Friday, May 8, 2015

Whole Foods in the News This Week

Whole Foods has been very busy this week with a few local announcements as well as a brand announcement.  First, we'll start with the local stuff.  The project at 975 Florida Ave. NW from MRP Realty and Ellis Development announced this week that the ground floor retail will be filled by a Whole Foods.  A great addition to this area for sure!

And in Tysons, an announcement came that a flagship Whole Foods will be built at The Boro in Tysons Corner.  The store will be 70,000 SF and will offer innovative concepts.  The Boro will offer a vibrant mix of offices, apartments, condominiums, retail stores, restaurants and entertainment,with easy access from major roads and Metro’s popular new Silver Line. When complete, The Boro will consist of roughly 1.8 million square feet of residential space, 1.3 million square feet of office, 316,000 square feet of retail, and 250,000 square feet of hotel space.

The last piece of news is a new Whole Foods concept geared toward millennials.  The new brand will consist of small stores with less expensive, but still high quality, food.  “Offering our industry leading standards at value prices, this new format will feature a modern, streamlined design, innovative technology and a curated selection,” Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb said. “It will deliver a convenient, transparent, and values-oriented experience geared toward millennial shoppers, while appealing to anyone looking for high-quality fresh food at great prices.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Doggie Daycare at Your Next Apartment?

Yep, you read that right.  It looks like in addition to the new trend of pet washing stations and dog walking areas, a new pet amenity is coming to the area.  DC just approved View 14's proposed doggy daycare in the mixed-use building.   The 4,300 SF cage-free facility will be on the ground floor and will have five play parks with WiFi, music, entertainment and an onsite retail store. 

It wasn't an easy task getting this approved, however.  100 residents of View14 signed a petition in support of the daycare and they also had to go through the Board of Zoning Adjustment and Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association.  They had to agree to soundproofing the facility and they cannot accept any "chronic barkers."  The daycare is also limited to only walking the dogs on 14th Street and customers have to sign a statement saying they will obey all traffic and parking laws in order to avoid any inconvenience to residents or other nearby neighbors.

What do you think about this uber-pet friendly trend?  A great new amenity or just the latest fad that will soon fade away?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spy Museum Has Found a New Home

The International Spy Museum has been looking for a new place to relocate to for a while and now they have finally found it.  After their Carnegie Library move got shot down, the museum now plans to take up residence in a $100 million building that's part of the L'Enfant Plaza renovation.  The exact location is 900 L'Enfant Plaza and they hope to move within two years.

The move has to be approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and the museum will present their plans to the Commission on April 16th.  Assuming all goes well, they will build a 100,000 SF, 6 story museum space with expanded exhibition space, three times the current event space, a rooftop terrace and an open air plaza on the ground floor. Spy Museum Chief Operating Officer Tamara Christian said the location makes sense due to five Metro lines running through it, ample parking, proximity to the National Mall and an opportunity to help revitalize the area.  “I think everyone in the city knows that’s somewhat of a dead area right now,” Christian said. “When we came to Penn Quarter, it was somewhat of a dead area. Now it’s completely energized, and we’re really hoping that we’ll be able to be a catalyst to energize L’Enfant.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Architect Chosen for Union Station Expansion

The Washington Post announced yesterday that the same architect who did the Grand Central Terminal renovation has been chosen to work on the Union Station expansion here in DC.  The proposed expansion will cost $10 billion and could triple the passenger capacity.  Beyer Blinder Belle won the job.  They have offices in New York and Washington, DC and they have tapped Grimshaw Architects to work with them.  Grimshaw specializes in train station design and is based in London but also has an office in New York.

The project is being overseen by the Union Station Redevelopment Corp. which manages Union Station as well as Amtrak and Akridge who is planning Capitol Crossing, a 3 million SF project above the tracks behind Union Station. 

On next steps and getting the expansion financed, Beverly Swaim-Staley, president and chief executive of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp. said, “We need to have the project defined.  We need to have a project that everyone can look at and be excited about. Something so that people can understand what the goals are in terms of tripling capacity for passengers coming in and out of the station. This project is going to transform not only Washington, D.C., but the region.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Streetcar Back On?

In Mayor Bowser's first State of the District Address on Tuesday, she announced that the streetcar planned for H Street and Benning Road will be up and running despite all of the obstacles and naysayers.  She said, "We all know that the streetcar has been long on promises but short on results.  That changes now."  She not only promised that the 2.2 mile H Street and Benning Road would start running but the line would extend to downtown Ward 7 east of the Anacostia, then to the Potomac River where it would then connect to Union Station and Georgetown. 

In her address, Mayor Bowser also discussed affordable housing, economic development, healthcare, education, transparency, arts funding, DC's disenfranchisement, and professional sporting events. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Top Restaurateurs Want to be at The Wharf

The Washington Business Journal is reporting that some star restaurateurs are interested in opening restaurants at The Wharf, the massive development under construction on the SW waterfront.  The likes of Mike Isabella, Cathal Armstrong, Robert Wiedmaier, Stephen Starr, the Hilton Brothers, Jackie Greenbaum, Jamie Leeds and Fabio Trabocchi are all sniffing around to see the possibilities.  Armstrong is already in and the Hilton Brothers, Greenbaum and Leeds have already signed letters of intent (though no leases have been signed). 

For more details, read the full article here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mortgage Rates to Rise...But Not Yet

The Federal Reserve conspicuously dropped the word "patient" from their policy statement regarding when to raise mortgage rates on Wednesday.  This news created quite a flutter in the residential real estate world with people wondering when and how much.  but as today's rates show us, the time is not here just yet. 

Average rates actually went down this week.  A 30 year fixed rate mortgage is at 3.78% down from 3.86% last week and a 15 year fixed rate mortgage went from 3.10% last week to 3.06%.  So when will the rates start rising?

The Fed's decision on when to start raising rates is based on the economy's performance.  Their decision to no longer say it "can be patient" about raising short term interest rates doesn't mean it will happen immediately.  They could however start in June or shortly thereafter.  But once they do start, they'll rise more gradually than previously projected.