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Demolition to Begin at Former Marrakesh Site

According to last week’s permits demolition is set to begin at the former Marrakesh site at 617 New York Ave NW. The restaurant closed in September 2012 and the property was sold to Douglas Development in March 2013 for $12.75 million. The raze permit indicates Douglas Development will demolish the majority of the structure leaving only the principal historic facade and elements intact.

Marrakesh and the Midas building Douglas purchased in 2009

Marrakesh and the Midas building Douglas purchased in 2009

I would presume these buildings are part of the assemblage for the massive spec office building we reported Douglas had in the works back in 2012. But they own nearly the entirety of the block and at one point were planning both an office building and a residential building.

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WaPo: Museum Square Residents Unite to Save Building

As we’ve outlined in past postings, an offer of sale of $250 million has been put forth to the Museum Square tenants association as a means to honor the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). This number is generated by the landlord based on raze and redevelopment potential of the site at a higher density rather than what the fair market value is for the units. This story will continue to be ongoing as things develop and the media writes stories on the tenants attempts to avoid being displaced.

Museum Square Apartments at 401 K Street NW

Museum Square Apartments at 401 K Street NW

The latest is from the Washington Post and is entitled “Black, Asian residents unite to save low-income building near Chinatown.” Eye opening, but at least for me, in a way that cuts both ways.
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Mount Vernon Place Finalizes Acquisition of Two Parcels on 3rd Street NW

According to the Washington Business Journal, The Wilkes Company and Quadrangle Development Corp, the developers behind the Mount Vernon Place master development, have finalized acquisition of two parcels on 3rd Street NW from the District. The process to acquire the parcels spanned roughly 8 years and was considerably involved due to the nature of the property abutting the west side of the I-395 highway. At various stages DDOT, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), Housing and Urban Development, and the Federal Highway Administration had to be engaged to ensure the title of the land was clean and a sale could move forward.

Latest rendering of Cantata/801 3rd St NW

Latest rendering of Cantata/801 3rd St NW

With these key parcels now secured the residential project long planned for the east side of 3rd Street NW in the Mount Vernon Place Master Plan can now realistically move forward. This is especially good news for the Mount Carmel Baptist Church which has long been a stakeholder for this particular 320 unit residential development (20% affordable units).  The church has equity in the project and will benefit from planned amenities that will include a program space for the congregation as well as 75 parking spaces dedicated for church use.

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New Billboards at 4th & K

It took a while, but the billboard panels for the fence at the north perimeter of the 300 K Street parking lot have recently been installed. The fence was erected in November 2013 in a way that always foreshadowed the eventual installation of integrated billboards.

New Billboard at 4th & K

New Billboard at 4th & K

The billboard advertises the opportunity for the 300K office building The Wilkes Company plans to eventually build on this site as part of their overall Mount Vernon Place master planned development. Although Wilkes now seems to be branding the project 901 4th Street – which is actually the address of the current MVT CID offices in the former Madrigal Lofts sales trailer. It could be that what they were once calling 300K may now be subdivided into two different buildings.
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Carnegie Library Redevelopment Meeting on July 23

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), in coordination with Events DC, invite you to attend a Section 106 consultation meeting for the proposed redevelopment of the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 from 11am – 12:30pm. As reported last September, the redevelopment aims to relocate the Spy Museum to the Carnegie Library site. The transformation of the Carnegie Library would incorporate a new glass atrium on the north side of the building.

Carnegie Library image from Wikipedia

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Museum Square Saga Just Beginning

Earlier this month we highlighted news that Museum Square Apartments will not be renewing its Section 8 housing status. In order to adhere to the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) an offer of sale has been issued to the tenants of $250,000,000 – which equates to over $830,000 per unit. Clearly not fair market value for the existing state of the units and more of a price driven by the raze and redevelopment potential of the land. The assessed value of the property is $36 million.

Museum Square Apartments at 401 K Street NW

Museum Square Apartments at 401 K Street NW

Aaron Wiener of the Washington City Paper’s Housing Complex recently penned a two-part update on this situation. Part one outlined many of the details and is supported by quotes from affected residents. Part two highlights legislation At-large Councilmember David Catania is trying to push through to regulate TOPA for Section 8 housing buildings to make it adhere strictly to the assessed value. Considering Catania is the major opponent for Murial Bowser in the 2014 Mayoral election this issue could become a major political lightning rod.
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Museum Square Offer of Sale at $250 Million

The District Source reports that the landlord of the Museum Square Apartments at 401 K Street NW will not renew their Section 8 contract when it expires in September. Instead they have notified the District of a TOPA Offer of Sale with a $250,000,000 price tag. Tenants have been notified that they can purchase the building at that asking price which calculates out roughly to $830,000 per unit.

Museum Square Apartments at 401 K Street NW

Museum Square Apartments at 401 K Street NW

The asking price clearly is driven more by the redevelopment potential of the site than the value of the current apartment building which is assessed at $32.5 million. This would lead one to believe that this is a precursor to redevelopment. Razing and redeveloping the site, which would undoubtedly put the parking underground, could maximize the lot under zoning and potentially triple the residential density. This additional density plus the new ground floor retail mandated by the K Street overlay would do wonders for transforming the Mount Vernon Triangle into even more of a walker’s paradise.
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Homeless Shelter Services to return to former Gospel Rescue Ministries buildings

In 2013 the Rock Creek Property Group acquired 808-810 5th St NW from Gospel Rescue Ministries for a sales price of $5.95 million. RCPG’s intent was demolish a portion of both buildings and build an eight-story rear addition for a new 50+ unit condominum development. According to the Washington Business Journal, challenges arose with the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and RCPG has elected to execute a 20 year lease agreement with the District. It will once again be operated as a homeless shelter as it had been for the prior 75 years. The Department of Human Services plans to use the first four floors to house women in the “temporary shelter model.” The fifth floor will contain units for women in the District’s transitional housing program.

810 5th Street NW

Gospel Rescue Missions building at 808-810 5th Street NW

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Another I-395 Air-Rights project in MVT upcoming

The Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) recently released a RFEI for development of Squares 0560 and 0563N near 2nd & H Streets NW. Square 0560 represents the Air Rights over I-395 above H Street that is currently occupied by a two level parking structure. Square 0563N is a triangular parcel between 2nd Street, New Jersey Ave and H Street NW that is currently a fenced in gravel parking lot.

DMPED_I-395-RFEI

It is not entirely clear to me whether the Air-Rights parking structure would be torn down and this project would start anew? Or if the parking structure could be reinforced to support new development above it. I would guess the later but am unsure.

RFEI submissions are due August 28th. After a short list is compiled from the submissions a formal RFP (Request for Proposals) process will begin in the fall.

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MVT CID Seeking Real Estate & Planning Manager

mvtlogo_tallThe Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District (MVT CID) is seeking an Economic Development and Planning Manager who will be responsible for tracking and analyzing development projects and retail opportunities, planning for transportation improvements and public realm activation, preparing and monitoring the collection of CID taxes, conducting research, writing grant applications, and other tasks. For full job posting follow this link.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and two references to claire@mvtcid.org by Thursday, June 12th 2014.

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