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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Development News
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216 Blog Posts Since 2003
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WBJ updates its story from a few months ago to basically say, yes, DDOT is still planning to move to 55 M Street, Monument Realty's building on top of the west entrance of the Navy Yard station. The city council has until close of business today (Wednesday) to decide if it wants to hold up the plans, and apparently the council's budget office is taking a close look at the lease, since it will cost DDOT about $6.9 million per year over 10 years to consolidate all of its workers in Near Southeast, compared to the $3.1 million it's paying now to lease space in multiple buildings.
With USDOT just two blocks to the east, M Street SE would turn into Transportation Row if DDOT does indeed come to 55 M.
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More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace
 

The city's Department of Real Estate Services (formerly OPM) has put out a solicitation to sublease 50,750 square feet of below-grade space at 225 Virginia Avenue as a data center. While that may be terribly interesting to some people, probably the item of greater interest is the rendering on the first page, which is the first glimpse of the "reskinned" building, showing the current gray windowless monolith rebuilt into a more open structure that actually resembles an office building. The rendering is from the building's southwest corner, so the SE Freeway (not shown) would run "behind" the building. You can just barely see Capitol Quarter townhouses at far right, making that Third Street.
The solicitation also says that construction is expected to begin in November of this year and last 15 months, with development being handled by StonebridgeCarras while the city continues to own the land. When completed, three city agencies will occupy the building--the Commission on Arts and Humanities, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer [hence the data center stuff], and the Child and Family Services Agency. If you see people wandering around the site on Tuesday, it's a site tour for parties interested in the data center colocation. Responses to the solicitation are due to the city on July 30.
If you're just joining the story now, feel free to read my past 225 Virginia posts to catch up on the many twists and turns this building has seen over the past few years. (h/t DCMud)
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More posts: 225 Virginia/Old Post Plant/200 I, Development News, officespace
 

Oh, I've wanted to post this rumor for so long (and have hinted at it on Twitter) but never could bring myself to pull the trigger when I couldn't get anything out of Monument or DDOT or any first-level source. But, here's WBJ going where I wouldn't (subscribers only): "[The District Department of Transportation] has signed a letter of intent and is close to a deal on a 10-year lease for 150,000 square feet in Monument Realty's Half Street building at 55 M St. SE, according to sources." Neither Monument nor DDOT would confirm to WBJ either, with DDOT spokesman John LIsle quoted as saying, "We are hoping to move this year. It may be ambitious, but that is our goal."
Originally DDOT was going to move to the Anacostia Gateway project, but that was cancelled a few months ago. WBJ says that, between DDOT's space and existing tenant Sayres and Associates (who apparently will be adding another 10,000 square feet to their lease), 55 M will be about two-thirds leased.
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More posts: 55 M St., Development News, Monument Valley/Half St., officespace
 

Thanks to one of the National Capital Planning Commission's fabulous documents, we're starting to get first hints of plans by the Cohen Companies for what they are describing as a three-building, 815,000-square-foot office, hotel, retail project on the very eastern end of M Street, nestled between Boathouse Row and the CSX tracks east of Maritime Plaza. It's so early in the process that it's not even on Cohen's New Projects page, but City Paper's Housing Complex blog has learned that the company will be putting together a planned unit development application to the Zoning Commission "over the next six to nine months." (No financing is lined up, though, so don't look for digging to start anytime soon.) See the NCPC document for some early drawings and some basic information on how they envision the offerings of the three buildings.
(Cohen Companies, by the way, is the developer of Velocity.)
Back in 2003-ish, there were plans for this site to be a townhouse development (see page 15), but those never got off the ground partly because of zoning issues, which then begat an attempted rezoning of the area in 2004 that failed. But rezoning of the site will have to be back in the forefront when this project's PUD application hits the zoning committee, since the space is still zoned "M" (industrial).
The project is in front of NCPC because of Cohen's request to close "paper street" segments of Virginia Avenue, M, and 14th streets. This is a part of a settlement between 1333 M Street, SE, LLC and the city from a lawsuit over waterfront development in South*west*, where the Cohen Companies are agreeing to release their claims in exchange for three small pieces of government land at 1333 M SE as well as the city's support in requesting the street closures. (The street closures themselves have been approved by the city council as bill B18-0572, and are expected to become law later this month.)
The NCPC is objecting to the street closures; and thankfully Greater Greater Washington has been writing in detail on the case, so I'm just going to throw it over to them for all the nitty gritty, because it's way out of my league. (Read also this GGW entry about connecting this area to the neighborhoods to its north if/when the remnants of the freeway to Barney Circle are removed.) But, again, the NCPC staff recommendation report is also a great read for not only the NCPC's concerns but also for the history of the area under review and other details. The NCPC board is meeting this afternoon, and we'll see what comes out of the session (I assume GGW will be hot on the trail).
If you've never ventured down that way, my East M page has a few not-particularly-current photos of the location (I don't get there very often myself), along with more images of Boathouse Row. When the project begins to wind its way through the zoning process, I'll get more on the ball. The city's 2009 Boathouse Row Planning Study is also a good spot to learn more about the area.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Evan, I'm reminded that I should have included the additional information that, because this is part of the old Washington Gas (and I think Steuart Petroleum) site, there are some serious remediation issues to be addressed, which are mentioned both by Ron Cohen on page 25 of this 2003 ZC transcript and on page 19 of this 2004 ZC transcript (saying that the contaminated soil is 11 feet down). Remediation is also mentioned in the 2009 Boathouse Row Planning Study and in this EPA document (under "Washington Gas and Light"). Oh, and the EPA's 1999 record of decision on what cleanup remedies would be needed. It should be noted that both Maritime Plaza buildings were completed after this document. (This is all before my time, so I'm researching on the fly.)
UPDATE II: Here's a WBJ article (subscribers only for 7 days) on the NCPC angle; it also reminds that, outside the monumental core of the city, NCPC's rulings are purely advisory.
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More posts: 1333 M, Development News, East of 11th Street, officespace, zoning
 

