Interest Shines on NW Area of City

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Ramstack, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund and Donatelli Development announced plans last week for a new residential development in the Columbia Heights/Petworth neighborhood.

The team is one of several developers trying to grab some of the last sites available in the neighborhood at a reasonable cost.

Many sites in the downtown area have been lost to redevelopment in recent years, until the housing market collapse dried up developers' interest in building neighborhood projects.

Columbia Heights/Petworth is one of the exceptions.

While developers refuse to even consider new residential projects in most of the region, Columbia Heights/Petworth is home to the Privado condominiums, the Allegro apartments, Kenyon Square condominiums and now the future Park Place mixed-use project. All of them are either recently completed, being built or just announced.

"It's a fast moving neighborhood," said Bob Moore, president of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, a nonprofit business development organization. "It's one of the few neighborhoods where there's still a lot of housing investment going on."

Among its attractions for developers are two Metro stops, the 546,000-square-foot DC USA shopping and entertainment complex at 14th Street and Park Road Northwest that opened in March, a downtown location and a sprinkling of vacant lots or parking lots that are ripe for new buildings.

"They haven't had to tear down much of anything to build on it," Mr. Moore said.

For the Park Place, Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund and Donatelli Development obtained a $53 million construction loan. …