Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lease Signed for Artechouse at The Portals

The SW arts scene is about to expand further. A 15,000 SF space initially designed for a performing arts venue at 1250 Maryland Avenue at The Portals has finally found a tenant. A lease was recently signed by Art Soiree, which according to the organization’s website is “a Washington, DC based organization that is committed to curating, conceiving and realizing contemporary art exhibitions, festivals and art projects.” The organization has been around for seven years and during that time, they have hosted hundreds of pop-up events at different venues, but the Portals will allow them to have a permanent space to host exhibits and special events. 

According to ABRA, the name of the venue will be Artechouse and will serve as a multi-purpose facility, an arts and cultural gallery space with multifaceted program uses, including but not limited to theater, exhibits, live music, performances, film screenings, installations, public and private events. The maximum occupancy will be 375 people and they plan to host about 200 events a year. At a hearing back in September, the applicants expressed their desire to open in time for the Presidential Inauguration in January 2017. An ABRA hearing is scheduled for December 12 and ANC 6D will consider their CX license application tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Dispute Over Stadium Design

A campaign effort is now underway by a group of developers to force D.C. United to improve their stadium design ahead of next month’s Zoning Commission hearing. Now that D.C. United has control of the stadium footprint, zoning approval is the next step needed before construction can begin. The Washington Post reports that Akridge, Western Development, Capital City Real Estate, and Steuart Investment Company have lobbied city officials and the team to make improvements to the design, claiming there was a “bait and switch” from the preliminary design to their current plans. I received a flier about the stadium design in my mailbox earlier this week, which at first I thought was made by a neighbor, but it turns out it was from the PR team hired by the developers, which own property near the stadium site. Akridge owns seven acres south of the stadium (two additional acres were taken by eminent domain to create the stadium site). They also own the former Coast Guard headquarters building with Western and other developers where they plan to redevelop into a mixed use development called Riverpoint. Capital City Real Estate owns land next to the Riverpoint project and plan to start construction next year on a condominium project called Peninsula 88. Meanwhile, Steuart Investment Company owns several lots to the east of the stadium site, although no development plans have been announced yet for those sites. 

Preliminary design for the stadium,
Some of their issues include the lack of retail along the perimeter of the stadium (except for a team store), no on-site parking, minimal vehicular access on 1st Street, and noise. As noted in the article, Akridge and Western have made an offer on the adjacent parcel to the east of the stadium, where they intend to build a residential building with ground floor retail. In addition, they have hired an architect to reconfigure the stadium design to allow for additional retail and have offered to purchase that space carved out of the ground floor. D.C. United made some changes to their original PUD in response to concerns from the Zoning Commission, including reintroducing 1st Street on the east side of the stadium site and activating the large plaza along Potomac Avenue. However, the team doesn’t seem too keen on the additional changes proposed by the neighboring developers. From the article: 
[D.C. United owner Jason] Levien questioned the motivations of his opponents, saying Akridge and Miller were threatening to hold the stadium hostage in order to pressure the team into selling its retail space to them. “I would encourage you to ask Akridge why they are so interested now in this project when they’ve had that land for years and haven’t built anything,” Levien said. 
The dispute threatens to delay the stadium project, which was scheduled to start construction in early 2017 and open sometime during the 2018 season. The Zoning Commission will meet on November 2, but before that, ANC 6D meets on Monday at 7pm where they will vote on whether to support the stadium project. It should be an interesting couple of weeks of stadium drama… 

Renderings courtesy of D.C. United

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Signs of Life for Randall School Project?

There was a feature in Washingtonian about the Mera and Donald Rubell, who own the Capitol Skyline Hotel and have teamed up with Telesis to redevelop the former Randall School at First and Half streets into a modern art museum, restaurant, and 500+ multifamily rental apartments in two high-rise buildings. The revised project was approved back in 2014, but nothing has happened at the site. Earlier this year, it was announced at a community meeting that the development team added Lowe Enterprises to the project. In the Washingtonian article, it states “after years of delays, the couple is poised to break ground.” Unfortunately, the project architect Bing Thom (who also designed the remodeled Arena Stage) won’t be able to see the project to fruition since he passed away this week. 

