Sunday, April 3, 2011

Development-palooza: It's 2007 All Over Again at 14th and U

The pace of development activity along 14th and U Streets has picked up immensely over the last few months, harkening back to the "boom years" between 2003-2008. And with several new projects coming online soon, the scale of development will only continue to increase.

Last year, we wrote about what looked to be a busy summer of development in the Shaw neighborhood, with many anticipated projects set to come online. Some, such as Progression Place at the Shaw Metro Station and the Howard Theater restoration project, did get off the ground (if a bit late). Others, notably Roadside Development's CityMarket at O project, remain little more than a set of blueprints.

This summer, the development focus shifts back west, as a number of high-profile projects either are or are set to get underway along the U Street and 14th Street corridors. The photos you see below are ones I took yesterday (Saturday) so as to give visual representation of where each project stands--sometimes words don't tell the full story.



Starting in the north, Level 2 Development UDR has started work (above) on the Nehemiah Center project, with site clearing and preparation for construction of the project. When completed, the nine story development will feature over 250 apartments ranging in size from 500 sf to 1,600 sf, along with over 18,000 sf of retail space, which the developer hopes to lease to neighborhood-serving retailers such as a grocery store, dry cleaners or bank. No timetable for a completion date has been shared that I am aware of.



Farther south at 2241 14th Street, local developer tycoon Douglas Jemal is planning a groundbreaking this summer for a 30 unit apartment building with ground-level retail at the corner space formerly occupied by the Latino Auto Sales dealership. There's no development activity yet at the space (above), which only recently completed the planning and approval process. Interestingly, the building will house only 10 parking spaces--a seeming indication of both the city's and developer's transition away from parking-oriented developments. With a Metro station only a few blocks away, several bus lines (including a Circulator line), and many destinations within short walking distance, this makes tremendous sense.





Things are much farther along a block south at Perseus Realty's 14W development (above), where a construction crew has been hard at work on the construction of the mixed-use project. The development, which currently has an (optimistic) delivery projection of mid-2012, will include 231 residential units, a new YMCA, and over 12,000 sf of retail. A small number of the units in the building will be "affordable" units for individuals making 60% or less of the AMI (Area Median Income).



Across the street, a two story restaurant (tenant currently unknown) will fill the currently vacant space at 2208 14th Street. As DC Mud notes, the building has an interesting and varied history, serving previously as the home of the New School of Afro American Thought, as well as a base of operations for Stokeley Carmichael and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the 1968 riots.



At the intersection of 14th and U Streets, Georgetown Strategic Capital is on track to begin construction of the long-awaited Utopia Development, set to consume most of the block on 14th between Wallach Place and U Street. When the project kicks off this fall, the buildings currently housing Taco Bell/KFC and ChiDogs will be demolished, while the buildings housing El Paraiso, Ace Check Cashing andf McDonalds will remain intact due to their historic designation. When complete, the 90 foot building (monstrous by DC standards) will feature over 230 rental units and 20,000 sf of retail (large enough for another furniture store, one hopes). Currently, the plans call for a one year construction timeframe, with delivery of the project in fall 2012. And yes, this is where we add our standard disclaimer that such projections appear optimistic.



Also on tap at the corner of 14th and U streets is the imminent opening of Cafe Society, the latest venture from Local 16 owner Ayman Ayoubi. And considering that the signs are now up and talk of soft openings is rampant, we're inclined to believe them this time. The ground floor of the building will house a Dunkin Donuts and a Subway. No word on whether the "Subway smell" might infiltrate the Cafe Society space...



A block east, plans have apparently been ressurected for JBG's on-again off-again hotel project. When we last heard of this project a couple of years ago, nearby residents were flipping out at the prospects of a 10 story building blocking their views of The Ellington, and the financial market crash was putting a serious dent in JBG's plans to construct U Street's first boutique hotel in generations. However, according to DC Mud, JBG has indicated that the project is "actively in the design phase"--which implies that the project may in fact not be dead after all. Having knocked a story off of the structure, JBG now plans to offer a LEED-silver certified four star hotel replete with over 250 rooms, 23,000 sf of retail and 4,000 sf of conference space. Under the most optimistic of timelines, groundbreaking might commence as early as late 2012--but don't hold your breath.



While we're on the subject of 13th Street, the renovation of the building at the northeast corner of 13th and U streets, which seemingly has been undergoing renovation since the dawn of time, recently completed and tenants are starting to move in. First among them is Boundless Yoga, which opened this weekend on the U Street-facing side of the building. Also announced as tenants of the building: a frozen yogurt spot, and dry cleaners Georgetown Valet.



