighbors of the project, James Nozar, Development Manager for JBG Companies, said:
Construction is expected to begin within two weeks on the District Condos project on 14th Street NW between Swann and S Streets, according to the developer. The project is the first large-scale condominium to begin in the neighborhood since the recession.
Condo prices will likely start in the low $300,000 range, with a bulk of the units priced under $600,000 and a few running up over $1 million… square footage from 425 to 2,000.
Demolition and clearing of the site was completed a few weeks ago. The lone building remaining on S Street is the original Whitman-Walker Clinic building, which will be preserved and incorporated into the mixed-use project.
From Tom Hay
In a confluence of interest, developers, real estate agents, politicians, local business owners and residents gathered at Garden District, 14th and S Streets NW, on Wednesday. The occasion was the the naming announcement of the condo and retail development planned for the northwest corner of the intersection.
Demolition of the current buildings, except for the Whitman-Walker facade, should begin soon.
The site includes the historic building that housed the Whitman Walker Clinic and the properties north to Swann Street. Early in the presentation, the banner on the former Clinic building was released: the name of the luxury project will be District Condos. JBG is working with the international developer Grosvenor on the project.
Mark Darley, a Senior VP of Grosvenor, commented in his remarks that “the market has returned.”
Councilmembers Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) attended the event. Evans acknowledged that although the project was in his ward, Graham’s ward was just across the street, to the east.
Graham has strong ties to the building and the neighborhood. He served as director of the Whitman Walker Clinic from 1984 until election to the City Council in 1998. Graham recounted the successes of the clinic in its early days, and commented that the building now slated to be part of the development was purchased for $1.25 million in 1986.
From Tom Hay
DC Mud is reporting that JBG Companies has taken another step forward in their efforts to build a mixed use building on the west side of the 1800 block of 14th Street. The cornerstone of the project will be the former Whitman-Walker Clinic building at the corner of S and 14th which will be saved and incorporated into the plan for the block which extends north to Swann Street.
According to the DC Mud story, JBG has filed a demolition permit for buildings adjacent to the historic Whitman-Walker structure extending to Swann Street.
The properties adjacent to the Whitman-Walker building have served as home to various clinic programs over the years. Most recently one of the properties served as temporary headquarters for The DC Center, whose mission is to support the LGBT community of DC. The former laundromat at the corner of 14th and Swann Streets closed earlier this year. Portions of the site are now being used as evening parking for the crowds who flock to the area restaurants and clubs.
Plans for the project include 120 residential units, 18,000 square feet of retail and 90 below ground parking spots. Beyond the Clinic building the new construction will rise to seven stories along the 14th Street side.
The DC Zoning Commission recently increased the Arts overlay restriction on allowable food and beverage establishments for the corridor; I am sure we can expect to see a number of restaurants or bars opening in the space. The block has become an eyesore for the neighborhood in recent months, so I think most will be pleased to see this project moving forward.
Last week we reported that the Utopia project at 14th and U was also moving forward. Looks like two-year lull in condo development is nearing an end?
MetroWeekly is reporting that DC’s LGBT community center (The Center) has been given notice that it must move from 1810 14th Street NW by June 18 so that JBG Cos. can begin its planned condo-retail project on the block.
The west side of 14th Street NW between S and Swann Streets will be demolished–except for the former Whitman Walker building at S Street–and JBG will construct condominiums with ground-level retail space. Whitman Walker sold and vacated the building in 2008 and the former laundromat at 14th and Swann Streets has been closed for several months. JBG will begin demolition of the properties north of the former Whitman Walker building (it will be incorporated into the new development) in September.
The Washington Business Journal reported in March that the development on the 1800 block will have 120 condos and 18,000 square feet of retail space.
The Center is now looking for a permanent home. According to MetroWeekly, The Center has been subletting space to several other gay and lesbian organizations: Bet Mishpachah, the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CAGLCC, aka the chamber), the DC Agenda/Washington Blade, the DC Community AIDS Network, Helping our Brothers and Sisters, and the Latino GLBT History Project.