Monroe Street Market (Catholic U) Development Update – Now Leasing Apartments And Retail

It has been a while since we have done an update on the Monroe Street Market development taking shape on the south end of Catholic U’s campus. Much thanks to the guys over there for giving us a hard-hat tour of the latest! The construction crews have kept their nose to the grindstone all winter, and that means that the apartments, art studios and retail spaces that have been set  to open this summer are on pace. This is a pretty long post, and I know most readers are very interested in the retail to come, so I will just get that out of the way up front. We weren’t told any specific company names, but, we can expect at least 2 well-known DC-based sit down restaurants, well-known casual dining spots, a bike store, a coffee shop, a bank, a large bookstore, dry cleaning, and a  grocery store. (While these haven’t been confirmed by Monroe Street Market, we have posted here about Barnes and Noble/Starbucks and a Busboys and Poets being tagged as in the works.) In total, there are 4 Blocks of development underway. We’ll start off with the ones that are furthested along.

The most advanced development block is the “C Block”.  This building is located between Monroe Street and Michigan Avenue, at 8th Street, NE. It will have apartments, retail facing Monroe Street NE and a pedestrian walkway down the center, called the Arts Walk, which will be lined with artist studios. The apartments are called the “Brookland Works” and are described as “Industrial Chic Living”. You can check out some of the finishes for these units in the photos below. The Monroe Street Market team has started reserving leases on Brookland Works, and they are going quickly, with over 20% of the 152 apartment residences leased as of two weeks ago. The application process for the artists studios has also been a success, with over 50 applicants vying for the 27 artists studios.  The apartments and artist studios will be ready for move in by June 2013. The bike store is planned for one of the retail fronts – which makes perfect sense as a stretch of the Met Branch Trail will run along side this building. There is also a coffee spot and a “well-known DC based restaurant” planned for this building. Another exciting development is that the undergrounding of the Monroe Street power lines is underway, and we are starting to get a glimpse of the improved public infrastructure like new, upgraded light poles.

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As a reminder, here is how it will look when complete:

Monroe Street Market Artswalk Rendering Courtesy of ABDO/The Buzzuto Group

At the north end of the C block/Arts Walk, the concrete has been laid for the stage that will be near the Metro. We can expect the stage to host concerts, festivals, and the like, as the Arts Walk is envisioned as active community and artistic gathering place. It will be pedestrian-only, have  a plaza, an 80 ft. decorative steel tower, a water feature, and a green wall covering the south side of the Drew Bridge. Here are present and future looks at the space.

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The Edgewood Arts Building/ArtsFlex is really advancing quickly. It sits across from the C Block building at the south-east intersection of Monroe and 8th Streets, NE along the Metro tracks. This is my favorite building of the bunch because it will be purely for community and artistic use. All the exterior metal framing and insulation are complete and the exterior brick work is well underway.  Sprinkler, plumbing and electrical rough-ins are going in inside the building. It will have a small kitchen, adequate for cocktail parties and such. The design calls for one large industrial space and a large front patio/plaza area. The Arts Flex building is slated to be delivered in Summer 2013. Here are some pics of the progress and how it will look eventually.

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The “B Block” development is a building that will be six stories high and will house apartments called the “Portland Flats”, which are described as “Grand Boutique apartments in a Flatiron building”. We were told that they will have an upscale condo-like feel and will be the most high-end of the three apartment buildings. At this point you can really see the architectural elements coming together, like the dormer windows. Soon roofing can begin, and rough-ins for plumbing, sprinkler systems, and electricity have been well underway. While the finishes are still being selected, we were told that upgraded appliances and luxury touches like white marble and dark oak are expected. One of the biggest changes this building will bring about is the reconfiguring of 7th St. NE to provide a better entrance into Catholic U. The apartments are on schedule to be delivered October 2013. Here are some present day and future pics.

