Archive for the ‘Construction’ category

Development Update on Former Sweet Mango Property — 3701-3711 New Hampshire Avenue

July 24, 2015

In April I reported that 3701-3711 New Hampshire Avenue was sold to Rooney Properties. These buildings comprised the Sweet Mango restaurant as well as the two store fronts adjacent to it. The long-term plan is to redevelop the property and  plans are currently being developed.

The short-term plan is to lease the space, and leases have already been completed to bring a business serving food similar to Sweet Mango’s offerings back to 3701 New Hampshire. Additionally, Cookie Wear, the clothing store that has been in a basement space just north of the Georgia Avenue Metro for the last few years, will be opening in 3709 New Hampshire Avenue..

3701 Georgia Avenue(A new restaurant will be opening in 3701 New Hampshire in advance of the property’s redevelopment.)

WAMU’s Series on Problems with Some Flipped Houses

May 6, 2015
Rear of house under construction on Quincy Street, NW.

Rear of house under construction on Quincy Street, NW.

Yesterday, WAMU aired the first part of a three part series by Martin Austermuhle titled “Flipped Off: In D.C.’s Thriving Market For Renovated Homes, It’s Buyer Beware.” The series continues today and tomorrow you can read the articles or listen to them at the WAMU Web site. The first part focuses on the experience of one homeowner who bought a deeply flawed flipped house. The second part focuses on one flipper who is currently the focus of investigators, and the third part appears to focus on regulation enforcement and DCRA.

As good as this series is in highlighting some of the bad development that our neighborhoods are currently encountering, it is a very small sample of the inferior flipping and popping-up that can be found in many parts of Washington. Aesthetic issues aside, my greatest concern with much of the construction occurring these days is how much is accomplished without permits and the impact this has on safety. Back in March I posted about two row houses in the area that received Stop Work Orders because they were constructing pop-ups without the proper permits.

Hopefully, the WAMU series will trigger a larger investigation within the development community to separate the bad developers from those doing quality construction.




Redevelopment of 619 Newton Damages 617 Newton Place, NW

October 29, 2014
619 Newton Pl, NW, as it looked in April, 2013.

619 Newton Pl, NW, as it looked in April, 2013.

The property at 619 Newton Place, NW, has long been a troubled property. For the last couple of years, it was vacant and blighted. When it finally looked like it would be developed a year and a half ago, progress was slow. After much of the building was demolished, a Stop Work Order was issued on March 26, 2014, leaving nothing but the front facade on standing.

DCRA finally issued a permit on September 4, 2014 allowing for the remaining structure to be razed and full scale excavation ensued. Now, I’ve learned that on Monday, October 27th, the adjoining house at 617 Newton Place has been imperiled by the project and the residents of 617 have been informed that their house is unsafe to enter.

619 617 Newton Place(The work-site at 619 Newton showing 617 Newton beyond. The porch is clearly being propped up.)

Thus far, I’ve reached out to both Councilmember Graham’s office and DCRA trying to find out more about this situation. I’m critically concerned to find out what is being done to repair the neighboring property and find out if the residents of 617 Newton are alright and have shelter. I’m deeply disturbed and angered by the thought of anyone being displaced from their residence for any reason, but even more so due to the work of a developer that has already exceeded the scope of their permits at least once.

Danger sticker on front of 617 Newton Place, NW.

Danger sticker on front of 617 Newton Place, NW.

In retrospect, I’m not particularly surprised that a problem arose on this site. The original building permits for this duplex were issued on March 14, 1893, making this structure one of the oldest buildings remaining in Park View. Based on the exposed wall, this wood frame structure appears to have central brick columns in the center that would have been part of a shared support for both structures.

I’ve yet to get a detailed summary/response from DCRA on this, but am definitely pressing them for a solution. Based on the DCRA Property Information Verification System, the developer is listed as EDGE Investment LLC and is based out of Bowie, MD.


New Gymnasium at Chavez Prep Completed & Opened

December 17, 2013
Cesar Chavez Prep's new gymnasium -- Kenyon Street facade.

Cesar Chavez Prep’s new gymnasium — Kenyon Street facade.

For those that live near the Cesar Chavez Prep school — located in the historic Bruce School building at 770 Kenyon Street, NW — I’m sure they are glad that the gym  construction project is finished and the impact to traffic on the street is over. While planning for the gym started over a year ago, construction didn’t begin in earnest until August 2013.

Chavez Prep Gym renderingNow, the dust has settled and the gym is open for use. Last week, on December 11th, the completion was celebrated with a ribbon cutting and speakers. Below is a photo from the ribbon cutting shared on Twitter by @Fight4Children.

Principal speaking at Chavez Prep ribbon cutting (from Twitter user @Fight4Children).

