Bruce Monroe Bid Update: 175 apts, 52 rowhomes, Burgers, Folks from Churchkey?

Well that was fast but we’ve already got an update on the development bid at the old Bruce Monroe School at 3000 Georgia Ave, NW. This just got very very serious. I’d be very curious to know exactly how serious Elevation Burger and/or the folks from Churchkey are in potentially coming to the space. If true this could be huge!

WBJ’s Michael Neibauer writes:

Option A — we assume it’s the firms’ preferred option — would feature an NDC-developed mixed-use building on the eastern third of the site, comprising 88-175 apartments up to 1,000 square feet, 17,000-26,000 square feet of retail space and a community learning center. Yes! Organic Market, Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Chuchkey, Birch and Barley, Rustico, Vermilion), Elevation Burger and a hardware store are listed as potential tenants.

The western two-thirds would comprise 52 EYA-developed townhomes ranging from 1,500-2,000 square feet, each with one or two garage parking spaces.

Now if you’ll forgive me, I’m going to lay down for a few minutes before I pass out with joy…

54 Comment

  • if something like churchkey landed there I may have to do my very special “don’t arrest me, officer, I’m doing this deliberately” dance in the middle of Irving Street.

  • Sure glad we spent TWO MILLION DOLLARS on a TEMPORARY park. What a waste.

    • At a meeting tonight, the City said tat either way, it will still take 2-3 years min. for the development to break ground.

      I for one am 100% happy that the City made a modest investment in keeping the area from becoming an abandoned sesspool!

      ***As for $2,000,000 being too much – it’s not! There are 4,000 folks living in just the two nearest ANC single member distristcs that encompass the site (ANC 1A10 and ANC 1B09). That comes out to only $50 per person and we all know A LOT more people have a stake in it than that.

  • wow, the petworth Yes! must be doing very well if they are considering opening up another georgia ave location about a mile away.

  • Before everyone starts throwing their backs out with dances of joy… can we consider all the defunct and vacant properties out there?

    Development for development’s sake is FOOLISH.

    It costs money to build and more to maintain.

    DC does not have a lack of housing options…creating more options only serves to depress realestate and keep places vacant.

    • Most of those properties should be torn down anyway. I saw 38 house in Parkview before I found one worth fixing.

      The Park is going and construction can’t start fast enough.


      • …they wont be torn down…but there are important areas of DC that are falling into poverty and decay.

        You can’t ignore the blight…it will always take over.

    • Just a lack of cheap housing options. Round these parts, a $1000 basement studio is a good deal. That’s nuts. We could all use a little more depression in our real estate.

      • Sure, if you want to live in Dupont like all the other fools out there… Forget renting, and consider BUYING. The house underneath mine is amazing and it’s going for 98k. There is NOT a lack of cheap housing…Just a dearth of “I can’t live beyond spitting distance of a metro” -types.
        Honestly, the young up and comers who are paying 1200-1800 in rent…you guys are foolish enablers to the f-ed up rent racket.

    • the market in dc is weird, just b/c more houses are on the market doesnt necessarily mean it will depress the values. each new condo or renovated house actually increases the value of the surrounding houses.turning ghetto into gentrification = higher housing prices.

      • It would be nice if this was sure-fire truth, but it isn’t.

        I dont care if my neighbor’s lawn looks nice… If there is an open air drug trade in the alley and 4 people were shot on my street this year… I am not going to chose to live there (Or stay there for that matter).

        People want to look at places like U street or parts of Georgia ave or 18th columbia area and say “See, now that is happening here.”
        Truth is, the subsidized commercial development gimmick works only so many times. The police can only keep so many places pretty at once.

        Go to Thailand and see the skyscrapers that are 4% occupied, it is terrifying. Building for building’s sake is not responsible, but it is becoming DC’s motto.
        “We can’t fix the problem, so let’s build around it and hope it fixes itself….”

        • That Bull!

          New residential Development like this brings in people who want to live in new housing. maybe buying and rehabbing a rowhouse isn’t there thing , but renting or buying a new townhouse/apartment is.

          This increased density of people with more disposible income will create more demand for the sitdown restaruants on GA Ave. everyone says they want!

          The commerical rental market in Thailand has as much to do with this as the price of tea in china (pun intended, though probably not appreciated!)

    • Currently, DC the vacancy rate is the lowest in the nation. So yes, DC does need more housing options. Also, DC’s population is growing at an accelerating rate, so long term changes are afoot that necessitate development.

