- The Washington Times - Monday, December 10, 2001

The National Capital Revitalization Corp. has chosen four finalists from the 10 builders bidding on the old wax museum site near the new Washington Convention Center.
Each builder has proposed a mix of apartments, condominiums, shops, restaurants and art space at the three-acre lot at the corner of Fifth and K streets NW.
The builders will meet tonight with residents of the Northwest Washington neighborhood to answer questions about their proposals.
The revitalization corporation, a government-chartered company that develops property in the District, narrowed the list of builders last week. It chose proposals from local groups Lowe Enterprises Mid-Atlantic, Horning Brothers and Somerset Development, as well as a bid by Boston developer Trinity Financial.
"This is a fabulous opportunity to create a new community, but to do it in a way that reflects the economic and social makeup of the Shaw and Mount Vernon neighborhoods," says Jim Campbell, Somerset's president.
Somerset and its partner, Telesis Corp., have proposed 574 apartments and condos, including some units that would be marketed toward persons who earn between $30,000 and $50,000 annually.
In addition, the companies have proposed a grocery store, a health club, restaurants, shops and parking at the site.
The centerpiece of Lowe's project would be a 56,000-square-foot Safeway, which would be much larger than most grocery stores in the city. A Starbucks, dry cleaner and banking branch would be located inside the store, Lowe says.
In addition, the company has proposed 310 apartments, 92 condos, more than 245 parking spaces and a new home for the Signature Theater, which would relocate from Arlington.
If picked, Lowe says it will have the project completed by August 2004.
"We have the money. We have the tenants and we're ready to go," says Marc Dubick, Lowe's senior vice president.
Horning Brothers has proposed 535 apartments and condos, as well as shops, restaurants, a grocery store, a theater, an art gallery and a community center.
Trinity has proposed a project called Ellington Court, named for famed Washington jazz musician Duke Ellington. It would include 411 apartments and condos, a theater, parking and a public courtyard.
"This is a courtyard that we see as being open to the entire community, and not just the residents. We think the community will enliven it," says Patrick Lee, a Trinity principal.
The National Capital Revitalization Corp. board is scheduled to make its final decision Dec. 17, according to the president and chief executive, Elinor Bacon.
Among the bids rejected by the board last month: proposals by prominent developers Douglas Jemal and JBG, who each proposed a mix of apartments and shops.
The board also rejected proposals to build hotels at the site. Monument Realty proposed a 1,166-room "headquarters hotel" for the new convention center at the site, but then withdrew the offer.

In other news
@Text: Texas real estate group Ontra has sold a Manassas complex to RG Acquisitions for $3.6 million. Courthouse Professional Center includes a three-story office building and a restaurant.
Lagasse, a janitorial supply company, has leased 102,940 square feet at Gateway Commerce Center, a warehouse complex in Columbia. Grubb & Ellis arranged the deal.

Chris Baker can be reached at 202/636-3139 or [email protected]


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