Local developer JBG doesn’t have to go too many places when presenting about the residential developments it’s got in the pipeline these days. As foreshadowed by their buying spree last year, the full-service real estate company has five large projects between 14th and S Street and 7th and Florida Avenue NW. A few quick updates gleaned from last night’s U Street Neighborhood Association meeting:
- The long-stalled 13th and U Street hotel, which has been on ice since about 2009, started moving into later design stages last year. Along with financing, the sticking point has long been the Rite Aid’s long term lease, but JBG representatives say they’ve struck a deal to relocate the pharmacy to a trailer near the site while the thing’s under construction. Now they just have to figure out a design that works financially—-the neighbors, who thought the last proposal was too big, aren’t going to be any easier on it this time.
- They’ve engaged a design team for the three parcels they bought last year around the 9:30 Club, and are still planning a total of about 740 residential units between them, with ground-floor retail. The northernmost piece would have room for a grocery store, JBG says—-putting them in competition with the slow-as-molasses Howard Town Center site right next door, which had been hoping to attract a grocer as well. Interestingly, they tried and failed to assemble the whole block, which likely means that either Howard University or the District wanted to hold on the pieces they still own in the area.
- The as-yet-unnamed Florida Avenue project heads to the Historic Preservation Review Board this month.
- 14th and S Streets topped out this week, and has formally announced that Estadio’s Mark Kuller will be doing an Asian concept in the southern corner space (but you already knew that).
- The 14th and U Street project, newly christened the Louis (Armstrong or XIV, take your pick), is supposed to start razing buildings within a week. JBG project manager Bryan Moll grinned as he hinted at a “limited service grocer” going into the ground floor—-still taking bets!—-even while shrugging that the McDonalds on the corner still has 20 years left on its lease. Studios start at $1,500, folks.
Isn’t JBG worried that all these projects coming online at once will cannibalize each other’s sales? A little bit, yeah. but they’re trying to differentiate them enough that different types of buyers and renters will want each of the buildings. “We think we have a strategy for that,” Moll says.