Yesterday, a new sign showed up on the chain-link fence surrounding the full city block of rubble on 14th Street between Belmont and Chapin Streets. “COMING SOON”, it reads. “Working with the Mayor, Councilmember Graham, and the Community.”
The development, which looked like it was moving forward when the Nehemiah Shopping Center was demolished last year, is supposed to be a 255-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail designed by Shalom Baranes architects and built by Texas-based UDR. But that’s a $130 million proposition, and as Urbanturf explored yesterday, banks are still leery of lending for these kinds of big residential projects (14W across the street is still looking for dollars too). On the other hand, Archstone just landed a $151 million loan for a 469-unit project in NoMa, so maybe there’s money out there to be had.
Anyway, has something happened recently to suggest the project will actually get built soon? According to Jim Graham‘s office: Nope.
“There’s going to be some trees put up and some grass put down,” says spokesman Brian Debose. “That’s it.”
Furthermore, DeBose says the request for the sign came from the office of Mayor Adrian Fenty. The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s spokesman Jose Sousa says that would be news to him—the project is a completely private deal, so the city wouldn’t be involved. But signs informing residents that the Mayor is personally responsible for various development projects have been going up around the city, including a particularly ostentatious one at Bruce Monroe Park.
Sousa says the DMPED placards with Fenty and Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos‘ names on them were created to let people know whose jurisdiction each bit of land falls under—sure would be nice if they contained actual information about what the plans were for the site, like in Seattle—and the Bruce Monroe sign went up to make sure residents know the park is open for business. But it’s hard not to read a desire for free campaign advertising as well.