Confidence In North-East DC’s Future Is At An All-Time High

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  • April 18, 2016

Why are Douglas Development Corp principal Norman Jemal and Foulger Pratt VP Adam Davis in such a good mood? Because they both have developments on 3rd Street NE in NoMa, DC’s next main street.

Sound far-fetched? It shouldn’t. Norman is so confident that Douglas plans to move its office to its Uline Arena development along 3rd Street when it opens this fall, bringing with it REI’s flagship location and a 44k SF creative co-working space. That’s just the first project that will be completed in the corridor, but it’s not close to the only one.

Foulger-Pratt is planning a 1.5-acre development on N Street and 3rd, just a block north of Uline, bringing nearly 400 units of residential and a 175-key hotel.

Across M Street from Uline, Trammell Crow Co is planning a huge mixed-use project on the Central Armiture Works site, with apartments, condos and a hotel, as well as ground-floor retail.

One of the 300-plus in attendance at our Northeast DC Update event last week asked the NoMa/Union Market panel—which also included StonebridgeCarras founding principal Doug Firstenberg, JBG principal Andy Vanhorn and LCOR EVP Bill Hard—whether 3rd Street had the potential to be the next 14th Street, now that the corridor between Thomas Circle and U Street is saturated and expensive.

Most of the panel were confident 3rd Street, which runs from Union Market through NoMa on the east side of the train tracks down to H Street NE, would one day be as cool as the corridor 17 blocks to the west, but hopefully not as expensive. Doug was the lone contrarian, who believes most of the focus in NoMa will remain between N Capitol Street and the train tracks.

But it’s not just one street that has developers and stakeholders brimming with confidence. In farther-out markets like Brookland, Eckington, Brentwood and the edges of New York Avenue, where the connectivity isn’t as first-class as NoMa and there are already residents living there—not just rail yards and warehouses—developers are still confident on the fundamentals.

In fact, Menkiti Group CEO Bo Menkiti (holding the mic) says Northeast DC once held tens of thousands more residents than it does today, so increased residential density will come more naturally to neighborhoods—and current residents are welcoming it, not fighting it.

Joining Bo on the panel were MidCity EVP Michael Meers, Boundary Cos founder John Wilkinson, Walker & Dunlop managing director Chris Doerr and moderator Alex Shepley of Honest Buildings.

Chris says many institutional investors—even those from out of town—are keenly aware of Northeast DC’s future, and are chomping at the bit to get in on the ground floor.

Ethan Rothstei


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