It’s that time of year when we start talking about what happened for the last twelve months and what we expect to happen in the next twelve months. GM might get around the former, but today he’s talking about the latter.
So what sort of projects around Georgetown can we expect to come online in 2012? Here’s GM’s guesses:
EastBanc has a lot of projects on the drawing board. Some rather ambitious, others less so. On the ambitious side, we have the Exxon condos and the Verizon parking lot condos. The Exxon project has run into design approval delays. The most GM expects to happen in 2012 is that a design is finally approved and maybe, maybe towards the end of the year the gas station will close and preliminary work will begin.
The Verizon parking lot, on the other hand, has already received design approval, so GM expects to see some visible progress on that project by the summer. By December 2012, GM expects to see some significant progress on this project.
On the lighter side, there is the post office project. This project began life as an ambitious plan to construct a dozen or so townhouses with a bunch of condos. It got scaled down and converted into an office project. Then it got scaled further down and converted back into a residential project. Finally it was determined that the part of the building that EastBanc planned to demolish was actually historical, so the project got even more scaled back and returned to an office project. The final product includes minimal exterior changes. It has been approved. Barring delays over the disposition of the property from the USPS to EastBanc, it should see significant progress (if not complete progress) in 2012.
Finally, the wildcard is EastBanc’s recently revealed plans to create a mini-Cady’s Alley behind the Coach store. Neighbors are lining up against it, but EastBanc may have some by-right development rights, and they still have plenty of good will from the original Cady’s Alley. GM’s not sure where it will be by the end of 2012, but he predicts we’ll be talking about it a lot regardless.
This really is the elephant in the Georgetown retail room. We’ve seen a steady stream of evictions as Vornado creates a blank slate in preparation for bringing in new tenants. GM understands that the overall approach of Vornado includes a “de-malling” of the mall. In other words, a removal of the interior spaces of the mall. The end result would be single store spaces running from M back to the canal. It’s an intriguing idea (albeit one that is inherently incompatible with the small shops that currently inhabit, or rather recently inhabited, the pre-de-malled mall).
Some are even speculating that the sought after Eataly is considering the mall. GM is skeptical, but would surely rather have Eataly than Kohls, or whatever quick fix Vornado might have in mind for the property.
Either way, GM expects that by December 2012 the overall picture of what the new Georgetown Park will look like will have come into focus, even if the doors aren’t open yet.
West Heating Plant
GM thinks this project will dominate the discussion in lower Georgetown for the coming year. Several development groups have tried to jump out as leading contenders to acquire the property and turn it into condos. It’s rather shocking, frankly, that GSA can dispose of such a large property in such an expensive real estate market and not actually have to issue a formal RFP, but GM believes that’s exactly what is going to happen. Should be interesting.
This is the last big project that GM can think of on the drawing board right now. In the end, much of the changes that MRP Realty will end up making will be purely cosmetic. But let’s face it: nothing’s more exciting than the prospect of an ice rink on the waterfront. GM hopes to be skating there by next December