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NoMa Development Site Long Planned As Condo Project Offered For Sale

A rendering of the 1109 Congress Ave. NE project as it appeared in J Street's approved PUD application.

A development site in the booming NoMa neighborhood that has been planned as a condo project for over five years has hit the market for sale. 

Avison Young this month began marketing the site at 1109 Congress St. NE, a 10K SF lot that has Zoning Commission approval for an eight-story, 62-unit multifamily building. 

The brokerage firm is marketing it on behalf of CH Congress Development LLC, a partnership consisting of high net worth individuals that acquired the note on the property in June from J Street Cos., Avison Young Senior Vice President Matt Weber said. 

Weber said a potential buyer could build condos or apartments on the site, and he has received interest for both uses since he began marketing the site earlier this month along with Avison Young principal Chip Ryan. He said he has received interest from both local developers and out-of-town real estate firms. 

"The neighborhood has matured, it really is a destination," Weber said. "It is a proven multifamily market. You have numerous, very appealing rental and for-sale comparables in the immediate area."

J Street filed a planned unit development application with the Zoning Commission for a 62-unit condo project in June 2016, and it received approval in September 2017. The developer, founded by former CBRE executive Bruce Baschuk, had told Bisnow in August 2018 it planned to start construction on the project by the end of that year, but that groundbreaking never occurred.

J Street, which transferred the deed to CH Congress Development in June, according to D.C. property records, didn't respond to requests for comment for this story. 

Weber said J Street wasn't able to secure the construction financing necessary to break ground, and it is no longer involved with the site. But he said a well-capitalized buyer should be able to secure financing, given the continued growth of the NoMa neighborhood, and he said Avison Young can help the buyer obtain a loan. 

"It's a unique situation because this project should have been developed four or five years ago, but now we need a developer with financial strength that can come in, and you're in an even better position than you were in the previous set of circumstances," Weber said. 

The Zoning Commission last month granted a two-year extension on the PUD approval, meaning the site only needs to secure building permits and financing before breaking ground. This allows a potential buyer to avoid the PUD process and related appeals that have delayed several projects in the neighborhood over the past four years. 

The property sits on the eastern side of the train tracks in NoMa near the intersection of Third and L streets NE. It is one block south of Uline Arena, and two blocks from the huge Trammell Crow and Foulger-Pratt developments that sit across Third Street from each other. 

"Third Street provides the main connection between H Street and Union Market," Weber said. "This is one of the only sites that's actually approved and you can buy it and it's ready-made to go vertical."

Directly to the east of the site, a 5,800 SF lot sold last year from Douglas Development to the NoMa Business Improvement District, which plans to turn it into a public park. Weber said this park makes the site even more attractive than if Douglas had constructed a building next to it. 

"We were worried that the window line was going to go away, but now you're actually going to be overlooking a park," Weber said.