Category Archives: Development

Demolition Begins At 901 Monroe Site (Col. Brooks’ Development)


Construction fencing has gone up around the perimeter of the 901 Monroe development site. The only demo work I saw so far was a house on Lawrence Street. As with most homes built before the 1970’s it appears that there is some asbestos removal that needs to be done. We will keep our eyes on the construction site and update soon.

Brookland In Photos – Visualizing The CUA Development (Monroe St. Market)

People keep telling me that when we post “before and after” photos of the Catholic University / Monroe Street Market development, it helps them to visualize what is to come. For previous posts along these lines, check here and here. Today, we will take a look at how a portion of Monroe St. NE will be transformed. The first photo is how Monroe St. NE looks today when looking west on the corner of 7th St. NE. The second is a rendering of how that same stretch will look when completed. Notice what is missing? Power lines! We were told at a meeting in August that the power lines along the Monroe Street NE  portion of the development would be buried, and that my friends, is good news.

Brookland Development CUA Monroe St. NE Washington DC

Brookland Development Catholic University NE Washington DC
Rendering Courtesy Of The Buzzuto Group

Update Of The Catholic U Development, Monroe St. Market

It’s been a while since we’ve done an update on the Catholic U development, so let’s see what’s new… Check out these really snazzy renderings of the common area spaces planned for the Monroe St. Market  apartment complex. This is the lounge area. 

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC
Monroe Street Market Lounge Rendering. Photo Courtesy of The Buzzuto Group.

This is the rendering of the game room.

Catholic Develoment Brookland NE Washington DC
Monroe Street Market Game Room Rendering. Photo Courtesy of The Buzzuto Group

This is the rendering of the Library.

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC
Monroe Street Market Library Rendering. Photo Courtesy of The Buzzuto Group

This is the business center rendering.

Catholic University Devlopment Brookland NE Washington DC
Rendering of the Business Center, Monroe St. Market. Photo courtesy of the Buzzuto Group.

The first apartments will be opening Spring 2013 and there will be a mix of  studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom apartments. But, right  now the crews have been busy upgrading the sewer and water lines on Monroe and 7thStreet, among other things. Perhaps the most noticeable progress is in the C Block since both buildings are now wrapped with insulation, and windows have started to be installed. Pretty soon we should start seeing the brick facade installed. Inside the buildings, “rough-ins” are starting. A rough-in is a preliminary stage of laying plumbing and electrical lines prior to building, electrical, or plumbing inspections. Here are some recent photos of the C block.

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DCCatholic University Devlopment Brookland NE Washington DCCatholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC

Catholic University Development Brookland NE Washington DC 




As a reminder, here is what the C block is supposed to look like when complete:

Monroe Street Market (C Block) Rendering Courtesy of The Buzzuto Group.

Sneak Peek Of The New Casey Trees Planting Annex

Casey Trees Garage Brookland NE Washington DC

Many thanks to the good folks at Casey Trees for giving us a sneak peek of their nearly completed Tree Planting Annex. Over the past two years Casey Trees has made a major investment in our neighborhood and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have them as neighbors. (If you would like to check out some before and after pics of this transformation, and an interview with Mark Buscaino, Executive Director of Casey Trees, see an earlier post here.) The Tree Planting Annex is located 3015 12th Street NE and is across the street from the Casey office headquarters. We are glad to see that their operations are going so well that they need to expand!  Not only is this building great looking, but it is eco-friendly in a lot of ways, here are few:

  • It replaced a defunct gas station (yay!)
  • Its solar panels will provide over 50% of the electricity needed to run the building
  • Water run off will be directed to their rain garden
  • The soils and gravel used will promote better water drainage  and dispersion
  • Reclaimed wood was used for the beautiful exterior wood accents

There is a tree lot next to the building, used to store trees waiting to be planted. The first floor of the building is used as storage space for tools and the second floor has offices and some nice facilities including showers and lockers for employee use. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Casey Trees – Transforming 12th St. In Eco-Friendly Ways

When we moved to Brookland a few years ago, we were skeptical about the abandoned gas station at 12th and Irving – less than a block from our new home. Then, we were beyond delighted to find that not only did Casey Trees establish their headquarters at 3030 12th street, but they began turning the old gas station into a “tree annex” for trees waiting to be planted. Their transformation of the gas station is nearly complete, and we couldn’t be happier.

