Inside Douglas Development's New Brookland Press Project
After restoring and repositioning a bread factory, a laundry facility, a department store warehouse and a coliseum, Douglas Development's latest adaptive reuse of a historic D.C. industrial building is nearly complete.
The developer converted an old printing press near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station and constructed an adjacent new building to create a 296-unit apartment community, dubbed Brookland Press.
At 806 Channing Place NE, Brookland Press sits just north of Rhode Island Row on the southern edge of the Brookland neighborhood. The apartment will begin welcoming residents later this month. Douglas acquired the property more than a decade ago and began construction in 2015.
"At first, we didn’t know exactly what we were going to make it evolve into," Douglas Development principal Norman Jemal said. "Given the shift in the neighborhood and the Metro transportation and the high peak it sits on, which gives it a little bit of a vista, it had great attributes and worked well for a residential building."
The development is composed of two buildings, one old and one new.
Building A was converted from a four-story industrial building once home to a printing press. The developer added on two floors and a roof deck to create the 157-unit building deisgned by Eric Colbert & Associates.
The newly constructed, six-story Building B, designed by GTM Architects, will house 139 units. It was built using wood frame over a concrete podium with a brick exterior. The buildings are connected by a terminal over Channing Place that has a walkway and fitness center inside and a pool on top.
“The old printing press building had these old-style concrete columns and the original plank,” Jemal said. “We created a more traditional product and we wanted it to have that special factor too, so we went with higher ceilings and condo-like finishes. We almost look at it as two different products that share all of these amenities and scale.”
The project is just the latest adaptive reuse development undertaken by Douglas, which has become a leader in the trend of converting old industrial buildings. The developer turned the Manhattan Laundry and Wonder Bread Factory buildings into creative offices, both leased by WeWork; it repurposed the Hecht Warehouse into a 335-unit apartment building; and it converted the Uline Arena into an REI-anchored mixed-use building, with co-working provider Spaces leasing 44K SF.
Brookland Press is opening amid a wave of apartment supply in the District that has landlords competing heavily with one another. But while some neighborhoods have multiple buildings opening every year, the only development near Brookland Press, Rhode Island Row, delivered more than five years ago. The development is one mile south of Catholic University and Monroe Street Market, the mixed-use Brookland community created by Abdo Development, Bozzuto and Pritzker Realty.
“Brookland is a great neighborhood and has got a lot going for it,” Jemal said. “It has a lot of cool places to go and great proximity to everything in the city … I think what [Brookland Press] does is bring more vibrancy and bring more density.”
The majority of units have balconies, and residents on the second floor of Building B can walk directly from their unit out to one of the two landscaped courtyards. One courtyard is designed as a quiet, relaxing area with plenty of seats and plants, while the other courtyard features a bocce court and is meant for recreation.
The community's other amenities, available to residents of both buildings, include a fitness center and yoga studio, a rooftop deck, an outdoor pool, a business center with a conference room, a cybercafé, a pet spa and grooming station, and a lounge with a fireplace, a bar and a dining area.
The rooftop lounge on top of Building A will have grilling stations and a movie screen when construction finishes. It will also include indoor spaces that can be reserved by residents for private events. Facing south, the rooftop offers views of the Capitol and the Washington Monument, plus Douglas' Hecht Warehouse building in Ivy City.
The units in Building A feature the columns, concrete structure and exposed ductwork of the old printing press, with floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding bedroom doors and hardwood floors.
Given the nature of the historic building, no two units are exactly alike. The community has studios ranging from 377 SF to 609 SF that start at $1,795 a month, one-bedrooms from 516 SF to 848 SF starting at $2,135, one-bedrooms with a den from 752 SF to 941 SF starting at $2,485 and two-bedrooms from 800 SF to 1,121 SF starting at $2,725.
The building is being leased and managed by Kettler. The building representatives are giving tours on a daily basis and have already signed a handful of leases.
The units in Building B will be available first, with residents moving in in the next few weeks. Building A, the adapted printing press component, will deliver around the end of July, along with the connecting walkway, the fitness center and other amenities.