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Here is a present day and future comparison of the A (left) and B (right) Blocks, looking west on Monroe Street at 7th St. NE:

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The “A Block” is a roughly two block stretch along Monroe Street that starts at 7th Street and meets up with Michigan Ave NE. The apartments in this part of the development will be called the “Cornerstone” as they are described as the “hub of the Community”. This part of the development will house the majority of the amenities and retail space. Underground parking garage levels are complete, the concrete and steel floors above ground have gone up, and wood framing has begun. At the westernmost end of the development  (where Monroe intersects with Michigan Avenue), you can start to see the frame out for the clock tower that will be the highlight of  a public square; envisioned as a vibrant space for students, faculty, and local residents to meet and mingle. The square will also have a fountain and outdoor café seating. The traffic pattern will be improved by creating more of a 90% angle turn at the intersection of Monroe and Michigan.  The apartments are slated to be move-in ready by January 2014. Here are pics:

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20 thoughts on “Monroe Street Market (Catholic U) Development Update – Now Leasing Apartments And Retail”

  1. Is it just me, or do a lot of the slideshows have blank images? There are spots (like the last one) where I see a caption (“This intersection will improved”), but no image.

    1. Not sure what to tell ya. I don’t have any blank images on either my mac or pc, logged in as an admin and not. ?? On another note, I am saddened that you didn’t point out any typos. Best, Shani.

      1. It’s been pointed out to me that most of DC thinks I’m an asshole for providing unsolicited copy editing recommendations, so I won’t be doing that anymore.

        Perhaps the image issues had something to do with the difficult system we have at work. I’m not sure.

        Thanks for the post. I’ve heard some people in the know mention a restaurant that will be opening there, but I don’t want to get anyone in trouble by spilling the beans.

  2. Thanks for the update! As one of the lucky artist studio lessees, this is more info than I’d received from the developers!

  3. Thanks for the update! Do you know if there is any component of the project that is being targeted at/designated for seniors? I remember hearing something about this before, but don’t have any details.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I haven’t heard anything about designated senior housing. Also, in my experience, developers are pretty hesitant to discuss targeted demographics. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Thanks for the detailed update. So excited to hear a Barnes and Noble is moving forward. Hope it has an awesome kids section like the Bethesda store…there are a lot of young families in Brookland these days!

  5. Not to burst anybody’s bubble about the Barnes & Noble but I think it will just be a campus style store. Nothing on par with the others that have closed in the area. Mostly it will serve as the CUA bookstore which these days is mostly merchandise. But lets hope they think of the outside community as well.

    1. Have you ever been to the Barnes and Noble college bookstores? They re NOT just for the college. I have been to 3 of them and they are designed to also be for the public, and therefore sell nore tan just stuff for college students. That is especifically why they are placed outside of a college campus.

  6. It’s really clear from the actuality of the construction that the plaza pictured along Michigan Ave in the last set of pictures will be about 1/3 as wide. I also would really like to see what the 7th Street side of A Block is going to look like. Along 7th, it looks like it will be super pedestrian un-friendly, without actual storefronts facing the street. I’m excited about the project, but I’m more excited about an end of the construction!

  7. Excellent update; thank you, Shani. This is SO exciting! How any of our typical Brookland naysayers could be opposed to this is beyond me!

    Too many benefits to mention: new, high-quality retail; new residents; significant upgrades to infrastructure; new property, licensing and sales tax revenues (on parcels that were formerly tax-exempt); under-grounding of utility lines; activating blocks along Monroe and Michigan; traffic-calming measures on Michigan; new trees and other public realm improvements, and more!

    Alas, all of this new construction surrounding the two Bennett buildings make them look more forlorn, run-down, and sadder than ever. It’s unfortunate that those owners were unwilling to strike a deal with Abdo/Bozzuto to incorporate those sites and tenants into the new development. Let’s hope the owners realize how awful they look, and invest in improvements (or, better yet, demolish them)!

    1. Hi Tom,
      I have spoken with Brookland residents who either oppose or are not excited about the development. For them, this offers nothing for them and quite frankly, they have been living in Brookland thier whole lives without the benfit of these amenities and are happy with the way things were/are. So, everyone has their opinion. Thanks for commenting!
      Best,
      Shani

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