Douglas Moving Forward on Squares 450/451 **UPDATED*

Over the years Douglas Development has assembled a majority of properties on Squares 450 and 451 (see map below for Square boundaries). In both 2008 and 2009 we learned from Paul Millstein of tentative mixed use plans Douglas had for the sites including a rumor of a major entertainment anchor and relocating The Waffle Shop. But development groundbreakings across the city were at a standstill and nothing came to pass. The economic cold front seems to be thawing across the city in 2011. We seem to be closer than ever to action on these parcels including recent news of a partnership with Kettler for an apartment project at 6th & L.

Boundaries of Squares 450 & 451; click to enlarge

Lydia DePillis of the City Paper got the very latest scoop from Douglas last night at an ANC 2C meeting.

Douglas plans to sign a lease this month with a large association headquarters that will take the entirety of a 300,000 square foot office building, with ground floor retail. The mystery entity looked at 24 sites in the region, Millstein said, and chose square 451 for a flagship location. He expects a groundbreaking next year.

UPDATE [1/6/11 5:25PM] – Tierney Plumb of the Washington Business Journal reveals that the future tenant, who aims to occupy the property by the Q4 2013, is the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

While informing the attendees of their latest plans Millstein also asked for ANC support on a request for relief from the blighted tax rate on the former Hodges Sandwich Shop property (616 New York Ave NW).

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  1. 1

    Thomas says

    I am confused; is it Square 450 or 450 K Street? See quotes below.

    “The 6th St. and New York Avenue site [on Square 450] hosted A.V. Ristorante Italiano for nearly 60 years before Jemal’s Douglas Development Corp. bought it in 2007 with plans to turn it into an office building. The market tanked, plans stalled and, three years later, the only tenants the site has seen are the Fringe Festival and a billboard. To move off the sidelines and onto the playing field, Jemal is considering building apartments. In its mid-year residential market update, Delta Associates reported that there were 500 units planned for the site.”
    Jemal mulls downtown residential projects | Washington Business Journal

    “[Douglas Development Corp] is nearing a joint-venture agreement withhome-building giant Kettler on 450 K St. NE, 22,000 square feet Douglas owns in NoMa. Kettler plans more than 200 apartment units.”
    Washington Post

    “200-unit, Shalom Baranes-designed rental building on the site where the Fringe Festival has been allowed to stage for the last few years [on Square 450], to be built in a joint venture with residential giant Kettler. That one’s in the bag, and Millstein says he hopes to break ground within 12 months.”
    Washington City Paper

  2. 3

    FourthandEye says


    Douglas will enter into two arrangements with Kettler for apartment projects. One will on the corner of 6th & L Streets NW which Millstein discussed at the ANC meeting because that block is in ANC2C. The other project is at 450 K Street across from City Vista. Kettler has informed me that they’ll have more details to share in the Feb 1 timeframe.

    Regarding AAMC they plan to buy the parcel at 7th & K Streets NW from Douglas. My understanding is that given they are 510c3 non-profit they are exempt from property taxes. Therefore owning is much more advantageous to leasing for their association.

  3. 5

    John Thompson says

    450 K St. is the other residential venture between Kettler & Douglas; Square 451 is AAMC.

  4. 6

    John Thompson says

    D’oh. Meant 451. To the best of my knowledge, 450 K is still a joint Douglas/Kettler venture.

  5. 7

    FourthandEye says

    I’m curious to know what the fate of the Hartig Motors building (627 K) will be. The other buildings on that block are of marginal aesthetic value IMO but the Hartig motors building has a good deal of potential.

    I presume Millstein will visit MVSNA this month and we can probe for more details.

  6. 8

    John Thompson says

    I LOVE that building, as well as 601 K St. They both have a TON of potential. 617 K is an amazing row home & I hope it stays as well. It’s a nice reminder as to what the residential character of neighborhood used to look like, since there’s not a lot of the original MVT neighbohood left. Douglas did a great job with restoring the structures on 7th in Chinatown and incorporating modern, uses in them. I hope we see the same in MVT.

  7. 9

    Thomas says

    If Douglas Development sells (sold?) Square 451, Jamal no longer would have an interest in anything on the 600 block of K Street (Wasn’t that where his 10th Street Waffle House was to be relocated?), or on the South side of the 600 block of NY Avenue for that matter. Mr. Millstein, VP for Construction, Douglas Development Corporation, may not have definitive information. I would argue that the AAMC, as a non-taxable entity, has great incentive to maximize self-utility of its future office building and little or no incentive to be “friendly to the neighborhood.” I think there is little chance of them restoring the structures on the 600 block of K Street or on NY Ave.

  8. 10

    FourthandEye says

    @Thomas – Jemal doesn’t own the entirety of either square, nor would he be selling the entirety of what he does own in either of these two projects (AAMC, Kettler). That said it’s hard to imagine the AAMC site not including the Hartig building – I’m almost certain it would.

    I expect AAMC will have to comply with anything in the zoning and preservation law. But I don’t expect them to do anything beyond that. I think K Street will have to have retail per the zoning. But any buildings not protected by HP are unlikely to be saved.

  9. 11

    Dan Maceda says

    Don’t we already have too much tax exempt property in DC? Isn’t it time to call a halt to this. The American Association of Medical Colleges is simply another one of these lobbyist organizations. It’s employees are probably all going to be Md or Va residents.

  10. 12

    FourthandEye says

    I hear you Dan on the tax exempt issue – but I don’t think AAMC is just a lobbyist org. I know firsthand they have a large IT shop. I’ve perused through dozens of their listings on the job boards in the past and had a convo with their technical recruiter.

  11. 13

    Dan Maceda says

    Ok But I still believe that it is long past time for the District which has a severely constrained tax base to consider placing some limits on tax exempt property. It does after all limit the expansion of Universities within DC limits.The District needs to review all the non Federal or International governmental tax exempt properties particularly the ones that appear to be land banked and vacant.It needs to publish the information with the current justifications for the exempt status. If only that we the taxpayers can see who we carry the burden for and for what purposes.