Development Scuttlebutt: Developers Working on Acquiring Property at 14th and S St, NW

File this under pure scuttlebutt – but it’s from a pretty reliable source and given how much the area is blowing up, it seems pretty realistic. First, I’m hearing that the Frontier properties (the light brown row houses across the street from Standard on S Street) will be redeveloped into a commercial building with retail on the ground floor.

Second, a developer is looking into the parking lot behind Masa 14 and would like to develop it into a residential project.

Neither of these two projects are a done deal but the ball has started rolling.

Stay tuned…

77 Comment

  • I had assumed those houses across from the Standard were low income housing. Maybe I am wrong, but if I am not, it is sad those people will be chased out to PG County or across the river by another set of poorly made overpriced condos with formulaic restaurants and trinkets shops below.

    • Good riddance

    • They were built as low-income housing in the 70s and subsequently sold to the tenants at a later point at an extremely favorable price. It’s my understanding that a few still live there but the vast majority are standard market rate condos/townhomes.

      When the news first hit, the rumor was that the owners were offered 125% of the market rate but it was an all or nothing deal. And 125% was the starting point, I wouldn’t be surprised if it climbed higher in negotiations.

      There is nothing to feel bad about here. Low-income residents were handed a townhome in the middle of the city. Now, most have sold out already and the ones that haven’t are in a position to seriously cash it in. You can buy a really nice home for $800,000 in PG county.

    • OK based on what I learned by reading the article on this section of houses, it is not a shame they will be razed and new condos will be raised in their place. Well except for the fact that any time you tear down old buildings and build new ones there is a huge environmental impact. Regardless, I was wrong to say it was sad earlier.

  • That block in front of Frontier is always covered in trash and chicken bones. I don’t walk my dog there anymore.

    Also, I don’t think it’s low income. I saw someone pull into the parking lot once in a Land Rover.

    • Right, because I’ve never seen someone on food stamps driving an escalade or Mercedes.

      • ah, maybe i’m being a little naive. i guess i was thinking that since there are income requirements for stuff like that, someone couldn’t afford a nice car.

        well, i guess they probably can’t. some people spend money when they don’t have it..

        but per the insufferable lydia depillis’s article, they are condos.

  • Since DC owns the first 10 feet of their front yard this will make the deal difficult (there I made the comment early so we could get it out of the way.)

  • me

    I am actually pretty excited about this. I have been mugged twice in front of these Frontier houses, on 14th Street. I swear I almost feel like I have PTSD when I walk by there now.

    • You need to start carrying a thick sock full of pennies when you walk around there. You can lay a serious whooping on a mugger with one of those.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      And what about the parking lot behind Masa 14?

      Also just a heads up Lydia – it’s possible to leave the link and/or provide info without being a jerk about it. But that’s cool if that’s not your thing – appreciate the info – you really are a very good reporter.

      • she broke a story over a month ago that you’re writing about today. can’t she be at least a little sarcastic about it?

      • Advantage: PoP.

        Sorry, Lydia, but the good ole City Paper isn’t as widely read as some folks think. You may have broken the story but for plenty of people here (including me) this is still news.

        And, good news at that, given that I believe an urban block on 14th shouldn’t be a fortress-like suburban townhouse development.

        • don’t kid yourself.

        • I dunno Anon2,

          According to the web stats the Wash City Paper sees 5 times the daily traffic and has 6 times the number monthly unique visitors than does PoP.

          • Thanks for pointing that out Lydia 🙂

          • Yep, but as Dr. J commented, that’s largely comprised of dudes looking for sex or reading Savage Love. I would love it if was a legitimate news source again, but the introduction of WP’s Express and better online sources like DCist made City Paper obsolete long ago… I’m sure Craigslist’s banning of adult encounters has been a boon for CP, though.

      • Let civility reign!

      • She’s not a good reporter. Good reporters dont work for the WCP.

      • Hey PoP, I’ve been a loyal reader of yours. She’s got a point. You wrote this post as though you were breaking news, and you are not. Nor did you credit her original reporting on this story with a link or a mention.

        • Yeah, I think that’s a pretty good point, to be fair…

          • Fine, she wrote about it earlier. She could’ve just posted the link and be done with it. Her “Amazing what reading the news will tell you” was unnecessary and sarcastic. Bottom line.

        • Prince Of Petworth

          Jake, I had no idea she wrote that story. If I did, I wouldn’t have waited 2 months to post about it.

          • If that’s the case, I think you should have provided attribution after you found out.

            I also think that you have an obligation to be aware of previously published stories on the exact same topic if you claim to be breaking a story.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            I only found out when she left the comment. And Jake, I have an obligation to be aware of previously published stories? Number 1 that is impossible. Number 2 – do you have any idea how many blogs/news web sites post stories on the exact same topics I have? A lot. I only hope you are equally as critical to those sites as you are to me.

