Monday, September 22, 2008

Sign of the Apocalypse #132: "Metropole" Set To Deliver

Those of you like us who spend a fair amount of time trompsing up and down P St. are likely used to at least one familiar site amongst the constantly changing streetscape: the colossal construction project known as "the Metropole" that has fouled up traffic (both auto and pedestrian) for years. Heading along the north side of P St., it's simply become a way of life to play dodge 'em with the taxi cabs and bridge-and-tunnel drivers as one skirts along the construction fence of the nearly mythical condo tower.
Well, no more.

This Thursday, believe it or not, will herald the official opening of the "drop. dead. sexy." Metropole project at 15th and P St. According to the Washington Business Journal, the opening night preview event will feature a "Golden Age of Hollywood" theme. Not sure of the tie-in there, but it might be worth stopping by if only to be allowed unfettered access to the sidewalk for the first time in what seems like decades.

For those unfamiliar with the project, there is a troubled history behind it. Construction was stalled for nearly a year after the discovery of an unmarked underground reservoir of some sorts. After that was resolved, the original construction contractor--Glen Construction--filed for bankruptcy (perhaps the Condominium Development Gods were trying to send project developer Scott Pannick a message?). Along with nearly 80 90 residential units, the project will also feature ground level retail in the form of an athletic apparel store and a new Vida Fitness location.

As you're no doubt thinking this by now, we'll go ahead and state the painfully obvious: having a new high-end condo development (prices range from $400k for a studio to over $2 mill for the penthouse) come online in this market can't be good news for the developer, what with 2006 being a couple of years ago and all. And yet, while we find the design of the building rather uninspiring, it's nice to finally have the north side of P St. built-out to capacity. Also, it's nice to finally get our sidewalk back.

One more bit of good news for neighborhood residents: as part of their agreement with the city, upon completion of the project, the Metropole development company will also arrange for the repavement of the 1400 block of Church St. Sadly, this may also mean the end of the wonderful paint splatter at 14th and Church, along with the footprint evidence of the pedestrians who seemingly couldn't get out of the way.

For more info about the Metropole, you can of course visit their website.

20 comments:

Katie said...

You know what's super not "drop. dead. sexy"? The hideous orange window signs with the Metropole's website, etc. blaring at you from the corner of the behemoth.

Jim said...

I find the design of the building incredibly inspiring. DC needs more edgy buildings like this that push the envelope. (22West in the West End and the Newseum are also in this category). I have to say though that I'm not a big fan of the glass pyramid in the middle of the sidewalk on 15th, what the hell is that thing anyway?

Also, anyone know if P St will be repaved between 15th & 14th after this project wraps up?

Mr. 14th & You said...

Jim-

I don't think P St. is going to be paved immediately (unlike Church St.) but P St. is set to go through a "streetscaping" at some point in the next few years. Although with 11th and 14th streets having higher priority, that's probably a ways off. Maybe they'll surprise us with a quick repaving of a stretch of road that badly needs it?

As to the design, I guess I don't see it to be that "edgy". To me it blends in with a lot of the other condo towers that have sprouted up in recent years. It's not fugly, but it doesn't do anything for me. My standards for "edgy" are pretty high...

Anonymous said...

It'll be great to get back the (very wide!) sidewalks.

@Jim - The glass pyramid is a skylight for the Vida gym. I'd prefer the same slope all the way to the sidewalk (like the Louvre), but I bet it wasn't code.

@ mr. 14th and U - If by "blends in" you mean the building's similar to others in DC, I disagree; I can't think of a similar building. I like the Metropole's unique combination of brick, glass, balconies, trianglar cantilevered sections, and exterior lighting. If anything, it might be a too busy but it's grown on me as it's gone up.

Anyway, it will be nice to have the corner back with some retail, since 14th street has felt too far from the buzz of 17th. A finished Metropole will help make the link.

And if the interior is better than the exterior, which it should be, it's going to be a heck of a building. I hope the developer does what's necessary to sell the remaining half of the building.

loganmo said...

I'm glad we all get our f*cking sidewalk back, finally.