      • Yes the population is growing… But at its peak in ’86 638,000 people were living here… Today we are still 38,000 shy of that peak. lets give some areas of the city time to heal organically. Let’s get people into the vacant’s before we toss up “mixed income housing”.

        If my tax dollars MUST go towards something…let it go to fixing what we’ve got…not building more to maintain…

        More is not better.

  • Sigh. Burgers and micro-brews are more important than children in this city. And people don’t seem to see the connection between failing to educate young children and the violent crime that happens later when they become teenagers. Instead, folks want to ignore the kids, dance in the street over burgers and beers, and then scream at the police and elected officials when the violent crime happens. It’s all connected folks. Deprive kids of good schools and public, safe, open space to play, and you drastically increase the chances of them growing up into fuckwads who could kill you.

    Meanwhile, these “potential tenants” aren’t anywhere near confirmed, they are names thrown out there to make the yuppies salivate and increase political pressure to make sure the deal gets done without a park and without a school.

    Apparently the strategy works very well.

    • Burgers and micro brews pay for the schools, rec centers, and every other social program for kids in this city. It’s called tax base. And in this city, which has a large group of people you are a net drain on services, we need to constantly work on growing that base.

      FYI: I live two blocks from there and have kids…

    • Building a school at Bruce Monroe would cost the city $35M out of pocket, and would deprive the city of the revenue from the land sale, plus future tax revenues.

      Selling Bruce Monroe to developers would create about $2.5M a year in tax revenues, and generate enough upfront cash to completely renovate Park View. There aren’t enough kids for two schools, so it’s either going to be Bruce Monroe or Park View. How on earth does it make sense to spend extra millions to build a new school on the more valuable land?

      It sucks that Rhee and Fenty lied to Bruce Monroe parents and children, but that ship has sailed and they’ve both lost their jobs. It’s time to move on and do what’s best for the community as a whole. I live in the area, and it’s very important to me that Park View is renovated, and that the kids have a really great neighborhood school. I don’t see why it ought to be at Georgia and Columbia, though. That just doesn’t make any sense.

      • “It sucks that Rhee and Fenty lied to Bruce Monroe parents and children, but that ship has sailed and they’ve both lost their jobs.”
        Like I said before and after the election – Fenty and Rhee were the bad cops for making the unpopular but necessary choices, and Gray now gets to be the good cop by saying “Oh well, what’s done is done. Can’t go back now.”
        I wonder how those who voted for Gray thinking they were stopping the gentrification train from rolling along are feeling right now.

    • I’ll agree and disagree.

      Agree that the names being floated “Yes!, Churchkey, etc.” are a marketing ploy and nothing more at this point. Ask the folks in the vicinity of DC USA how they are enjoying their Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods/Elwood Thompsons… until the lease is signed and the buildout begun, these are fantasies at best.

      However, I don’t agree that replacing one school on what could be a major commercial corridor in the city is akin to casting aside education in this city. After years of declining enrollment, the city has a number of below-capacity school buildings. Attacking the aging and redundant infrastructure is one way to get at the high expense per pupil problem in DC. Perhaps it could free up some of those funds to allow the focus to be placed on performance.

      Also, wasn’t EYA also responsible for Harrison Square (between 12th & 13th off of U)? This design looks very similar.

  • the DC housing market is hardly “depressed” its one of the strongest in the country. Have you been looking for a home? I have and its outrageous 1) what things are still priced as fixer uppers in crappy locations and 2) how quickly they sell.
    Additionally, of the homes proposed a portion would be affordable or workforce and we need that in the townhomes. The “workforce” townhomes in cap quarters (income 88,000-112,000) are all snapped up through lottery. I know this cause I was one of 65 people qualified to be in the lottery to compete for 10 houses! (and I lost). DC Is sorely lacking in family housing and almost all new construction is apt or condo. Furthermore, don’t get the whole arguement against development. Its not costing YOU that much money. The developer assumes the risks and therefore gets the greater reward. Its desperately needed property tax for the City. How exactly do you think we pay for things like schools, police etc. TAXES.

    • But here we DON’T pay for schools, police etc. We destroy schools, lay off teachers, refuse to hire more cops for community policing, etc. The tax dollars instead go back to the developers in the form of increment financing, kick backs and tax breaks.

      • Ugh, gag me.