            Please email me directly if you’d like to continue this conversation.

          • I suspected “Jake” was in fact Lydia, but as a journalist she would certainly know (as would any educated or reasonably intelligent person) that one need not cite general, publicly available information of this nature simply because it has been in another previous article. Now, had PoP’s post pulled a specific quote or used some propitiatory information that he would have needed to gleam from her article, that would be cause for attributing that information from her piece. Its pretty evident PoP didn’t know of the article’s existence, which is a forgivable mistake for a blogger in my book.

            If I question anyone’s professionalism here, its Lydia’s for her handling of the matter. Could she be bitter that she’s got a dig on piece and contributed it to a paper that no one – sans Dan Snyder – has paid attention to since the mid-90’s?

        • Jake, PoP obviously didn’t gather the “scuttlebug” from the City Paper article or even know the article existed before this posting so how do you figure that he would he be required to cite it? Does any future article on the subject have to refer to Lydia’s article or could different reporters provide different accounts.

          As for PoP, his research division (kidding. he doesn’t have one – he’s one w/ a blog that provides a great service the city) was behind the curve on this but he’s also the reason most of us learned about it. City Paper as a whole may score higher on internet traffic but how much of that is comprised of horny dudes perusing for “casual encounters”, massage parlors and their weekly dose of “Savage Love?”

          • But, by the same token, PoP seems to be trying to be promoting himself as an important (perhaps even pre-eminent) blogger and local news source for DC, right? And as such,doesn’t he have a little bit of an obligation to read the primary other blogs and news sources? I mean, it is a full time job for PoP, it’s how he pays his bills, right? And, the City Paper is certainly one of the other important news sources in the city. An analogy: if one of my employees jobs was to give me a summary of important local developments and didn’t even bother to read the few other truly local news sources, I’d be a bit concerned about how seriously they take their job. And, when I pointed it out to them, I’d be a bit taken aback if they acted hurt and annoyed back at me.

            Don’t get me wrong, I love PoP, I’m a big supporter, but there is a degree of expectation that, if he really is to be a big name blogger in DC, then he should be aware of what’s in the other fundamental sources (there are only about 10 other major blogs and local rags that he would need to follow, and WCP is one) and not act defensive when it is pointed out to him.

            Also, there seems to be a very competitive, at times mean-spirited, relationship between the local bloggers/reporters that doesn’t really reflect well on any of them. For example, Lydia acted a bit silly and hurt too. And, even though I think she overreacted, a reasonable person can see why she might feel a bit peeved. And, wasn’t there that “best blog of DC” competition that got a bit nasty last year or so? The one where a few choice sexist comments were made by some bloggers at others?

            All I’m saying is that local reporters/bloggers shouldn’t act like jerks to each other – I suspect they’re much more powerful acting in concert than in competition.

            soapbox off.

    • I knew I was getting deja vu from this.

    • Wait, since when is the City Paper “news”? I thought it was just an expanded style section and lots of adverts for naughty services.

      • there have been some great articles in the CP over the years. overall it’s a crappy paper, but since lydia took over housing complex, it’s a great column.

    • This is actually what I hate about the “news” industry: placing all the emphasis on breaking a story. I don’t care who scooped who, that’s just dive bar bragging rights. I care about information and if my source of information happens to be PoP, it’s not because he’s beating down doors for the “truth”. It’s a neighborhood blog, FFS!

    • +1000 for sarcasm! How about a sense of humor PoP? You broke old news that could have come from a story she wrote months ago.

    • Hey Lydia, just out of curiosity how many comments did your article generate?

      • That’s a dumb argument considering much of the readership is through print and not online. Even more considering half of these comments are directly related to the subject of her posting first.

  • We’ve seen this story play out dozens of times locally. This is what will happen…

    The first offer is in at 175% their value. They will act as a cohesive group and push for more.

    Monument will come back with 200% value which is where `90% of the ownership will sign on the dotted line.

    The remaining 10% will hold out for ~6 months while their neighbors are ready to cause them bodily harm. half hte remaining people will then sign because they secretely get another 25-50K to go.

    At this point you have 2, a max 3 people who are holdouts. Publically they say its on principal “Oh, this is my home, where would I go, and no amount of money can make me leave, while secretely they are continuing to meet with Monument or whomever follows them, to push for more money. They always think there is more money and 12-18 months after the others signed on the dotted line, the developer walks, leaving 98% of the ownership mad enough to break some biblical commandments.

    I agree…if I was Monument I would be focusing my time on getting the condo association to modify their rules so that they don’t need unananimous votes. You only need ~66% of the ownership to change their rules, something I imagine would be easy in this case.

    I guess we will see.

