Tonight I attended the public ODMPED meeting of development presentations for the lot at 5th and I Street NW (463 Eye St NW).
Four developers presented for approximately twenty minutes apiece with a brief moderated Q&A forum at the end. The proposals had some common elements. These included had a prominent hotel element, retail/dining, LEED green building and an aspect relating to the Arts. The majority of the proposals included a residential component, plans to acquire adjacent lots to the RFP and affordable housing. Below I’ll highlight proposal specific details.
JBG Associates LLC2
JBG has aspirations to produce a development with the biggest footprint. They aim to acquire 8 parcels across four sites to expand their development beyond the RFP lot. The plan included a 230 rm boutique hotel, retail space, over 180 market rate residential units and 34 affordable housing units. They suggested that Hotel Palomar in Rosslyn, another one of their projects, would provide a comparable for the type of hotel they envision. While they have not narrowed down retail partners the plan includes expansive retail space that they would aim to fill with local establishments geared more towards serving the neighborhood than destination retail. My notes label this project as having residential units with views of Mass Ave with the hotel a little further up Eye St.
The Donohoe/Holland presentation did a great job captivating the audience. The project had a branded name (The Arts at 5th and I), a website, blog, eclectic high end retail, and even read off menu items from their anchor restaurant. The plan called for a four star lifestyle hotel (Me by Meliá), Spa (Yhi), space for international art photography, a london based jazz restaurant (Boisdale) and an urban cafe with full service breakfast (Cappuccinos). Development will locate the jazz club portion of Boisdale below grade level to offset noise concerns. The building, designed by Shalom Baranes, would be mixed use with ground floor retail, 174 hotel units in the mid levels, and 96 residential units on the upper floors. If I recall correctly affordable housing is in the mix but it’s not in my chicken scratch notes.
Potomac Investment Properties(PIP)
This development proposal coined itself I5 and is lead by a group of entirely DC based businesses owned by district residents. This plan is self contained on the RFP lot and has the smallest footprint. PIP feels staying small is an advantage they offer by not overwhelming the block. The hotel (Avalon Hotel & Spa) in this plan has a more modest 80 units. An open courtyard above the 2nd level engages more greenspace into the block. A City Cafe would be created in partnership with Constantine Stavropoulous (Tryst | Open City | The Diner). This proposal is also taking a different slant on the goal of integrating the Arts. Unlike the others, live music is not part of the plan. Instead working with the Cultural Development Corporation they aim to provide affordable artist studios and exhibit space.
The Buccini/Pollin group (BPG) submitted two proposals to the city. In an effort to offer a different product and feeling the community is amply served with residential market rate housing their plan solely features two hotels and retail. The two Starwood branded hotels would complement each other. Element serves the extended stay traveler while ALoft (similar to W Hotel) offers a trendy option for short visits. The large retail space would be entirely occupied by World Cafe Live. This venue would feature a restaurant, two live music spaces and the occasional event with 1000 general admission patrons. But the BPG emphatically stated that this venue is not a big box concert venue like House of Blues and would only be open to 1am on weekends. World Cafe Live has a very successful venue in City Centre Philadelphia with another location being built in Wilmington.
Thoughts? I’m glad to see the hotel and retail in all four proposals. The neighborhood needs more amenities and pedestrian traffic. My guess is that PIP proposal will appeal most to 555 Mass residents. I was partial to the Donohoe/Holland vision.