Friday, October 17, 2014

Development Update: EastBanc's West-End Site Moves a Step Closer

Courtesy: EastBanc 
The Washington Business Journal reports that EastBanc's redevelopment of the West-End library and Fire Station is one step closer to construction beginning this year. The development, which has been in
the works for the last seven years and has seen multiple changes in scope along the way, will include a new 20,640 SF library along with 7,300 SF of retail space. Above that, the development will include164 market rate units - some condominium and some rental.  The plans also call for a new state-of-the-art fire station.

From the developments website: 

Our vision is not about individual buildings but rather about a neighborhood. As the West End has welcomed residents, hotel guests, and workers who contribute to more lively streets, the neighborhood is still missing a central focal place where community residents can meet for coffee, gather for meetings, or just simply hang out. For the last decade the physical states of the West End library, police facility, and fire station have been visual drags on revitalization so their redevelopment is a real opportunity for us to create a truly special place that ties the neighborhood together.
This place must be designed and developed with an eye that understands this diverse community and its needs – and goes well beyond just replacing the buildings. As always, we envision designing architecturally-exciting buildings that are the talk of the town. Like the West End community, we want the new library and fire station to stand out, instead of just simply blending in. As a package, the new development will be environmentally-sensitive, high-density, mixed-use/mixed-income buildings that can be embraced by everyone. Our streetscapes will add to the neighborhood’s expanding retail mix and will make the pedestrian experience safer, cleaner, friendlier, and more enjoyable.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Mortgage Interest Rates Drop for Third Straight Week

Homebuyers currently in the market will be glad to know that mortgage interest rates continue to decline. Freddie Mac reported last week that the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell for the third straight week to 4.12%.  As comparison, rates the same time last year averaged 4.23%. 

From the Freddie Mac Press Release: 

“Fixed mortgage rates were down on a week filled with bleak forward projections from the Federal Reserve and concern over growth in Europe. Despite gloomy vernacular from the Fed, mortgage purchase applications were up 2 percent on the week and the labor market added 248,000 jobs, beating expectations and lowering headline unemployment to 5.9 percent.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

Resident Appreciation Month - Weekly Winners!

Slate celebrates their residents in October with a gift-card prize every day of the month with a $500 Grand Prize announced on October 31. 

The first week of winners are: 

October 1          Lauren Stillwell
October 2          Brittany Bjornerud
October 3          Barrett Fisher
October 4          Ehren Hill 
October 5          Ameya Paradkar
October 6          Candace Lew
October 7          Brian Higginbotham 
October 8          Thomas Ferraguto
October 9          Rita Zota   

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Mission is Almost Ready for Tours

Urban Turf has revealed some details on the highly anticipated Mission project at 14th and R Streets, NW--former site of the Central Union Mission.  It will be a luxury rental building consisting of 51 units.  They plan to start doing hard hat tours in the next few weeks and the project could be completed in 8 weeks.  They also announced that Shinola will be the corner retail tenant.  Shinola is a luxury brand selling watches, bikes and leather goods with other locations in Tribeca, Detroit and Minneapolis.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Some Local News Tidbits

There have been some interesting news items and developments concerning DC this week so we thought we'd do a quick mid-week round up.

First off, we are not ready to talk about the Nats yet so let's just pretend that didn't happen, shall we?

Now onto the news...

It looks like the long-storied Dupont Underground will finally be getting put to use.The District has agreed to enter into a short-term lease with the Arts Coalition to renovate a portion of the subterranean trolley station underneath Dupont Circle for use as a public event and art exhibition space.  DC will sign a three to five year lease with the Coalition to allow them to try out different uses.  The initial renovation will include 23,000 - 75,00 SF.

The new Logan Circle West Elm has announced it's opening date as October 23rd.  They sent out the following email to local subscribers:  “We are set to open on October 23rd and will feature two floors of retail space. And although we were super excited about the cafe, the decision was recently made to nix the coffee shop in order to bring the community a bigger West Elm Market selection! We will also have a full-service design lab and a team of homestylists to do in-store consultations and home visits for everything from accessorizing a room to helping design and furnish an entire row house! We are really excited to be a part of the Logan Circle / 14th Street community!” 

The International Spy Museum and Events DC had been in negotiations to redevelop downtown Carnegie Library and turn it into a visitor center and events space.  Unfortunately, it looks like that deal has fallen apart due to the Historic Preservation Review Board not approving the groups' plans.  They had planned to add approximately 65,000 SF to the library but the HPRB was not impressed with their plans.  "It became apparent that we would not be able to find a way forward that both met the needs of the board from a preservation standpoint and maintained a project that we needed... without impeding our own success," said Spy Museum spokesman Jason Werden.  The Spy Museum is actively looking for space elsewhere in the region, ideally in the District, although nothing is off the table at this point, Werden said.
And finally, nothing to do with real estate but still pretty interesting, the DC Taxicab Commission has released info from their Anonymous Rider Program which is used to seek out violations for refusal to haul by placing anonymous riders throughout the city to see who gets picked up.  The program took place in a 30 day period from the end of August to the end of September.  Their results were pretty appalling (albeit unsurprising)--there were 84 refusal to haul violations out of 308 rides which equals 27%.  The test included African Americans and whites, males and females, and a range of ages, as well as an individual in a wheelchair and a person requiring the assistance of a seeing-eye dog.  The program also found that 9% of cabs did not have working credit card machines which are now mandatory. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

EXPLORE DC: Hirshhorn Museum Celebrates 40 Years With Two Special Exhibits

Fans of modern art will be glad to know the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will have two special exhibitions to mark the 40th anniversary of the museum. 

From the Hirshorn Press Release: 

“Forty years ago this month, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden opened to the public with great fanfare. As the first museum on the National Mall devoted to modern art and one of the world’s leading museums of contemporary and modern art, the striking round building is home to a highly regarded permanent collection and pioneering exhibitions that reflect the best art of our time.
Continuing in that tradition, the museum kicks off its yearlong 40th anniversary celebration with two new exhibitions Oct. 16. “At the Hub of Things: New Views of the Collection” and “Days of Endless Time” feature works by more than 60 artists. A series of free public programs is planned as part of the anniversary celebration. The museum has also made a number of new acquisitions in this anniversary year, including significant works by the Guerrilla Girls, Laurel Nakadate, Catherine Opie and Thomas Struth.
“The Hirshhorn is celebrating its 40th anniversary with exhibitions that forge new ties between artists of different eras and styles, acquisitions that make the collection deeper and more diverse and renovated gallery spaces that allow us to show a wider range of artworks than ever before,” said the museum’s new director Melissa Chiu, who joined the Hirshhorn this week. “We are presenting a completely new installation of our permanent collection, organized thematically rather than by artist or movement, and we are highlighting a new tendency in moving-image art, one that may seem counterintuitive at first but in fact presents a new way of engaging with media and culture.”
The refurbishment of the Hirshhorn’s third-floor galleries marks the first time these spaces have been completely renovated since the museum opened 40 years ago. Restored to architect Gordon Bunshaft’s original vision with the removal of drop ceilings and spur walls, the outer-ring galleries will host “At the Hub of Things,” a thematically arranged installation of works from the collection from the past 75 years. On the second floor, “Days of Endless Time” presents recent works of moving-image art that go against the tide of the accelerated media age.