Browse Tag: redevelopment

Massive DC Redevelopments: Progress Discovered In Washington

The Center Building at St. Elizabeths Hospital...
The Center Building at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. Like most buildings at St. Elizabeths, this one has been abandoned. The Center Building is one of the oldest buildings on the campus, dating to the American Civil War era. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The deadlocked Congress and the sequestration notwithstanding, there are at least some commercial real estate signs of life in the nation’s capital.  Two major redevelopment projects are on the drawing board, aiming to repurpose two massive complexes into nearly eight million square feet of office space, multifamily residence and retail.  As yet a further dimension of the massive changes working their way across the health care space, both projects are repurposing of former massive hospital complexes, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

Former Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Private developer partners are being assembled for 67 acres of the former Walter Reed military hospital that has been transferred to the control of DC government following the consolidation of Department of Defense healthcare operations in Bethesda and elsewhere. Closed for only a year, the center plans are expected to include a mixed-use profile of office, retail and multifamily.

After making a first cut of interested developers, the five left in the running as of the beginning of this month are:

  • Forest City Washington
  • Hines • Urban Atlantic Joint Venture: recently completed a retail and apartment project on Rhode Island Avenue.
  • Roadside Development
  • Walter Reed Associates, LLC (The Wilkes Company, Capstone Development LLC, and Quadrangle Development Corporation)
  • Western Development:  headed by Herbert S. Miller, co-developer of Gallery Place.

Development website for the project is after the jump.

DHS Development of St. Elizabeth’s Campus: 4.5 Million Square Feet

The Department of Homeland Security, which currently houses its operations in 40 buildings across the city is underway on a project to move into the abandoned western campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the Anacostia neighborhood.

The Final Master Plan provides the development framework for accommodating 4.5 million gross square feet of office space for the DHS headquarters on both the St. Elizabeths West and East campuses. The Final Master Plan outlines 3.8 million gross square feet of office space on the West Campus and 750,000 gross square feet of office space on a portion of the East Campus (identified as East Campus, North Campus Parcel). The development will be consistent with a DHS Interagency Security Committee (ISC) Level V campus to house mission-critical Federal agencies. Part of the master planning process includes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and compliance with the Section 106 regulations under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

Redeveloping And Repurposing Buildings: Due Diligence

Picture of (formerly of ) located at 23rd and ...

Using existing building stock is a compelling property strategy often enough that specialists in redevelopment and repurpose of buildings have arisen.  Bill Robsons (Gabriel Consultants) and Steven Arthur (ECS Mid-Atlantic) are two leading consultants in the generation of due diligence on redeveloping and repurposing buildings.

In a fascinating NAR Conference & Expo session covering the history and application of principles in zoning, construction techniques, remediation techniques and economic development principles, Bill and Steven outlined the concepts of due diligence — the investigation of a business or a person or property prior to signing a contract with a certain standard of care.

Is A Property Condition Assessment Due Diligence?

As defined by ASTM (American Society For Testing And Materials) a Property Condition Assessment (PCA) is not  the same as due diligence.  DD is about maintenance and performance of a building. A PCA can be part of due diligence,  but DD is broader.

The “when” is just as important as the “what” – the time to have a due diligence report in hand is before a buyer/broker agreement is signed.

Bringing Science Into The Mix

The area called “building science” is concerned with separating the interior, controlled environment from the exterior, uncontrolled environment.  Modern construction technologies are completely different from those of a hundred years ago.  As such, a non-specialist doing analysis of a structure that went up before the era of steel construction, or even in its early stages, can overlook too much to give a reliable assessment of the building’s performance.  That’s why specialists use modern tools to survey properties and find problems in due diligence projects.  Steven Arthur showed a wide range of slides with pictures using infra-red photography to isolate moisture, air movement and cracks in walls not easily visible to the naked eye.  Other  building science tools include ground radars and spectrographic analysis of masonry samples – the field can get downright CSI-like when it wants to.

And it wants to: structural problems in structures can too easily be hidden from the visual once-over even if the property is just a couple of decades old.  When it was built a hundred years ago, due diligence and building science are inextricably intertwined.

The entire presentation on Due Diligence in Redeveloping And Repurposing Buildings can be downloaded from Playback NAR