Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Investors Look to Cash-In on Stadium Proximity

On the front page of this week's Washington Business Journal (print subscribers only) and from jdland.com, an article describes how a pair of investors have amassed 23 properties just off South Capitol Street over a span of 18 years. However, since the opening of Nationals Park, the properties have been put up for sale for $12 million, but no takers so far. One reason could be that the properties are surrounded by James Creek and Syphax Gardens, two public housing projects owned by the DC Housing Authority. Over in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, the Capper-Carrollsburg housing project was demolished and is in the process of being redeveloped into a mixed income community as a part of a federal government program called Hope VI. Funding from that HUD program is hard to come by, so it's highly unlikely something similar could happen at James Creek or Syphax Gardens. In addition, there are no immediate plans by the DC Government to expand their New Communities initiative to these two housing projects, as they are doing across the river at Barry Farms and near North Capitol Street at Northwest One. From the article: "'At this point, we don’t have the funding to redo our housing developments in Southwest,' said Dena Michaelson, a spokeswoman for the housing authority"..."In the last 18 months, the housing authority has spent $1.3 million on major upgrades to Syphax Gardens. It also is planning to improve landscaping and lighting at Syphax and other properties in Southwest." Development on the west side of South Capitol Street has been pretty quiet compared to the other side of the street, but some activity should get underway soon. Camden Property Trust has cleared a site at South Capitol & O Street where an apartment building is planned. However, activity has ceased at the site in the past few months, perhaps due to the amount of apartments already under construction near Nationals Park. I've heard that development activity is supposed to resume at the site before the end of the year. Also, the former Taco Bell & Pizza Hut site at 1101 South Capitol Street will become an office building developed by Ruben Companies. So, the investors of the 23 properties may need to wait a while longer for the construction boom to hit the west side of South Capitol Street before they can cash in on their 18 year investment.

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