Large New Development Planned For 12th Street Business Strip

We have been hearing rumors that a sizable chunk of 12th Street’s retail strip on the 3500 block (between Monroe and Newton) would be developed for a long while now, but there wasn’t much to back that up. When we saw the ANC 5B02 meeting flyer below about potential development plans we did some digging around and found that a company called MILLER has plans for the western side of the block. From their website:

Located in the heart of Brookland, 3500 12th Street Northeast is a 12,350 square foot retail center. The property consists of eight retail bays with excellent street presence on 12th street. The property was acquired in 2014 based on its proximity to the Brookland – CUA Metro Station, the strength of the Brookland neighborhood, and the in-place tenant mix.

From a community notice announcing the meeting about the development:

Please join ANC5B02 Thursday, January 19, 2017 for a meeting with MILLER. MILLER is the development company that owns the properties on the 3500 block of 12th Street, NE, WDC 20017. Mr. Rob Miller will share his development design and answer any questions regarding the upcoming development that will occur on that corridor.

As a side note, MILLER is the same company in the process of  building the large self-storage facility across from Dew Drop Inn on 8th Street NE. We will let you know when we hear anything new.

16 thoughts on “Large New Development Planned For 12th Street Business Strip”

  1. It would be great to have more retail/restaurants in the center of Brookland, while maintaining the character of a low-rise, residential feeling 12th street.

    1. Sadly, someone will likely sue to prevent any significant changes to this strip. Even if all the owner wants to do is add a few dozen residential units and preserve the existing facades (nothing in the links remotely suggests the changes will = a “large new development”) so that the existing businesses have more, you know, customers–it will be vigorously opposed.

      But we’re totally fine with massive parking garages being built for Maryland commuters.

      1. If I’m betting, CM John Feeley and his band of anti-developement nimbys will surely misuse Historic Preservation to thwart this project which could bring some much needed change to this failed retail corridor.

  2. Given the space, I’m guessing there will need to be a second floor at least to all these one story buildings to make this project viable. I wonder if there is a market for professional offices?

    On the rare occasions, I’m on 12th during the day during the week it’s pretty empty. Antedotally, I’ve heard that’s a problem for 12th ST retail. Small professional offices seem like they have the potential between employees and clients to increase the daytime customer pool more than residences.

  3. My main concern about this is inappropriate development.

    Even preserving the facades, anything more than three stories total would completely close in the street and change the character of that part of the neighborhood.

  4. Tall buildings mean more desperately needed housing for new neighbors and customers for the amenities that will improve the neighborhood. There is no merit to attempting to preserve the “low-rise” or “residential” characteristics of our neighborhood. I hope this and many other projects can be built and built high!

    1. I can’t completely agree. I 100% think that we need to add a LOT more housing near the Metro station, but I love the unique small town feel of Brookland. I think it’s possible to have both–places like Georgetown or Leesburg have 3-4 story buildings on their main streets and it only adds to their appeal. But I wouldn’t like to see 12th Street turn into Columbia Heights or 14th Street.

      1. Every parcel we preserve if several units of housing that never get built and increments added to the cost of whatever housing does. Some special feeling you get when looking at other people’s property just doesn’t compare in value.

          1. Value and money are not the same. The value I was referring to was a city in which people aren’t pushed out or rendered homeless because people blocked housing from being built for gallingly selfish reasons.

    2. DC is a low-rise city by design.

      Who exactly is going to occupy a 10 floor apartment building where a studio costs $3k per month? Is that the kind of housing we “desperately need” in this city? Because that’s what you’re going to get if a big developer comes in a builds a huge building; it’s probably the kind you’re going to get no matter what.

      1. If people weren’t going to live there, it wouldn’t get built. If it weren’t built, the people who would live there would renovate an existing home and live there instead, pricing somebody else out and so on. This is how the city becomes unaffordable.

        I completely reject that DC is low-rise by design. The city is what we make of it.

  5. IIRC, 12th Street’s zoning has a 50 ft. height limit (this is the same height as the former Brookland Hardware building). That is an entirely reasonable height for 12th St.

    As a real estate development/economic consultant (with no clients in DC), from my perspective the owner’s challenge here will be to determine whether full or partial redevelopment is even financially feasible. With floor area ratio/density and height caps, construction costs, parking requirements, and additional costs associated with community benefits (e.g., putting utilities below ground in that block), revenue yields (say from upper-floor residential), may prove to be infeasible without additional height.

    This is a delicate balancing act, and will necessitate flexibility on the part of neighbors; not something some in Brookland are known for.

        1. There are places in cities across the country where 50-foot height limits comfortably co-exist with flourishing retail and desirable residential properties. Zoning officials know that and zone accordingly. Builders and developers build accordingly.

          Just plan within code. Brookland’s facades are very cute, and Brookland needs more life. Development can coexist with code regulations and still profit.

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