Principal speaking at Chavez Prep ribbon cutting (from Twitter user @Fight4Children).

Gymnasium Addition to Chavez Prep Progressing Quickly

August 19, 2013

Construction of Chavez Prep’s gymnasium addition to the historic Bruce School building (770 Kenyon Street, NW) is in full swing as you can see below. The permit was issued August 1, and construction appears to be moving quickly. I’ve previously posted plans for the addition for anyone interested in reviewing them.

Chavez Prep

Chavez Prep Preparing for Gymnasium Addition

July 1, 2013
Chavez Prep is getting ready to add a gymnasium addition to the east side of the building.

Chavez Prep is getting ready to add a gymnasium addition to the east side of the building.

In checking out the Cesar Chavez Charter School’s Chavez Prep Campus — located at 770 Kenyon — over the weekend I noted that they are in the beginning stages of preparing for their planned gymnasium addition. When I first reported on this addition, I didn’t have as much information to share with the public as I would have liked, but now have more details.

While the building permit was still in the review process when I checked on Friday, it looked far enough along that it could be issued soon. According to the general plans of the addition that I received, the addition will be constructed above the parking lot, preserving the first level for the off street parking the school already has. The gym will be on the second level.

Chavez had hoped to start the project in late June, which clearly hasn’t happened. I know they  have a tight window for construction as they want to have the major work done prior to the start of the school year this fall.

Below is a general sketch of what the addition will basically look like from the street. Frankly, I think the design would have been better if it had gone through the Historic Preservation Office’s design review process. But, currently charter schools, even those in District owned school buildings, are not subject to that review process.

Last month I posted a history of the Bruce School for those interested in knowing more about the building.

Elevation concept sketch of Chavez Prep's gym addition.

Elevation concept sketch of Chavez Prep’s gym addition.

So, Where Are All the District’s Construction Cranes

March 20, 2013

At nearly every major speaking opportunity, like the Mayor’s recent State of the District address, the number of construction cranes is mentioned as an indicator of a vibrant, growing Washington. That got me wondering just where all these cranes are. So I reached out to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development and learned the following.

Currently there are 50 active tower cranes in D.C. at 29 construction sites. While most sites only have one tower crane, a few have two or three cranes. The Blue Plains construction site, however, has twelve. I created the map below to graphically show tower crane distribution in D.C. Locations are approximate (based on address) and I’ve color coded the sites based on the number of cranes — yellow (1), green (2) and purple (3).

Depending on the rate of development, I plan to revisit this map in six to twelve months.


New Crosswalks Being Installed on Georgia Avenue

March 12, 2013
New crosswalks and surrounding sidewalks outside of Mothership, Georgia & Lamont.

New crosswalks and surrounding sidewalks outside of Mothership, Georgia & Lamont.

In walking along Georgia Avenue over the weekend, I was happily surprised to see that sidewalk repairs and new ADA compliant crosswalk improvements were in progress at the intersections of Park Road and Lamont Street. While I still don’t know where things currently stand with the Lower Georgia Avenue Great Streets project, this can’t be a bad sign.

Below are a few additional photos.

New crosswalk at Park Road and Georgia.

New crosswalk at Park Road and Georgia.

Sidewalk along Georgia Avenue marked for future new crosswalk.

Sidewalk along Georgia Avenue marked for future new crosswalk.


Development at 3205 Georgia Avenue Moving Quickly

October 9, 2012

Trailer at 3205 Georgia

The new housing development at 3205 Georgia (ne corner of Kenyon and Georgia), is one of the faster moving development in the area we’ve had recently. The first we learned of it was at the September 12th ANC 1A meeting. This was followed with details at the September 26th Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force meeting.

Over the Columbus Day weekend, a construction trailer was added to aid in the supervision of the coming work at the site. All this speed is due to the project being 100% by-right with no outside financing required. The only hurdle for this project was the issuance of permits — which should be forthcoming.

I’m sure the new project here will be completed long before other projects in the area that we’ve known about for a while. A similar scenario may very well be in the works for the project being planned for the corner of Otis Place and Georgia to the north.


Pre-Construction Community Meeting This Saturday, June 9th

June 7, 2012

Construction on the Phase 1 Modernization project for the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School will begin in earnest on June 16th, after the last day of classes on June 15th. The construction contractor has already begun on selected preparatory activities, for example, dismantling and removal of the old boilers.

Construction activities are expected to be in full swing throughout the summer to ready the school for the start of the school year this fall. As construction in urban environments by their very nature can be disruptive, the Department of General Services has agreed that a meeting to provide ‘Construction Phase Information’ to the community is very timely.

The meeting has been set for this Saturday, June 9th, at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the school’s auditorium. See flyer below:


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