At the February ANC6E meeting the finalists for the 5th and Eye RFP attended and presented their Best and Final Offers (BAFOs) to the community. The 5 minute presentations by the developers focused on what aspects of the team’s proposals had changed since the Dec 19th presentations to address the community feedback. Rather than bury the lead at the end of the article I will say that the ANC vote resulted in a tie for the Akridge/JAG residential project and the Trammell Crow/CSG office building. Commissioner Marge Maceda, who represents the impacted single member district, favored Akridge/JAG. The Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) will ultimately make the final selection for the awarding the RFP.
The full rank order of the finalists by the ANC is in the chart below.
In their January meeting the ANC requested that each developer enhance their proposals to put $2.5 million in escrow for improvements to Seaton and Milian parks. The ANC also extended more tailored suggestions to the individual projects. The development teams had time at last night’s meeting to highlight changes they made to their proposals to address the feedback. I’ll present those highlighted changes below.
Akridge/Jefferson Apartment Group: Mixed use residential project with affordable housing units on site. Reduced 1 level of parking to push down to 90 spaces. Reduced setback of top floors to add more market rate rental units. These changes afford them to increase their community benefits contribution from $500,000 to $2,000,000 for the parks improvement. Increase total retail space from 8,000 SF to 10,400 SF. Included in that retail space is 1,500SF of community meeting space (and increase of 500SF). They also incorporated changes to put more retail frontage on the Eye street side of the building.
JBG/Moddie Turay Company: Mixed use residential project with affordable housing units on site. I did not detect any meaningful changes to their proposal in their BAFO. They just took the approach of stating the 30 affordable units represent a $4,500,000 benefit to the community and that if more was desired than their current $400,000 parks contribution it could be reallocated from the affordable housing side of the ledger.
CSG/Trammell Crow: Spec Office/Retail project. Increased their previously pledged $2,000,000 contribution to the parks to $2,500,000 in escrow. Emphasized they would begin planning and design for parks immediately after a Land Disposition Agreement is signed if RFP is awarded to their bid. Stated their contribution to the affordable housing unit fund would be equivalent to 40 units. Upgraded their project to LEED platinum status. Offered to have art in lobby of the office building be commissioned by ANC-led process.
Peebles Corporation: Standard Hotel branded luxury boutique hotel with ground floor retail and 59 condos. Peebles mostly restated all the components of his December 19th proposal. The major differences I noted was that he pledged to put $2,000,000 in escrow for the parks. He also stated that his off-site affordable housing units would be between 40% and 60% AMI. The other residential finalists affordable housing units were stated to be in the 50-80% range.
Akridge/JAG clearly took the ANC feedback most seriously as they made the most modifications. JBG did the least in my estimation to improve their offer.
After consideration my personal endorsement would be CSG/Trammell Crow and I would urge them to sign BicycleSPACE as one of their retailers. I would rank Peebles second. I have concerns about taxis and a valet station dominating that already congested corner and a very narrow I Street. And the last time Mount Vernon Triangle attempted to go for uber luxury sizzle, Buddha Bar, it resulted in the only failed business we’ve had. That said, I will support the Peebles project if it is awarded the site. Akridge would rank 3rd for me and JBG would place 4th.