Update on Vacant Property on Georgia Avenue

There has been a lot of interest and concern about what’s going on with the vacant properties on Georgia Avenue over the past couple of months — especially as it relates to crime in the area. Eric Zuckerman of Zuckerman Partners was at the August 12th meeting of the Georgia and Lamont Public Safety Task Force and provided the following update with regards to the properties they own.

Public Safety

To help make their properties safer, the Zuckerman’s walked Georgia Avenue with Commissioners Bobby Holmes and Rashida Brown, along with MPD and some neighbors, and identified locations where they will install cameras on their buildings. They also will be adding more lighting to their properties as well.

Development

The old Murray's property at 3400 Georgia Avenue.

The old Murray’s property at 3400 Georgia Avenue.

The big question is development. Zuckerman Partners currently owns the old Murray’s, the Post Office parcel, the former Mothership building, and the buildings that include Petworth Liquors. Over time, they plan to redevelop these properties but will not be doing them all at the same time. The question they are attempting to answer right now is which parcel to develop first … and the key to that question is the environmental issues at 3333 Georgia Avenue.

Prior to the construction of the strip mall that includes the post office, there was a Sunoco gas station with underground storage tanks at 3335 Georgia Avenue. Sunoco has been determined to the be party responsible for remediation and that process is underway. If this turns out to be a relatively easy and quick thing to accomplish, this property will be developed first. If it is complicated and requires more time, then the Murray’s property will likely be developed first. The process of determining the extent of the environmental remediation required is in progress.

3333 Georgia (Remediating environmental issues associated with underground oil storage tanks is delaying the development of 3333 Georgia Avenue.)

Streetsense has been retained to find a new tenant for the former Mothership.

Streetsense has been retained to find a new tenant for the former Mothership.

Outside of these two properties, Zuckerman Partners is attempting to find businesses to occupy their other properties until they are developed. They have retained Streetsense to help find a new tenant for the former Mothership space at 3301 Georgia Avenue. According to Mr. Zuckerman, several interested parties have already looked at the space and they are hopeful it will be another restaurant.

Back in December 2014 I reported that Union Drinkery and a fast casual business were going to move into 3214-3216 Georgia Avenue. This is still the plan. The delay has apparently been with getting the appropriate permits from DCRA (which can move at a glacial pace). However, the permits were issued at the beginning of this week so we should see some movement there soon.

3216 Georgia(DCRA issued permits earlier this week, allowing Union Drinkery to finally move forward.)

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9 Comments on “Update on Vacant Property on Georgia Avenue”

  1. Parkview Says:

    Or they are delaying until more development happens so they can sell to the highest bidders. Cameras? Gee, thanks. I expect more.

  2. jcm Says:

    Is Zuckerman going to be paying the Vacant or Blighted rate on these properties until they get around to doing something with them? I see that 3400 Georgia is 002 – Commercial, even though it has been vacant for a year. 3301, 3333 and 3214 are all still 002 – Commercial as well. Not to mention the fact that they appear to be grossly under-assessed.

    They shouldn’t be allowed to buy these properties and leave them vacant without paying the vacant tax rate. If they don’t have the money to do the projects then they shouldn’t have bought them.

  3. Curious George Says:

    This is a terrific update. Thanks Kent.

    As much as I appreciate the business reasons for not wanting to develop these properties at the same time so as not to flood the market and depress rents, I very much agree with the other commenters re: vacant tax rate. If the properties are vacant, they must be held to the vacant tax rate. Zuckerman knew this when they acquired the properties and so there is no excuse.

    Looking forward to lots of great new places to eat and drink and enjoy on Georgia Ave.

  4. mbk Says:

    Thanks for the update Kent. I am happy to hear that Streetsense has been retained to help find a tenant for Mothership. They are excellent to work with and usually find high quality tenants.

  5. Jim Slicio Says:

    Thanks for the update. Now where are we with reporting the vacancies to DCRA or DC-OTR to get a little fire under the Zuckerman’s feet?

  6. K Says:

    Thank you Kent and I agree with the other commenters on the status of the properties. If they are vacant which they are, and intend on being (for the foreseeable future), then they should be categorized accordingly.

    I am glad that Zuckerman will be cooperating and working to install cameras/lights in the near-term (which will help) but what we need here is the business and residential development.

    From what I’ve seen of their plans thus far point to no sense of urgency and contentment in renting a few properties out. The two year PUD extension on the post office with no plans put forth yet for the Murry’s lot indicate nothing will happen for a while. Both those lots were much further along in getting developed over a year ago before Zuckerman acquired them. I am getting nervous that this stalling technique with little money (i.e. lights and cameras) being invested over several years will ultimately result in the land sale down the line setting us years back AGAIN.

    Mothership was only recently put on the rental market when the two buildings between the post office and restaurant refused to sell to Zuckerman. That tells me right there that they weren’t so concerned about bringing viable business to the corridor but this is now a reactionary move to squeeze some revenue until they acquire the whole block and/or sell the holding. Now with they have at least two more years given the recent PUD extension.

  7. Barry Says:

    All this saddens me. What I’m hearing here is that they aren’t going to do anything for a long time. Murrys and the Post office site are big properties and their transition into the marketplace would be a be a great step forward for Georgia Ave. While I thought Murrys was the worst grocery store I ever set foot it. I went there all the time because it was close. I saw the checkout woman there help an old lady bring her groceries over to her home in Park-Morton one time. Awe inspiring to say the least. When it was torn down I thought good riddance, but now with nothing in its place, I find I miss Murrys. The upcoming union drinkery spot / fried chick place is fine as it if it just had tenants. My only hope is that when they demo the liquor store they accidentally knock down Morgans Seafood too. Then Romeo can sue them and rebuild his garbage dump into something that doesn’t look like it barely survived a hurricane. Otherwise I fear we will be plagued by what he insists on calling restaurant for eternity. And yet its better alive than dead like the Zuckerman properties.

    • K Says:

      Haha, yes it is quite surprising that Morgan’s has not been condemned and equally interesting that Romeo is the head of the GA Business Alliance which pretty much guarantees that facade improvements will not be of any priority for GA businesses 😦

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