Selasa, 28 Agustus 2012

Douglas to Seek Second Extension for Uline Arena Redevelopment

With their two year extension on the Uline Arena entitlements running out in mere days, Douglas Development has made a decision - they're sticking with the oft-delayed, complicated project.
"No way are we walking away from this," says Paul Millstein of Douglas Development.  "We're going for an extension as a commercial mixed-use development.  We're still working very aggressively with prospective users.  Thing is, we've got Central Armature right across on the other corner, and it's ugly.  That doesn't help.  And the other corner, catty corner across, isn't developed at all, that doesn't help either.  But we love the site, we believe in it.  We committed early, before they did the grocery store site and the residential. We've put a ton of time into meetings, architecture, planning."

Since purchasing the property in 2004, there has been much speculation, but little certainty, about what Douglas has planned for the historic space.  The space had been used as a trash transfer station, and is now an indoor parking lot - a long way from its auspicious past as a venue that once featured the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Temptations.  (Though not all on the same night.)

Part of the problem is that while the space is on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning it can't be demolished as part of any redevelopment, it's not, well, very good at its intended purpose.  When a local arts group put on a drama performance at Uline in early 2011, reviewers noted the poor acoustics of the space, a complaint that some local historians claim has echoed (see what I did there?) through the ages, right from Uline's opening.  Still, the poor acoustics could be remedied, at least in part, by a redevelopment, preserving Uline as an arts performance space - a prospect that is still very much on the table, according to Millstein.

"We're still looking at an entertainment component on the ground floor," Millstein says.  "Something, for example, like the Fillmore in Silver Spring, or maybe an even larger venue.  Retail use could also do extremely well."

The HPRB approved Douglas' preliminary plan in 2008, a GTM Architects-designed concept that keeps the familiar Uline facade intact and preserves the cavernous interior as a multi-level atrium, into which extensive skylights would admit natural light, giving the shell the illusion of transparency.  Those plans - which remain very much in flux - would incorporate 290,000 s.f. of commercial office space, 75,000 s.f. of ground floor retail space, and up to 225 residences.  That design received one two-year extension already, in September 2010, which brings us to the present day.  That extension expires next month, though Douglas has every intention of applying for another.

So what's the next step?

"The next step is to file a request for extension, and get those entitlements extended," says Millstein.  "There will be a hearing, but I think we'll be successful in our extension.  The last couple - three years, nothing much has happened in the area, though now there's a lot of residential stuff popping up, even some office.  But the area's still got quite a ways to go.  I would hope that in the next cycle, the next 24 months, Uline will really take off, and I think it will.  I think our time has come."

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Tidak ada komentar:

Posting Komentar