We went through this back in early March, when sharp-eyed JDLand readers passed along indications of work re-starting at the stalled 1015 Half Street office building project, with a Skanska sign going up at the skeleton. But it disappeared soon afterward, along with the workers that had briefly materialized. But last Tuesday, faithful Tweeters again reported signs of life at the work site, and now WBJ is reporting that Skanska USA Building is indeed about to re-start construction, expecting to finish the 440,000-sq-ft office and retail project by the end of the year.
This building, on the site of the old Nation nightclub, was first started in late 2007 before the collapse of developer Opus East ground work to a halt in May 2009. (These photos show the timeline pretty well!) The Douglas Wilson Companies was named receiver a few months later, and originally announced that work would re-commence in October of last year, but nothing has happened until now.
No tenants have been announced. See my 1015 Half page for more details on the long and winding road this project has taken.
UPDATE: Here's the press release from DWC announcing the restart.
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More posts: 1015 Half, Development News, officespace, square 697
 

Some alert readers reported today via e-mail and Twitter that there is renewed activity at the site of 1015 Half Street, where construction of the 440,000-sq-ft office building was halted in the middle of 2009 when owner Opus East went bust and liquidated. (The Douglas Wilson Companies was named receiver for the property in August.) I've heard no official announcements, but the many liens against the property were settled in January, and apparently people are on-site, and a new fence and "Skanska" sign are now up at Half and L, so we'll see if the project is in fact moving again.
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More posts: 1015 Half, Development News, officespace, square 697
 

I'm hearing that the Douglas Wilson Companies--a San Diego developer specializing in "distressed properties and crisis management" that was appointed in late July as receiver for both 1015 Half Street and 100 M--is getting construction moving again at 1015 Half (along with "aggressively" marketing and leasing of the building). Also, a "disposition strategy" for 100 M is expected to be in place later this month. This appears to be Wilson's first foray into the DC market, though the company also has branches in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, and San Francisco. This San Diego Business Journal profile of Wilson and his company gives a bit more info not only on the organization but on the role of a receiver in dealing with distressed properties. The two buildings hit the skids when Opus East collapsed and liquidated.
UPDATE: Here's the press release.
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More posts: 100 M, 1015 Half, Development News, officespace, square 697
 

Opus East, the development company whose portfolio includes the already completed 100 M and under construction 1015 Half office buildings, filed on Wednesday for Chapter 7 liquidation, according to the Washington Business Journal. The article mentions the falling through of Opus's deal to sell 100 M to MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors earlier this year as part of the company's woes, and the building is part of the bankruptcy filing and liquidation. The 1015 Half Street project, expected to finish late this year or early next year, is presumably part of it as well. No tenants for the 440,000-sq-ft office building have been announced.
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More posts: 100 M, 1015 Half, Development News, officespace, Square 743N, square 697
 

Two pieces from today's Washington Business Journal, both for subscribers only, tell of difficulties for two of Near Southeast's developers:
* Opus East, which birthed 100 M and the under construction 1015 Half, is "teetering on the verge of bankruptcy" because the "U.S. General Services Administration has refused to pay the developer for 'even one penny' of the more than $35 million the company has invested in erecting a new federal building in College Park." Its parent company, Opus Corp., is exploring bankruptcy or restructuring for Opus East and Opus West--two other Opus companies went into Chapter 11 this spring. The article also says that Opus East's deal with MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors of Detroit to buy 100 M fell through in May; but 1015 Half is, for now, "continuing in full swing."
* And Monument Realty is having trouble, though not on Half Street--"At the end of May, at least three contractors filed suit in D.C. Superior Court to enforce more than $1.3 million in mechanic's liens the contractors filed against the last of three condominium buildings Monument is building at Potomac Place Tower near the Southwest waterfront. [...] At least one of the contractors is asking the court for a forced sale, if necessary, to collect amounts due."
 

From today's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only), news that Jim Butz and Greg Lamb of what was once JPI East have taken over what was left of that company (down to 22 employees from 380 a few years ago) and are partnering with Matt Klein and other principals at Akridge to create the Jefferson Apartment Group. Butz and Lamb "continue to hold a partnership stake in JPI [Multifamily]'s holdings," which includes 70 and 100 I and 909 New Jersey. The article says that Jefferson Apartment Group is "already targeting five properties" in DC, Philadelphia, and Boston, and "is in the early stages of planning and zoning new developments in Fairfax Count and Philadelphia," but doesn't mention what may be happening with 23 I, the fourth JPI property in Near Southeast on the Wendy's site at Half and I.
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More posts: 23 I, 909half, 909 New Jersey, JBG/Akridge Half St., Development News, jpi, Square 697n
 
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