- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Construction began this week on a Florida Avenue condominium complex that city officials describe as one the first big projects in the ongoing revitalization of the U Street corridor.

The developers, Lanham-based Kady Development, call the 118-unit, $50 million condominium “the Floridian.”

“It’s going to help bring back the whole area,” said Darryl Sulekoiki, principal in the Kady Group.

The project was hailed in a D.C. Council resolution that said it would benefit “a long-neglected area of Ward 1.”

Across the street, a smaller condominium building is nearing completion. More condominium projects, along with some retail ones, are planned for the surrounding neighborhood.

After three decades of neglect, the U Street corridor is re-emerging as a hub of nightlife and urban gentrification.

Within walking distance of the Floridian, Howard University plans to build Howard Towne Center, a $70 million, mixed-use development of condominiums, retail outlets and parking spaces. It would include 322 condos, 70,000 square feet of retail space and 203,000 square feet of parking space.

Nearby, real estate developer Broadway Partners plans to build Broadway Atlantic One, a $100 million complex of 579 condominiums.

Although revitalization of the U Street corridor began in a small way in the late 1990s, most early projects consisted of transforming abandoned buildings into small shops, converting rundown stores into spruced up nightspots and rehabbing old homes to sell them at escalated prices.

“Because of when the project started, this is a pioneering effort for us,” Jim Graham, a Ward 1 D.C. Council member, said about the Floridian, which is located at 919-929 Florida Ave. NW.

It also is attracting the interest of other developers seeking opportunities in the revitalization of Northwest Washington’s U Street corridor, he said.

Unlike many other homes nearby, the Floridian condominiums will be upscale, with loft-style units and a rooftop terrace. They range in cost from more than $400,000 for a one-bedroom unit to more than $500,000 for two bedrooms. Tompkins Builders is the general contractor.

The units were more than 50 percent sold before the first shovel of soil was turned to begin construction.

Kady Development says the project continues good prospects for new housing in Washington, even as the rest of the nation’s housing market cools.

“We’ve been very busy in the District in the last several years,” Mr. Sulekoiki said.

In other news …

• Real estate firm America’s Capital Partners has purchased the headquarters of Feld Entertainment, parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at 8607 Westwood Center in Tysons Corner.

Under the agreement, America’s Capital Partners purchased the building for $20.3 million but agreed to lease it back to Feld Entertainment at below-market rates for 12 years.

Feld Entertainment has owned the 86,560-square-foot building since it was built in 1989.

“Not only did our company realize the financial benefits of selling our building, but we also gained the expertise of an experienced landlord and management company in our new relationship with America’s Capital Partners,” said Mike Little, Feld Entertainment’s chief financial officer.

• Property Lines runs on Thursdays. Call Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail [email protected]

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