443 Eye Apartments to Break Ground in August

Recent rendering of EQR apartments

According to DCMud the apartment project from EQR that recently displaced BicycleSPACE and Gold Leaf Studios at 443-459 I Street NW will break ground this August. The development will restore two 3-story townhouses and a 2-story autobody garage while building vertically around those structures. When complete the buildings will offer 15,000 square feet of retail space.

The rendering recently circulating on the internet lacks much detailing. That may be because its just an early drawing or perhaps the architecture of the towers are being slightly simplified as it is a mid-block building. Either way, the renderings from 2008 when Walnut Street owned the project seemed a little more inspired.

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WCP: Gold Leaf Studios Will Shutter in January

As development of mixed use residential at 443-459 Eye Street NW prepares to move forward the retail tenants of those buildings have little time left. The Washington City Paper’s Arts Desk reveals that Gold Leaf Studios, the arts community in the blue & white warehouse building, will have to move out by January 31st, 2012.

Building photo of 443 I St from flickr user Kyle Walton

BicycleSPACE at 459 I Street NW is in the same boat. At the ANC meeting in March prospective buyer IBG Partners stated they hoped to keep BicycleSPACE on the site. But there have been reports that Equity Residential may have bought the project from Walnut Street Development rather than IBG. It remains to be seen how this all shakes out. But many of us hope BicycleSPACE can remain in the neighborhood some way some how.

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Update on 443-459 Eye Street

At last night’s ANC6C PZ&E committee meeting we heard a HPA extension request regarding a residential project proposed for 443-459 I Street. The extension request was being made by IBG Partners who is interested in purchasing the land and developing the project that Walnut Street Development had earned approval for in 2006. Despite the HPA paperwork expiring years ago the Historic Preservation agency informed IBG they would allow the group to apply for an extension rather than reset the process if the project would be exactly as approved in 2006.

Known in the past as Eye Street Lofts the development would restore two 1880′s 3-story townhomes, the two story warehouse garage structure, and a former blacksmith shop along the rear alley as these are contributing structures to the Mount Vernon Triangle Historic District. The building currently leased by BicycleSPACE would be razed. As you can see in the picture above the residential towers above the historic properties would be setback off the street. The groundfloor would support retail uses and there are preliminary discussions between IBG and BicycleSPACE about relocating the bike shop to the historic garage.

[Read more...]

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ANC 6C PZ&E Committee meeting this Wednesday

The ANC 6C PZ&E Committee has several agenda items related to MVT on the docket on Wednesday including 450 K Street.

ANC 6C Planning, Zoning, and Environment Committee

Draft Agenda

March 2, 2011, 7:00 pm
NPR – Board Room West
635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

1. 218 Morgan Street NW [BZA #18195] Application pursuant to 11 DCMR § 3103.2, for a variance from the lot occupancy requirements under section 403, and a variance from the nonconforming structure provisions under subsection 2001.3, to reconstruct a flat (two-family dwelling) with attic addition in the R-4 District at premises 218 Morgan Street, N.W. (Square 555, Lot 80). Representative: Nancy Green-Johnson (Owner); Hearing Date: 04/12/2011. [ANC 6C02]

2. 443-459 Eye Street, NW [HPA #06-064] Request for two-year extension for previously approved concept; Representative: Andi Adams, Goulston and Storrs; Hearing Date: 03/24/2011. [ANC 6C01]

3. 450 K Street NW [HPA #11-143] Concept approval sought for thirteen-story residential building on vacant lot; Representative: Paul Millstein, Douglas Development; Hearing Date: 03/24/2011. [ANC 6C01]

4. I-395 Air Rights Project; Discussion on changes to be submitted to Zoning Commission. Representative: Christy Shiker, Holland & Knight ; Hearing Date: 03/25/2011. [ANC 6C01]

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DC Jazz Loft this Sunday

CapitalBop will hold its first D.C. Jazz Loft, a collection of performances featuring some of the city’s most innovative musicians in a relaxed, creative environment.

The event
is inspired by the jazz lofts of the bebop era, when musicians would come together in New York apartments after their gigs to stretch out creatively and try new ideas, free from the constraints of often-stuffy jazz clubs. The D.C. Jazz Loft is designed to highlight the talents of many of the District’s best improvisational musicians – be they beboppers, free-jazz cats or fusion players.

