Since January, 2003
 Sliding from Before to After

Another large apartment building for Near Southeast appears to be on the boards, with word filtering my way that Ruben Companies has begun working with Shalom Baranes Architects on designs for a 400-unit rental building on Half Street between I and K.
With the working name of "20 K," this building would be on the eastern portion of Square 697N, which Reuben picked up via foreclosure when JPI gave up on its plans for "23 I" on the site. There would be retail along the entire Half Street frontage, and Ruben is apparently looking around for any "organic markets" that might be interested. (Cue stampede of "OMG! OMG! OMG!" in the comments, but don't get ahead of yourselves, since there's no indication that That Particular Organic Market is displaying any interest in the site.)
Ruben owns the rest of the block as well, and envisions an eventual Phase II project along South Capitol Street (where the Exxon used to be) that could be residential, commercial, or a hotel, depending on what the market will bear.
No timeline at this point, so don't start packing up your things for a move just yet.
The up-tick in the development of mutlifamily residential properties in Near Southeast after a three-year lull during the Economic Difficulties is obvious: Forest City's 220-unit 1212 4th Street is just underway at the Yards, William C. Smith's 430-unit Park Chelsea is on the boards to get started later this year, Akridge is "hoping" to move forward in 2012 with the 280-unit residential part of its Half Street project, and Florida Rock's developers have replaced a planned office building with a 300-unit residential offering for the project's first phase, which could get underway in 2013. (And it's worth noting, as mentioned in the comments, that every one of these is planned to be a rental building, not condos.)
And I wouldn't be surprised if there were more to come.
Comments (21)
 More About Square 697n Home


ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (2/20/12 12:53 PM)
Trader Joe makes a perfect organic market.

GaryRKarr says: (2/20/12 12:56 PM)
With Capitol Quarter about sold out, one wonders if anyone is going to plan additional owner-occupied units anytime soon.

MJM says: (2/20/12 2:36 PM)
CQ isn't the only owner-occupied unit in town

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (2/20/12 2:40 PM)
I wonder if Forest city is thinking about starting construction on Factory 202 any time soon. The Velocity condo is about 60 percent sold and capitol quarter is almost gone. It makes sense to build another condo.

PJY03 says: (2/20/12 2:55 PM)
CHT is also almost completely sold, The velocity is halfway there. However, when you look at these developments, you'd have to think that these developers see the high-end rental market as hotter than the home ownership market right now. My sense is that this has been the case since 2007/08. I don't have any analysis to support that though. Regardless, the number of high-end apartment buildings does signify that we're probably at our past the tipping point for near SE development.

MJM says: (2/20/12 3:29 PM)
Not sure if verified but 202 may not become a condo after all. Plus Forest City is changing their business model and will focus on the rental market so that could end the FCE-A involvement for 202 as a owner-occupied building.

MJM says: (2/20/12 3:30 PM)
FCE-A article: link

Eric says: (2/21/12 12:05 AM)
What's with the lack of condos available? I understand Velocity and CHT are pricey, but everyyyyyyyyything is rentals it seems.

JD says: (2/21/12 8:57 AM)
That's pretty much the story all across the city since 2008. The condo market had the bottom fall out, while rentals continue to be hot. All you have to do is look at how slowly Velocity has sold its units, compared to the surrounding rental buildings quickly filling to 90% or higher.

F says: (2/21/12 9:24 AM)
You heard it here first - "Let it be Whole Foods." I'd also be OK with a Trader Joes. Glad to know that Wendy's isn't trying to reclaim their old spot.

The apartment market has been hot because the inventory has been relatively low. As all these units come on line and comptete with each other I'd be surprised to see how long they can maintain $3K rents.

Kitty Loyd says: (2/22/12 1:22 PM)
JD - are there any plans for parking garages or lots? I know those aren't the prettiest additions to neighborhoods, and we have the Green line, but it seems like we lack on parking a great deal. I hate watching all the cars be towed away during ball games only to find some poor dad, exhausted kids dragging behind, walk back to a missing car in the dark. I assume parking will only get worse when the empty squares fill up with residential and street level commercial spaces, and people start coming here for more than just baseball or to visit a friend. Do the half street or other more commercial areas have any plans for parking? I just think it would be a shame to open up all these bautiful parks, restaurants, stores, etc only to have people not be able to access them easily.

Anyway, just curious. Thanks.

JD says: (2/22/12 1:37 PM)
Welllll, let's admit that a lot of times the dad with exhausted kids was trying to find some spot on the street to park for free rather than paying to park in one of the many garages and lots available for game parking.

Every time an empty lot is replaced with a building, there's going to be two or three levels of parking underneath it. (Think of that big hole in the ground just north of the ballpark--that was dug for the levels of underground parking Monument is planning to have, just like 55 M directly to the north has.) Not every space will be available for public parking, of course, but there will almost always be as many if not more spaces than the surface lot had.

The problem, as I mentioned above, is that a lot of people don't want to pay to park, and so they try to find "free" spaces on the street, hoping that they won't be caught. This is why DDOT and Tommy Wells went with performance parking and meters right out of the gate on the blocks north of the ballpark, so that people wouldn't get used to free street parking in advance of the inevitable time when meters would need to go in.

