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In the last year or so, Logan Circle’s 14th Street corridor has continued its gentrification thanks to hot chocolates named after Bette Davis and Doris Day (ACKC Cocoa Bar); $24 charcuterie plates (Cork Wine Bar); and some Hijiki seaweed-jicama salad and other latin/asian fusion dishes (Masa 14).
Recession be damned, the new restaurants kept coming! Condo buildings, not so much.
In the last few years, as financial chaos ensued, land deals and development in this area slowed. Case in point: The Axiom, a 32-unit condo building with two ground level retail spaces, to be located at the southwest corner of 14th and R Streets NW.
Back in 2006 and 2007, the project was ushered before various city review panels. On its website, DC-based Dan Scott Development advertised that preview sales would start during the Spring of 2007, proclaiming “You Can Have It All…Comfortable Living. Modern Style. Choice Location. Great Value.”
…But when can you have it all? Unfortunately for interested buyers, the development never took off. To this day, the lot remains just that—an empty space, next to a bright green and pink-painted building that houses an auto repair shop, a new coffeehouse, and Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnot, a showroom stocked with retro, used sofas and tables.
In early 2008, listing agents Ari Firoozabadi and Ali Javad made the land available through a competitive bidding process. By that April, the owners entered into a sales contract with developer Habte Sequar, of Sequar Development, who built condo project Renaissance@Logan nearby on 11th Street. And then, well, nothing else happened for a very, long time—-until November 5, 2009 to be specific. On that day, Sequar finally closed on the deal, purchasing the lot for $3.8 million, well above the District’s $1.9 million 2009 assessed land value.
So is the Axiom dead? Not in the slightest. In a separate deal, Sequar negotiated for the rights to plans for the building, designed by D.C.-based firm Bonstra Haresign. Sequar says he plans to break ground in early 2010, either January or February and construction will take 12 to 15 months. The units will range from $350,000 to $1.2 million, he says.
He’s made some slight tweaks to the interior floor plans of the building, but the original design remains mostly intact. Some things have changed since the condo boom though. Sequar’s not clamoring to prove to potential buyers that “You Can Have It All” just yet.
“Back in the day, people were happy to buy from plans. I don’t think people think that way these days. The construction is not going to hinge on pre-sales,” says Sequar.
Image by Bonstra Haresign