D.C. developer sees apartment project as catalyst for modeling neighborhood after N.Y.'s popular High Line district

If all goes as planned, The Highline at Union Market could begin construction within 18 months.  

February 02, 2015 |
D.C. developer sees apartment project as catalyst for modeling neighborhood after NY's popular  High Line district

The apartment building is located a block from D.C.’s NoMa/Gallaudet Red Line Metro Station, which since opening in 2004 has been the impetus for development. Rendering: courtesy Level 2

Last week, Washington, D.C.-based Level 2 Development filed a Planned Unit Development (PUD) proposal with that city’s Zoning Commission for The Highline at Union Market, a 227,089-sf mixed-use building that will include 315 apartments and 8,472 sf of street-level retail.

It’s no accident that the word “Highline” is in this project’s name. The goal of this developer, according to its principal David Franco, is for the building to be a kind of gateway into the larger redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhood to resemble New York’s City’s trendy downtown Meatpacking District, through which runs a portion the High Line elevated park.

Level 2’s apartment building is located a block from D.C.’s NoMa/Gallaudet Red Line Metro Station, which since opening in 2004 has been the impetus for development.

Franco told The Washington Post that he sees The Highline at Union Market as “the front door” of the Union Market District, which he speculates could become a mecca for “specialty retail, artisanal food, dining, and entertainment.”

Getting people interested in living in or near this neighborhood appears to be a significant part of the redevelopment plan. Edens Realty, which is transforming the upscale shopping center Union Market, has submitted a PUD for a nearby 520-unit apartment building that Level 2 would be responsible for developing and completing.

The Highline at Union Market, designed by the architectural firm Eric Colbert & Associates, attempts to create a stylish yet industrial look with the appearance of rail car-looking boxes stacked on top of which other, albeit with different, seemingly random setbacks.

The apartments within range from 400 to 1,000 sf, with some premium units available. Franco tells BD+C that a zoning change is required in order to get the density that Level 2 wants from this building.

A hearing by the Zoning Commission is likely to occur next month, with public hearings to follow this summer. If all goes well, Franco says construction could begin in the third quarter of 2016.

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