Housing Complex

Flip It, Florida Avenue Edition

If you've walked by the massive ice warehouse on Florida Avenue just east of North Capitol Street recently, and saw the "for sale" sign on it, you might've thought again? B&B Realty Investments just bought it a year ago, after all, promising a new residential building. Did they decide it just wasn't worth the trouble?

Well, this is just how the business works sometimes. B&B never planned to develop it themselves at all. They're just taking it through the entitlements process, shooting to submit an application to the Zoning Commission that will likely include around 175 condos by June 1. But somewhere along the line, they expect a real developer to come along and buy the whole thing, hopefully for much more than the $8.97 million they paid for it. That's how you make money in real estate, folks.

As an aside, B&B has retained Devrouax + Purnell to design the building. It's a safe choice—the firm has done D.C. projects from the Reeves Center to the Convention Center to the new Progression Place and the Pepco headquarters downtown. Here's how they explain their approach:

Context is Key in any city, neighborhood, or project. The Devrouax & Purnell team understands Washington architecture:

- how to integrate a project into the city's street grid

- how to mitigate its size and scale

- and what makes a building unique to Washington

Sigh. With the exception of some distinctive rowhouse patterns, I don't know that there's anything "unique to Washington" except bland monumentality. While I find most of D&P's work to be inoffensive, designing in keeping with that leads to nothing great.

UPDATE: 5:45 p.m. - Oh look, DCMud got its hands on the zoning application already. So there you have it.

  • Keith

    We used to buy/rent our kegs there in college. Good times.

  • Ace in DC

    Wait they designed the Reeves Center? That alone should disqualify them from designing anything else in this city. The Reeves Center is one of the ugliest/offensive buildings in DC.

  • Real developer?

    There are developers whose entire business model is taking a project through entitlements. It is by far the riskiest part of the development process, and makes sense to do only that if you don't have in-house expertise in construction. There is a pattern in your writing that you feel the need to throw prejoratives at everything that you don't have experience with or disagree with. Just this morning, you mocked people who don't want 10th St closed to traffic and referred to the "hipster" hardware store.

  • concerned

    Buildings in an urban context like DC should be a part of a chorus and not doing solos.

    I take pause when I hear the words "nothing, anything, none, all, etc"

    Lydia, your statement that you "don't know that there's anything "unique to Washington" except bland monumentality." is interesting. Maybe I can invite you on a walking tour of DC so that you can potentially see more interesting things that you probably aren't seeing on the same streets you've already walked down many, many times before.

  • Veronika

    Ace, the Reeves Center is a sign of the times. It was a sign of the 80s. Not to mention, the area was a burnt out shell when the building was dedicated on September 27, 1986. It paved a way. D&P has contributed to many outstanding structures in Washington, D.C., some of which I'd be willing to bet you walk through on a daily basis, but you're entitled to your opinion, as narrow as it is.

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