    • The residents would do well to think of the “Godfather’s Pizza Guy” on Mass Ave. When he was approached by a developer he held out (ostensibly on principle but really for money) until the offer came off the table and the developer built a commercial building around him. Now his property is worthless. Like the man said, it’s aonly a gold mine if you sell it.

  • The chicken bones on the sidewalk was probably me. Look, those things have to go somewhere.

    I just moved out of this place in June, still have friends and a bitchin (BITCHIN) basement movie theater there.

    So what I’m saying is, when this gets razed in two years, who has an empty basement where I can screen movies?

    • jburka

      “Look, those things have to go somewhere.”

      You mean like the trashcan at 14th and S? Or the one on the other corner of 14th and S? Or the one on the OTHER corner of 14th and S? Somewhere like that?


    • “The chicken bones on the sidewalk was probably me. Look, those things have to go somewhere.”

      Cool, go fuck yourself.

      • You should see it on rib night!

      • I guess I sympathize with Anonymous’s feeling — I can only hope Kris was joking about being the source of the chicken bones — but “go f*** yourself” is not cool, and not in keeping with PoP’s Operation Restore Civility.

  • Can we get the same deal with Hubbard Place at 14th and Oak. Did anyone see the cop and his city spot light truck last night right next to the Getaway…what’s going on up there?

    • The house on the corner is a drug house. The neighbors have been complaining about the dealing, so the cops have responded.

      • Yeh this is great. We may not have enough to arrest you on, but everyone knows your drug dealers (oh you little yo’s just love to circle endlessly around the block for what reason?) so now we’re going to shine a big freaked light in your house. Get insomnia and die.

  • The parking lot is city property, so I doubt it is being redeveloped unless the city is surplusing it.

  • Monument could be evil and tell the condo owners that the first 25% goes at 300% market rate, the next 25% goes at 250%, the next 30% goes at 200%, first come first served. Once they have 80% of the votes, they get to start calling the shots and no offers on the remaining 20% will be made at over 175%

  • I hate to be a NIMBY but that parking lot IS in my backayard. There’s been rumors about it being developed for year.

    My end of the block doesn’t have off street parking so it sounds like I will need to sell my car soon. 🙁

    • saf

      I know what you mean – for me, the Petworth Safeway is my backyard. I complain, people say “Don’t be a NIMBY,” I say, “Well, there’s really no way to avoid that, now is there?”

  • Speaking of public housing or not, I’ve been wondering about the somewhat grand-looking building diagonally from the Shaw Library and across from the CVS (I think.) What is that thing?

    For that matter, there are a lot of buildings in that area that look like sort of public housing.

  • Tangential, but… wasn’t there a GDON not long ago on one of those townhouses?

  • Pretty sure one of these townhouses was the “House of the Day” a few months ago

  • I think this development will be great if it happens. Same with that parking lot.

    These are great examples of underutilized space.

  • I live there (on the Riggs Street side). I’ve never had any problem with muggings, chicken bones, or feeling unsafe. I’d actually be really curious to know when someone was mugged around these houses and if you were mugged once why did take the same route home?!

    The neighbors are nice, some weren’t too happy about a bunch of white kids moving in to their neighborhood (feel free to hate on me for saying this). In getting to know them a bit, they’ve actually really warmed up to us. I think there are about 4 or 5 houses with young people as opposed to families now.

    While it’s true that a developer is offering to buy out the owners for ~$875k, according to my landlord, you have to keep in mind that not all of the current owners bought their houses when they were first put up for sale and are going to want to make more money off of the sale.

    For the record, personally, I’m fine with the place being knocked down and a commercial building or “another set of poorly made overpriced condos with formulaic restaurants and trinkets shops below” being built. This being D.C. I think it will be several years until that happens.

  • I must admit I await with keen anticipation the time when yuppies in high-priced condos on 14th St. (the Distrik) and S St. (where Frontiers now stands) complain about the din coming at 10 pm from all the hipsters at the Standard. I’ve walked in front of the Frontiers development many times at night and find most of the residents there less scary than the partying crowd on 14th St.

    I’m surprised someone like PoP doesn’t check out the City Paper website daily. The small staff there does a good job covering D.C. political, development, and dining news. And the snarky attitude that infested the print CP during its heyday when it was edited by David Carr is largely gone (as is fortunately, the insufferable Jason Cherkis.)

  • The latest from Lydia:

    CHOICES, CHOICES: Remember that crazy offer from Monument Realty for the Frontiers East and West condo developments? Well, residents have been thinking it over, and a few weeks ago entertained yet another proposition—this time from local developer Lakritz Adler. Principal Josh Adler caught me before I could sit in on the presentation, which they held at the swank Donovan House hotel, so I don’t have details of the offer. But Adler assures me it’s competitive, and expects to hear some indication of the homeowners’ thinking in October. Of course, 100 percent of the homeowners must agree to sell, so chances are slim for a favorable outcome for either developer.

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