Three years ago the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning & Economic Development (DMPED) awarded the RFP for 5th & I to Donohoe/Holland. The winning bid from Donohoe/Holland included an international boutique hotel, art gallery, jazz club, cafe, bike shop and a residential component. Also of note was the expressed intent from the team to pursue assemblage along 5th Street to expand the project north to K Street.
Timing of the award was less than ideal given the economic climate in late 2008 and throughout 2009. The project was in limbo. At points we heard news that Donohoe was interested in potentially beginning construction of the jazz club in advance of the rest of the project and/or breaking the entire project down into two phases.
Recently residential construction all around the district is ramping back up but this project has remained stalled. The developer visited the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association (MVSNA) in June and suggested the project needs to be downsized to move forward. Financing such a complex project remains difficult but a reduction in scope could help them clear that hurdle. It sounded as though the scope of assemblage would be reduced and the project would perhaps focus strictly on hotel and retail and remove the residential component. But this discussion was light on specifics – we were promised more explanation when the discussion went to the ANC.
This Thursday Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins will address ANC6C at their full commission meeting (agenda) on the status of the project.
ANC6C Full Commission Meeting
September 15, 2011, 7 pm
214 Massachusetts Avenue N.E.
Hoskins is a 2011 appointee of Mayor Vince Gray and may elect to blow this up and start with a new RFP. Or he may concede that the scope of the project should be reduced. It remains to be seen.