City issues development permits for Pennsylvania Avenue

Media Credit: Craig Hudson | Hatchet Photographer

Residents in the Presidential Condominiums on 21st and I streets were alerted of planned construction to the 2100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, where GW will build an 11-story office building.

Updated: Sept. 24, 2015 at 1:18 p.m.

D.C. issued development permits last week for a construction company to develop a string of GW-owned properties on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc. will be developing a 250,000 square foot building in the area, alternatively known as Square 75. Construction will include razing several buildings on that block.

“Skanska has been lining up its permits so that it can begin construction at a moment’s notice,” The Washington Business Journal reported.

The project, which was announced in 2011, will result in an 11-story building in place of two University buildings, the office building at 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. and several townhouses. Included in those townhouses were several locally owned restaurants that have since moved nearby. Froggy Bottom Pub closed its Pennsylvania Avenue location and moved to K Street in 2013. The owners of Thai Place opened a more upscale version, called Soi 38, on L Street in 2014.

Residents of The President Condominiums on 21st and I streets received a notice earlier this month from Steven Joyce, the chairperson of the building’s association, stating that demolition of three townhouses on I Street could begin as early as this month and will last about 30 months.

The notice also said that Skanska officials have been holding meetings with the apartment building’s Board of Directors “to sensitize residents of the new development.” Skanska representatives held a meeting on Sunday in the Science and Engineering Hall for the condominium’s board and tenants of the building to give feedback on the project before construction begins.

“We look forward to your presence and feedback to these pre-construction meetings, with relevant questions to the developers as it pertains to the quality of life issues during construction,” Joyce said in the notice.

That meeting was at least the third that has taken place since July. They’ve addressed the construction plans, established points of contact for the residents and laid out the next steps for the development as construction around the building starts.

University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said in an email over the summer that the building will have about 10,000 square feet on its ground floor slated for retail space. Experts have said adding high-paying tenants to the space would be a key way to pad GW’s bottom line. GW’s total real estate investments topped $958 million in 2015, according to financial reports.

“The University and Skanska continue to work with the Foggy Bottom/West End communities throughout this process and are holding meetings with stakeholders in properties surrounding the development,” Hiatt said.

The University partnered with Skanska for the project in 2014, Hiatt said. The construction company is also working on building a 234,000 square foot office building in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood of the District, according to the firm’s website.

Hiatt said officials are hoping to have the new building certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Building Council, potentially making it the 12th LEED-certified building at GW.

The University has spent more than $500 million on construction projects between 2007 and 2013, part of a years-long construction boom. The Board of Trustees signed off on a 12 percent increase to its budget for construction and renovations last spring.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the development permits confirmed construction on Pennsylvania Avenue would be starting this semester. The Hatchet incorrectly attributed a quote to Steven Joyce as something he said in a meeting. The quote came from a printed notice. Due to misinformation in the notice, the Hatchet incorrectly reported a meeting about construction took place in Philips Hall. It took place in the Science and Engineering Hall. We regret these errors.

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