        I suppose the 2 billion dollar 6 year schools renovation plan that we are 4 years into is “not paying for schools”, let alone us (as of a few months ago) now having the highest paid public school teachers in the nation.

        We get rid of schools that are only at ~20% capacity because it makes no sense to keep them open, we lay off teachers that aren’t qualified. How hard is that to understand?

        I suppose the fact that the District already has almost twice the number of active duty cops per capita than NYC is somehow “neglecting” you. I won’t even mention the ancillary thousands of other non-MPD gun carrying law enforcement officers in the District on a daily basis.

        • Joker, your view is the minority view around here. The election results prove it.

          • Whatever! The majority of people “around here” hold this view, but just didn’t want to vote for a dictator like Fenty. That doesn’t mean they (or for that matter Gray) is anti-development and progress!

    • That DC is lacking in “family housing” may be true, and that “almost all new construction is apt or condo” may also be true, but the two are not exclusive. In much of the world families live quite happily in apartments. The crucial feature is to have plenty of easily accessible good communal playgrounds and park space.

  • thanks for the picture.

    that looks like a 21st century ghetto to me. 4 blocks of townhomes on one block of land? and the ‘green space’ behind the storefronts makes me cringe in fear somehow. it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    it looks like it could be awesome or total crap, so i say lets not risk it.

    plus i love the park! personally, i say we keep it as it is and upgrade it a little in the future when there is more money. a softball field for little league and more of a soccer space.

    • This is a similar development from the same developer. Does that really look like a ghetto to you?

      I love the park, too, but if the land is going to be developed, this sounds like a really great project.

      • Actually, yes it does. One of the important lessons that urban planners tend to miss is that narrow roads that aren’t directly visible from major streets tend to attract drug houses. It makes it less likely that patrol cars will go there on their normal routes.

        • Patrol cars will be more likely to swing by less visible streets when they contain $900,000 townhomes

        • Yeah, but if there are 20 – 30% affordable housing there could still be drug dealing. I don’t mean to come off as uncaring, but let’s be real. It all depends on the type of “affordable housing”: section 8 type (under 30% of the area median income – AMI) or workforce – up to 80% AMI…

  • well…there goes the neighborhood

  • As nice as the park is, lets be honest. There’s a huge park with the same amenities at Banneker that is underused. And I agree strongly that at least a portion of the Old Soldiers Home should be open up to the public. This is supposed to happen when they develop a portion of it. Georgia Avenue is a commercial thoroughfare. We live in a city and a commercial thoroughfare should be lively and busy with stores and residences. EYA is a proven great developer that pays good attention to surrounding architecture and their communities are always prized after (check out their website for their past developments.) The planned layout makes sense also. There is no developer that would not build those interior lots. Long lots that currently exist on the surrounding streets just do not happen in an urban setting anymore. As far as the school, isn’t it better to have one great school that is architecturally beautiful as opposed to two schools one that is new and one that is left to fall apart? More is not better in this case in my opinion.

    • the school might look architecturally beautiful to you outside, but take a good look inside…you would be really shocked at the amount of money already spent on that building and the condition that it is in.

  • This is great news!

  • Really not into a Yes! Organic market. There is one north of Petworth metro and one of 13th St. Better to have a Trader Joe’s that can bring in folks from U St, Columbia Heights, and other neighborhoods.

    There are so many vacant properties on GA Ave for sale. Would love to see ChurchKey or a burger place go into one of them.

    We should keep part of the park; folks enjoy it. Use half of the park for a Trader Joe’s with condos on top.

    • Without this development, American Restaurant Group is not interested in this portion of Georgia Ave – so they don’t want any of the vacant storefronts. Just like most businesses have not wanted them for the last 50 years.

      I’m not saying I prefer that to be true – just that I think it is…

      • Not true. I and others have wanted a store front on Georgia Avenue for years, but start ups can’t afford the high rents/sales prices the owners want for these properties that also need a ton of work done on them. Instead they hold onto them waiting for the miracle or for the big developer. Same old b.s.

  • Trader Joes would be better than Yes Organic Market – a little competition is good.

  • Everlasting Life, next to this land, closed down the portion of their store that sold nearly the same products Yes will sell. Why will Yes succeed here?

    Also, That park sucks for the kids, no shade, too little to do. Go check out playgrounds in the richer parts of town (ex Turtle Park). Parkview kids got screwed.

