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JBG Puts 3-Building NoMa Project On Pause After Rebranding

NoMa has buildings under construction on seemingly every corner, but the site of one of the biggest projects in the neighborhood's pipeline has been noticeably quiet. 

The site of JBG and Brandywine's planned Lacebark Alley development

The JBG Cos. and Brandywine submitted plans for their three-building Capitol Point project in 2015, and JBG's Andy Vanhorn told Bisnow at the time he hoped to break ground in May 2016. Now nearly a year after that estimated start date, the project, which has been rebranded as Lacebark Alley, remains in limbo. 

A source within JBG said the project is currently on pause. 

"We don’t have too much direction on where it’s going to go," the source said. "As far as breaking ground, I don't know. We’re just trying to evaluate internally the direction going forward."

JBG spokesperson Matt Blocher said the developer is making adjustments to the residential portion of the project and has no set timeline for construction. 

The planned residential portion is a 208-unit building at 51 N St. NE. Vanhorn told Bisnow in 2015 he wanted to make the residential portion a condo building. NoMa developers have expressed a bullish attitude on building condos in the neighborhood, given its massive pipeline of rental units. 

The developer demolished the building on the 51 N St. portion of the site last summer, but did not make any public announcements about it and has not released a timeline for the next steps. It has even kept its neighbors in the dark. Wood Partners is developing an apartment building next door on a site it bought from JBG two years ago.

"We used to ask and then we just stopped asking, it kept getting backed up," Wood Partners regional director Scott Zimmerly said. "We have no idea what's going on."

The site plan for JBG and Brandywine's Lacebark Alley mixed-use project in NoMa

While the development of the project has stalled, the marketing team has been hard at work. The developers recently rebranded the project from Capitol Point to Lacebark Alley. The development has its own website, complete with brochures for each office building and the retail component, though none are available for the residential building.

The 250K SF trophy office building at 1250 First St. NE was designed by Shalom Baranes Associates. The plan calls for 11 stories with 23K SF floor plates and a 13,500 SF penthouse with an indoor-outdoor lounge and a landscaped rooftop terrace.

The 134K SF creative, loft-style building at 50 Patterson St. NE would have 10 stories with 13,500 SF floor plates plus a 9,200 SF penthouse also with a rooftop terrace. 

The ground-floor retail plaza would be anchored by a subterranean, 32K SF Landmark Theater and would include 21,500 SF of dining and specialty retail. 

NoMa is among the most active neighborhoods for apartment development, with multiple buildings simultaneously under construction and more on the way.

The blocks surrounding the Lacebark Alley site have several projects in various phases of development. 

Wood Partners' 346-unit residential building is rising on the same block, at 33 N St. NE, just west of JBG's site. The building, including 5K SF of ground-floor retail space, is expected to deliver early next year. Wood Partners bought the site from JBG in 2015. JBG had originally planned to build its own residential building there before selling to Wood and focusing on Lacebark.

Across Patterson Street, Skanska has begun construction on a 326-unit apartment building at 22 M St. NE, the first phase of its three-building Tyber Place development. That project will include the NoMa Meander, a four-block pedestrian promenade ultimately planned to wind through both Skanska's and JBG's projects. 

It is unclear if JBG's delay on Lacebark Alley has anything to do with its preparations for the $8.4B merger with Vornado, which was announced in November but has yet to officially close. Lacebark Alley is listed in Vornado's investor presentation on the merger as part of the long-term development pipeline for the merged company, JBG Smith.

The merger preparations have not stopped JBG from starting construction on other projects, as it broke ground this week on West Half, a 465-unit apartment building just north of Nationals Park