Heading south long 14th Street, work is underway at JBG's District Condos project at 14th and S (note photo above, taken mere seconds before a torrent of hail rained down). We've written about this project quite a bit here, but to quickly rehash the details: 125 residential units, 18,000 sf of retail, summer 2012 delivery date.



A block farther south, according to Borderstan work is finally set to get underway on the mixed-use project at the southwest corner of 14th and R streets. The 31 unit condo building, which was designed by Bonstra and Haresign architects, will also feature ground level retail. The project has been a veeeeery long time coming, as the ANC first reviewed the project back in 2004. Project delivery is anticipated at some point in mid-2012 (aren't they all?).

And finally, down the street a couple of blocks, developer Giorgio Furioso continues to work on the develpment and construction of an office building to fill the vacant space between the Posto restaurant building and the Great Wall Chinese restaurant. No groundbreaking has yet been announced for the 55,000 sf project.

17 comments:

Jen said...

Fantastic summary of the upcoming development. Makes me excited to be part of the 'hood.

Joel said...

Xclnt roundup.

PS How about some soc media share buttons on these xclnt postings?

Mr. 14th & You said...

FYI - at the top of the page you should see a link called "Share" where you can share the link via Twitter and Facebook. It's not very apparent and took me forever to find it, but it's there.

IMGoph said...

great, succinct round-up, ben. well done!

Anonymous said...

I am looking for news further south: DC Central Mission, The Laundry, the block on the corner of Rhode Island where The Playbill says they will soon move out of, the block south of the 7-11 with the two store fronts under construction...

Mr. 14th & You said...

Anon:

DC Central Mission: As far as I know, details of the arrangement for the Mission to takeover the Gales School property at 3rd and Mass are still being worked out. The transfer was contentious, so the process is taking longer than expected.

The Laundry: NRG (Neighborhood Restaurant Group) has backed out of a deal to develop the property as an Italian restaurant due to the high costs of cleanup and environmental remediation. I've heard from someone familiar with the deal that the situation inside and underneath the building is very bad, and whoever assumes control of the space is going to have to deal with some substantial clean-up costs. This one may be sitting vacant for awhile.

The block on the corner of Rhode Island where The Playbill says they will soon move out of: Nothing official on this one yet, other than that the owner of that strip of buildings would like to redevelop it. No plans have been drafted or submitted, and no timeline that I know of has been put forth.

The block south of the 7-11 with the two store fronts under construction: I had heard that one of these spaces was to house a sushi restaurant, but given that Thaitanic/Tsunami and Teakwood are both on that block, I'm not certain whether that is still the plan or not. No word on what other retail will be there.

Anonymous said...

A city worker was marking up the laundry building this morning with spray paint. But I was on the bus and couldn't make out what she was writing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the extra news!!!
:-)

Anonymous said...

Great roundup. Anticipating all the new residents moving into the area once these projects are finished, I'm hoping that whatever restrictions are in place for restaurants (I remember we hit the cap a bit ago, and I think it was lifted temporarily) are permanently altered. After walking to and fro Saturday night to all the normal usually-no-reservations-needed options, I feel we could use a couple more of the the "normal" non-"hype-machined" spots, e.g., things without connections to Eric Hilton, Local 16, and other loaded-PR-machine "destination" spots. Nothing against those spots necessarily and I don't want those spots to stop being created, I'm just advocating for more places that will serve the neighborhood rather than places that bring in customers from other 'hoods.

Anonymous said...

Just to add, there is a new Organic Farm store opening across from the Yes called Smucker's specializing in PA Dutch Country meats, veggies, baked goods, they will apparently have some take away meals too.

Tim said...

very cool. good write up.

Eli said...

Very nice roundup. Thanks!

Sharon said...

Anonymous - you say an organic store across from Yes!? Where did you here that? That would be fantstic. I love yes, but the meat and chicken could be better.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't NRG going to develop a second Italian restaurant concept near Caribou with a "cinema" theme? Did that venture also get scrapped?

Mr. 14th & You said...

As far as I know the "Italian Cinema" concept is still a go, although I don't know what the timeline is. The impression I got was that the NRG team has been focusing on trying to make the Shirt Laundry work. Now that it's out of the picture, you might see something move forward with the other concept down the street.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I hope the buidling owner was honest with the Chidogo people about this when they signed the lease. And I'm not thrilled about losing our KFC.

Anonymous said...

Great summary. Is there any news on the status of the U Street street scape?