- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2003

District planners today will release a request for proposals to build a housing and retail complex near the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro Station.

The city will ask about 55 developers to consider drafting plans to revitalize the site as part of its $111 million Georgia Avenue Revitalization Initiative. The planners are seeking at least 100 units of new housing and 17,000 square feet of retail space at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and New Hampshire Avenue NW.

As part of the development, at least 20 percent of the housing must be affordable to those with incomes below the area media income, of about $40,000. A house is considered affordable if a family spends less than 30 percent of its income on rent or mortgage.

The District wants the retail portion of the development to include a bank, video store, sit-down restaurant and dry cleaner. It has also asked that liquor stores, laundromats, check-cashing stores, taverns, and adult entertainment spots not be built on the site.

District planners had originally decided to put a new headquarters for the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles at the site. But Petworth residents managed to attract the attention of private developers, and the District scrapped its plans.

The housing component will be key to the success of the development, planners said. The existing retail outlets at the site are underperforming, and new retail businesses can thrive only if the residential base grows. Planners said that as many as 1,000 new housing units could be added to the site within five years.

The Georgia Avenue-Petworth project fits in with the District’s goal of creating transit-oriented development. By extension, it is part of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ plan to attract 100,000 new residents to the city in the next decade, in part by increasing the stock of affordable housing. Earlier this week, District planners said about 1,800 such units were financed and on schedule for construction. A total of 2,510 affordable housing units were financed in 2002.

In all, there are about 30,000 units of housing either planned or under construction in the District. The city plans to promote the housing options at the Washington Convention Center in October.

The deadline to submit proposals for the Georgia Avenue-Petworth site is Oct. 15. District planners will grade the submissions on a 100-point scale, with credit given to experience, financing, quality of design and the amount of outreach to local businesses. Bonus points will be awarded to developers that create owner-occupied housing rather than rental units, and to developers that offer creative ways to add parking.

In other news

• The May 16 edition of this column misidentified the occupation of James Hudson, who was appointed by D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams to serve on the board of the National Capital Revitalization Corp. Mr. Hudson is chairman of JAH International, an investment and real estate development company.

• Atlanta-based Well Real Estate Investment Trust bought two Lockheed Martin office buildings in Rockville for $51.75 million. The buildings, totaling 230,597 square feet, are located in the Shady Grove Executive Center and fully leased. Lockheed Martin is on a lease expiring in 2009.

• First Potomac Realty Trust filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of its shares. The Bethesda-based company, which owns and manages industrial and flex properties in the Washington-Baltimore area and Norfolk, said the offering will help pay down debt and leave money for the purchase of new properties.

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

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