I can now finally stop obsessively checking Square 701 property records, as Grosvenor Americas and Skanska finally completed earlier this week their purchases of the former Willco properties along 1st Street SE
between M and N, and each officially announced
their plans for the site, which of course JDLand readers have known about
for a while now
The now-announced plans track pretty closely with what we've been hearing through the zoning process
* a 224,000-square-foot Class A office building at the corner of 1st and M;
* a 180-unit hotel just to the south of the office building, separated by a 30-foot-courtyard;
* a 292-unit residential project south of the hotel in two buildings, both parallel to 1st Street, with a courtyard between them and a glass bridge connecting them; and
* 43,000 square feet of retail, 36,000 sf of which will be in the office/hotel/residential buildings, while the remaining 7,000 sf will be in a separate two-story retail-only building at the corner of 1st and N.
But we've also now learned that the office building (seen at left) will be developed by Skanska, is designed by Gensler, and will likely be self-financed, according to Bisnow. It will have 11,000 square feet of retail, and will be 11 stories tall. Looking at property records (always a somewhat dicey proposition), it appears that Skanska's Ballpark Square 701 LLC paid about $19.2 million for the multiple small lots at 1st and M where Normandie Liquors
used to stand.
Grosvenor will be developing the rest of the project, with Hickok Cole designing the residential buildings and the hotel, and with McCaffery Interests providing "advisory services" and construction management. Grosvenor's Ballpark Square LLC appears in property records to have paid $25.8 million for its portion of the site.
Jon Carr of Grosvenor tells me that there is "strong interest" from potential tenants in the two-story 7,000-square-foot retail building at 1st and N (bet they wish they could have it built by tonight
!) and that there are discussions with a couple of potential operators for the hotel.
Of course, the question most interested observers want to ask doesn't have an answer yet--neither announcement gives a start date. There's still the need for final approvals from the Zoning Commission (expected to come at the Oct. 29 public meeting), but for the Grosvenor portion of the site, there's one more pending item before the path to construction is truly clear, and that is the plans by another developer for the L-shaped lot
between the residential buildings and the retail building.
Grosvenor apparently did attempt to purchase that property, but with no agreement able to be reached, those owners are now heading to the Zoning Commission in early December
with their desire to build a 176-room hotel on the site (initial design seen at right, wrapping around Grosvenor's two-story retail building). If approved, Grosvenor's plans to have the courtyard of its residential buildings opened to the south
would be impacted, and there is apparently an "alternative" design in the hopper if needed.
You can check my Square 701 page
for more details about this site (including lots of Before photos from its days before becoming Nats Parking Lot F). The next steps to watch for, beyond how the L Hotel [copyright JD] turns out (which we may not know until early 2013), will be the filing of building permit applications, along with any announcements of office tenants, hotel operators, etc.