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Mayor Gray selects Peebles bid for 5th & Eye

It was announced this morning that Mayor Gray and the Office of the Deputy Major of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) selected the Peebles Corporation and Walker Group bid for the 5th and Eye RFP site. As we learned from the RFP Finalist presentations on Dec 19th and the Peebles bid calls for a Standard Hotel, 59 branded residences, ground floor retail, 100 off-site affordable housing units near the Anacostia metro station, and a $2,000,000 commitment to upgrade the parks (Milian and Seaton) at the 5th and Eye intersection.

Peebles hotel rendering as of 12/19/2013; WDC Architects

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ANC6E supports Akridge and CSG for 5th and Eye RFP

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.

ANC6E endorses both Akridge/JAG (right) and TC/CSG (left)

ANC6E endorses both Akridge/JAG (right) and TC/CSG (left)

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Thoughts on 5th and I Community Benefits

Update: I’ve learned Akridge originally pledged $500K towards parks, not $200K. Apologies for stating an incorrect fact. I was simply repeating a number from a Washington Business Journal. Regardless, the point would still hold at $500K – that’s not enough to make the needed improvements to these two park parcels.



In late December I recapped the public meeting that presented the finalists for the 5th & I development RFP. While I’m not yet prepared to endorse one of the finalists I do want to briefly express my feelings on the community benefits regarding the improvements to the parks as part of the community benefits package as I know there is an ANC6E meeting tonight

5th & I Development site with Seaton and Milian Parks

I do think improving our parks to make them programmed with playscapes, dog runs, fountains or art (potentially), etc is critical to increasing the vibrancy and livability of the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood. These park parcels at 5th and I need to be be more than lawns to meet their potential. All four finalists nominally pledged to improve the parks. They even included possible renderings in their slideshow presentations. But the two finalists I that I noticed quantified their commitment in dollars were Akridge/JAG at $200,000 and Trammell Crow/CSG at $2 million (TC/CSG would also acquire land for and create a 3rd park at 3rd & K). That is quite a divide as Trammell Crow/CSG offering 10 times its competitor. Also, I know $200K sounds like a good deal of money, but surprisingly to some spread that across two parks would not go very far in upgrading hardscape materials, fencing, creating programmed features, labor, etc… Just for frame of reference, I’m pretty sure the sure The Liftoff sculpture in front of City Vista cost more than $100K alone and streetscaping contracts often cost $2million per city block…

While I’m still witholding final judgment my leaning right now is towards endorsing Trammell Crow/CSG’s proposal. I like the YMCA component of it as well. But in the short term I hope to urge the other finalists to up their contribution amount for park improvements in their Best and Final Offers.

To review the individual presentation the finalists made on Dec 19th for yourself, you may visit this page on the DMPED site.

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5th and I Public Meeting recap – UPDATED

Updated at 2:46PM on 12/20/2013 to insert renderings.

Last night Ivan Matthews of the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development hosted a meeting to showcase the four finalists for the 5th & I development RFP. Below is my quick and dirty recap of the proposals.

The common themes of the four development proposals was that community engagement and park improvements were necessary components. So was adhering to LEED Silver standards. The district also requires that some contribution to the city’s affordable housing pool be made, whether that be on-site, off-site or a sizable financial contribution. I also believe that DMPED wants the winning proposal to be able to break ground and deliver as quickly as possible as to avoid a redux of when Donohoe/Holland was awarded this parcel in 2008 and then proceeded to accomplish nothing for half a decade. To that affect none of these developers is seeking to pair this parcel with an assemblage of properties. Waiting for neighboring parcels to sell takes too much precious time.

Each development group had met with the ANC to discuss expectations and concerns. One major expectation is that the two triangle parks at 5th and I be dramatically enhanced to have programmed uses rather than the simple neglected tiny lawns they are today. This will require transferring the parks, apparently named Seaton and Milian, from the National Park Service to the district to be managed by either DPR, the MVT CID or a public private partnership. Each group seemed highly committed to fulfilling this requirement and dramatically upgrading these parks.

5th & I Development site with Seaton and Milian Parks

With those basics common elements of the way, here are the distinct highlights from each development team’s proposal:

Akridge/Jefferson Apartment Group: Mixed-use residential with 187 market rate units and 21 affordable housing units on-site. 8,000 SF of retail including 3000SF daycare and 1000 SF of community space. Architecture from Escoff associates will essentially be in the same vein as 400 Mass and 401/425 Mass down the block. This bid also pledges to provide $200,000 to redesign Milian and Seaton Parks, and $100,000 set aside for local civic and nonprofit groups.

