I-395 Air Rights update

Louis Dreyfus Property Group presented an update on their I-395 air rights project at both the ANC6C Planning, Zoning and Environment (PZ&E) committee meeting and the full commission meeting this February.

Si Kailian attended the PZ&E meeting and provided a recap on the MVSNA blog.

From RobA:

(Dreyfus) submitted the PUD application for the first phase of development at the end of the year and will now be going through the process of scheduling the official ANC and Zoning hearings as well as working with the Federal Highway Authority on the project. It’s an exciting development, planned to be LEED Platinum certified and will add commercial, retail, residential, and green space to what is now the I-395 cavern.

From Si’s recap:

(Dreyfus is) proposing to construct an approximately 2.2 million square foot mixed-use development, which consists of approximately 2 million square feet of commercial use (which includes approximately 75,000 square feet of retail) and 180,000 square feet of residential. One Committee member did remark how the conceptual design of the north elevation was reminiscent of Tech World, its has a similar element of 2 big buildings with a 3 story connection element – but with green space below instead of an expanse of concrete.

I did not attend the PZ&E meeting, but did see the presentation at the full ANC6C commission meeting. Below is what I sketched translated to a Google satellite image. This is an approximation not exact – PLEASE DON’T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY.

Click to enlarge; Blue=commercial, Red=Residential, Dark Green=relocated buildings

Some points I picked up during the presentation:

  • Decking will cost ~$210 million; Office component must be maximized to cover capitalization costs
  • Area is zoned for medium density office or high density residential/hotel. Requesting zoning relief to allow high density office.
  • All parking and loading docks are below ground between 3rd Street NW and I-395.
  • The P1 parking level showed substantial bike parking
  • Residential building will have 150 units; 50 affordable with a mix of 30 and 60 AMI
  • Jewish Historical building will need to be relocated
  • At the moment neither F or G Streets will be fully restored to vehicle traffic from 3rd to 1st Street. The Holy Rosary Church and Georgetown Law each want sections to remain pedestrian only.

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  1. 1

    Anonymous says

    Does anyone know whether this air rights project will lead to the closure of the ramp to 395 off of 3rd street? I really hope not because it is so convenient!

  2. 2

    fourthandeye says

    Long term the ramp is envisioned to stay. It’s possible that at certain points during construction it may be closed – not sure…

  3. 3

    Anonymous says

    While I think it will be really great to have this project finished, I don’t fully understand the economics of it. It seems like building anything new in the next few years around this area is very risky considering the mostly-empty penzance building, the new condo building next to 395, the empty condo and retail units in CityVista and Madrigal Lofts, and the plans QDC has for the area in an even shorter time-frame and the Arts at 5th and I project. Did the Dreyfus folks ever bring up this issue and how they think their space is going to be filled in this real estate and economic environment?

  4. 4

    fourthandeye says

    This is a much more involved project than developing an empty parking lot. The time horizon for full buildout is likely 12-15 years. Given that, the current inventory of unsold space you listed IMO would not be a concern for this project.

  5. 6

    Douglas A. Willinger says

    “At the moment neither F or G Streets will be fully restored to vehicle traffic from 3rd to 1st Street. The Holy Rosary Church and Georgetown Law each want sections to remain pedestrian only.”

    It is the I-395 access ramps that hinder restoring F and G Street continuity.

    The deck concept is excellent and should go towards demonstrating to the neo version of the people a century or more ago who opposed urban railway subways because of the elevated berm urban railroads.

  6. 7

    DCDNA says

    The Jewish Historical Society Building was originally on 6th and G Streets and was moved to make room for the Metro building. We learned at the ANC6C meeting that the plan was to relocate it to the West lawn of the Building Museum temporarily and move it back at a future date.

    This lawn is an important community amenity enjoyed by many. I hope this plan is reconsidered so we do not lose the lawn.

  7. 8

    fourthandeye says

    @DCDNA – Good Point. I think the ANC6C PZ&E committee will push for a different site for the relocation. Perhaps the parking lot side of the NBM.

    What I am unclear on – would the JHS building be a vacant shell during the temporary relocation or would it be connected back into the water and power grids?

  8. 9

    Douglas A. Willinger says

    Where can one see illustrations of how the I-395 access ramps will be reconfigured?

  9. 10

    Anonymous says

    I agree with Holy Rosary Church that F and G remain pedestrian use only, as the rectory has become a landmark, and the Jewish Historical society building…also known as Adas Israel Synagogue should be left alone.