Rendering courtesy of Bing Thom Architects

Monday, October 3, 2016

Buzzard Point Update

Over the weekend, the District transferred control of the D.C. United stadium site in Buzzard Point to the team, according to The Washington Post. The District was responsible for assembling the land, razing the existing buildings, and utilities upgrades. A revised PUD application was released over the summer and the team will be facing the Zoning Commission in November. If the stadium plan receives approval, construction can begin in early 2017. As a result, the scheduled opening of the new stadium has now slipped a few months to at least June 2018. The team will likely have to plan an extended road trip in the first part of the 2018 MLS season before they can play their first match in their new home since they intend to leave RFK at the end of the 2017 season. 

Meanwhile, construction continues at the new Pepco Waterfront substation, with the steel frame of the south side of the building now up. Road closures around the construction sites of the stadium and the substation are now in effect, limiting access to the area. The substation is scheduled to be completed in 2017. 

Akridge has revived their marketing for 100 V Street, the seven-acre site they own just south of the stadium site (the site was originally nine acres – two acres were taken by eminent domain for the stadium project). 100 V Street is now planned as a 2.4-million SF mixed-use development (it previously was planned as an ideal location for a federal tenant pre-soccer stadium). The site is just north of the former Coast Guard headquarters building, which will be redeveloped by a team of developers including Akridge to a mixed-use project called Riverpoint with rental apartments, condos, and retail. 

The new owner of the site to the east of the Riverpoint project has renamed the proposed condominium Peninsula 88. A press release was sent last month stating the new name and that plans were submitted to the Zoning Commission (the plans are not yet available online). Even though the architect remains the same as what it was under the previous owner, the design has been changed. Part of the site is currently being used as a flower farm, which was featured in The Southwester. Construction on the condo project is expected to start in 2017.

Renderings courtesy of D.C. United and Akridge

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pub, Live Music Venue, and Ethnic Cuisine Announced for The Wharf

The Wharf continues to roll out its restaurant and entertainment lineup for the first phase of development which is scheduled to open starting in October 2017. Four new establishments have been announced: 
  • The Brighton: A “high-energy” waterfront pub by the Hilton brothers, who are known for places such as The Gibson at 14th and U streets NW and Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown. 
  • Pearl Street Warehouse: A small-format, live music venue and tavern on Pearl Street, an east-west alley running parallel to Maine Avenue by Nick Fontana, Bruce Gates and Henry Gandy, the owners of Cantina Marina. 
  • Kaliwa: An Asian fusion restaurant on Pearl Street with Filipino, Thai, and Korean cuisine by Cathal Armstrong. 
  • A yet-to-be-named Indian concept by chef K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, who operates Indique and Bombay Bistro. 

These are in addition to the other restaurants and retailers announced in recent months. So far, there are 16 confirmed retail tenants. Needless to say, these new dining options will vastly change the restaurant scene in Southwest! 

Rendering courtesy of The Wharf

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Groundbreaking for St. Matthew's Mixed-Use Project

On Sunday, September 11, community leaders, members from St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, project developers, and the community at-large gathered at a lot on the corner of M Street and Delaware Avenue for a groundbreaking ceremony. The groundbreaking ceremony was for a new St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. Speakers at the event included Pastor Philip Huber of St. Matthew’s, Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen, Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, and Chris Roth from Trammell Crow, one of the developer partners in the deal. 

In designing the project, architecture firm Shalom Baranes Associates placed the apartment building on the west side of the site and the church at the corner of Delaware Avenue and M Street, in order to preserve what is left of the view shed along Delaware Avenue north to the Capitol dome. The new St. Matthew's will be constructed with stacked stone masonry and colored glass will be inset using cut glass from the old church building that will form an image - perhaps an image of the giving of the Holy Spirit. Glass will be back-lit so it will be illuminated at night. The square immediately to the right of the base of the cross on the M Street fa├žade is a large window that will allow people to see into the sanctuary, look through to the baptistery, and into the courtyard in the back. Architecturally it conveys that St. Matthew’s is open to the community and welcomes everyone to venture inside. The sidewalk will have an indenture at the window with a backless bench, so people can "sit a while" and rest while looking into the interior space. The green panel to the right of the window (and left of the door) is the exterior wall of the sacristy and is where the name of the church will be located. There will be 10,000 SF of community space and meeting rooms, as well as the Thurgood & Cecilia Marshall Southwest DC Community Center and Sacred Grounds Cafe. 

Meanwhile, the apartment building is shaped like the letter L, with an 11-story building fronting M Street and an 8-story building on the west side perpendicular to M Street. Approximately 220 residences are planned, with 10% set aside under inclusionary zoning as affordable housing. The apartments are not affiliated with St. Matthew's, so anyone can apply to rent a unit. There will be metal cladding on the apartment building along with two-story metal panels. Design cues for the building were taken from neighboring residences like River Park and Waterfront Tower, and the incorporation of a courtyard was done to fit in with the Southwest building style of having apartments frame courtyards. Approximately six private patios will be on the ground level for tenants. Other apartment amenities include a fitness center, lounge, screening room, and two levels of below-grade parking. 