Akridge/JAG rendering on 12/19/2013; design by Escoff Associates

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Public Presentations from Potential 5th & I Development Groups

The potential developers for the 5th and I St. NW RFP will be presenting plans to the community on Thursday, December 19th at 6:30pm. The meeting will be held at the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District office at 901 4th St. NW. The meeting will be videotaped.

The following developers were selected as finalists for the project:

  • Akridge, Jefferson Apartment Group, Jarvis Company, Escoff and Associates
  • JBG, Moddie Turay Company, Morris Adjmi Architects, Eric Colbert and Associates
  • Trammell Crow, CSG Urban Partners, Leo A Daly
  • Peebles Corporation, Walker Group, WDG Architects
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WBJ: 10 teams bid to develop D.C.-owned Fifth and Eye

In February The Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) officially terminated its agreement with Donohoe to develop the DC owned parcel at 5th & I. The Donohoe/Holland group had been awarded the parcel during a 2008 Request for Proposals (RFP) process yet failed on a multitude of levels to make progress towards ground breaking.

Rendering of failed project from 2008 RFP

This spring a Request For Expressions of Interest (RFEI) was issued by DMPED with a due date of July 19th. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal reports that 10 submissions were made.

In no particular order, they are:

  • AEPA International
  • Argos Group, Potomac Investment Properties, Martinez and Johnson Architects
  • JBG, Moddie Turay Company, Morris Adjmi Architects
  • Warrenton Group, Fourpoints, Skidmore Owings Merrill
  • Beztak Companies, Gold Krown Fund, Friedman Capital Advisors, Foxhall Partners, Sorg Architects
  • Lowe Enterprises, Torti Gallas Urban
  • Peebles Corp, Walker Group, WDG Architects
  • Trammell Crow, CSG Urban Partners, Leo A Daly
  • Spiral LLC, Republic Properties, Peter Fillat Architects
  • Akridge, Jefferson Apartment Group, Jarvis Company, Escoff and Associates

If this process follows a similar map to the 2008 process then we can expect that DMPED will narrow these 10 down to <= 5 finalists. The finalists will then compile presentations that will be showcased publicly. Our ANC and neighborhood organizations and residents can then potentially endorse the option they feel best. DMPED will take such endorsements as as input but not a mandate and will select a winning RFP.

I would guess the award process will spill into early 2014. Which may mean a groundbreaking likely wouldn’t materialize until 2016. Kind of depressing for those of us who were excited in 2008.

For what it’s worth, here is the recap of the RFP finalist presentations from 2008.

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WaPo: D.C. drops Donohoe as developer of Mount Vernon Triangle hotel

Jonathan O’Connell of the Washington Post’s Capital Business column reports that the District has dropped Donohoe Development as the developer of the 5th & Eye RFP site. Donohoe initially promised a 475,000-square-foot project made up of a 261-room Spanish luxury hotel by Meliá Hotels International and a 160-unit apartment building, with housing for artists, and retail space. A spokesperson from Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s office said the project will be re-bid later this year.

The public presentations of the original RFPs for 5th & Eye occurred on May 1, 2008. My recap of that meeting was one of my earliest postings after joining the blog. At the time the Donohoe proposal was the most inspired and earned the endorsements of local community organizations and ANC6C. That ultimately led to Donohoe being awarded the RFP in September 2008.

The economic slowdown/housing crisis understandably grinded progress to a halt in 2009 and 2010. However I do feel the total absence in progress by Donohoe in 2011 and 2012 was a damning indicator. Nor did they give us any reason to be optimistic for 2013. Residential buildings on other sites have been flying up the last two years in the Triangle and around the city. Yet all this site got was a parking lot and some lip service about potentially breaking ground in 2014 (six years after the RFP award). So I do agree its time to move on even if that potentially pushes things back a year as we have absolutely no reason to be confident in Donohoe. The Mount Vernon Triangle deserves better.

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Deputy Mayor to address ANC6C on 5th & I Development this Thursday

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.

Rendering of 2008 proposal for the Arts at 5th and I

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.

Victor Hoskins

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
Heritage Foundation
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.

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June MVSNA Meeting

This month’s Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association (MVSNA) membership meeting will be held on Tuesday May 17th at 7:30pm in the community room of the Yale Loft condominiums (437 New York Ave NW). A main topic of the meeting will be a discussion about the proposed downsizing Donohoe Development for The Arts at 5th & I project.

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