An Irving, Tex.-based apartment developer said it agreed to buy two parcels of land located roughly three blocks north of the proposed baseball stadium site in Southeast Washington -- a sign of the District neighborhood's growing allure for builders.
The developer, JPI, has a contract to buy less than half an acre at 900 First Street SE, now home to the Nexus Gold Club, a strip club. The strip club is likely to close next year and move, according to Marty Chernoff, the landlord who has owned the property for more than 15 years.
JPI executive Aaron Liebert said his company has not decided exactly what it will put on the property because it is still trying to get other smaller parcels near it. But Liebert said he envisions putting in some residential units and possibly a coffee shop or deli. The deal is not expected to close until late next year to allow the club's manager time to find a new location, Chernoff said.
The other property JPI has under contract with Chernoff is about two acres located west of the Nexus Gold Club on I Street between South Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue SE. Chernoff owns the land with a partner, Lenny Greenberg, who also owns large properties in Wheaton.
Liebert said JPI plans to put about 700 condominiums and apartments on that land. Construction likely will start next summer, and the project is expected to be completed in 2008. The deal is expected to close later this month.
Liebert and Chernoff refused to disclose the price of the two properties, saying it was confidential. But real estate brokers and developers who have bought land in the area said the going rate is in the range of $50 a buildable square foot -- more than double what it was just a few years ago.
The JPI deal comes as the proposed baseball stadium near the Anacostia River and other large projects, such as the new U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters nearby, are prompting several major developers, including Akridge and Monument Realty LLC, to acquire land there in hopes of turning the mostly abandoned lots and run-down buildings into offices, shops and residential projects.
"There's a limited opportunity in Southeast, and if you want to get a piece of that and benefit, you've got to get in and get a piece of it now," said Dod Walker, a development manager at Akridge who has worked on deals in the area. His company recently paid $75 million for a nine-acre parcel that is now mostly parking lots in Buzzards Point. "There doesn't appear to be a lot of sites left, and once the stadium begins construction just about every site in Southeast [will be] ready to be developed."