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Two years ago, an 84-unit residential project at 235 Carroll Avenue in Takoma was “very close” to getting started, after multiple financing hiccups and environmental remediation issues. Pretty much nothing that was close to happening in 2008 actually happened, but now developer and architect SGA Companies says Ecco Park is ready to break ground in June—and they’re working through approvals for an adjoining project on the parking lot next door to boot.
Still, principal Sas Gharai isn’t quite ready enough to give more details. “When it all comes together, I’ll tell you the story,” he says. But aren’t you starting next month? “Yes. Supposedly. I’ve been beaten up so much over the last few years that I don’t believe that anything happens until it happens.”
He’s got that right. Two of Gharai’s other designs in the District—a 57-unit apartment building on the Shell station site at Georgia and Kansas Avenues NW, which is owned by Capitol Hill landlord/developer John Formant, and a 317-unit project at 3515 Minnesota Avenue SE—have gone nowhere since he drew them up. It’s the recessionary architect’s condition: Make blueprints, and watch them yellow at the edges.
But Gharai thinks things are getting started again. “My attitude is, we’re beginning to get busy,” he says. “The architects get busy, a year later it’s going to hit the rest of the economy.”
Meanwhile, Gharai would like everyone to know that he was the guy behind the Redstone condo on Warder Street, and marvels at how much commenters seem to either love it or hate it. “I’m almost left scratching my head,” he says.