One question, do we really need a third Bang Salon? I think Bang is great..I get my hair done there. But there is one already at 17/U and one in MCI Center. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Just a few notes - the building is 90 units, there are no studios - one bedrooms to 3 bedrooms. It is the best thing design wise that Scott Pannick has done. As far as the signs - its so you will actually read them - seems someone did and it matches Vida's colors. As far as sales, rumor is they just wrote 4 in the last 2 weeks - not bad and lets be honest there is only one corner of 15th & P Street.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Anon - The Business Journal article references studios in the Metropole going for $400k. If you have information that this in incorrect, please share.

As far as the design goes, meh...it's still rather pedestrian looking to me.

IMGoph said...

i'm banking on P street getting repaved quickly. since they did the blocks from 11th to 14th, it seems like they'll want to push further west. i hope.

but then i think of how long it took to get Q street done, and i wonder if they might just let the road revert to gravel...

Mr. 14th & You said...

The Q St. project got all f'ed up when the DDOT contractor accidentally severed some utility lines, which necessitated undoing a lot of work that had been done and starting over. That project was ridiculous, it seemed like it would never end.

Anonymous said...

Some factchecking on the project's website would have cleared up the studio issue. Took a couple of second to Google: "The Metropole offers 1 and 2 bedroom units, many with dens, in sizes ranging from 630 to 2,400 square feet. Prices begin in the mid-$500,000’s."

I assume prices start in the $500,000s now because either all the small units have been sold or they are selling for more than they were a couple of years ago. The latter's not all that surprising given condo prices in DC, which have actually been holding pretty steady. And the steady trend includes the entire city, not just the most desirable locations, like 15th & P, in which I would expect condos to be outperforming, particularly since 14th street has continued to improve a lot over the past two years (see www.dchousingprices.com).

Mr. 14th & You said...

Thanks for the search tip, Anon. Surprisingly, I had actually performed a Google search myself, and on Metropolis development's own website it says that Studio units are sellign in the Metropole starting "in the mid-$400s". (http://www.metropolis-dc.com/news/pdf/040507.pdf)

So no need to be snarky about "factchecking"--unless you have different standards for "facts" than I do.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone. I work on the sales for The Metropole so direct from the horses mouth: 90 units. 60% under contract. 32 homes remaining. The smallest unit offered is a one bedroom, one and half bath - 2 level with balcony) at $474,900 - including parking. There are NO studios in the building. We go up to $2.4 M. Average unit price high $800's to about $1.1M. Come into the sales center for an overview and then we can take you into the building. Thanks - Jennifer

Mr. 14th & You said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for commenting, I appreciate the information. Would I be safe in assuming that the design of the building changed from the time of the April 2007 press release, considering the lack of studios in the building as well as the 67% increase in the top-end asking price?

Anonymous said...

The building only changed the interior finish product when the sales center re-opened, not changes in unit mix.

As far as price increase - I don't have that information on percentage's.

Prices did increase when the material's changed in 2007 for the re-launch of the project and went up with the finish aspect to each unit. Un-sold units were all upgraded and is reflected in price.

On another note, the opening was a huge success. The Grand Opening event had over 700 people that all got a look at The Metropole. Thanks for coming!- Jennifer

Anonymous said...

wish I could have seen the building at the opening-we can get tours by stopping in at the sales center, right?

Mr. 14th & You said...

700 people is a great turnout--congratulations on the successful event!

JT said...

I attended the event and it seemed to be very successful with how many were in attendance. I liked how they put the price and the square footage outside the door of each home that was open to tour. It's a pricey building, but they'll sell out eventually.

You can see other new condo communities in DC plotted on a Google Map here: http://www.condoauthority.com

Anonymous said...

Everyone stay the hell away from Metropole! Everyone who purchased a condo there a couple years ago is suing to get out of their contracts! Prices will plummet as a result. The place will have several liens on it very soon. Metropolis Development has a dirty track record.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the building and loving it! Perfect location and I can walk to work now (used to live in Courthouse out in VA).

Anonymous said...

Oh my God- what lies! Metropole is not 60% sold, more like 30% at best and by the way several of those people, myself included, are suing Metropolis Development. They may declare bankruptcy soon. No way will they sell the remaining units for the listed prices. Metropole is so screwed.