April 30, 2007


Landlords in DC are adding floors to thier buildings, reports the WaPost.

In other cities with complex transportation systems, landlords add ten or 20 floors. Here three are added at 2020 K St. NW.

"With tenants in place the work had to be done off hours so not to disturb them, which added to the cost," said Mark Minich, executive vice president of Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate firm. Nonetheless, "it paid off handsomely, he added.

The 130-ft height limit makes no sense in this era of global warming. DC has a Metro to move the people. So why not let landlords build up? The Roslyn skylines destroys the aesthetics of the mall more than any buidling up in NOMA would. Sure keep heights in historic areas low and set a reasonable limit elsewhere (25 stories?). But the headline should be twenty stories added, not three.


134-Year old, Eastern Market burns with 160 firefighters involved in putting out the blaze.

"I don't think it is a total loss . . . I would not say that it is unusable," DC FD spokesman Alan Etter said of the market. But "I would expect the whole building to be empty for some time."
says the WaPo.

Well we suppose this resolves the renovate or not renovate debate. Hopefully everyone will pull together to restore the market.

See footage here: NBC4.

April 27, 2007


The WaTimes reports that there will be several boxing matches from the DC Armory aired tonight on ESPN. The bouts will be the first of a horde of similar events from professional lacrosse to volleyball to both college and professional basketball.

"The Armory is revenue-producing, but we feel like we can push that," said Allen Y. Lew, chief executive officer of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission. "But we have to invest the money in it."

Kudos to the latest members of the sports commission for finally doing something. But wouldn't his land be better put to use as . . . heaven forbid . . . a luxe condo-loft. Or workforce housing. Maybe even the site for the DC Wal-Mart. Oh let's not go there, but you get the point.

Moreover, how does the city really benefit from hosting more events at the Armory. There is very little collateral benefit from a boxing match because there are very few places nearby for fans to spend money. So the promoters spend a few bucks here or there. But its the impact of the fans that makes the difference.


First, the police are on the run. Now Meto is contemplating a move to Anacostia with a financial push from D.C.

Under a plan drafted by the D.C. government, Metro would receive $68 mil from the sale of its HQ building at 600 Fifth St. NW for construction of a 275,000-square-foot headquarters at the Anacostia Metro Station, said the Examiner. It would also receive any net proceeds from the sale, and another $40 mil to build a badly needed pedestrian tunnel between Gallery Place and Metro Center.

The proposal assumes the building will sell for roughly $108 mil, covering the payments to Metro. But just in case, it also pledges DC will finance any shortfall. The transit agency’s headquarters is valued at $58.4 mil.

Even if DC had to cough up a few bucks to cover this deal, it would be a win-win. Anacostia gets a boost. Downtown returns a piece to the tax rolls and paves the way for another condo-retail-office megaplex. Ain't life grand?

April 26, 2007


Mayor Fenty is looking at a congestion tax for DC, says NBC4. The idea is: tax cars coming into the central business district and use the proceeds for infrastructure improvements.

This might be great ideas for New York and London, but DC is already challenged to keep up with the surrounding burbs. This might only reinforce the idea that DC is a haven for taxing and spending.

This is an idea that should be left in the Big Apple, Mr. Fenty.


To improve what could be the least pedestrian friendly spots in DC, the NOMA business improvement district is seeking $12 dollars to improve First St. NE and the intersection of New York and Florida Aves., according to Globest.com.

“Right now it doesn't look or feel like the center of a new neighborhood,” Elizabeth Price told GlobeSt.com. “The streets need to be resurfaced, sideways rebuilt, there needs to be a public space built for art exhibits and such.”

In short, there was too much emphasis on moving cars and not enough attention paid to the poor pedestrian.

In addition to the BATF building nearing completion, other projects nearing completion include: Landmark Lofts and the related Senate Square, which is what Ben Franklin's crib would look like (see below) if he were alive today.

April 25, 2007


To save some dough, the DC government will consolidate various agencies away from downtown. This could spark development in underutilized and forgotten neighborhoods, the same way the Reeves Center helped get development going along U Street.

Part or all of the Metropolitan Police Department is "relocating late next year to the old Washington Star and Washington Post building on Virginia Avenue downtown," reports NBC4. The WaPo also had a story.

"We have two main goals: One is to improve efficiency or our operations and the other is to reduce expenses," said Lars Etzkorn, director of the office property management.

Other city agencies that plan to relocate are:
* The city street and transportation office, which is moving to Anacostia,
* Consumer affairs and chief financial officials are moving to the renewed Southwest waterfront mall, and
* Employment services is moving from its downtown location to Minnesota Avenue near Northeast.

The city also plans to build a major forensics lab in Southwest.

April 24, 2007


Nationally, sales of existing single-family homes and condos dropped 8.4% in March adding to the year-on-year decline of 11.3%, said the National Association of Realtors.

But DC condos and co-ops fared significantly better, said DC realtors association. Sales contracts jumped 8% in March 07 compared with March 06. Inventory declined almost 14% too. Not so bad, if you ask us.

Sales of single family homes did not do as well and more or less (ok less) matched the national trend. Contracts in March were 12% fewer than a year ago. But again inventory is down about 4.5% and prices are up almost 10%. So there is some good news there for DC homeowners.

The WaPo picks up the story this way: Existing Home Sales See Highest Monthy Drop Since 1989.