Developers Jeff Epperson and Rick Powell have tried everything for the 10 acres they purchased on Howard Road Southeast, in Anacostia,
from mixed-use projects to a Wal-Mart to an office building to apartments.
Nothing has stuck. And now the land, still undeveloped eight years after the pair first purchased it, is listed for auction by the property’s lenders via Alex Cooper Auctioneers, as the Washington Business Journal reported today. [Click to see the listing.]
As we chronicled in a March story, the developers’ struggles are due in part to delays in building a campus for the Department of Homeland Security nearby at St. Elizabeths hospital. At the time of the story Epperson said: “We’re in a bit of a holding pattern with not much prospects at this point. We don’t know what we’re doing. We’ve lost a tremendous amount of value in the past few years.”
Reached by e-mail Tuesday Epperson said he was working to stave off the auction. “Lots going on behind the scenes I can’t share. Don’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen,” he said. He declined to elaborate.
Peak-era buys are difficult to make work as the economy slowly recovers, particularly in a market like Anacostia, where there is a very small office market. For those hoping to see a revival in the neighborhoods around the St. Elizabeths project, the struggles on Howard Road aren’t a great sign.
Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz