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NPR Highlights ambitious MVT preservation efforts

National Public Radio Headquarters (for the time being) sits across K Street from all the construction activity of the AAMC headquarters project. The endeavor of moving five historic structures on the site to make way for excavation has generated a great deal of curiousity and fascination. Robert Siegel and Melissa Block of All Things Considered hosted an informative 8 minute segment (audio | transcript) on the transformative project with sound bytes from Expert House Movers, DC Preservation Society, Douglas Development, architect Shalom Baranes, and Kebrab Tekla – a resident who sold the townhouse he lived in for 25 years to accommodate the site assemblage.

Expert House Movers move MVT buildings on wheels (Doriane Raiman/NPR)

Hat Tip: @pency87

My favorite excerpts from the transcript:

On one building having a history as a former brothel:

BLOCK: And in the middle of the block, there were a couple of faded Grand Dames built with when this was a thriving German immigrant neighborhood; three skinny Victorian-era row houses, and most recently one of them was known to be a brothel.

TYLER ANDERSON: I just told my guys, don’t touch anything.

BLOCK: I found Tyler Anderson outside that narrow three-story house. His company was reinforcing it so it could be moved without falling apart.

ANDERSON: There were saunas and whirlpools and walk-in showers, all on every floor. It was like oh, my God.

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Hodges building relocated

Demolition for the construction of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) new headquarters building (rendering) is well underway. Several buildings have been razed completely and two buildings have been relocated. Next up will likely be rear demolition and coupled with facade preservation (and off-site storage) of selected historic properties on the site.

I have a picture I snapped yesterday of the Hodges building at it’s relocated site. But the Citypaper’s Lydia DePillis posting features the move in-progress photos from Saturday which is more fascinating. I’ve elected to share the best photo of the photos Shaw Main Streets provided her below.

Hodges Sandwich Shop being wheeled across NY Ave (Alexander M Padro)

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AAMC HQ Renderings

As reported in the past, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has arranged a deal to purchase property from Douglas Development in the Mount Vernon Triangle to build a new headquarters office building. The parcel is on Square 451 and is bounded by 7th Street NW to the west, New York Ave NW to the north, K Street NW to the south while the east boundary is an alley. Several historically protected properties spread out along the K Street segment will be relocated to a cluster on K Street near the alley.

Until now we did not have renderings to display what AAMC has planned. Lydia DePillis of the City Paper tracked down four renderings from Shalom Baranes architectural firm. I’m displaying two below and encourage you to visit her link for the other two.

K Street elevation of AAMC; from Shalom Baranes (via WCP)

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628 New York Ave NW holdout sells

Townhouse at 628 New York Ave NW

Through the grapevine I’ve heard that the owner of the townhouse at 628 New York Avenue NW has sold. While a few 6th Street properties on Square 451 where not part of Douglas Development’s assemblage – this was the only holdout from either New York Ave or K Street. Douglas had continually said they would build around the property. But it now seems that an agreement has been reached and we can avoid a repeat of the 433 Mass “Ledo” situation.

Had 628 New York Ave NW not sold, the footprint of the new American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) headquarters building development would have had a notch similar to that seen in the image below.

628 New York Ave NW is a townhouse located in the notch of the outline

Raze permits for most buildings on the block have been posted and demolition could begin in September.

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AAMC HQ Project Raze Permits

As expected the upcoming construction for the AAMC headquarters office building requires razing several non-contributing structures on the site including the former District Crossfit gym at 624 New York Avenue. I did not anticipate that the adjacent 6th Street buildings owned by Douglas Development, which are not part of the development, would be marked with raze permits. Although to be fair I did not attend the July ANC meeting at which Douglas likely justified the request and  sought support for this action.

Was their a compelling reason for the 6th Street structures to be demolished now? Or do we just end up with another parking lot which can’t be taxed at the vacant rates?