As you can see from the “before and after” photos below, Casey Trees has truly beautified and revitalized a good stretch of the 3000 block of 12th St NE. But more than that, their headquarters is a showcase for water retention and green design. With the help of  the District Department of the Environment  they have reduced water run off by capturing and redistributing water. The new tree annex, still under construction, will utilize solar electricity for more than half of its needs. Most importantly, Casey Trees  provides a model for small-scale commercial development right here in Brookland that others can follow. Mark Buscaino, Executive Director of Casey Trees, was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the new development below.Casey Trees Tree Lot Brookland NE Washington DCCasey Trees Headquarters Brookland NE Washington DC

Casey Trees Headquarters Brookland NE Washington DC

Why did Casey Trees decide to be headquartered in Brookland?

 Casey Trees looked in all eight Wards for over four years to find a suitable home – over 50 properties in total.  We were having a difficult time locating a spot that offered convenient access to all parts of the city for our tree planting work, the right amount of space with room to grow, and most important for our staff and class and program participants – suitable public transit.  Fortunately we found all that and more on 12th Street.

 Now that you have settled in, has anything surprised you about the Brookland community?

 The neighborhood has proven to be a great place to locate an organization like ours. Neighbors have been extraordinarily friendly and generous; people are very respectful of our work and our mission, and; many of our staffers have found homes right in Brookland – we couldn’t ask for more.

 Tell us a little bit about the transformation of your tree lot on the east side of 12th St. Did the fact that it used to be a gas station pose any issues?

 When you purchase a former gas station property you’re faced with some very tough choices.  While restoring such a property is a huge benefit to the community and CT wanted to do its part, it’s an expensive proposition and you never know what you’re going to find.  After several months of thoughtful deliberation we decided to take a calculated risk, and with a lot of pro-bono legal assistance from a lawyer who eventually joined our board, we were able to make it work – and work very well for us I might add.  When I look at what that lot is like now, with our new Tree Planting Annex almost compete, and think about what it used to look like when we first moved in – I’m amazed. 

When can we expect the construction to be complete and what will the space be used for?

Completion is slated for late October. Our new Tree Planting Annex will house our entire Tree Planting Department and all their tools and equipment and temporarily hold the hundreds of trees our team plants every spring, fall and winter.  It will house 15 staffers, and more than 50 percent of its electricity needs will be satisfied from solar power generation. A special thanks goes to the District Department of the Environment for helping us pay for those panels! 

If you could get one message across to our readers about the importance of the DC tree canopy what would it be?

In our data-driven world, we have come to think of trees in regard to their environmental benefits and that’s great.  But trees are more than just energy-saving, pollution controlling and storm water management “devices”.  They represent a part of our communities that enrich our lives in ways we are still only learning about. They encourage human interaction, calm our nerves, reduce stress and make our homes and streets beautiful places for ourselves, our friends, neighbors and children.  Without them we lose not just cooler streets and cleaner air, but beautiful neighborhoods and inviting spaces for weekend walks and quiet moments on a porch swing.  And it’s up to all of us to preserve this identity that D.C. has had since its founding.  Nothing is permanent – not even a tree – and we need everyone’s help to keep them healthy and abundant for generations to come.

Barnes And Noble, Starbucks, Coming To Brookland As Part Of CUA Development

We heard from a Catholic U student tonight that Barnes and Noble will be taking over the university’s bookstore and will have a community-facing bookstore as part of the CUA/Abdo development. We checked it out and this B&N announcement confirms it, Barnes and Noble is coming to our town. As part of a 5 year contract, a Barnes and Noble “superstore” and Starbucks will open in 18 – 24 months as part of the larger Abdo development.

