Housing Complex

Douglas Proposing Massive Spec Office Building for New York Avenue

It's easy to get frustrated with Douglas Development. They sit on vacant properties for years, and occasionally get behind on their taxes (hey, who doesn't).

But sometimes, after assembling properties one by one until all the pieces fit together, they do something really great.

It's already happened with the Acme Stove building at the corner of 7th and New York Avenue, which wasn't looking too good until LivingSocial signed a lease—seemingly overnight, the structure was immaculately restored in cheery french blue. And last night, Douglas unveiled plans for a massive complex to occupy the rest of the block: An undulating tower set back from the historic buildings below that would draw downtown's center of gravity even further east.

The proposed development, designed by Shalom Baranes and shooting for LEED Silver, is 380,000 square feet of top-of-the-line office space. Most of the 32,000 square feet of ground-floor retail will be in the site's old brick buildings, which will be consolidated on 7th Street (by the time they finish the project across the street, Douglas will be experts in moving buildings). In order to not build on top of them, they're asking for permission to transfer density towards the east end of the site, which would be built up to 130 feet. One side would have wavy fins with rooftop gardens.

Douglas says they're the only developers in the deal at the moment, and are building on spec—no tenants yet. Although there seem to be some characteristic LivingSocial logos in those glassy lobby windows.

Full Historic Preservation Review Board application after the jump.


Comments

  1. #1

    It looks like they are proposing to use the facades of 2 garage buildings as the garage entrance. A driver would enter through what looks like an old garage and then dive down at least 2 stories into a modern garage. Kind of cool.

  2. #2

    yeah and in 10 years it will be abandoned all over again.

  3. #3

    I was at the ANC2C meeting last night where they presented. They also gave an update on the building at the corner of 7th and H St -- where the CVS was. Apparently Duane Reade approached them and want to put in a store of the same caliber as the awesome one at 40 Wall St. in NYC. It'll be a market, drugstore, salon, etc. -- really cool looking. Check it out.

    That being said, I'm excited about this new building!

  4. #4

    DC 8,
    why?

  5. #5

    This is a pretty interesting solution. How rentable are basement level offices? The sections don't show any light wells, so what tenant would want them?

  6. #6

    Another glass grid, ho hum. It's nice of them to save all those older buildings though. This approach seems like the right choice to transition to the residential neighborhood to the north. The warm and fuzzy rendering is probably a stretch though, all that glass and steel will most likely not have a golden glow.

  7. #7

    Very, very cool. I'm really happy to see downtown finally jumping over NY Avenue, though I suspect the neighbors across L won't be terribly happy with the massing. I wonder how long it will take for the old projects between L and O to get redeveloped.

    My only critique: I don't like the vertical lines (fins?) around the building, however - they add to the scale in a way that distracts from the streetscape. I suspect to see a fair number of changes to this structure, though, as it goes through the approval process. Hopefully it will stay at 130 feet - NY Ave could use the height.

  8. #8

    oh no! What will happen to the DC Eagle?

  9. #9

    Seems pretty interesting by DC office building standards. Still, I though this site was going to be housing. I worry the 9-5 office blob is gradually eating up some of the last remaing spots to build a living downtown.

  10. #10

    I'm all for this. MVT suffers from a lack of day traffic -- 455 Mass and 425 Eye are pretty much our only office buildings. As such, we haven't had much in the way of eating options, bars, etc. Sixth Engine and City Vista are about it. Adding another 1000-2000 daytime inhabitants to go along with the 3-4k already planned and the incremental 1500 units of housing and condos (http://www.mountvernontriangle.org/manage/img/515.pdf), this will actually become a neighborhood.

  11. #11

    B - they're finding a new location (rumor is they've already identified it and are in the process of making the provisions). This wouldn't be the first time they've had to move - their current location is their 3rd spot in the DC area.

  12. #12

    I think it's beautiful. It's tough for me to do this often, but huzzah Doug Jemal.

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