February 13, 2006

NOMA-VISION. Not some precursor to hi-def video like sense-0-round, but the planning process for the emerging NOMA -- North of Massachusetts Ave. -- neighborhood. Too much office space would mean another bland K Street corridor. Too much residential and the area may never grow, despite all the promise.

As reported in the Washington Post, DC Planning Office associate director Patricia Zingsheim said, "we want to create an area that has a mix of uses and doesn't die at 5 at night." Music to our ears. Let's hope they get it right. The original goal was to finish a planning document by April, now they ambiguously promise this spring.

It's odd how the Washington Post will lump different neighborhoods together to prove a point. While the Post correctly includes as part of NOMA the Bureau of Tobaco and Firearms building and the XM Satelite Radio building, it also lumps in the new Securities and Exchange Commission HQ, near H and Second Sts. NE. The SEC seems more part of the H Street NE corridor. Of course, nothing prevents one building being counted twice.

Right now it appears to be a battle royale among developers between NOMA, Southeast and H St. NE to see who will capture the overflow from downtown. As usual GSA and condos are the prize in this fight. NOMA with its Metro access and construction cranes seems out front but the stadium could give Southeast a boost. H Street seems more like the place for the next decade.

Demonstrating how dynamic NOMA is right now, PEPCO has begun marketing four acres there. The land was orginally purchased for a substation, but the utility decided the infrastructure is not needed. Anyone got $120M to spare?

No comments: