- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 18, 2004

D.C. officials are mounting a big push to turn an underdeveloped area east of the new convention center into one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

In the next five years, the city hopes to build more than 4,700 housing units in the area known as Mount Vernon Triangle, a 30-acre plot bounded by Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey avenues. Much of the development is under way, and more than a half-dozen local companies plan to build large residential, retail and office complexes in the next five years.

Planners will present a broad overview of the plans Tuesday at the City Museum.

New residential space is expected to be the driver behind redevelopment of the Triangle. More than 600 new apartments will open by the summer along Massachusetts Avenue, to complement the 257 new condominiums that already are selling. The new homes and as much as 200,000 square feet of open and cultural space could create one of the District’s most popular places to live, city planners said.

“What’s happening here is the building of a neighborhood,” said D.C. planning director Andy Altman. “It’s rare that you get to build a neighborhood in a city as constrained as we are.”

Mount Vernon Triangle is flanked by areas of the city already under development, including an area north of Massachusetts Avenue, known as NoMa, and parts of Capitol Hill.

The National Capital Revitalization Corp. has picked Lowe Enterprises to build more than 623 housing units and a grocery store at the old Wax Museum site, and the District is expected to issue a request for proposals to build at Fifth and I streets NW.

Other projects under discussion include a 630,000-square-foot office, retail and hotel complex with 740 residential units, to be built by Steuart Investments, and 480,00 square feet of office and retail to be built by Quadrangle Development.

The D.C. Department of Transportation has set aside $4.7 million for the next five years to fund capital improvement projects, such as streetscape upgrades, in the Triangle. Within the next two months it also expects to begin a study of traffic and parking patterns in the area to determine what road improvements, if any, should be made to accommodate additional residents. A similar study examining the entire New York Avenue corridor is scheduled to be completed this summer.

In other news …

• The Falls Church City Council approved zoning changes to allow for the development of the Spectrum, a mixed-use complex with 191 condominiums, 30,000 square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of retail.

The project, which is being developed by Akridge and Waterford Development, still requires site plan approval from the Falls Church Planning Commission and City Council. The developers said they hope to break ground in the fall.

• Beacon Capital Strategic Partners II Acquisition LLC paid $123.75 million for 1615 L St. NW, a 400,000-square-foot office building previously owned by a partnership between Halle Enterprises and Cambridge Property Group. Cassidy and Pinkard helped broker the sale.

LURED TO LEASE

Washington area office landlords —facing lax demand — are offering more concessions, such as free rent or parking to attract tenants.

Percentage of new buildings with concessions offered:

20000.5 percent

20016.2

20028.2

200311.2

Source: Transwestern Commercial Services

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

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