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Time’s up for gas station impresario Joe Mamo on his long-stalled residential building on the northwest corner of Florida and North Capitol Streets. The Zoning Commission’s approval of his application is about to expire, and he’s hoping to renew it for another two years. The big developers and financiers haven’t been interested in that location, he says: JBG, Bozzuto, CB Richard Ellis, and Long & Foster all turned him down. But with the upturn in the housing market—-including the announcement that a site across the street would be going market rate residential within the next two years—-he told Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C tonight that he expects somebody will sign onto a joint venture soon.
To help that happen, he’s upped the number of units from between 65 and 85 to 100, which will start as rentals and eventually convert to condos. The ANC, which has been talking about this project for five years now, seemed skeptical. But realistically, not much else is going to happen there if Mamo doesn’t get his zoning extension. Mamo says he’s sunk $3.5 million into the project already, and with an Exxon station kitty corner from the site that he’d like to develop as well, he’s got every incentive to get it done. Meanwhile, Mamo says, 10 of the 160 properties he owns inside the Beltway are under contract to become something else already (seems like a good time to be getting out of the gas station business). And with the renovated, upscale Flatiron building having a crowded open house just a few blocks away, the timing seemed auspicious.
Still, the ANC wants to get whatever it can out of the project. An already-negotiated community benefits package worth $109,600 could use updating. And the gravel expanse still sits there, gathering graffiti.