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LCOR Completes First Multifamily Building Of Union Market's Development Wave

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The planned development pipeline in the Union Market neighborhood, a warehouse district around the popular foodie destination in between the NoMa Metro station and Gallaudet University, totals more than 6,000 units. But until last month, prospective renters looking to live in a modern apartment building near Union Market had to go west of the tracks in NoMa. 

The Edison Union Market
The Edison at the corner of Florida Avenue NE and Fourth Street, near Union Market, with cranes building two adjacent mixed-use developments

Now, with the delivery of The Edison, LCOR's 187-unit apartment building at the corner of Florida Avenue and Fourth Street NE, the neighborhood's multifamily development wave has officially begun. 

After starting leasing in June, the project is now 15% leased, and its first residents moved in last week. The 28K SF of retail on the ground-floor is owned by Edens.

The Union Market developer signed Trader Joe's for 15K SF in November, and the grocer plans to open some time next year. In the building's other retail spaces, it signed new café concept Pluma by Bluebird Bakery and Middle Eastern fast-casual restaurant Shouk

LCOR Vice President Matt Hard in the lobby of The Edison
LCOR Vice President Matthew Hard in the lobby of The Edison

LCOR reached a deal with Edens in 2014 to build, own and manage the residential portion of the project at 1240 Fourth St. NE. It also is going through the entitlement process for a 280-unit mixed-use project two blocks east at 500-530 Morse St. NE. 

"We were excited because it was the first phase of residential development here," LCOR Vice President Matthew Hard said of the company's decision to invest in the neighborhood. "We bought into the vision of Union Market." 

The Edison
The living room of a model junior one-bedroom unit at The Edison, overlooking one of the new murals from NoMa's Pow! Wow! festival

Roughly 70% of the building's units are one-bedrooms, ranging from 490 SF to 705 SF. These units are renting for $1,800 to $2,300 a month. The remainder of the building is two-bedroom units, ranging from 850 SF to 1,150 SF with monthly rents of $2,600 to $3,200 a month. 

Hard said LCOR expected the building to appeal to transient young people who shop at Union Market and whom he considers early adopters. A majority of renters have been in their late 20s or 30s, but surprisingly, Hard said some of the building's early tenants have been downsizing baby boomers. 

The Edison
The bedroom of the model junior one-bedroom unit at The Edison

The building was designed by SK+I Architecture to have an industrial feel to fit in with the neighborhood's character, accented by warm tones. The junior one-bedroom units have sliding doors leading to the bedrooms. No direct sunlight comes into the bedrooms of these units, but Hard said residents have still been attracted to them because of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room. 

Aiming to stay on the cutting edge of modern amenity offerings, LCOR has installed its own fiber optic WiFi network in the building. With commercial-grade routers already placed in the walls of each unit, the system allows residents to immediately connect to high-speed internet, with speeds up to 200 megabit per second, upon move-in. Tenants still have the option to use Comcast or Verizon, but Hard said about 70% of the early residents have adopted its fiber optic service. Residents who sign up for the service all connect to the same network, and a flat fee is added to their monthly rent. 

The Edison
The kitchen in the two-bedroom corner unit at The Edison

The kitchens have Caesarstone quartz countertops, stainless-steel GE appliances and the units have multiple cabinet and floor styles. In the two-bedroom units, the kitchens include countertop islands.  

The units also have walk-in closets in the bedrooms, multiple additional storage closets and washers and dryers. 

The Edison
The courtyard at The Edison

The building's second-story outdoor courtyard features fire pits, grills, picnic and ping-pong tables, a water fountain installation, a green recreation area and a mural from local artist CHELOVE. 

Also on the second floor, the building has an indoor clubroom with a catering kitchen, a library and spaces for residents to socialize. The room is still under construction and Hard expects it to be completed later this month. Next to that, the building's fitness center has cardio machines, free weights and a cable pulley machine. 

The Edison
The view out of the third-floor corner unit at The Edison, overlooking Florida Avenue and Fourth Street NE

The building's most prominent corner offers views west down Florida Avenue toward Gallaudet University, south down Fourth Street toward the H Street corridor and east to NoMa. 

While The Edison was the first multifamily project to deliver in the neighborhood east of the tracks, its two neighboring developments are well underway. Directly to the west on Florida Avenue, the $100M Highline at Union Market project broke ground in February. The 318-unit apartment building, a partnership between Level 2 Development, Federal Capital Partners and Clark Enterprises, will include 10K SF of ground-floor retail and is expected to deliver in 2019. 

Directly north of The Edison on Fourth Street, the 432-unit Shapiro Residences broke ground in June 2016. That project, a partnership of Edens, Trammell Crow and Level 2, will feature a 20K SF Latin marketplace by chef Jose Garces on the ground floor. The 11-story building is slated to deliver in late 2018. 

LCOR 500-530 Morse St. NE
A rendering of LCOR's proposed 280-unit mixed-use project at 500-530 Morse St. NE

LCOR has more plans of its own in the Union Market neighborhood. It is currently going through the entitlement process for a 280-unit multifamily building with 20K SF of ground-floor retail at 500-530 Morse St. NE. The development team has a final action hearing scheduled Monday with the Zoning Commission, at which Hard hopes it will vote to approve the project.

Owning and managing another multifamily building two blocks east will give LCOR the opportunity to share staff, resources and amenity spaces, Hard said. The building also shares a block with a portion of the 1.2M SF mixed-use development planned by Gallaudet and JBG Smith. Hard said LCOR is working with the university to design shared alleys and loading entrances for the projects. If all goes well, he hopes LCOR's project will be completed in 2021.

"We think Union Market is going to look a lot different when that project delivers," Hard said.