- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2003

District planning officials are seeking developers to build on a small piece of land near the proposed New York Avenue Metro station, to serve commuters and workers in the area.

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development said it would like to see a cluster of stores and restaurants on the site, located at Florida Avenue and Second Street NE. The 30,000-square-foot parcel would enhance the area around the Metro stop, officials said, and eventually provide lunchtime eating and shopping for employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives headquarters, scheduled to open nearby in early 2005.

The project is part of the redevelopment area known as "NoMa," or "north of Massachusetts Avenue." In addition to the ATF headquarters and the Metro station, there are more than 3 million square feet of commercial space planned for development within several blocks of the intersection of Florida and New York avenues. The area is also being seriously considered as the home for a new Major League Baseball stadium, if the District gets a team.

The New York Avenue Metro station is scheduled for completion in late 2004.

Though the parcel near the station is small, planning officials said there is great pressure for retail and restaurants to be built there. Officials had requested that no restaurants and shops be built inside the Government Services Administration Federal Headquarters Building, where the ATF will be housed, because they wanted to use the 1,100 workers there as a catalyst for redeveloping the surrounding streets.

"We wanted to encourage those … people to come out into the neighborhood," said Cyril Crocker, a revitalization planner with the District.

Designs for the site could vary, planners said, depending on the amount of coordination with Metro officials. Conservative estimates indicate that no more than three, single-floor buildings can be built on the site. More ambitious ideas include the possibility of a taller building with retail on the ground floor and other uses above it, with underground parking. The larger version of the project could accommodate small apartments, condominiums and offices. Expansion space is limited because of rail lines and bike trails bordering the site, but building heights could reach 100 feet.

Developers have until May 22 to submit a letter of interest to District officials, who hope to develop the site using little, if any, taxpayer money.

In other news

• Reston Town Center snagged its largest lease ever when government contractor Titan Corp. signed on to occupy 282,000 square feet at Two Freedom Square. The complex transaction involved a 146,000-square-foot lease with the building's owners, Boston Properties and Terrabrook, and a 108,000-square-foot sublease with the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati law firm. The remaining 28,000 square feet came from a sublease from law firm Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner.

• Columbia, Md.-based Corporate Office Properties Trust, the best-performing office real estate investment trust last year, reported 2003 first-quarter earnings of $7.99 million (22 cents per share) compared with $5.3 million (13 cents) during the comparable quarter of 2002.

• Group Goetz Architects was awarded a five-year contract to provide design services for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The District firm will help with the OCC's offices nationwide, including the 200,000-square-foot headquarters at 250 E St. SW.

Property Lines runs Fridays. Tim Lemke can be reached at [email protected] or 202/636-4836.



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