Local landscape architectural firm Oculus has designed the courtyard - the same firm that designed the Waterfront Station Metro plaza. The courtyard area will be shared between the church and apartment building with a seating area and a shallow pool that will be connected to the fellowship hall of the church. There will be a bosque of trees in the center of the courtyard and a paved area in front, facing Delaware Avenue. A landscaped buffer will be installed along Delaware Avenue to shield the outdoor space and provide some security. The existing trees on the site will be maintained on three sides, including along Delaware Avenue, the western border with 240 M Street, and on the south. New landscaping will be planted on M Street. Parking will be accessed via Delaware Avenue and loading will be done on M Street. All main pedestrian entrances (for the church, community center, and apartment building) will be on M Street. 

It will take about two years to build the project. Construction completion is expected before the end of 2018.

Renderings courtesy of Shalom Baranes Associates

Monday, September 19, 2016

Compromise Reached in Eisenhower Memorial Design

Plans for the Eisenhower Memorial will move forward now that the Eisenhower family has expressed their support for the Frank Gehry-designed memorial, to be located on Maryland Avenue between 4th and 6th streets. The project has been delayed since there were disagreements about the design for Eisenhower Square, a four-acre park where the memorial will be located, which includes metal tapestries and bronze statues depicting Eisenhower during his military days as Supreme Allied Commander and as president. Modifications to the memorial include a representation of the D-Day landings in Normandy on the tapestries and a renewed focus on Eisenhower’s home state of Kansas, incorporating one of his famous quotes, “The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.” 

Fundraising is underway for the memorial with the goal of dedicating it on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 2019. 

Rendering courtesy of Eisenhower Memorial Commission

Monday, September 12, 2016

Italian Market Purveyor Announced for The Wharf

Back in 2015, a PUD filed for Parcel 1 and the area in and around the Municipal Fish Market mentioned space for a market hall with an “Italian butcher/deli and large market hall/restaurant.” Now we know who will operate the market hall space. It was announced that Nick Stefanelli, which opened Masseria at Union Market in NE last year, will operate the Italian market at The Wharf. The planned three-story building along Maine Avenue will contain nearly 12,000 SF of space, as well as a 5,600 SF private roof deck. In addition to the roof deck, the concept includes an artisanal Italian Market with a salumeria, cheese cave, and butcher shop, among other things, and a trattoria on the second floor with an exclusive 12-seat table in the wine cellar. 

Stefanelli's market hall is scheduled to open by the spring of 2018, a few months after the first phase of The Wharf is expected to deliver. 

Renderings courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Demo Permit Application Filed for Riverside Baptist

A demolition permit application was filed last month for Riverside Baptist Church, located at 6th Street and Maine Avenue. Back in March, the Zoning Commission approved the PUD for the site, which will be redeveloped with a new Riverside Baptist Church and a 173-unit apartment building. The church’s location will shift south to the intersection of 6th Street and Maine Avenue while the apartment building will be located at 6th and I streets. About 10% of the apartment units will be set aside as affordable housing for households earning up to 50%, 80% and 100% of Area Median Income. There will be space on the ground floor of the apartment building for community-serving uses, such as a daycare center. 

Construction on the project is expected to start before the end of the year with completion in 2018. 

Rendering courtesy of PN Hoffman

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Living Hope Church Site For Sale

A for-sale sign has gone up in recent weeks on the Living Hope First United Pentecostal Church of Washington DC, located at 1200 1st Street. (H/T to reader @MichaelMills_DC) It is located next to James Creek and across the street from the DMV. According to the listing on LoopNet, the church was built in 1957 with an elevator added in 2002 and new windows in 2011. It is approximately 7,500 SF and contains a fellowship hall, office space, commercial kitchen and baptismal pool. The sanctuary seats over 260 people. 

Prior to Living Hope, the church was home to Second Baptist Church Southwest, which originally built the church in 1957 after purchasing the site from the Housing Authority – it was last for sale in 2012 when Second Baptist moved from the space to District Heights, Maryland. It appears that Second Baptist still owns the church and is leasing it to Living Hope. The current sale price is $1.6 million and the property is zoned R-4.