A developer wants to turn a “neglected” portion of Capitol Hill into a retail strip with more than 150 apartments and possibly a “restaurant or brewery.”
The D.C. firm CAS Riegler presented plans at a community meeting last night to turn the current home of the one-story, standalone New York Pizza hut at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE, across from the Potomac Avenue Metro station, into retail space topped by six stories of apartments.
The firm is envisioning three to five retail tenants, including possibly an eatery or brewery, CAS Riegler principal Kevin Riegler said. The developer will aim to attract local businesses to the smaller storefronts.
“[The retailers] will probably not be national tenants” Riegler said.
CAS Riegler — which is in contract for the space — wants to spur a new wave of retail construction in Hill East, development director Robin Bettarel said.
“There hasn’t been the kind of development here that kickstarts a neighborhood to the next level, like Whole Foods did for Logan [Circle],” she said. “We don’t have the same sense of place near the Potomac Avenue Metro, and we want to create that.”
The 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE project would create a “gateway experience” for people entering the neighborhood from the east, Riegler said, noting that plans are preliminary and the company wants community input.
CAS Riegler is working on the design of the space with Antunovich Associates, which restored the Chinatown building at 7th and H streets NW that has a Walgreens, and The Market Common retail space in Arlington.
“We do like that modern industrial look that’s not native to this area,” Bettarel said.
The firm will ask the District in the next three or four months for permission to build 70 feet high; the current zoning allows a building on the site to stand 50 feet high. The complex would be no taller than the Jenkins Row complex located just west, where Harris Teeter is located, Riegler said. Shadows cast by the building will fall north, over Pennsylvania Avenue, not over homes.
The firm expects to break ground in 15 to 24 months for construction they expect to last 18 to 24 months. On that timeline, the complex would be complete anywhere from Nov. 2017 to March 2019.
The complex would contain 150 to 180 apartments, including two- and three-bedroom units for which there’s “huge market demand,” Riegler said. About 50 parking spaces on one underground level are in the works.
New York Pizza can operate until construction begins, Riegler said. “They want to stay and we want them to stay until this starts,” he said.
Locals who want to weigh in on the project can submit feedback on the developer’s website.