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Cleveland Park Site Could Turn From 2 Homes Into 50 Units After Rezoning, Sale

A rare multifamily development is moving forward in Cleveland Park after three parcels were pieced together on Wisconsin Avenue.

The proposed development would reorient two existing single-family homes and allow the creation of a new multifamily building along Wisconsin Avenue.

One Street Commercial Properties has acquired the site at 3427-3433 Wisconsin Ave. NW for $10M, Bisnow has learned.

Beginning in 2021, Feldman Ruel Urban Property Advisors worked with seller 10Square to agglomerate three parcels at the intersection of Wisconsin and Idaho avenues and bounded by Ordway Street and Norton Place.

The firms then ushered the combined parcels through a map amendment process that Managing Principal Ian Ruel said was just completed. The project now needs approval from the Historic Preservation Review Board.

"This is a complicated project at a weird time," Ruel said. "It's what I call a 'tweener' project: It's too big for a lot of the small guys and too small for a lot of the big guys. ... It definitely took our relationships to close the deal."

The proposed development would include a roughly 50-unit multifamily building fronting Wisconsin Avenue. It would also uproot and reorient the two existing single-family homes on-site, which contribute to the Cleveland Park Historic District, toward each side street, according to plans shared by Feldman Ruel.

10Square secured a 20% inclusionary zoning minimum for the project through the map amendment process, which Ruel said was much smoother than going through the planned-unit development process that has held some of D.C.'s biggest developments back in previous years.

The rezoning proposed for the site would effectively double the allowable floor area ratio for the property and raise the height limit from 40 to 50 feet. It would also allow eight to 10 inclusionary zoning units, which the developer said would "double or triple" the number of affordable units allowed on-site.

Beck Vissat, principal of 10Square, said the project was fortunate to earn the early support of ANC 3C and the D.C. Office of Planning as it negotiated the affordability and density of the development proposal.

"Cleveland Park is a great neighborhood but given its very high price point, the entry level to move into the area is very prohibitive for many," Vissat said in an emailed statement.

"After acquiring the three lots, I was able to build a great team of StudioMB, CAS Engineering, and Sullivan & Barros to help navigate the Map Amendment process and secure all the required approvals to double the density and secure the 20% inclusionary zoning," Vissat added. "Feldman Ruel played a critical role in this process."

Cleveland Park is among the neighborhoods in the Rock Creek West planning area that Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration has targeted for greater development. In 2021, the Office of Planning released a road map that supported upzoning, tax abatements and other measures to increase density in the area.

Ruel said that signaling of priorities from Bowser's administration helped his firm zero in on opportunities in the area, which he said have better investment prospects than lesser submarkets in the District. 

Despite a reputation for NIMBYism, Ruel said he was "pleasantly surprised" to find the neighborhood was broadly supportive of the development. He said this was due in part to changing demographics and a growing understanding among residents that D.C. needs to embrace development to stay relevant in the broader region.

"The community in the neighborhood was actually pretty pro-development on this, so I think there's a little bit of a changing of the guard," Ruel said. "They've realized that as a city, if we're going to continue to grow and gain population and continue to be economically viable, we need to work with these developers to develop projects like this that are adding 40-plus residential units that otherwise wouldn't have existed and taking underutilized land that could be used for housing."

While the property is in the Cleveland Park Historic District, it neighbors several other multifamily developments, including the multiparcel Cathedral Commons development completed by Bozzuto nearly a decade ago. That property includes 124 units in its northern portion, plus a 56K SF Giant and additional ground-floor retail in its southern portion.

Just up the road is Roadside Development and North American Sekisui House's City Ridge development, which includes 690 residential units and office space where Industrious opened last month