Here's my map of all of the parking available for games, and short of sell-out games, I'm pretty sure they don't fill up every time. People just don't want to pay what the market is offering:


And 100 M and 80 M and 55 M and 1100 New Jersey (and I think 300 M) all have public parking available in their underground garages, even on non-game days.

There are plenty of places to park. There just aren't free places to park.

202_cyclist says: (2/22/12 1:55 PM)
@Kitty Loyd:

The absolute last thing this neighborhood needs is more parking. More parking, especially if it isn't priced to reflect demand for it, undermines transit ridership.

Parking is also very expensive. Subterranean parking costs between $30,000 - $50,000 per spot to build. This limits the affordability of housing. Surface parking, on the other hand, would be a waste of scarce land in this area next to the metro station and all of the parks and other amenities. Which neighborhood would your rather visit: U Street with very little off-street parking and scarce on-street parking or Ashburn, where there is abundant parking?

There are plenty of transportation options to access the Southeast waterfront, including metro, Capital Bikeshare, several bus routes (including a Circulator route), possibly a streetcar in the future, and as noted above, off-street parking that is priced according to demand.

If you want to read more about parking, here are three very informative articles:

People, Parking, and Cities

Cruising for Parking

Parking Policy for Transit-Oriented Development: Lessons for Cities,
Transit Agencies, and Developers

Kitty Loyd says: (2/22/12 2:08 PM)
Ya, I see all the surface lots available and filled during games; I guess I was just wondering what would happen when the plaza on K is built, or if/when other lots get built upon, hopefully. I see some ball fans parking in that building across from velocity and I'm aware that you can park in the office buildings, but I'm more curious about when the neighborhood is fully functional, and will hopefully get a lot of traffic on a random Tuesday afternoon without a game that night. Without all the workers standing with flags and signs pointing to parking lots like there are during games, will there ever be just a parking garage that people can easily find? I just think it would be easier for someone coming to our area to be able to find a stand-alone parking garage rather than playing hide and seek "what office building/random gravel lot will allow me to park here now?" I dont know, maybe we'll never need it, and I certainly haven't delved into many traffic or other studies that would show we need it. It just seems like a good idea to have a parking destination like the Georgetown parking lots, or that one I think in Chevy Chase (I went years ago but still remember parking was so easy, whatever neighborhood that was), or behind Pentagon Row. When I want to go somewhere, I like to know where I'm going to park and not have to worry about trying to find a spot that I may have to drive around for. Ha maybe that makes me lazy, but I'm sure I'm not the only one :)

Anyway, it sounds like there aren't any plans so I guess my original question was answered. Thanks, as always!

JD says: (2/22/12 2:17 PM)
Plaza on K will have multiple levels of underground parking.

DC doesn't build free-standing municipal parking garages, so in answer to that question, no, there will never be one of those in the neighborhood.

(The ones at Nats Park, which were fought over vociferously, were the only way for the city and the team to not be in breach of their contract with MLB awarding the then-Expos to DC, which mandated 1,225 on-site parking spaces by the time the stadium opened in 2008.)

I'm sure most people who drive to, say, Gallery Place/Chinatown for the evening know that they either have to vulture around for a street spot or park in a garage, and learn just to look for the "P" signs that designate lots.

Kitty Loyd says: (2/22/12 2:37 PM)
Just to save face a little :), I should amend my comment and say that I'm only lazy about finding parking when I actually drive. I metro to/from work every, take the circulator to 8th street and eastern market if its too rainy or cold to walk, and am a bikeshare member. I love that this neighborhood offers all of these transit options (plus the water taxi). But some days, I just need to get in and out of Georgetown or somewhere else quickly and I'm not biking there, and again, I'm sure I'm not the only one.

And 202_cyclist, I don't think we need a garage RIGHT NOW bc we definitely don't need it. I was wondering more about 5-10-15 years from now.

(and for the record, I have no idea where Ashburn is. I also used to live in the U street area and always wished there was a parking lot to ease some congestion and tension of the angry people driving around trying to find spots and almost running me over)

JD says: (2/22/12 3:27 PM)
It's okay, Kitty, we won't tell. :)

Westnorth says: (3/2/12 1:21 PM)
By 2015, depending on funding, DDOT hopes to launch a Circulator route that would run from Navy Yard through Southwest, then around the Washington Monument to Dupont (linking to the Georgetown and Rosslyn routes). That should address the getting-to-Georgetown problem.

The goal of performance parking is to set parking prices such that someone can always find an open parking spot, not having to drive around looking for parking. Similarly, more could be done to point out which garages have spaces available (in Shanghai, street signs reported the number of available spaces at nearby garages, with directions), but the point is that there's already lots of available parking.

Ashburn is in Loudoun County.

Alan says: (3/15/12 9:48 AM)
JD, they began taking soil samples from the 20 K site yesterday.

JD says: (3/15/12 10:57 AM)
And soil sampling looks to be going on now at 1st and M, too (the Lot F/Willco site I wrote about perhaps being sold).

F says: (3/15/12 8:13 PM)
...and vertical construction has started on the last lot of Capitol Quarter

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