    • you can’t be serious?

      #1 Everlasting life was a freaky, cultish, sad excuse for an organic market.

      #2 The City has done a wondeerful job creating this park in 3 months, as a response to community input. The Trees are very large for a new park, and it will take 40 years to get the big shade trees you say the kids deserve.

      In any case, just ask the dozens of kids and adults using the park every single day if they think they are being scrwed!?!

    • I wouldn’t set foot in the Everlasting Life store, Yes is OK except for the only milk option being $7 a gallon.

  • Those who were around during the constuction of DC USA remember fondly the pining for Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. It’s not going to happen this early in Parkview. Neither has any interest in moving into a transitional neighborhood – they can afford to wait until they are the capstone.

    I love Yes! Organic, and I’m thankful that they committed to Petworth when they did. They’d be a great add to Parkview.

  • Aren’t there still several vacant spaces in the Donatelli building above the Metro? if they are serious about being in the neighborhood, why don’t retailers just snag those?

    Oh, and any updates, lately, on Billy Simpson’s or the new Gillian Clark place? Those seem a lot closer on the horizon, potentially …

  • You know we can buy the same freaking baby arugula they sell at Wholefoods at Target now? Plus wild-caught Alaska salmon? When they get panko I’m really going to poop my pants.

  • i live two blocks away. it might be a skimpy little park, but it’s a park – a NEW PARK – with open, free space that kids and families use every day. even if there’s two within a half mile radius, who says PV’s residents don’t want or enjoy it? 175 apts, 52 additional rowhouses? let them develop the abandoned/ underused/ neglected properties up and down georgia ave. the lot at georgia and hobart is going up with another 30+ units, and people are screaming bloody murder about trouble parking.

    upscaling the neighborhood would be nice, but why don’t you just move to another neighborhood if you don’t appreciate the character of what’s here? not looking forward to dcusa-lite on georgia.

    • It would be nice to develop abandoned/underused/neglected properties, but aside from contractors doing flip jobs, it’s not something the city can have any control over.

      What I don’t like about this proposal is the “1-2 Garage parking spaces for each townhome” – are they kidding!? They’re shaving about 25% of the potential space off of the homes in a city where 37% of the households don’t even own a car (let alone two). Do they not know this is two and a half blocks from a metro station? I could see that some people might work in Olney and need a car but up to 104 parking spots for 52 households – they need to go back to the drawing board on that one.

  • All very groovy. But seriously, in case any potential investor is trolling these comments: I’m a home-owner within 2 blocks of this site (ergo a solid participating member of the community, ain’t going anywhere). My wife and I are strongly anti child, pro pub & healthfood retail. We represent guaranteed regular business for both, should they come to fruition. I’m sure the young folk in the Park View building (and many others around here) would support the scene on a regular and ongoing basis.

    Put some decent English ale in that pub (or a reasonable facsimile) and you’ll have a daily worshipper for life. Seriously. If I had any more disposable income I’d invest in that idea right the hell now.

    • If a potential investor is trolling these comments for ideas on where to invest, then they have some serious problems. I can just see it now…

      Investor: “Hi, I’m here for my loan interview.”
      Bank: “OK, let’s see your business plan.”

      no offense meant to PoP

  • This looks nice (Option A). I still like the idea of keeping it a Park, but that retail sounds pretty good if it comes into existance. But for it to have a chance, they will need to keep the housing mix around 20/80 – 20% affordable and 80% market rate. Any thing more affordable will make renting the market rate units(that will pay for the rest of the project) very difficult – no, really.

    Option B – DOA. The kids are better off on a more residential street where Parkview is, since that is an option. Use the Tewnty one Million dollars to fix it up and everyone is happy (or at least gets their piece of the pie)!

  • Townhouses facing an alley seem like an invitation for ghetto-crime.

    The revision of the Park-Morton complex required seizing two houses in order to rebuild a through-street to increase safety.

    An urban street is safe when there are “eyes on the street” — people sitting on porches and watching out their front windows. No one is watching what happens in alleys. We still find used condoms in our alley.

    • Bog Frog – I get what you’re saying, but an example of this is the development of townhouses facing “alleys” betwen 13th & 12th St and V and W st. NW (just north of U st.) This area has done well. Maybe they had some crime concerns when they were first built 10 years ago, but maybe not?!?

  • Lie down, PoP, not lay down. Unless you’re implying something dirty.

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