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Documents filed today show that Monument Realty, which sunk its teeth whole-heartedly into the Nationals Park-fueled land rush of 2004 and 2005, is exiting Half Street, with the sale of the company's two remaining parcels, best known to baseball fans and residents as the location since 2009 of the big hole in the ground on the east side of the street.
The buyer of the properties is officially Half Street Residential PJV, LLC, which the Washington Business Journal is reporting is a new partnership of MacFarlane Partners and Jair Lynch Development Partners.
WBJ: "MacFarlane already owned a 50 percent stake in the residential portion of Half Street. With local partner Jair Lynch, MacFarlane essentially bought out Monument and Lehman," with an expectation that the "new team will bring this languishing project to life."
The price of the sale is roughly $12.5 million. (UPDATE, 9/17): A follow-up WBJ story on the new owners' plans for the site says that a check was cut for $34 million.
Monument had planned a hotel and 320 units of residential on this site, and went ahead and dug the hole back in 2007 and 2008 as it built the 55 M Street office building at the north end of the block. But the economy tanked, and the "Monument Valley" hole languished (and became quite the urban forest).
This move isn't exactly a surprise: it had looked a few months ago like something was coming, as Lehman had taken back a portion of this stretch of Half Street just as it had with two other Monument properties that quickly ended up being sold: the 50 M site that is soon to be a Homewood Suites, and the lot on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N that JBG is now planning to develop as a residential building.
Monument now is involved in only one property in the neighborhood, the old Domino's site at South Capitol and M that they made initial moves to develop as an office building a few years ago. (But, in what may or may not mean anything, there have been permits issued in recent days for soil borings on that site, which is often a precursor to a sale. I'm not saying--I'm just saying.)
This is the end of quite a chapter in the neighborhood's rise--and the beginning of a new round of toe-tapping about progress on what was once envisioned to be one of the liveliest stretches of street in town. It will be interesting to see how quickly MacFarlane/Lynch move, and what their new plans may be, (And, for that matter, whether Akridge is currently making any moves on its side of Half Street.)
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ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (9/11/14 11:14 PM)
We all knew this will happen sooner or later. I am very happy Monument is out though. I would not be surprised if Akridge announces the same deal.

I was hoping the cash kings DC developers like Douglas development and JBG would have already made their offer on Akridge half street development.


202_cyclist says: (9/11/14 11:38 PM)
$12.5M seems like an incredible deal for a property that has already been excavated and that is located both right next to the Nationals stadium (Lets go Nats!!!) and a metro station.


JD says: (9/12/14 8:21 AM)
Since MacFarlane was already a partner in part of the land, I imagine the sale price isn't exactly equal to the value of the land.


JES says: (9/12/14 9:51 AM)
Akridge isn't bankrupt though; aren't they in fairly decent shape financially? Makes much more sense for Monument to exit than it does for Akridge.


smokie says: (9/12/14 10:23 AM)
Thanks for the great reporting, as always, JD!


JD says: (9/12/14 11:16 AM)
I was too harried in trying to get this written last night to go look at the soil boring permit for the Domino's site at South Capitol and M, but here's some of the included text: "THE SOIL BORINGS ARE BEING CONDUCTED AS PART OF A DUE DILIGENCE INVESTIGATION ASSOCIATED WITH A REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION."


Packinblackandred says: (9/12/14 1:58 PM)
@JES

My guess is that Akridge is in pretty good shape financially, but they may be cautious about putting out a ton of cash developing their parcels until they know how the DC United/Buzzard Point deal ends up.

Under the current framework, Akridge would need to pay DC ~$35 million in cash (in addition to ~$21 million in land) to get the Reeves Center. That amount will probably change based on horse trading for the final deal, should it be approved.


202_cyclist says: (9/12/14 2:23 PM)
@Packinblackandred:

Unfortunately, it looks like the DC Council and the next mayor could very well find a way to screw up the DC United stadium proposal: link .


dbt says: (9/12/14 2:43 PM)
All the development in the neighborhood over the last decade has been great, but I've long thought that the Monumnet Valley (or Forest?) site is the lynchpin, given its location directly across from the ballpark entrance that almost everyone uses. Once it gets built, I think the perception of the area among denizens of the DMV will change (for the better), and we'll be able to start dreaming of things like hosting the MLB All-Star Game; unitl then, not so much. Hopefully, this sale will bring us closer to that day.


Alex B. says: (9/12/14 3:02 PM)
Akridge is looking for a new capital partner for Half Street, per the WBJ:

link



conngs0 says: (9/12/14 3:02 PM)
dbt, you're absolutely right about the All Star game. It's not happening with that hole in the ground right across from the ballpark. Likewise, development of that site, the Half Street Fairgrounds area and the movie theater are necessary to complete the perception that the neighborhood has graduated from "up and coming" status.

As to the DC United stadium deal at Buzzards Point, I certainly wouldn't put it past the DC Council or any DC Mayor to screw up anything that could be beneficial to the city. However, I think they've already messed up that project by undermining the streetcar plans to get people from the Waterfront and/or Navy Yard Metro Stations to the proposed new stadium.


JD says: (9/12/14 3:06 PM)
@Alex, looks like WBJ eventually got the same tip I already had, hence my sly comment about Akridge's next move. :-)


JES says: (9/12/14 5:43 PM)
MLB is so full of sh*t with the all star game. So our up and coming neighborhood can't have one because we "aren't there yet," but stadiums surrounded by seas of parking lots are perfectly ok? (Coughstlouis). Sure, that makes sense...


KLB says: (9/15/14 12:37 PM)
@JES - I don't think the current development around the stadium has anything to do with the lack of All-Star game in DC. The game alternates between an NL and AL ballpark each year, and currently (after Cincinnati hosts next year) there are still a couple of NL teams with older newer ballparks than the Nats (Philly and San Diego) that haven't hosted the game yet either.


Jaybird says: (9/15/14 7:16 PM)
I'm not so sure that the Half Street situation will be a factor in the choosing of the MLB all-star game. I'm guessing other cities were chosen when the surrounding neighborhoods had issues.

The Commissioner has his hands full with other factors, such as trying to please all the owners who want one, anniversary dates, etc. Pittsburgh got selected twice due to their sagging franchise situation (plus it is a great ballpark).

I'd say the Half Street situation is the least of our worries for trying to get the MLB All-Star team. The cameras will pan to the all good stuff already happening in JDLand, and will be accented during the VIP tour.


ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (9/17/14 2:29 PM)
Sorry boys, construction won't start till 2016 link


JD says: (9/17/14 2:36 PM)
From that link:

"The price was roughly $34 million for two residential, ground-level pads and one air rights hotel site. We had originally reported the price as $12.5 million, based on the deeds and information from Monument, but Lynch said the partnership "cut a check for $34 million.""

(I wonder if MacFarlane got a rebate on some of that, though, since it was a partner in the original incarnation.)


JD says: (9/17/14 2:37 PM)
And this: "While the project is expected to remain a mix of residential, retail and hotel, Lynch said he is now considering condos in addition to apartments, tweaking unit sizes, adding green features and amenities and bringing in a "completely different retail mix.""

In other words, it's basically going to be the same (hotel, residential, retail). Especially since the "current" retail mix was *nothing.*

Not like they're suddenly making it into a concert space or something.



JD says: (9/17/14 3:20 PM)
And Monument had condos in their original plans: link The more things change....

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