Colonel Brooks’ Tavern To Be Demolished Within 30 Days

The DCmud blog reports that the stage is set for demolishing the Colonel Brooks’ Tavern within the next month, during which time the raze permit is expected to be approved by the city. The joint Horner Brothers/Menkiti Group/Esocoff and Associates project will begin construction immediately on their 901 Monroe project after demolition, and the building should be delivered in two years. It will contain over 200 residential units and the ground floor will be devoted to retail, including what the developers hope is a strong restaurant to replace the Tavern.

However you feel about Colonel Brooks’ Tavern and the new development, now would be a good time to get a last meal at the Tavern before the curtain drops.

901 monroe brookland dc 1
901 Monroe

Brookland In Photos: CUA Artswalk Development Continued

A neighbor recently told me that the photos we posted that placed the rendering of the future Arts Walk development next to the construction in progress really helped him visualize how it will look. So, I decided to do the same thing with the other side of the development. Unfortunately, you would literally have to hover over the Metro tracks to get a photograph at the same vantage point as this rendering, but I tried to come close. What is pretty cool is that this end of the Arts Walk is super Metro accessible. Once you get to the top of the CUA side Metro escalator, you are there. One thing I didn’t notice about the rendering until today is that it depicts a transformation of the side of the bridge into a “green wall”. I wonder if that is still in the plans, and how they plan on achieving this. It would be great of it was something more creative than a cover like ivy.


Catholic University Development Brookland Washington DC

Since I was at it, I also thought it would be pretty cool to see a before and after of this end of the Arts Walk from the Michigan Street bridge as well. No going back now!

Abdo Catholic University Development Brookland Washington DC

Real Estate Watch – $3,000 A Month Build To Suit Commercial Property On 12th St. NE

A lot of people have asked me what is going on with the commercial property on the southwest corner of 12th and Jackson. I don’t have a lot of answers, but what I knoWashington DC Commercial Property Circa 2009w, I’ll share. My wife and I haCommercial Property Washington DC 2009ve been keeping an eye on the property for years. When we first moved to Brookland about three years ago, it was one property split down the middle. One half was a Pentecostal church that met sporadically. The other half was a defunct dry cleaners that was being used as storage space and parking for some type of backhoe company. Last fall we convinced the owner to let us plant two honey locust trees on the property as part of a 12th St. tree planting effort. To the left are pics of how the property looked in 2009.

One day this spring a construction crew showed up and started working on the property; first breaking down the wall separating the property. We found out that it was sold to a Brookland resident. The new owner told my wife that he is looking to lease or sell the property, perhaps to a restaurateur. At this point it is basically a shell (see current pictures below). We are encouraged to see that it looks like they are making way for large windows, and seem to be doing something the roof, which looked rotten to the core when they removed the shingles.

3128 Jackson St. NE Washington DC 20017

Here is the property listing description courtesy of DC Mud:

Retail building for lease ($3000) or sale ($650,000) in the heart of Brookland’s 12th Street retail corridor. The build-to-suit building is 1800 s.f. with up to 5,000 s.f. in buildable space on a corner lot, perfect for a small restaurant or specialty retailer. Current configuration offers ability for large patio space or windowed street frontage with historic detail in the middle of Brookland’s burgeoning retail and residential developments.

Not being an expert in real estate, much less commercial property, I set out to find out if $3,000 a month for a shell is reasonable, and what you could get for that kind of cash in other parts of the city. According to this listing, the 12th and Jackson property is going for $20 a sq foot per year. So how does that stack up?

  • You could take over the “G-Spot Lounge” in Brightwood Park for just over $3,000 a month, liquor licence included – for a much larger finished space (a mere $14 a sq ft.). Of course, you may want to change the name.
  • This Rhode Island Ave property, right around the corner in Woodridge seems pretty comparable at $18.75 per sq ft.
  • At just under $3,000 a month, and a bit smaller and ($25 per sq sf), this North Capitol St. property has the potential for a rooftop deck – of course it does! It is in Bloomingdale! (Rolls eyes in jealously.)

Hope this has been informative. At any rate, we will keep our eyes peeled and report any developments.