Things will start at 7 p.m., with sets varying in length from 30 minutes to one hour, and the performances will run through 11 p.m. After the sets are done, things will open up – in true jazz loft fashion – into an open jam session. So musicians, bring your axes!

To get to the loft space, arrive at 443 I St. NW and walk up the alley until you see the red door on your left.

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Eye Catching Displays

Below are snapshots of two signs posted in the neighborhood over the last few days.

The remodel of the office building at 425 Eye is in full force and the Paramount group recently erected the gigantic banner above along the structure’s rear. I do think the slogan “Here comes the neighborhood” is a bit ridiculous for an office building. If you’re going to spin it that way atleast hype the 28,000 s.f. of retail elsewhere on the banner. Overall I am pleased the blank wall has been dressed up.

Also of note on Eye Street is that DURKL apparel now has lettering in their front window. They reside in the blue & white garage at 443 Eye Street.

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Gold Leaf Studios Open House

Summer Open House

Sunday, June 28, 2 – 6pm
443 I Street NW

Building photo of 443 I St from flickr user Kyle Walton

From Brightest Young Things:

Gold Leaf Studios is a converted car garage, and has been the home to many legendary dc artists, musicians and scenesters for many years. The building has undergone a few revolutions and is still hoppin’ and better than ever with new artists, musicians and a soon-to-be-opened ground floor retail shop and design house DURKL (opening in July).

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Walnut Street Development to sell parcels

Courtesy of DCMud we learn that Walnut Street Development (WSD) is set to sell it’s lots on Eye Street NW. These lots include historic properties which WSD had intended to preserve while building a 12-story complex of apartment and retail called Eye Street Lofts.

“[Developer Jared Jablonka] added that WSD had delayed groundbreaking because they hoped to win the 5th and I site. “We had held off because the announcement of a developer for the adjacent piece of land (5th the and I) was delayed. We wanted to incorporate that site into our project, that was the idea, but then we got the offer to sell the site and it was hard to turn down. We are now under contract.”

WSD’s original $55 million multi-use project would have been a renovation of two 1880′s row houses and other industrial buildings into an approximately 12-story structure with over 15,000 s.f. of community-serving retail space.

WSD’s plans have been in the works since 2005 and have since faced several obstacles because of the historic nature of the buildings on site that include the Central Auto Works garage, a historically-designated structure. Architects HOK Group decided to incorporate the entire garage into the new edifice by piercing columns through the building and creating footings beneath the garage to support the new construction. The development would have also included the two existing row houses as well as a historic blacksmith shop.”

Yellow Door

Current photo of 443 I St from flickr user Kyle Walton

Rendering of the Eye Street Lofts that WSD had planned

I attended both the initial presentation and the ANC 6C special meeting on the 5th and Eye project. During each meeting it was clear that JBG had an agreement for WSD’s parcels. While other projects had deals with other land owners to expand north, JBG seemed to exclusively hold the keys to expanding east on Eye Street. So, I don’t think this news signifies JBG has made a recent breakthrough. I think the climate is basically the same as it’s been for months.

The Donohoe/Holland proposal called The Arts and 5th and Eye has received all the community support. ANC 6C, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, and the residents of 555 Mass have each endorsed the Donohoe/Holland bid. JBG’s proposal also lagged behind the I5 proposal from Potomac Investment in community support. A big reason for this is that every other finalist was specific about the hotel and retail partners their projects they’ve paired with and JBG offered no details.

JBG’s portfolio in the immediate neighborhood does not suggest they develop buildings that actively engage the streetscape. The Hampton Inn, 555 Mass, and the Convention Center lack the sufficient retail elements to generate pedestrian activity and eyes on the streets. Personally I’m disappointed that 555 Mass did not incorporate any first floor retail on 5th Street. The Office of Planning’s (OP) master plan for the Triangle designated 5th Street as our retail corridor. JBG may have had their justifications for disregarding OP’s recommendation but it’s still a large missed opportunity for the community. These new buildings are going to be here for many decades and you only get one chance to build it right…

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