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AAMC HQ update from Douglas Development

Thanks to Stan B who attended the ANC 2C meeting Wednesday night we have a small update on the development progress for the American Association of Medical Colleges headquarters that will be built on Square 451 (600 block of K Street). I’m not going to regurgitate all the details and images from the January post, so I recommend clicking through on the link in the prior sentence if you haven’t read that posting previously.

Paraphrasing Stan’s update:

“Paul Millstein of Douglas Development did not have much new to report on the project at the ANC meeting other than timeframes. But the AAMC headquarters intends to move along fast. Douglas did not present renderings of the new building as AAMC will manage construction on the site with their own developer. Douglas will raze the site and hope to begin that phase in September. The historic buildings on K Street will be first stabilized, and the front 20 to 30 feet of the structures relocated off site. Hodges will still be moved across NY Ave. Once the historic buildings have been relocated off site, the excavation and site work will begin.  Once the site has been prepared and new pads constructed the historic buildings will be brought back and collected in a continuous historic grouping at the east end of the site on K Street,  just to the west of the alley. The 6th street end of the site will remain undeveloped for now. The ANC supported the raze request.”

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WBJ: 628 NY Ave continues to holdout

In a subscriber article WBJ reporter Sarah Krouse hones in on a holdout property situated in the middle on the block on Square 451 which is slatedto be developed as a 300K SF office project to headquarter the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). The project is bounded by New York Avenue NW to the North, K Street NW to the South and 7th Street NW to the West. The eastern edge is an alleyway running between K and NewYork.

628 New York Ave NW is a townhouse located in the notch of the outline

The owner of the 628 New York Ave NW has reportedly been offered double the estimated value of the property or an alternative to move the house to join other historic structures but has not yet budged.  Could this game of chicken repeat the saga of the nearby “Ledo building” at 433 Mass Ave NW?

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Douglas Development Square 451 Project Update

Paul Millstein of Douglas Development spoke at Tuesday night’s MVSNA meeting to provide details about their imminent projects on the 600 Block of K Street and NY Ave (Squares 450 & 451) as well as the apartment project at 450 K Street.

The discussion did not reveal many new details above and beyond what the City Paper’s recap of this month’s ANC 2C meeting included. The new information I did learn was quickly recapped by Urbanturf yesterday. Rather than write a very similar recap to Urbanturf’s I’ve chosen to focus on images of properties involved in the plans for Square 451.

Rough mockup of proposed plan - click to enlarge

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January MVSNA Meeting

This month’s MVSNA membership meeting will be held on Tuesday January 18th at 7:30pm in the community room of the Yale Loft condominiums (437 New York Ave NW). A discussion with Douglas Development regarding two proposed developments on Square 450 & 451 will be a major topic of interest.

The latest edition of the MVSNA newsletter is available for download from Box.net.

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Douglas Moving Forward on Squares 450/451 **UPDATED*

Over the years Douglas Development has assembled a majority of properties on Squares 450 and 451 (see map below for Square boundaries). In both 2008 and 2009 we learned from Paul Millstein of tentative mixed use plans Douglas had for the sites including a rumor of a major entertainment anchor and relocating The Waffle Shop. But development groundbreakings across the city were at a standstill and nothing came to pass. The economic cold front seems to be thawing across the city in 2011. We seem to be closer than ever to action on these parcels including recent news of a partnership with Kettler for an apartment project at 6th & L.

Boundaries of Squares 450 & 451; click to enlarge

Lydia DePillis of the City Paper got the very latest scoop from Douglas last night at an ANC 2C meeting.

Douglas plans to sign a lease this month with a large association headquarters that will take the entirety of a 300,000 square foot office building, with ground floor retail. The mystery entity looked at 24 sites in the region, Millstein said, and chose square 451 for a flagship location. He expects a groundbreaking next year.

UPDATE [1/6/11 5:25PM] – Tierney Plumb of the Washington Business Journal reveals that the future tenant, who aims to occupy the property by the Q4 2013, is the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

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